Northern Ireland

Woman whose brother was abused at De La Salle home says she will 'never accept' apology from the order

Shauneen Malone with a copy of the state apology to victims of historical institutional abuse. Picture by Hugh Russell
Shauneen Malone with a copy of the state apology to victims of historical institutional abuse. Picture by Hugh Russell

A WOMAN whose brother was sent to a institution just a few years after her father was killed in the 1971 Ballymurphy shootings has said she will "never accept" an apology from the De La Salle order.

Alice Harper's brother Bernard was just 11 when he was sent to St Patrick's Training School, run by the order, in Belfast.

Bernard and his twin were sent to the home for truancy. They were held there until they were 15.

Just two years before, her father Danny Teggart had been killed by the British army at Ballymurphy.

"He (Bernard) was abused in St Pat's home," she told The Irish News.

"We didn't know until the day of Sir Anthony Hart's report that he had been the worst abused child.

"It was very hard for us to take that.

"That's why I'm here today.

"I was choking when I was in the gallery (listening to the apology)."

Shauneen Malone (41), from Newry, suffered physical, mental and emotional abuse at both religious and state-run homes, including one run by the Good Shepherd Sisters.

"I was nearly 11," she told The Irish News. "Social services took me away for three days and returned me six-and-a-half years later.

"I had medical problems and mummy had asked for help but no help was given. It was all mix and match."

She said she had mixed feelings about the apology and feared that some lessons still had not been learned.

"It's been a long time coming," she said.

"We basically had to beg for everything."

The mother-of-three said she felt the religious institutions had not been sincere in their apologies.

"Anyone can read from a script," she said.

"If you speak from the heart it means more.

"I didn't know that person (from the Good Shepherd Sisters who delivered their apology)."

She felt the failure of social services to look after children also needed to be highlighted.

"They are still getting things wrong today," she said.

She wept as she recounted how the trauma of the abuse has stayed with her.

"There won't be any closure for me," she said.

"I live with this every day. It's there when I get up in the morning, it's there when I go to bed at night."

Ms Malone said she received a poor education in the care system but had managed to gain GCSE qualifications through her own hard work.

"In Rathgael (Training School) we would spend hours on computer games or colouring in pictures," she said.

"They told us we were getting the best education."