A man who claims he was sexually abused as a child and the victim of a paedophile ring in Enniskillen over 30 years ago has spoken out about his ordeal for the first time.

In a frank interview with The Impartial Reporter, the man who wishes to remain anonymous, has revealed how the abuse by multiple men began in February 1987 when he was 12 years old.

Furthermore, he also claims police closed an investigation into his clams due to a “lack of evidence”.

“I was walking through the town one night and there used to be toilets in Nugent’s Entry and I went to use the toilet and I was sexually assaulted by a much older male who I knew to see, that’s all, I didn’t really know him,” he revealed.

“The assault happened in the toilet, in the cubicle and I came outside and I was actually physically sick on the floor. I wasn’t really sure what had just happened to me, I was 12 so I wasn’t really that aware of things.”

The man went on to share that he was assaulted a second time, but by a different man from the first incident. He said: “The second incident I was walking home one night from my grandparents and on the way home there was a man in a telephone box and he followed me to the back alley of where I lived and he pulled me into a garden and sexually assaulted me.”

He added: “That was a very big thing to happen, it was a bit more intense than the previous thing.”

The man shared that the second man who assaulted him began to approach him on the street and “all sorts of places.” He said: “Basically this man sort of pursued me and then started to offer me money and basically groomed me into having sex with him.”

He continued: “At the time I didn’t understand that, I’m not really sure what I felt but I felt like I had some power in that because I got money. That might sound quite strange but from a 12/13 year old’s perspective, I mean, like I said, my family didn’t have any money.”

This was the beginning of a series of events which took place in the public toilets at Nugent’s Entry, the man explained.

“I would turn up and meet this man and he would give me money then he would ask me to meet him. Sometimes he wouldn’t be there but there would be someone else there and it just opened up this whole thing of all these different men being there,” he shared.

He explained that the encounters most often happened on a Sunday because that was the day that “the town used to be very quiet.”

He said: “In that alleyway there was nobody and those toilets were empty, only for those men, and I would turn up and then I started seeing other boys there that I would’ve been at school with.”

“I got into this thing of meeting these men, I don’t really know what happened but I was involved in this ring really,” he added.

The man believes that information about him and other boys was shared between the men involved in the ring. He said: “One of them once stopped me on the way to school and started asking me questions and invited me out to his house and named all these other boys that went to his house, so I know that those other boys were abused by that particular person.”

Speaking of another incident, where he was followed home by one of the men who grabbed him by the arm and begged him to get into his car, the man said he was frightened, not only by the attack but also that someone find out what was happening. He explained: “I felt if people found out, that I’d be judged somehow, and I was a child and had a very different perspective than being an adult and knowing what does belong to you and what doesn’t in terms of shame and guilt.”

He added: “I really couldn’t talk to anybody and my parents were very concerned obviously. I’d attempted suicide and I was placed under the care of psychiatrists at the time.

Talking about how he has struggled with his mental health since the abuse first occurred and how he has had a lot of therapy in his life as a result, the man added: “I turned to alcohol and drugs at a very young age, and ended up in a rehab at 21 years of age, thankfully I eventually found recovery and today I am abstinent.”

In 2016, the man went to the police and made a statement.

He said: “I couldn’t name all of the men but the men that I could name, they were all brought in and questioned and basically because it was 30 years ago, it was my word against theirs.”

He continued: “There was another man that the police contacted, who was another boy at the time and he was willing to make a statement but he withdrew that, and I totally understand that most people are probably not where I’m at with it, but the people that I do know that suffered at the hands of these men, I do know that it’s affected their lives as well. “

Due to a lack of evidence the police dropped the charges approximately a year after the case was opened.

He said: “I was always told by the police that it was a very weak case if it was just my statement against those men. I always knew that there was a huge chance that it wouldn’t go to court and I took the risk anyway and I don’t regret taking the risk at all, I’m really glad, for me, that I spoke up.”

He added: “They did tell me that my file would stay on record and if anybody ever comes forward that it will come up. I do believe that one day something else will come out regarding these people.”

Explaining why he has decided to speak out publicly about his ordeal, the man said: “For me I feel I want to tell my story. First of all I need closure, secondly I feel strong enough to speak out and I think most people never ever possibly will.”

He added: “I think some people could lose their lives because of it, I certainly know that it started trends in my life of self-destruction, I suffered very much. The suicide attempts became more and more, my mental health suffered and I struggled all my life.”

“I feel that if I can help other people in any way by speaking out that I should and if it protects any other child from this happening to them, then that’s what I want to do,” he added.