Former residents defend Smyllum Park orphanage

  • 12 January 2018

smyllum
Image caption Smyllum Park orphanage in Lanark

A former resident of an orphanage at the centre of child abuse allegations has said the claims are “absolute rubbish”.

Another witness at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry said staff at Smyllum Park in Lanark “dedicated themselves” to the welfare of children.

Other former witness have testified about beatings and ill-treatment at the home, which closed in the 1980s.

Smyllum Park was run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul.

The first witness said he had been “extremely well treated” at the home.

‘Not monsters’

The man, who is now in his 60s, said it was unfair to suggest the nuns who ran Smyllum Park were “monsters and out-and-out child beaters”.

He had arrived at the home in 1957, when he was aged about seven.

While corporal punishment had been used, he said it amounted to a tug of the ear or the use of the belt, a punishment widely used in schools at the time.

He dismissed accounts of physical abuse as “absolute rubbish” and said his time at the orphanage was “positive”.

“If it came to someone really misbehaving, and I mean really misbehaving, by language or fighting, then she (one of the nuns) would have had to deal out one or two of the strap,” he said.

Questioned about violence by the nuns, he replied: “I didn’t see anything like that. There are lots of lies being told.

“During my time, my window in Smyllum, I never saw any of what is being said about the nuns.”

‘Bandwagon’

He explained he was “shocked and horrified” when he read statements from other people who were at the home.

“A lot of people I would say jumped on a bandwagon,” he added.

“I think it is compensation. I really do think that is what it is about.

“There might be one or two real stories in it, but the majority in my view are untrue. Out-and-out lies.”

The second witness also arrived at Smyllum Park as a boy in 1957.

He said the nuns there “dedicated themselves to the well-being of all the children in their care and chastised them fairly”.

He told the inquiry: “Truth has been crucified along with the Daughters of Charity and staff who worked at Smyllum Park,” adding, “Most of what has been said is not true.”

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