Details of the alleged abuse at the homes run by the Sisters of Nazareth is horrific. Nuns beat children for bedwetting, put soiled sheets on their heads to humiliate them, and forced them to eat their own vomit when they were sick.
The inquiry is investigating abuse claims against children's residential institutions from 1922 to 1995. The hearing is part of a wider investigation into 16 state and church run care homes, orphanages, and other facilities in Northern Ireland.
Children in the homes were known by their numbers rather than names, and forced into labor on farms and in laundries instead of going to school. Allegations also include sexual abuse by older children, visiting priests, employees and, in one instance, a nun.
Children were often punished by being bathed in a harsh disinfectant used to clean drains.
The Sisters of Nazareth nuns have already admitted that girls and boys were subjected to physical and sexual abuse in institutions in Northern Ireland that they controlled, and issued an apology earlier this month. While the inquiry's senior barrister, Christine Smith QC, welcomed the apology the nuns made at the hearing earlier this month, she did note that the “less than wholehearted and rapid response on the part of the congregation has caused considerable difficulties to the work of the inquiry.”
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