Historical Abuse Inquiry told paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth abused children in Belfast care homes
A Catholic religious order has accepted that a notorious paedophile priest abused children while they were in the care of nuns in Northern Ireland, a lawyer told a public inquiry.
Fr Brendan Smyth visited two south Belfast residential homes at the centre of the independent probe into wrongdoing stretching back decades. The serial molester was later convicted of dozens of child abuse charges.
More than 100 witnesses from Nazareth House and Nazareth Lodge have come forward to the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry, headed by a former judge, which is one of the largest investigations of its kind ever held in the UK.
Senior counsel to the inquiry Christine Smith QC said: “Sexual abuse of children was perpetrated by the now notorious Fr Brendan Smyth.”
She added: “There will be evidence given in this module that he abused children both in Nazareth House and in Nazareth Lodge in Belfast.”
Sister Brenda McCall, a senior figure in the Sisters of Nazareth order which ran the now closed Nazareth House and Nazareth Lodge in South Belfast, gave a statement to the inquiry.
Ms Smith said: “She states that the congregation accepts that Brendan Smyth did abuse children while they were in our care and continued to abuse some after they left our care.
“She also accepts that he visited both Nazareth House and Nazareth Lodge.”
Some Catholic nuns at a children’s home in Northern Ireland were sadistic bullies, a former resident has claimed.
A “bleak, harsh and cruel” atmosphere was described by alleged victims at two properties in Belfast run by the Sisters of Nazareth Order, a lawyer told a public inquiry.
More than 100 witnesses from Nazareth House and Nazareth Lodge have come forward to the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry, headed by a former judge.
Thirteen institutions are being considered by the inquiry panel, which is tasked with making recommendations to Stormont ministers on issues such as compensating alleged victims.
Senior counsel to the inquiry Christine Smith QC quoted one witness, saying: “The nuns were at best indifferent and most often sadistic bullies who spoke with harsh, loud voices in scornful, dismissive tones.”