Northern Ireland

Man who claims abuse at St Patrick's training school receives £50,000 High Court payout

St Patrick's training school in west Belfast which is now closed
St Patrick's training school in west Belfast which is now closed

A MAN allegedly subjected to "horrific" abuse at a Catholic-run school in Belfast 60 years ago is to receive a £50,000 payout.

The 73-year-old claimed he suffered beatings with a strap and bunch of keys, and was forced to sleep on a mattress with bare springs at St Patrick's training school.

His legal action against the De La Salle Order, who ran the facilities on the Glen Road, was settled at the High Court today.

Mr Justice Maguire was told an award of £50,000 plus costs is to be made.

The man, who is not being named, was 13 when he was placed as a resident at St Patrick's in 1959.

During a two-year stay he claimed some of the brothers who ran the facilities inflicted physical abuse he described as torture.

He alleged that he was subjected to a raft of assaults, including being beaten, punched, kicked and hit on the ear with a bunch of keys.

Other attacks were carried out with a strap, with no steps taken to protect him when he complained, according to his case.

He also claimed that he had to sleep on a mattress with bare springs as part of persistent treatment which left him mentally scarred.

St Patrick's training school was among the juvenile detention centres examined by the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry set up to investigate decades of child abuse at state and religious-run homes in Northern Ireland.

In 2017 the tribunal, chaired by the late Sir Anthony Hart, found systemic failings at the school - although it also recognised some of the boys who went through its doors had enjoyed and benefited from their stay.

The man's claim for damages against the De La Salle Order was settled without any admission of liability made in court.

Following the outcome his solicitor confirmed he was among those who gave evidence to the HIA Inquiry.

Claire McKeegan of Phoenix Law said: "Our client is finally vindicated after 60 years and can now attempt to put this horrific chapter behind him."

But she expressed dismay that survivors and victims of historical abuse still have to take legal action in the ongoing absence of the compensation scheme recommended by Sir Anthony.

Ms McKeegan added: "It is unacceptable that they should have to go through trauma of reliving the childhood abuses they suffered and the stress of difficult court proceedings."