Aslan singer Christy Dignam opens up about sexual abuse, drug addiction and cancer

Christy Dignam opens up about his regrets on fatherhood and the ongoing impact of sexual abuse he suffered at six-years-old in a new documentary.

The Aslan frontman makes the comments in an intimate documentary about his life, This is Christy.

“I’ve made a lot of dodgy decisions...I knew that I wasn’t the best father I could have been", he said.

"With Kiera, I just felt so bad that I wasn’t there for her as a father. I caught her one day, I said ‘look Kiera, I am really so sorry I wasn’t there for you’. I’ve tried to show her over the years that I was sorry and tried to be the grandfather that I wasn’t as a father,” he added.

This is Christy, airing on RTÉ One tonight, follows Dignam in the run up to Aslan’s sell out gig at Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens at the weekend.

The documentary is an intimate portrait of an artist who has battled back from some of life’s deepest traumas including sexual abuse, drug addiction and cancer.

Speaking about the impact of being sexually abused by a neighbour when he was six-years-old, Dignam says: “People don’t realise the amount of damage sexual abuse can cause to a person. So that one orgasm for him has reverberated right through history."

"It has affected my wife, it has affected my family, it affected all my brothers and sisters, it affected all the band and all their families. It is like a ripple effect,” he added.

Dignam tells about how he had suppressed the trauma of the abuse but the memories came back to him after seeking treatment for drug addiction in the Rutland Centre.

“I was looking at all these people in there who were talking about childhood and things that happened to them in their childhood and I was sitting there thinking: ‘Jesus, I had a perfect childood’. That made me feel worse because I was leaving the Rutland thinking: ‘I must be a drug addict because I’m am evil bastard or something’," said Christy.

“And for some reason the whole thing just came back to me then, this incident that happened to me when I was six and it came back to me like a video reel. I remember it vividly now but for some reason I had just blocked it then for years. Just because you knew about it, you knew the abuse, it didn’t mean that that was the end of it, that you weren’t a drug addict anymore. By then the damage was done,” he added.

This is Christy airs Tuesday, July 11 on RTÉ One at 9.35pm.

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