HIA inquiry: Sister of Nazareth nun denies abuse claims

The first nun to give evidence to the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry has denied allegations that she physically, emotionally and psychologically abused children in her care.

The Sisters of Nazareth witness, who is in her 70s and cannot be identified, is accused of carrying out the abuse, including beating children when they wet the bed, at a children’s home in Londonderry.

Seven former pupils at Termonbacca home for boys and girls accused her of a variety of physical offences, when she and another nun looked after more than 50 boys at the home in the late 1950s.

The nun denies all the allegations against her. The HIA was set up to investigate allegations dating from 1922 to 1995, including claims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

The public hearings stage of the inquiry is being held in Banbridge, County Down, and is expected to last for 18 months.

During that time, it is due to hear evidence from more than 300 witnesses, including former residents who claim they were abused as children, the people who ran the institutions, health and social care officials and government representatives.

The inquiry’s remit is limited to children’s residential institutions in Northern Ireland.

So far, it is examining claims against 13 children’s homes and borstals.