You would really have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by a radio interview on Tuesday, when a mature man’s voice cracked with emotion over his abuse as a child in a care home. Survivors of such abuse have been campaigning for some time, and got yet another let down this week.

When the man said, “I can’t do this any more,” it gave us a glimpse, a small but significant glimpse, into what many people have been going through for so long. We get that glimpse now and again, but victims go through the pain every day.

The man is one of the many victims of abusers in Northern Ireland over many years, whose horrendous experiences were investigated by the public inquiry chaired by Sir Anthony Hart between 2014 and 2016, and it is in the news this week because two years later, his recommendation that they receive compensation hasn’t been implemented.

What sort of society do we live in that would result in sustained abuse of young children over many years, and now allows their continued mental torture in continuing to fail them?

By a quirk of coincidence, some of these survivors arrived in Enniskillen on Tuesday afternoon, the very town and county which has been rocked to its core for several weeks now as details emerge in this newspaper of years of sexual abuse of many children by depraved predators who were in positions of power and responsibility. So-called respectable citizens that carried out this abuse are still walking around the streets.

I commend the journalist, Rodney Edwards for his courage and compassion in telling the stories of many people who are now coming forward in such brave fashion.

I realise, of course, that the detail is a tough read for many; indeed some people locally are so upset that they feel they cannot read it. That is understandable.

Others, admittedly it would seem very much the minority, don’t want the detail even published.

But the public should know what is going on, and the victims’ voices MUST be heard.

What we are now learning is cases from over the past 30 years resulted in children from as young as four up to teenage years were sexually abused in many parts of our county, including Enniskillen, Lisnaskea, Maguiresbridge, Fivemiletown and other places by prominent people and some in positions of trust.

Lives were destroyed.

What’s emerging is that many of the people who were abused went on to have serious problems in their adult lives, turning to drink or drugs, feeling suicidal or having continual mental health problems.

If you think these stories should not be told now, you need to have a serious rethink. Not least because there are more and more revelations to come, more and more stories to tell including many at least as shocking as those already told.

The story has now been taken up by BBC radio and television, UTV, Sky News, U105 Radio and daily newspapers, and it isn’t going away.

And when one thinks that all this was going on under our noses, involving people (victims and abusers) that we know, it’s no wonder that a friend said to me recently: “I just don’t know anything any more.”

For me the accounts of these people raise many questions. How did the police in the past handle these cases, considering that many statements were made to them, and that they appear to have not followed child protection guidelines? The police do appear to be taking things seriously now, but I have to say they have a lot to do to regain the confidence of victims.

Another question: how do we know that abuse is not rife today, if yesterday’s abusers were not held to account.

And why are people who are leaders and influencers in our community not shouting from the rooftops about the need for the authorities to protect those who have been so cruelly hurt. Indeed, when Rodney Edwards posed this question to our local politicians, he was accused of “gutter journalism.”

There are some honourable exceptions, but it would appear to be left to journalists and the victims themselves to raise their voices and demand action.

In the case of the victims of Historical Institutional Abuse, it has been a long battle. The Hart inquiry looked at cases in residential homes over many years. Like the local victims, the people abused by those supposed to be looking after them in their vulnerable time, went on to have serious problems over the years.

After years of campaigning by survivors, Sir Antony Hart’s inquiry recommended a number of things including a public apology, a memorial to the victims, care packages, and compensation to help them through difficult days. That recommendation was made over two years ago; since then nothing has happened. Except, remarkably, a further 30 victims have died.

The Survivors group has asked for an interim payment to help those who are elderly or terminally ill to help them through their last days.

Yet, following meetings this week with Secretary of State, Karen Bradley, the survivors came away feeling they’d been kicked in the teeth yet again; their hopes were dashed yet again. Another disaster, as one person put it.

Mrs. Bradley said: “They have been wronged and let down by the system too many times, and I want to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Except they were let down again, by her.

Since direct rule was established in the early 1970s, I remember all the Secretaries of State and met many of them. There were a few ropey and inept individuals, so to say that the competition to be the most useless of the lot is a one-horse race in which Mrs. Bradley is the only runner is quite an achievement in failure. Now, in addition to incompetence, she adds arrogance in avoiding questions and a cruel and uncaring attitude to people she can and should be helping.

She has achieved one thing, though. She’s managed to unite every single political party in Northern Ireland in their view of her.

We can’t, of course, blame everything on Mrs. Bradley, and as the parties all scramble to unite in their support for the historical abuse victims, amid a suggestion that the head of the civil service is to blame, it is all symptomatic of the dysfunctionality of the way this place is being run.

As regards the scourge of abuse, however, past and present, it’s time we all realised the disgusting nature of it and accept that the destruction of so many lives should mean that all our voices should be raised in support of rooting it out of society.