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Opus Dei Knights of Colombanus in coverup about Ryan Report(catholic church abuse)

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posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:19 AM
Go to the URL below and click on the Drivetime recording.

There are recorded accusations by members of the Irish Dail that the government education department is in the grip of knights of colombanus and opus dei and these are covering up child abuse contained in the Ryan Report.

There is to be a pod cast of this programme which was broadcast today 12th June 2009 at 13.40

Let people know about whats getting covered up in Ireland who closely the state is controlled by Religious orders

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:20 AM
In this section »
* Cardinal's key adviser makes plea for new deal
* Citizens wait patiently to express solidarity with victims of abuse
* Government will respond if orders agree to reopen deal
* Mass-goers have strong views on report by child abuse commission
* Priest takes leave after allegation of sexual assault on young girl
* Helpline numbers

AGREEMENT WITH ORDERS: THE FORMER Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has criticised “anti-church” rhetoric in the aftermath of the publication of the Ryan report into the abuse of children in institutional care.

In an interview with Karen Coleman on Newstalk radio yesterday Mr Ahern said it was “simplistic” to argue that there was loads of land and money available to religious orders.

He said that this was “just anti-church”.

“You hear politicians hopping on the anti-Catholic Church. I think that’s sad, most of them were educated by the Catholic Church, and now here they are just jumping at it and running around wanting to sell Catholic schools and churches.”

Mr Ahern said that he had “no problem” with the perpetrators who abused children in State institutions being named and shamed and also defended his own actions in establishing the investigation.

“If I did not take the actions that I took, if I didn’t follow it through, none of this would have come to light other than a few television programmes and a few articles written.”

“I took it on, I put the legislative base, I took the structural base and that’s the real issue – that we’ve dealt with it, we’ve brought it to the fore.”

“We haven’t given compensation, we’ve given redress. Thats the issue that we should be focusing on, not other issues like having a go at people,” he said.

Meanwhile, former Fianna Fáil education minister Dr Michael Woods, who negotiated the agreement which saw religious congregations contribute €128 million towards the cost of the compensation scheme for victims of abuse, has strongly defended it as “the best deal that could have been done at the time”.

In an interview with Rachel English on RTÉ radio on Saturday, Dr Woods said it had been “an honourable deal, properly worked between the Government and the religious orders and their representatives”.

He said that it was a matter for the congregations if they wanted to pay more than the €128 million agreed under the deal.

The former minister questioned whether a Government could renege on a legal agreement and asked about the implications such a move could have on international investment in Ireland.

Dr Woods said that the bulk of the responsibility lay with the State as it was its courts that had placed the children in the institutions in the first place.

He said that test cases could have been taken to the Supreme Court to determine the proportion of responsibility between the parties but that the Government was not going to do that as it believed that the people concerned had suffered enough.

The former minister defended the decision to sign the deal with the religious orders on his last day in office in 2002. He said that he had wanted to get the agreement finished as the then government had given a promise that it would do so before the election.

He said that he had received letters from victims begging him not to leave the compensation agreement to another administration or minister to introduce.

This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:21 AM
Survivors pin blame for delay on FG leader

Thursday June 11 2009

FINE Gael leader Enda Kenny was confronted in the street yesterday by institutional abuse survivors furious over his role in cancelling a key debate in the Dail.

The emotionally-charged encounter occurred after Mr Kenny emerged from the Dail to listen to survivors recalling their horrific treatment at the hands of religious orders.

They had marched to coincide with the Dail debate on the Ryan Commission report into child abuse, but the debate was replaced by a post-election motion on the government.

Former Fianna Fail councillor Michael O'Brien, who last month attacked minister Noel Dempsey on TV over the Government's response to abuse disclosures, was among those who accused Mr Kenny of scuppering yesterday's debate.

Mr Kenny stood rooted to the spot as Mr O'Brien rounded on him over his role in putting down a motion of no confidence in the government which led to the abuse debate being cancelled.

"Why did you stop us going in there today? Why did you stop us? said Mr O'Brien.

"I didn't stop you," replied Mr Kenny.

"You did stop us," said Mr O'Brien.

"You brought in a stupid notice or motion to the Dail yesterday to stop us going in there. There is no other reason and I won't accept any other reason."

A clearly embarrassed Mr Kenny claimed the Government could have changed schedules to allow the abuse debate to happen as promised, but Mr O'Brien rejected the Fine Gael leader's explanation.

Mr Kenny said: "All I am saying is that the government order the business of the house. I don't stop anyone coming in to the Dail. . . it is the peoples house."

Referring to the motion, Mr O'Brien said: "You called for it Enda, you called for it. I'm a former politician and I know how it works so don't try and make me out to be gob****e. I ain't no gob****e"

Abuse survivor Noel Barry, from Cork, told Mr Kenny he was deeply upset over the cancellation of the debate.

He told the Fine Gael leader: "I wouldn't trust you as far as I could throw you."

- Ciaran Byrne

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:21 AM
Friday June 12 2009

THE bright sunshine beamed through the glass dome, suffusing the Dail chamber with light. But on the floor of the House, and in the public gallery above, grief, remorse and anger cast a long dark shadow over the sunlit room.

Usually the Dail proceedings on a Thursday morning are punctuated with rowdy and rambunctious banter during the order of business. But then this wasn't a usual session in the lower House of the Oireachtas -- it was the first day of a two-day debate on the horrendous findings of the Ryan report into child abuse. There were no political shenanigans yesterday, just a grim sense of unity among deputies on all sides of the chamber as they set off on a bleak journey.

For this was a return back into Ireland's far too recent past, a bone-chilling, harrowing but entirely appropriate and necessary revisit of the dreadful, dark deeds perpetrated on the most vulnerable and helpless members of our society.

And if any of the deputies needed reminding that mere lip-service would not suffice in their acknowledgment of the heart-breaking litany of horrors which rampaged unchecked behind the walls of the institutions, all they had to do was raise their eyes to the public gallery, where sat Michael O'Brien, former Fianna Fail councillor and survivor of sexual abuse in an industrial school in Clonmel.

Michael recently vented his rage on television, excoriating Transport Minister Noel Dempsey on RTE's 'Questions and Answers', but yesterday he sat quietly in the gallery, shedding bitter tears while Enda Kenny delivered his moving speech. The confidence debate on Tuesday and Wednesday may have been little more than a set-piece of political theatre, but there were no dramatics or theatrics yesterday as deputies on all sides struggled to find suitable words to apply to this dark Irish tragedy.

The Taoiseach opened the debate with an apology to the 165,000 victims who passed through 216 gates, into hells of the State's making.

"On behalf of the State and of all citizens of the State, the Government wishes to make a sincere and long overdue apology to the victims of childhood abuse for our collective failure to intervene, to detect their pain, to come to their rescue," he said.

'The catalogue of horror and terror that was visited over many years on children in the care of religious congregations, placed there by the State, is appalling beyond belief. It is made even more appalling, if that is possible, by the fact that those who perpetrated the abuse had promised to uphold and practise the gospel of love and belonged to congregations founded to serve the very noblest ideals," he continued sombrely.

"The congregations should have loved them and the State should have cared about them. Neither did."

Enda Kenny, often criticised as being a wooden performer in the Dail, spoke with deep compassion.

"We are as a country haunted by the Great Famine. We wonder at the inhumanity shown to the starving, a century and a half ago. We should all be haunted by what Ryan has found out. Because he has revealed a Great Famine of compassion. A plague of deliberate, relentless cruelty," he stated, as above him Michael O'Brien wept. The Fine Gael leader reflected the bewilderment felt by so many that such evil stalked Ireland for so long, and until so recently.

"Some of us read the Bronte's accounts of what their powers-that-be did to orphans. We were horrified. It gave us bad dreams. But it was fiction. That was the great thing. It was fiction. It hadn't happened. Not really. And certainly not in Ireland. Now, we know different. Now, we know, courtesy of the Ryan Commission, that, within living memory and within our own country, we visited comparable horrors on our children. Let us not hide behind euphemisms. This was not just 'failure to protect'. This was torture, pure and simple."

There were some political attacks during the debate. Ruairi Quinn said that every attempt he has made to discover the ownership of schools by religious orders, has been repeatedly thwarted.

"Either officials in the Department are members of secret societies such as the Knights of St Columbanus and Opus Dei and have taken it upon themselves to protect the interests of these clerical orders at this point in time in this year of 2009 or, alternatively, the minister is politically incompetent and incapable of managing the Department of Education and Science," charged the Labour deputy.

And among the torrent of words, emotions sometimes bubbled to the surface.

During his address, Noel Dempsey struggled to keep his composure as he described a meeting with a group of survivors. He fell silent as he gathered himself to continue, and in a way this silence was particularly eloquent.

Sometimes words just aren't enough.

- Lise Hand

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:22 AM
'Shining a light into the State's darkest corner'

Taoiseach offers apology for decades of institutional abuse

Friday June 12 2009

THE Ryan report has shone a powerful light into the darkest corner of the State's history and is the source of the deepest shame for the nation, Taoiseach Brian Cowen said yesterday.

The catalogue of horror and terror endured by children in the care of religious congregations was "appalling beyond belief", Mr Cowen said in the Dail, where campaign groups and victims of child abuse had gathered in the public gallery.

On the first of a two-day debate on the Report of the Commission into Child Abuse, Mr Cowen made a heartfelt and sombre speech in which he claimed the State had failed hundreds of children in care. He again apologised on behalf of the State.


"The Ryan Commission report has shone a powerful light into probably the darkest corner of the history of the State," the Taoiseach said. "It contains a shattering litany of abuse of children in care in this country over many decades. In doing so, it presents a searing indictment of the people who perpetrated that abuse, of the religious congregations who ran the institutions in which it took place, and of the organs of the State which failed in their duty to care for the children."

Launching a scathing attack on the Department of Education, Labour's Ruairi Quinn said he had lodged a series of simple questions since February seeking details about the nature and ownership of schools and the location and name of schools in the ownership of a religious order or a Roman Catholic bishop.

However, the department had refused to provide such information.

"Either officials in the department are members of secret societies, such as the Knights of St Columbanus and Opus Dei, and have taken it upon themselves to protect the interests of these clerical orders at this point in time. . . or, alternatively, the minister is politically incompetent and incapable of managing the department," Mr Quinn told the Dail.

Ireland is the only country in Europe where the primary school system is controlled by "private organisations", Mr Quinn said.

In order to begin the transfer of schools out of "private" ownership, the department needed to provide an inventory of religious assets.

However, Education Minister Batt O'Keeffe has refused to provide details to the Opposition, the Labour Party said.

Mr Quinn added: "I do not believe Mr O'Keeffe, is a bad man. I do not believe he is a Catholic right-wing secret obscurantist, but many of the people working for him on a permanent salary -- he will be gone in a couple of years -- most certainly are, or else they are incompetent, lazy and destructive."

The Labour spokesman concluded there was a continuing culture of "deferment and obedience" to the Catholic Church in the department.


In a powerful speech, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said the State itself had been responsible for the destruction of life and the most precious formative gift which is childhood.

"We are, as a country, haunted by the great famine. We wonder at the inhumanity shown to the starving, a century and a half ago. We should all be haunted by what Ryan has disclosed because he has revealed a Great Famine of compassion, a plague of deliberate, relentless cruelty," he said.

Mr Kenny said all politicians should remember that they were the voice of the voiceless and relentlessly ask questions.

Yesterday's speeches were delayed because of the motion of confidence in the Government which dominated proceedings on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The motion on the Ryan report, which had been agreed by all the political parties, accepted that all the commission's recommendations should be implemented and recognised that supporting victims was a key priority. Debate on the motion will resume today.

- ine Kerr Political Correspondent

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:22 AM
You can find this recording to download for Realplayer at the URL below

================================================== =========
"Each story involves a child. I cant pick one child above another or elevate the sufferings above another, and to be frank no mother or father or grandparent or brother or sister , in fact no human being with a shred of feeling could read this report without constant and intense loathing and revulsion." ( Bertie Cowan Irish Taoiseach)

"First you protect the authoritarian abuse, and then you protect the property and then with hours and days left, when it's knocked out of you, you begin to say, "Well we have an apology availible." Now i'm not conned by that, and indeed it is no great credit to the former taoiseach Bertie Ahern that only last week he was at it againsaying that those who wanted to revisit the proper contribution that the religious orders should make were somehow or other "anti Catholic". Shame on him, it is a disgraceful suggestion to make". (Michael Ohiggins)

"In march 2003 I travelled to London to meet the survivors who reside in the UK and they wanted to personally hear an apology from the government of the state. I spent a day in London with our 200 survivors who told me many of the shocking stories that are similar to the stories that appeared in the Ryan Report. That meeting convinced me that the victims and survivors needed to have their stories told and confirmed publically sooner rather than later." (Noel Dempsey)

"As a teacher of history I have taught about the reign of terror, the holocaust; and the killing fields of Cambodia, and now the history books will include chapters on our reign of terror, which was the physical emotional and sexual abuse of children." (Maureen Osullivan)

"And I put it to you that there is a continued culture of "deferment and obedience", to the Catholic church and it's religious orders in the Department of Education, that has continually frustrated getting answers to simple questions. Taoiseach and minister either the officials in your department are members of secret societies such as the Knights of Colombanus and the Opus Dei and they have taken it upon themselves to protect the interests of these clerical orders at this point in time in this year 2009 or alternatively you are politically incompetent and incapable of managing the Department of Education." (Rory Quinn)

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:22 AM
Shame of the empty seats as Dail debates State-run terror reign

Saturday June 13 2009

The man sat bolt upright in the public gallery, his attention riveted on John Gormley below in the Dail chamber as the minister read his speech on the Ryan Report. John wanted to put on the Dail record a letter from survivor Christopher Heaphy, who spent seven-and-a-half years in Greenmount industrial school in Cork, where he was violently abused.

"We were the lifeblood of this country, precious, and we were totally neglected. We were thrown to wolves to be savaged, abused and treated like animals. When we cried, no one could hear us because we were locked up behind great walls and doors, our tears eventually stopped and we became like them, animals in thought and act."

Above in the gallery, Christopher cried. When John finished speaking, Christopher mouthed "thank- you" through the glass. Now his words are on the Dail record, a brave testimony to dark and shameful deeds. No one can silence him any more.

The second day of the debate -- or more accurately a half-day, as proceedings were wrapped by 1.30pm -- yielded some good contributions, and some less impressive.

Labour deputy Pat Rabbitte was eloquent in his anger over the indemnity deal, and lashed it as "a lousy deal, morally, legally, politically".

He stated: "It is this excessive deference and submissiveness to the Catholic Church that allowed the culture of abuse in the residential institutions to fester for decades. Perhaps, for the first time in our history, public opinion wants an end to the deference and a separation of Church and State".

Dr Michael Woods, who, as education minister, had negotiated the controversial 2002 indemnity deal with the religious orders, spent much of his allocated 30 minutes of debate time defending it.

But he ended up getting into a fractious squabble with Labour deputies over his account of events and decided that this was the perfectly appropriate occasion to score a political point.

"The deputies are caught out now, they are on the bounce, they have their press release out, trying to tie Fianna Fail in with the Church. I know that is what they are at; that is the preset agenda that they have," he blustered. Michael Woods had marshalled his defence with detailed dates and information. All that was missing was a scintilla of humility.

And Labour's Roisin Shortall was in battling form, in a powerful speech, lambasting the congregations.

"Worst of all, the congregations are still more concerned with saving their own faces than in honest atonement. As recently as two weeks ago, some of those orders were still apologising "if" they caused hurt; in spite of all the money they spend on public relations and all of the spin in which they are engaged they are still talking about apologising "if" they caused hurt," she seethed.

Health Minister Mary Harney also took a swipe at the Church.

'If we could apply in some quarters the level of concern and care that we do apply rightly so to the unborn, to the born, I think we would serve this country an awful lot better," she remarked. Departing from her speech at the end, she revealed her own bewilderment at how this abuse raged unchecked in the midst of Irish society.

"As a former pupil of the Convent of Mercy in Goldenbridge I was treated extremely well and had a very good experience there, but I went home to my parents every evening, and the fact is that many of the teachers that taught me were the same people that inflicted such awful pain and suffering on those that were in their care."

Education Minister Batt O'Keeffe closed the debate with a lacklustre speech. The Taoiseach was there for it, but there were far too many empty seats in the chamber.

It would have been fitting if the Dail had been full when Fine Gael's Catherine Byrne requested a minute's silence during the debate. The 166 deputies -- one for every thousand of the 165,000 victims of this State-run reign of terror -- could have sat in silence and remembered that they were elected to speak for the people. Especially for those among our citizens who can't speak for themselves.

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:23 AM
'It is our holocaust'

The emotions differed in each individual who marched but all were there to show solidarity, says Geetha Nicodemus

Sunday June 14 2009

THEIR knees hurt and some were frail. Walking from Parnell Square to Leinster House was too far for some. But they wanted to show their solidarity with the victims of clerical abuse last Wednesday, and they wanted to fight for a safe future for their grandchildren.

So they stood at different spots along the route at distances they knew they could manage to walk. As the crowd approached they held hands to support each other and walked up to join the march. Their emotions ranged from quietly sombre to anger, to tears, and their voices choked as they spoke.They expressed disbelief at the callous way the issue of child abuse had been handled all these years, and they walked in the hope that God was walking with them this day for justice.

"Ours is not a country of dancing leprechauns, shared laughter and of thousands of smiles. This story is our genocide. It is no different from the 1890 story of Indians in Canada where 50,000 kids died in institutions," said Damien Moore who spent seven years at St Vincent's Orphanage, Glasnevin.

Frances McEnroe walked with a little boy in one hand and a placard which listed four victims in the other, all of them her family members: father, grandmother, and two uncles. Only one of her uncles is alive, and she was hoping he was participating in the walk so she could catch a glimpse of him. She grew up listening to her father's stories of the abuse he had to endure at an institution but the depth of its cruelty was clear to her only now that it is has come into the open with the Ryan report. "My father died in 1994. If he were alive today he would have been very pleased to know that this has been brought out into the open", she said.

Aidan Kearney, a concerned citizen walking in support of the victims, said: "It is the worst thing that has ever happened in our country, it is our holocaust. It is a shame on the Constitution and the Church, two pillars of our society who have failed us. "

Susan Moran a student from UCD also walked simply in solidarity. "I am not afraid of Catholic institutions anymore" she said. Her colleague Adrienne Hawley from the US expressed her shock at what has been learnt about abuse in state institutions and believes that this could be an issue all over the world.

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:23 AM
Religious abuse victims faced gagging order and jail

Michael Ohiggins - None of the religious orders should stand in the way of victims. Let me not hear about 'therapy', being a substitute for justice.

Rory Quinn repeatedly asked for the figures of how many schools were owned by religious orders. The figures were never produced but it did emerge that whilst the buildings were owned by the religious congregations, 100% of their funding for teachers wages classroom furnishings books and all the other running costs were paid for by the state.

Fierce critisism of the department of Educations "Redress Board" was heard. Its proceedings which were of a very adversarial nature were felt to belittle and demean those victims who were brave enough to tell it of their horrific abuse.

Not only were they made to face the interrogatory nature of the board, minutely poring over in detail their harrowing abuse stories and attempting to wrong foot or rubbish their claims, but they were also made to sign a "gagging order", which strictly forbade them from revealing anything which went on at the board on pain of being jailed and fined for breaking the order. The tarriffs for breaches were for a first offence jail plus a 3000 euro fine and a second breach jail and a 25,000 euro fine

Minister Michael Woods prior to the setting up of the redress boards met with a delegation of victims and categorically promised them that the proposed redress board would be both sympathetic and fully deal in their best interests. Not only that but he also promised that compensation paid to victims going through the Redress Board system would match that offered to victims going through the state courts.

In reality the average court settlement has been around 300,000 euros of taxpayers money whilst the average from the Redress Board is 68,000 euro a shortfall of 232,000 euros per victim.

That this is why, with such a huge gap plus the clearly obstructive nature of the boards proceedings, have caused such a widespread outcry to have this compensation and the operation of the body revisited to match that which was originally promised to victims and survivors. The former taoiseach Bertie Ahern however does not see it that way and has accused those seeking this of being anti catholic.

As for the victims who described the setting up and particularly the proceedings of the Redress Board as a "sweetheart deal" between the Irish government and the religious congregations, they packed the balcony to witness the Dail debate.

One victim was shocked to observe on what was later described by one TD on the floor as being, "the blackest day in the history of our state", how empty the chamber was. He did a head count and found that there were only at most 15 TDs who had bothered to turn up out of a total of 164. They were further angered by the curtailing of the debate on the Ryan Report to make way for a motion of confidence in the government. In the event the government won this debate and the number of TDs taking part was 85 for the ruling party and 79 opposed making it a 100% turnout for that particular debate.

He also demanded answers as to who was responsible for suggesting and implimenting the fine system and gagging order. There must be an end to cozy arrangements and secret deals between the orders and the government, and as the poster they carried stated there must be "Nothing About Us Without Us" as has been the case so far.

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:24 AM
Church dig-out a slap in faces of abused

IT HAS become increasingly difficult to sustain any kind of argument in favour of the "secret deal" negotiated by Michael Woods with the Catholic Church in the summer of 2002. Details of the deal were first published in the Irish Independent the following January. The key to the deal - which has the State taking a meagre €127m in exchange for immunity for the church - was again criticised by Pat Rabbitte in the Dail on Tuesday, when he blamed the Taoiseach for setting such a low bar on church immunity from the State.

I argued in 2003 that the deal, far from being in the interests of the victims of abuse in church-run institutions, was part of a set of State responses that circumscribed the rights to justice of those victims.

Instead, it sought to provide the State with a new freedom to act outside natural justice and constitutional protections, while immunising the church from pursuit in the courts. That argument has been sustained ever since.

The deal is now seen for what it was: one which protected the church's money and exonerated church institutions. These had plundered and damaged the lives of tens of thousands of people. And since this was the case, then a sceptical and critical eye had to be cast over the whole process.

The reverse happened. Together, Church and State - the two most powerful organisations in Ireland - came together in a close and self-serving way that has many faults in it, the payment by the institutions of the pitiful €127m being merely one of them.

Bertie Ahern made one of his many nonsense statements when he said of Pat Rabbitte: "I accept Deputy Rabbitte's view, but he should accept mine."

This was an impasse that was also an impossibility. The Taoiseach needed to look again at the secret deal, if only because everything about it was wrong, and has been proved wrong.

Part of the Taoiseach's argument was that "no one could have predicted" the number of applications. This also, unfortunately, is not true. Indeed, from Bertie Ahern's 1997 apology on, everything done by the State was primarily dependent on an anticipation that an unknown but substantial number of victims of Church abuse would take action in the Irish courts.

The records were also there, for actuarial analysis, of all the inmates of all the institutions.

The deal was made because people had recognised that these court claims were waiting to descend on the State, and it was necessary to bring in the elaborate mechanisms designed to hear what the abused had to say and to compensate them for the damage done to them, using a method that controlled them and left no loopholes for alternative court action.

This could not be done without the connivance of the religious institutions, and that connivance could not be copperfastened without an indemnity agreement.

In his defence of his own inaction over the deal, against Rabbitte's quite proper demands, the Taoiseach said: "The Irish church does not have those resources." Yet how does he know? There has never been an audit of church wealth. The institutions, as registered charitable institutions, were above investigation. The Taoiseach made it sound compassionate and gentle. In other words, they were not to be robbed.

Instead, there was to be no investigation, into the past or in the present, of the very substantial sums that flowed into church coffers from the Irish State intended for child welfare.

Since it was not so used, and to all intents and purposes, represents part of the wealth of the church in Ireland, it must have been very badly invested, if the church today is as poor as Bertie would have us believe.

What is not in dispute is the fact that, over the period from the Thirties to the Seventies, money was paid over for the health and education of institutionalised children, and was not used to that end.

During that long and sorry period, abused people were half-starved and denied education, health care or training. They were subjected to savage beatings and sexual assaults.

And all that time, the State paid per capita grants for their proper education and for their Christian care. Much of that money was, at the very least, controlled from Rome and may have been invested there as well.

It constituted the growing wealth of the orders established in Ireland to look after the destitute young girls and boys, at the State's expense, a job they so lamentably failed to do.

So what is going on now?

Perhaps central to all of this is the work of the Ryan Commission on Child Sex Abuse.

It is notable that Pope Benedict, who has found his voice on the appalling abuse in the Ferns diocese a year after the Ferns Report, has yet to find his voice on the decades of abuse in industrial schools over a period of 50 years.

He will do so when the Ryan Commission comes to its conclusions. Those conclusions bear in particular on the Christian Brothers, indicted more often and more seriously than most other orders caring for Irish children.

The Ryan Commission is mainly a closed operation. It does hold public sessions, but they are muted in tone and neither aggressive nor penetrative in interrogation.

To judge from its workings so far, it seems likely that its final conclusions will reflect the continued failure, throughout many public examinations, to confront the vague generalisations that have come from people speaking on behalf of the institutions.

Its overall target will be reconciliation. How can it do other than reflect what has been said before it, in public and private sessions?

The circumstances of life in the institutions - which we know from former inmates to have been terrible - have been revealed, on behalf of the institutions themselves, as more or less in line with the privations of the nation as a whole.

At one public hearing, a senior Christian Brother quite extraordinarily, and without intervention by Sean Ryan, referred to the children at Artane as "students on the campus".

Yet Artane refused to advance the education of the "prisoner students" beyond primary level, and many didn't even get there - that was a policy matter.

Large numbers left the "campus" highly damaged and without the means to direct their lives. That was their gift from Ireland's premier teaching order.

To get the complete story of the "students on the campus", Pope Benedict may need to organise his own inquiry - a sort of Ferns in reverse.

In so doing, he may establish the true nature of the local Church-State relationship, post 1922 in this country. It will be another opportunity for His Holiness to engage in public anguish and distress, in which I, for one, will not join.

- Bruce Arnold

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:24 AM

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:25 AM
Monday, June 15, 2009
Priest denies calling Daingean children 'ruffians' in sermon

PARISHIONERS IN the midlands have been “very upset” by a priest’s sermon at Mass yesterday morning, where it was felt he defended the industrial and reformatory schools in the last century.

Fr Tom Coonan was celebrating Mass at St Joseph’s Church, Ballingar, Co Offaly, yesterday where it is alleged he said some of the children sent to the nearby Daingean reformatory school were “ruffians” who had not been wanted by society.

Fr Coonan said he did not use the word “ruffian” in his sermon.

One parishioner in the congregation, who did not want to be named, said Fr Coonan had “touched on” the issue of Daingean two Sundays ago and said people “were talking about it” in the Geashill area.

“And then this morning he went into his sermon and was talking about different things, but again he brought it round to Daingean,” she said.

“He said the children in there were only young ruffians that no one else wanted. He said they’d be dumped there.”

The parishioner said she noticed one woman near her in the congregation becoming “quite agitated” – she thought the woman may have spent time in an industrial school or other institution as a child.

“She was visibly quite upset,” the parishioner said. “She was picking up her purse and walking stick and when it came to Communion she went and took and left very quickly.

“People are talking about Fr Coonan and asking why does he keep going on about this. The abuse happened and the least they [the religious] could do is apologise.”

The church was “full”, she said, and there was a large number of children present who had made their first holy Communion last week.

Fr Coonan said yesterday evening his sermon had been framed to mark the Feast of the Eucharist and its main focus was on forgiveness.

“I said it can be hard to forgive and I went on to say it can be hard to forgive if you have not experienced forgiveness.” He said there was a tendency to condemn the sins of the past while not focusing on the ills of the present. He told The Irish Times he had said many of the children who were sent to Daingean had not been wanted by society.

“And in an aside I said not all the boys sent there were angels. Now if that caused offence to people I regret it and I withdraw. And I totally and utterly condemn all the abuse that happened.”

Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin Dr James Moriarty could not be contacted to comment last night.

This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times


RTE Documentary trailer video

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:26 AM
Savage cruelty of the Hibernian gulags

Founded on Fear

Peter Tyrrell

OF THE many sad stories contained in Peter Tyrrell's book, two have haunt-ed me particularly.

The first is of John Coyne, who arrived in Peter's third year and was two years younger. He is not mentioned until the author's sixth and final year.

John Coyne's father murdered his mother, and John was sent to Letterfrack, a shy and timid boy. Peter describes him as "a really handsome boy with a lovely round face, dark hair and brown eyes.

"There was that searching look in his face. He seemed to be asking: 'Do you really know the dreadful experience I have had? Do you really mind very much? Do you condemn me for what has happened? Will you hold it against me?'"

Peter befriended him, shared with him what his mother sent him from home and never questioned him. "I was extremely fond of this little lad."

Peter witnessed the first beating the "little lad" had at the school. Then John Coyne fell under the cruel punishments of Brother Vale, who flogged boys without mercy, using the rim of a motor car tyre, reinforced with steel.

"Vale has beaten this unfortunate boy terribly during the last year. His lovely face seems to have changed an awful lot, that roundness has vanished, instead his face is long, his cheek bones stick out, his eyes just glare and there are dark shadows underneath. His cheeks were once rosy but now they are chalk white, with several spots."

We learn nothing more.

The image is just one of the many cameos of mental and physical destruction that are calmly and clearly delivered in Peter Tyrrell's essentially restrained narrative about a truly terrible place.

The second image is not of an inmate, nor of a brother, but of Mr Griffin - always so described - a schoolteacher at Letterfrack who was present in the yard every day and "was good to the children, he would read and write their letters for them."

When Tyrrell arrived in 1924, Mr Griffin had been in Letterfrack since 1882, at first on a wage of eight shillings a week. He was dutiful and polite towards the Brothers, always lifting his torn cap to them, addressing them correctly, but they treated him with disdain.

Peter Tyrrell helped make a suit in the Letterfrack tailors' shop for Mr Griffin and then witnessed the man's weekly wage, which had by then risen to £1, being reduced by four shillings as part of school "economies".

Griffin could not afford a shirt or socks. He worked from six in the morning until nine at night, never took a holiday and never missed a day. He even looked after the boys during holidays, taking them to the sea.

Peter came from Ahascragh, Co Galway. His parents and eight children lived in a hovel without windows. In due course the family were notified that four of the children, including Peter, would be committed to a home. They were all sent to Letterfrack.

The book is crowded with images, most of them truly terrible. The savagery of Brother Vale has an insane fury behind it, with indiscriminate floggings and no logic or reason behind them.

"I have now been beaten [by Vale] several times daily for weeks," Peter writes, "and when I go to the refectory for meals my hands are sweating. My sight is getting blurred and I am unsteady on my feet.

"I feel hungry, but when I eat the food it will not stay down. I am now weak and, as I walk along, find it difficult to keep my balance."

Vale was eventually committed to a mental institution,where he died.

One of Peter's worst beatings was at the hands of Brother Walsh. Walsh one day lined up a group of 12 of the boys, made them take off their trousers and beat each in turn with a heavy stick.

Peter Tyrrell was last; after six blows he ran away but was chased by Walsh who beat him on the head, face and back. He hit him so hard on the arm that he broke it - but told the child to tell the doctor that he fell down the stairs.

He was two weeks in the infirmary. The new doctor was called Lavelle, a man who wore plus-fours and was always smoking. Inspecting Peter in the presence of the Superior, Brother Keegan, he saw the bruises all over his body. Yet nothing was done.

There is a compulsion in the way Peter Tyrrell tells his story. His memory is remarkable. His treatment of each episode is calm and measured. One never doubts the facts he tells, it is all too realistic.

He demolishes absolutely the whole representation before Judge Sean Ryan of what was happening in Christian Brothers industrial schools during the period of their operation. There were not just "bad times", or "bad people"; the savage, unrelenting cruelty was systematic, constant and comprehensive.

There was no attention paid to their health. Those with eye defects simply became more blind; those with teeth problems became chronically diseased. There is a pitiful description of one boy with blood and pus coming from his mouth. Other children had septic discharges from their ears. Their chilblains, which were chronic, also went septic.

I first heard of Peter Tyrrell from his article about Letterfrack in Hibernia in 1968. I still have the cutting, and it reminds me of Owen Sheehy Skeffington's campaign against corporal punishment in Irish schools.

Attempts have been made to lessen what happened in Letterfrack - and in Artane, and elsewhere - by claiming that they did not differ much from ordinary schools, and that the poverty was a common distress shared by the population.

Founded on Fear demolishes that argument. It has the compelling strength of Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - only, for Tyrrell, one day stretched out into years.

He was caught up in a system where his incarceration was really not much different from the Stalinist gulags. Lost, fearful, in despair, physically and mentally neglected, he came to hate his own home, to throw away letters unread and unanswered. In the end, Peter Tyrrell took his own life and his body remained unidentified for a year.

He has articulated the grief and fear of something like 30,000 men and women who will never forget the experiences they had. They have badly needed this unforgettable testimony. But we should all welcome it, and read it.

- Bruce Arnold

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:26 AM
This is now the full programme and is 46 minutes long

RTE Documentary

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:27 AM
The day in quotes ...

Friday June 12 2009

"What it (Ryan Report) has revealed must be a source of the deepest shame to all of us ... Children in the care of the state and in our care were physically, emotionally and, in many cases, sexually abused and our State and its systems failed to hear their cries or come to their help." --Taoiseach Brian Cowen

"Let us not hide behind euphemisms. This was not just failure to protect. This was torture, pure and simple."-- Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny

"It is fair to say that the sordid saga of the systematic abuse and neglect of children who were handed over by the State into the custody of religious institutions shocked Irish society to its very core." -- Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore

"Religious orders, the Catholic Church hierarchy, successive Governments and the Department of Education stand indicted for the torture and murder of children and for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice." -- Sinn Fein's Caoimhghin O Caolain

"The content of the Ryan report. . . challenges our beliefs and our views of history. It forces us to rethink our relationship with the church and our relationship with the State. It should make us humble and it should remind us of our awesome responsibility to discharge duties to the children of the State." -- Green Party backbencher Ciaran Cuffe

"As a teacher of history, I taught about the reign of terror, the Holocaust and the killing fields of Cambodia. Now the history books will include chapters on our reign of terror which was the physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children." -- Independent TD Maureen O'Sullivan

"To read of a child thrown over a banister of a long stairs because she innocently ate a sweet before Holy Communion, of another dressed only in underwear sprayed down with a fire hose outside during the middle of winter and another little boy forced to eat his own excrement because he had soiled himself, is more than any person can bear." -- Fine Gael education spokesman Brian Hayes

"Either officials in the department are members of secret societies such as the Knights of St Columbanus and Opus Dei and have taken it upon themselves to protect the interests of these clerical orders. . . or, alternatively, the minister is politically incompetent and incapable of managing the Department of Education." -- Labour Party education spokesman Ruairi Quinn

"I recognise that religious congregations have done a great deal for the people of Ireland over the years, but this does not mean that their members have more rights than other citizens. It does not make criminals who cloak themselves in a religious mantle immune to justice." -- Fine Gael justice spokesman Charlie Flanagan

"It is also simply despicable to suggest that those who wish to go beyond the necessary apology, who seek redress, compensation or justice are, as former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern put it recently, indulging in activity that is anti-catholic." -- Labour TD Michael D Higgins

"For all, there is the dawning realisation that nobody came to the rescue of these children." -- junior Education Minister Sean Haughey

"It was an accepted belief in ordinary Catholic schools that children had to be punished. However, this reached its extremes in the institutions where children had nobody to protect them. . . the protectors became the persecutors."

-- Fianna Fail backbencher Beverley Flynn

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:27 AM
Religious trying to shift blame

Saturday June 20 2009

Rev Dr D Vincent Twomey opines: "It is worth recalling that the Irish State not only failed to institute adequate inspections, but it rejected all criticism" with regard to the rape and abuse of children held in church-run industrial schools (Irish Independent, June 18).

Do we blame the lack of gardai on the streets for each individual crime perpetrated due to a lack of "adequate inspections" or are the criminals to blame for their direct actions?

Personal responsibility and ownership of one's own actions must come first. And how strange that nobody from the religious orders involved blamed their particular god for not intervening directly.

Rev Twomey also cries that the "religious have been singled out for blame" and somehow made "scapegoats". Not so, if anything, it is the religious trying to shift the blame to the politicians, doctors, judges, gardai, child welfare inspectors ex post facto instead of accepting responsibility for their heinous crimes.

Gary J Byrne
IFSC, Dublin 1

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:28 AM
After Ryan, one of the more disturbing by-products is that Religious have been made scapegoats

By D Vincent Twomey

Friday June 19 2009

Another by-product is the way politicians and secular commentators are using the present outrage to promote their own agenda

The media, including the Irish Independent, gave full coverage to my reference to the perpetrators of abuse in Catholic-run institutions as the "dregs of society" (in fact I added "of a certain kind"). This was when I took part in a lively debate on Radio Ulster about an article I had written. I regret very much this slip of the tongue, which has, understandably, caused offence. What was not reported was what I added almost immediately: "Don't forget, there were many other thousands of Religious who were doing extraordinary good work looking after the sick and educating a country that had been abandoned by [the British] government for 200 years."

The original article, together with the subsequent radio discussion, was an initial attempt to understand how such evil could become endemic in the institutions mentioned in the Ryan report and be tolerated by the society of the time.

Writing for a Catholic readership, I asked myself: What was it in traditional Irish Catholicism that might have contributed to such a situation? I was not trying to find excuses for the evil that occurred, nor was I trying to blame any particular class or group, nor was I trying to minimise the evil by blaming a few bad apples.

That said, I was shocked and saddened to hear that many Religious understood what I said as questioning the integrity of their own vocation and casting slurs on their own families. Nothing could be further from my mind. One Sister, aged 87, wrote to inform me that what I had said and written about the Sisters was "horrendous, a form of verbal and emotional abuse". If this is how what I said (or how it was reported) came across, then I am deeply sorry.To those I offended, I apologise unreservedly and ask their forgiveness.

One of the more disturbing by-products of the Ryan report is the way Religious have been singled out for blame. By making them scapegoats, public attention has been sidetracked from the role of politicians, doctors, judges, gardai, child welfare inspectors, etc who set up, approved, and filled these state institutions (and then used the Religious to staff them). The result has been the blackening of the name of all Religious. These were the men and women who sacrificed their lives to Christ to serve the youth and the sick with selfless devotion. The debt Ireland owes them is enormous.

It is worth recalling that the Irish State not only failed to institute adequate inspections, but it rejected all criticism, such as that of Frank Duff, founder of the Legion of Mary.

Another one who cried "stop" was the Roscommon-born priest, Fr Edward Flanagan, founder of Boys Town in the USA, to care for orphans and children abandoned by their parents or taken into state custody. His motto was: "There is no such thing as a bad boy." In 1946, after visiting some of the industrial schools in Ireland, he gave a public lecture in Cork. He condemned these institutions as "a scandal, un-Christlike, and wrong". He accused his audience, in effect, of collaboration in the evil done. Ireland's penal institutions, he said, were "a disgrace to the nation".

During a debate in the Dail, the minister for justice at the time, Gerald Boland, dismissed these criticisms as "so exaggerated that I did not think people would attach any importance to them". After this authoritative judgment, silence prevailed -- including, it seems, that of the journalists of the day. Another by-product is the way politicians and secular commentators are using the present outrage to promote their own agenda.

This can, in the long run, only cause further devastation to Irish society. This is so because it is based on the assumption that the problems of society can be solved by no other means than greater state intervention and more stringent regulations. The final result can only be a police state marked by red tape, distrust and fear.

I am a product of traditional Irish Catholicism. I know and appreciate its greatness, seen especially, but not only, in the centuries of service given by the religious congregations. I am grateful for the education dedicated Religious gave to me and countless others. But I also know that, as a culture, it was, like all things human, flawed.

I am convinced that, if we are to come to terms with the past and its sins, if we are to move forward as a society and as a Church, then we must continue to ask as dispassionately as possible: what went wrong in our culture that allowed such child abuse to occur on such a vast scale?

Equally important is the question: how can we start a process of healing for all who have suffered directly or, in the aftermath, indirectly?

The Irish nation was never more in need of the kind of self-sacrifice -- and creativity -- that was the source of the real greatness of traditional Irish Catholicism. If you doubt this, then remember what happened to our health service, when the State took over from the Religious.

Rev Dr D Vincent Twomey SVD is Professor Emeritus of Moral Theology, Maynooth

- D Vincent Twomey

21-06-09, 04:03 PM

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:29 AM
Priests march in solidarity with those Church wronged

By Eimear Ni Bhraonain

Wednesday June 24 2009

TWO priests marched through a town yesterday where a flock of white doves were released in memory of all those who suffered child institutional abuse.

The youngest priest in the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, Fr Paddy Byrne (35), participated in the silent procession through Carlow town. He said he wanted to show solidarity for the victims and offer more than just "lip service".

Fr Byrne, who is a curate in Bagenalstown parish in Co Carlow, said he feared that the Church would back away since the Ryan report.

"The big fear that I would have about the Irish Church is that we're going to put our heads under the carpet because we're frightened by the anger and hurt out there.

"We still have a very relevant voice and presence, we need to be out on the streets with the people, we don't need to be sending emails and lighting candles."

Fr Byrne and Fr Liam Morgan were the only two priests in the diocese who marched yesterday. Parish priest Fr Tom Little also turned out for the start of the event to meet the group of 200 people who marched.

Each person carried a child's shoe as a symbolic gesture.


"I just saw it (the march) like everyone else, being advertised. As a priest in the Church presently, we have a very important mission. That is to support in every way possible, the victims of this tragedy," Fr Little said.

The curate said he felt there was a "shared sense of being together" at the march but was conscious of the number of victims of institutional abuse who attended.

Locals sounded their horns and showed support for the procession through the town yesterday.

Fr Liam Morgan said he felt "strongly" about showing support by walking with the group. "I do feel there was great hurt in the past. I'm very happy being a priest and doing what I'm doing, I see myself as being part of the future and hopefully a better future.

"Saying 'it's terrible', is only words. I thought the walk in Dublin was powerful. It took away the stigma, people said 'yes, I'm a survivor of abuse'. They walked together."

Organisers John Rice and Angela Dillon said they were "very pleased" with the support shown by Fr Byrne and Fr Morgan. "Both of them are two of the good priests, absolutely wonderful men, they're in a tough situation. They've admitted themselves they feel ashamed, more ashamed than what we do, that's a big statement from a priest. They are so good," said Mr Rice.

- Eimear Ni Bhraonain

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:29 AM
Alleged victim loses compensation case

Thursday June 25 2009

AN alleged victim of institutional abuse has lost a High Court challenge against a decision not to accept his late application for compensation.

The Residential Institutions Redress Board refused to accept it because he made it after the deadline for such claims.

Mr Justice Daniel O'Keeffe yesterday ruled the board was entitled to find there were no exceptional circumstances that would have allowed it to accept the man's application.

The judge also held that the board's refusal to accept the application, because it was submitted out of time, was not unreasonable nor irrational.

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, is in his 70s and had been in St Patrick's industrial school at Upton, in Cork, for six years, where he claims he was abused.

The man claimed he was unaware of the redress scheme until November 13 2005, when he saw an advertisement.

He also claimed he did not understand the process, that there was a closing date, or how to apply.

On January 23, 2006 he filled out an application form.

It was rejected by the Redress Board, initially in May 2006 and again in May 2007, as being out of time. The man and 17 others took the High Court action to challenge the board's refusal to accept their applications.

These were settled when agreement was reached that the board would conduct oral hearings, which took place last October.

But on December 19, 2008 the board again rejected the man's application.

The man sought orders aimed at quashing the board's refusal last December, and a declaration that his particular circumstances constituted exceptional circumstances.

The board had opposed the action, and argued that no exceptional circumstances existed.

- Tim Healy

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:30 AM
Papal visit would not be welcome in wake of Ryan report

Monday June 29 2009

POPE Benedict XVI is not entirely welcome here in the wake of the damning Ryan report, a survey found.

More than half of people surveyed do not want a second papal visit following the revelations in the report on child abuse.

An online survey by radio station Newstalk, in which 1,108 people took part, shows the scenes that greeted the late Pope John Paul II during the first papal visit 30 years ago are unlikely to be recreated.

Back in September 1979, schools and businesses shut as thousands of Catholics flocked to the Phoenix Park during the three-day tour of Ireland.

However, despite strong feeling about a papal visit, the survey showed that the Ryan report has had little impact on the public's religious practices. Just 4pc said the report had changed their Mass-going habits.

In addition, 68pc of people said religious teaching in schools should not include details of clerical abuse.


There has been speculation that the Pope might come to Ireland this year to mark the 30th anniversary of the historic 1979 visit, but 52pc of the 1,108 surveyed between June 22 and June 25 said he should stay away.

Many interviewees in the internet poll felt he should apologise before a visit could take place, while others said that saying sorry would not make any difference.

"Until he condemns what happened and pays compensation for his vile colleagues' actions, and helps this country prosecute them by handing over all documents in relation to abuse issues and the movement of priests, then he shouldn't be allowed set foot in this country," said one of the interviewees.

Another person said a visit might be an important gesture to reach out to the abused, but only if the perpetrators faced their guilt. Another said they had difficulty taking any authority from the Pope.

"I did not elect him; he is old, lives a sheltered life and does not have to worry about where his next meal is coming from," he said. "I am not sure what he can do now to ease the victims' suffering. The church is churning out 'mea culpas'. I am not sure how his sorry would be any better."

- Anne-Marie Walsh

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