BROTHERS FROM HELL; 10 former Artane Boys Tell of Broken Legs, Torture and Sex Abuse.
The Mirror (UK) September 23, 1999
TODAY 10 former Artane boys tell JILLY BEATTIE their stories of life at the notorious Industrial School.
Six of them have made allegations to the Gardai as part of Ireland’s biggest child abuse investigation in which 40 Christian Brothers Christian Brothers: see John Baptist de la Salle, Saint. have been named and accused. The other four intend to do the same.
They all say their lives have been destroyed by their experiences under the guardianship of the Brothers at Artane, citing relationship breakdowns, unemployment and clinical depression as some of the problems they have had.
Two of the survivors never married, the marriages of seven broke down and one is still married.
Of the eight who did marry, only two told their wives about the abuse they suffered, and none of their children knows about their past life in Artane.
All the fathers say they have difficult relationships with their children.
Four have tried to commit suicide, four are long-term unemployed and all 10 are currently receiving counselling.
These survivors are among 250 men seeking justice for the sexual, physical and emotional abuse they claim they suffered at Artane at the hands of Christian Brothers.
In care from eight months after being conceived outside marriage
I WAS beaten and raped by nine different Brothers.
Joseph O’Connor dragged me to his room and he threw sweets on the floor. When I bent to pick them up he pulled my trousers down and thrashed me with the leather cosh.
I squealed and screamed and he kept on hitting me, all over my body and head. I suppose he stopped hitting me when I passed out.
My mother came to see me during that time and she was told I was being treated for TB and couldn’t be seen.
I still wake up screaming in the night, convinced a Brother is trying to get me, trying to drag me away.
The Christian Brothers have to pay for what they did to us as boys.
They have apologised to anyone who was hurt while at Artane but that’s not enough to let me get on with my life.
Sent to Atane with his brother for mitching school
THE day Artane burned down I thanked God. I prayed that all the Brothers who hurt me had died but most of those b*****ds are still alive.
I suffered all sorts of abuse. Most of it I still cannot talk about.
They raped me, they beat me, they humiliated me.
Sometimes when you turned up they would be abusing some other boy and you would have to watch or join in.
We were made to crawl on our hands and knees while the other boys were forced to hit you. If they didn’t hit you, they had to get down and start crawling too.
Artane was a concentration camp. Anything we arrived with was taken away from us – clothes, shoes, love, good memories, happiness and trust.
Sent to Atane for the theft of an overcoat
I WAS a tearaway as a child and eventually the Guards got sick of hauling me up and I was put into Artane.
I ran away three times after being beaten but the Guards brought me back.
After the first time I was beaten around the dormitory. I had my two front teeth knocked out and my wrist was broken.
Then I had to sit in agony as the barber – one of the boys – shaved my head for running away.
Anyone found talking to me was beaten.
I know there were boys raped and interfered with in Artane, but I never was.
The Brothers picked their victims well and chose the most vulnerable.
When I was older they used me to abuse the younger boys. They made me a monitor and I used to beat the boys too.
The Brothers were evil. They enjoyed the violence they meted out. Their favourite weapons were fear and the leather strap.
Sent to Artane for mitching school
I WAS always a quiet child and was labelled stupid because I had dyslexia
I used to mitch school because I was teased. Then I was sent to Artane.
It was the worst thing anyone could have done to me. I was the perfect victim of the abuse the Brothers favoured. I spoke to no-one.
I was raped three months after I was moved to Artane and used by three particular Brothers, one of whom, Brother O’Connor, is dead.
I was like a rag doll. They threw me about the place. I was b*****ed, forced to touch the Brothers, masturbate them and have oral sex.
When I was sick I was beaten and kicked. The sexual abuse was indescribable, but it was worse when it was coupled with physical abuse. I ended up in the infirmary seven times during my three years there.
My wife knows – but I still find it hard to hug and love her. No-one deserved what we got.
In care from three years after mother deemed unfit unfit to look after him
I HAD no-one to turn to when I needed to get away from Artane. I was put in there because the authorities said my mother couldn’t look after me and my brothers.
I was b*****ed 18 times in Artane and beaten probably every day I was there.
In the summer when some of the other boys had gone to foster families, I was left with the others and that’s when I suffered most abuse.
One night I was made to strip before I was hit and a Brother stood on my hands so I couldn’t move. The beating was started by one Brother and finished by another.
O’Connor was a depraved de·praved b*****d. He was at Artane from 1930 and he did everything he could to inflict as much pain as he could on the boys.
He ran the band and even appeared on an RTE programme dedicated to his so-called good work. That bastard sat and smiled his way through it. I dread to think how many boys’ lives he ruined. He destroyed me.
Sent to Atane with his brother for mitching school
I HAD both my arms broken by a Brother.
I still don’t know Don’t know what I did wrong but I was told not to be bold or I would suffer for it.
Then he lashed into me, I was 11. He hit me with the leather strap, then he started punching and kicking me.
I fell to the floor and he kicked me with his boots. I stopped screaming and he kept hitting me for a bit. Then he told me to pray for forgiveness.
He told me I was bad and would have to ask Jesus to stop me being bad. Two boys took me to the infirmary.
On the way another Brother said I should never be bold because God can see everything. I was terrified
If the Brothers did this to me, what would God do?
Put in care after the death of his mother and suicide of his father
I WAS separated from my brothers and sisters and sent to Artane.
Joseph O’Connor met me at Connolly Station and pushed me into a car. He ran the band and when I said I’d never been interested in music he stopped the car, dragged me out and thrashed me.
When I arrived at the school it was four days before Christmas. One of the boys in my dormitory told me we would be safe for the day. I later realised this meant that we were less likely to be sexually abused on December 25.
Joe Boy O’Connor was an evil bastard. He never raped me but he beat me until I fainted one day. When I woke up I was in the infirmary.
One day I was flogged by another Brother and made to wear a singlet which had been soaked in salt water. I believe it was to literally add salt to my wounds and make it more painful for me.
Sent to Artane for mitching school
MY earliest sex education was being forced to watch two younger boys masturbating a Christian Brother.
Then I was forced to beat them before I was fondled by the same Brother.
This happened for five nights with 10 different boys and me looking on every time.
I was never b*****ed but I know two boys who were. I was made to give a number of the Brothers oral sex.
Today I am a gay man but I’ve had problems forming relationships. I still wonder, if my first sexual experiences had been with a woman, would my life have been different.
I think the Brothers at Artane were gay and used the boys for their sexual desires.
We were abused. There’s no excuse for what they did. They violated us – continually.
The beatings were incredible. And the shaming was awful.
In care from 10 after mother died
I ended up at Artane after my mother died. I was heartbroken but sure the Brothers would understand and look after me.
I had a terrible shock. The first time I was caught crying on my second night I was beaten by the Brother in charge.
I wet myself and was beaten more. I cried and had my head pushed into a drawer and was thrashed from behind. He only stopped beating me when I couldn’t cry any more.
We were constantly told we were worthless.
I grew up quickly and realised that the beatings and the sexual abuse would not stop until the day I walked out of the doors forever.
I ran away twice and was brought back by the Guards. The first time I was beaten and had my head shaved. The second time it was worse.
I was told I was an ungrateful, worthless little b*****d. I was told I had no-one who loved me and that I would learn to appreciate the care the Brothers showed me. Then I was beaten again.
In care from six years after mother deemed a violent alcoholic
I HAD suffered violence from my mother and father at home and was glad to get out of the house to be looked after by the Brothers in Artane.
I’d heard they were tough but I thought it had to be better than at home. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I was first raped when I was 12 and I lost count of the times it happened again. Every day was spent trying to avoid being hit, but it was useless.
There was the odd decent enough Brother who tried to keep me from trouble but I’ve since been told the ones I thought were OK were b*****ds to some of the other boys. Maybe they just liked me.
Boys were dragged from their beds at night, we were beaten in full view of other staff and boys and we were sexually abused in front of other boys too.
NOTE: After a three year Garda investigation and a further 7 year legal process, ONE Christian Brother was convicted of indecent assault in Artane.