Category Archives: Jesus Christ

The perfect solution to stopping Roman Catholic Pedophiles: Arm the Childen and Pedophile Crucifixion and other deaths

The only good Roman Catholic pedophile is a dead one

The scumbag pieces of shit of the Unholy Roman Catholic Cult? Just cannot stop raping kids. And their fucking shitstains on the underwear of humanity, their Popes, Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishop Pedophile Pimps? Just cannot stop shuffling these scumbags around so they can rape even more children.

And they still play their fucking shit with victims and survivors, attacking us, shitting on us, denying us justice by hiding behind the statutes of limitations and their fuckin pimps get away with their crimes by hiding under their sovereign immunity protections.

They just cannot get the fucking hint after decades and decades of being exposed for this shit that they stop raping kids, brutalizing kids, terrorizing kids. And their actions? Have also caused a whole lot of victims to commit suicide and they do not give a flying fuck about that because to them? A dead victim tells no fucking tales.

We know these scumbag demonic shitstains will never stop. They will keep raping kids with impunity and their fucking leaders will keep protecting them and covering up for them.

So what is the fucking solution to all of this? Well I cannot really take credit for the following, I credit the comedian Christopher Titus for it. I heard him talking about this in one of his specials and I said, motherfucker you are right. A real solution to ending these fuckers raping kids. He said arm the children and use pedophile crucifixions. I add thee more brutal types of execution for them, and we give them a choice. Pedophile Crucifixions, Drawing and Quartering, the Rat Torture or the Judas Chair. And? We take their fucking heads afterwards and put them on pikes in front of the church they raped kids in as a warning this is what is now going to happen to your pedophile ass should you ever touch another kid.

Maybe if we start doing this? These fuckers will finally get the hint to leave children the hell alone.

First off?


We arm all children. We teach them gun safety, we teach them how to use their guns. And give them to them each and every time they enter a Roman Catholic Pedo Cult Church or School.

Maybe if kids who are being fucked with start blowing the fucking heads and dicks off of these fucking scumbags? They will finally get the hint. And their knowing these kids are armed and will fucking shoot to kill them should they try to fuck with them? That will scare the shit out of these fucking pedophiles enough to not put their fucking hands onto kids.

Second off?


ANY priest, brother, sister or nun, any laymen or others of this cult of fucking pedophile pimps and pedophiles touch a kid? Immediately? No mercy, no compassion, and true Justice.

Give them a fucking choice.
Pedophile Crucifixion
Drawing and Quartering.
Rat Torture
Judas Chair

Pedophile Crucifixion

If we crucify these sons of a bitches, right inside their churches, so everyone can see the warning what will happen to you you fuck with a child; or draw and quarter them and put their fucking heads in front of these churches as warnings this is what the fuck will happen to you should you touch a child like this? This is the immediate and swift fucking punishment you will get.

Drawing and Quartering

We hang them until almost dead, then take them down and draw them to the church where they raped the children. We then quarter them, throwing those parts into a dumpster, and save the head, and put it on a pike in front of the church they raped kids at as a warning this is what will happen to you should you rape a child.

Rat Torture

The Unholy Roman Catholic Cult used these two torture devices during their Inquisitons. So we take their tortures and use them to put them to brutal deaths.

For the Rat Torture, instead of putting the rat on their stomachs? We put the rats on their fucking junks. Let the rat eat their dicks and balls. Then that rat will tunnel into them and finish the the job of putting them to a justly deserved brutal deaths. Then cut their fucking heads off and put them on pikes in front of the church their raped children in.

Judas Chair

And last, but certainly not least? The Judas Chair, which is appropriate for how they were Judases to us children. Strap these fuckers in, place a crock of hot coals under the seat and have them rip their flesh from their bodies as they try to escape. And? They will fucking die doing so. Then? Like all the rest? Behead these fuckers and put them in front of the church as a warning.


Plaintiffs in second Próvolo sex abuse trial demand ‘end to delays’

By Maximiliano Ríos & Liliana Samuel, AFP

From the Link

Victims and relatives complain defence lawyers for two nuns and several other women are stalling trial into historic child sex abuse at Próvolo Institute in Mendoza Province.

Victims and relatives have called for an “end to delays” in the trial of two nuns and seven other women accused of complicity in the sexual abuse of deaf children at the Antonio Próvolo Institute for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children in Mendoza Province, which was postponed last week due to a case of coronavirus.

The second trial in this case, which has shaken up the Catholic Church in the homeland of Pope Francis and which has already seen two priests sentenced to 40-year prison terms in 2019, was postponed last Monday for a fortnight when the defence lawyers pleaded that one of them is in isolation due to Covid-19.

“The defence lawyers of the nuns have been playing their little tricks for 18 months now. They have no other way of delaying the trial because they have nothing in their favour. If it’s a case of Covid, OK, we’ll wait until May, but then let’s not have one case of Covid and then another,” warned Ariel Lizarraga, the father of Daiana, the first to denounce the abuses at the Mendoza centre, speaking to AFP.

The accused nuns are Kosaka Kumiko, a Japanese under house arrest, and Asunción Martínez, born in Paraguay. Also in the dock are the Próvolo Institute’s legal representative, a psychologist, a cook and four directors during the period between 2004 and 2016 when the abuses and rapes of children aged between four and 17 years occurred.

We understand the context of pandemic but it’s time to put an end to the delays. We need this trial to begin and be resolved so that we can carry on with our lives, restoring their rights to the victims,” adds Érica Labeguerie, the sister of Claudia, another of the victims who today is 27 years old and the mother of a boy.

The trial, with around 100 witnesses due to testify, “is highly important because it will mark closure for a great deal of pain and re-victimisation.” 

“The nuns were those in charge of housing the girls, imparting great terror and an essential part of everything happening in the institution,” affirms Erica Labeguerie.

The accused will have to answer in court for not having denounced the abuses. Kumiko is also accused of fondling some of the 14 victims who testified in Cámara Gesell courthouse.

Permanent damage

“I know we’re going to win this trial but for my daughter the damage is permanent, irreparable. The accompaniment of the family is small anaesthetic for this pain. The trauma suffered, the atrocities inflicted on them will never be forgotten,” warned Lizarraga.

Daiana’s father maintains that the accused “knew everything which was going on. If they had denounced them, the rapes would have stopped.”

“We’re talking about children and adolescents who bled and screamed in pain. A conviction with a severe sentence is really to be expected,” adds lawyer Sergio Salinas representing nine victims.

Carlos Varela Álvarez, who is defending the two nuns of the Hermanas de la Huerta congregation, deplores what he considers his clients being convicted in advance by public opinion.

The evidence has been “manipulated and twisted,” he assured AFP, insisting that he is defending “people who are pleading their innocence in the face of a public opinion which has convicted them in advance and a court system prepared for that.”


This new trial is unfolding after in November, 2019, the court sentenced 61-year-old Argentine priest Horacio Corbacho and 85-year-old Italian priest Nicola Corradi to 45 and 42 years imprisonment respectively for the sexual abuse and rape of children at the Próvolo Institute. The convictions have been upheld. 

Also sentenced were gardener Armando Gómez and former altar boy Jorge Bordón to 18 and 10 years respectively after pleading guilty in an abbreviated trial in 2018.

Corradi arrived in Argentina in 1970 from the Próvolo Institute in Verona, Italy, where the order for teaching the deaf and dumb originated and where abuse has already been denounced, taking charge of the La Plata branch of the institute and then from 1998 in Mendoza where he was remanded in custody on November 26, 2016.

Abuse has also been denounced at the Próvolo Institute in La Plata where the charges are being investigated without yet coming to trial in the Buenos Aires provincial capital.

“The Catholic Church is covering up. Not only do they not supply evidence but they hide it. The Vatican keeps demonstrating that they want to keep covering up,” affirms Salinas.

The only good Roman Catholic pedophile is a dead one
If we arm the children? This is what will happen to the pedophile priests of the Unholy Roman Catholic Cult of Pedophiles and maybe if victims started blowing the heads off the heads of these scum? They might finally get the message to leave the kids the fuck alone and stop raping them.

Ireland’s Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Report Volume One Part Two Chapter 6 The Congregation of Christian Brothers

Chapter 6
The Congregation of Christian Brothers


6.01This preliminary chapter deals with topics that are of general application to the consideration of abuse in industrial schools run by the Christian Brothers.


6.02Edmund Ignatius Rice (1762–1844), a wealthy import and export trader in the city of Waterford, opened a school for poor children in that city in 1802. He began recruiting men who shared his ambition to provide a free education for the poor Catholic children of Ireland. By 1803, a monastery was built in the city and more young men joined. In this way he founded the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, which became known as the Irish Christian Brothers.

6.03His inspiration had come from a remark made by the sister of the Bishop of Waterford, with whom he was discussing his ambition to become a member of a religious Congregation. A band of ragged boys passed by and, pointing to them, she exclaimed, ‘What! would you bury yourself in a cell on the continent rather than devote your wealth and your life to the spiritual and material interest of these poor youths?’ Inspired by these words, Rice talked to other friends, all of whom advised him to undertake the mission to which he was being called. He settled his business affairs in 1800, the most profitable year he had known, and two years later opened his first Christian school.

6.04The schools were open to all comers and were free to the poor. He developed a system whereby one Brother, sometimes with a monitor as assistant, would teach about 150 boys who were graded not by age but ability. He was adamant there should be no physical punishment, which he found contrary to his own spirit. In 1820 he wrote, ‘Unless for some faults which rarely occur, corporal punishment is never inflicted’.

6.05His schools were a success and, as Edmund Rice’s reputation spread, his Community grew rapidly in numbers. By 1806, schools were established in Waterford, Carrick-on-Suir, and Dungarvan, and by 1808 the Community had Houses in Dublin, Cork and Limerick. Initially, they adopted, with modifications, the Rule of the Presentation Order of nuns and, like them, were subject to their local bishops. In 1820, however, the Order now known as the Christian Brothers became the first Irish Community of men to be granted a charter by the Holy See1 and to be recognised as a Papal Institute. This new status meant that the Brothers were no longer under the authority of local bishops, and could develop their own internal management, under the overall authority of the Holy See, through the Secretariat of State for Religious. Br Rice was unanimously elected Superior General, and all the Houses were united under the new regime except for Cork, as the local bishop there refused his consent. In 1826, they too joined the greater Congregation, although one member, Br Austin Reardon, opted to remain under the old Order and founded the teaching Congregation of Presentation Brothers.

6.06From 1802 to 1868 the Christian Brothers remained a small group of men who managed only day schools for poor Catholic boys. It was the introduction in 1858 of the industrial school system into Ireland that led to the Congregation moving into the management of residential schools. The new industrial schools fitted in with their charism of educating and helping the poor. Moreover, the schools were being subsidised by the State, through a capitation system, whereby a sum was paid for each boy placed in the school. It was a system that for the first time would provide the Christian Brothers with a guaranteed income to feed, clothe, house and educate the boys.

6.07The Brothers opened their first industrial school in Artane in 1870. It was a purpose-built school for 825 boys, built to the highest specifications. From that date, there was a rapid expansion of the Christian Brothers throughout Ireland and Great Britain. In 1868 a small number were sent to Australia, and the Congregation rapidly flourished there. In 1875 they moved to Newfoundland, where they opened another school. By 1900 there were Christian Brothers’ schools in Ireland, Britain, Australia, Newfoundland, Gibraltar, New Zealand, India and Rome. Soon after that, the Congregation developed in Africa, the USA and later in South America. The Brothers are today a worldwide organisation with institutions in more than 26 countries on all populated continents.

6.08In Ireland, the Christian Brothers soon occupied the dominant position in the industrial school system. Between 1868 and 1894 they had control of six industrial schools spread across the country, certified to take in a total of 1,750 boys. In 1831 the residence of the Superior General of the Irish Christian Brothers and the centre of teacher training was moved to North Richmond Street (O’Connell Schools) Dublin from Our Lady’s Mount (North Monastery) in Cork. In 1874 it was transferred to Belvedere House in Drumcondra, now the residence of the President of St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra. In 1875 the Brothers moved to Marino House, on the original Lord Charlemont demesne, and established their Generalate there. They recruited boys for their novitiates in schools across the country and sent them to their boarding schools, such as the one in Baldoyle, where they studied for the Leaving Certificate.

6.09In 1956 the Irish Province divided into two, St Helen’s Province and St Mary’s Province.

6.10The growth in numbers of Christian Brothers was remarkable. In 1831, there were only 45 Christian Brothers. By 1900, there were almost 1,000; and by 1960, there were 4,000 Christian Brothers in Ireland.2

6.11The six Christian Brothers’ industrial schools in Ireland were as follows:

Name of SchoolYears of operationCertified number of boys
Artane Industrial School for Senior Boys1870–1969825
St Joseph’s Industrial School for Senior Boys, Tralee1870–1970145
St Joseph’s Industrial School for Senior Boys, Salthill1871–1995200
St Joseph’s Industrial School for Senior Boys, Glin1872–1966190
St Joseph’s Industrial School for Senior Boys, Letterfrack1887–1974165
Carriglea Park Industrial School for Senior Boys, Dun Laoghaire1896–1954250

6.12The Congregation operated, in addition, two day/boarding schools, for orphans – namely, The O’Brien Institute and St Vincent’s, Glasnevin – and a school for the deaf, St Joseph’s School for the Deaf, Cabra, as well as over 100 primary and secondary schools.3 While the Sisters of Mercy managed a much greater number of industrial schools than the Brothers, they were diocesan congregations that were not under central management until the mid-1980s and were in effect independent institutions until then. The Brothers, by contrast, were a unitary organisation under central management and control from 1820.

6.13The Christian Brothers became a powerful and dominant organisation in the State and were responsible for providing primary and post primary education to the majority of Catholic boys in the country. Their greatest involvement was with non-residential education, and only a minority of Brothers were involved in industrial school work at any time.

6.14The extent of the Congregation’s involvement in residential care was reflected in the number of complaints (over 700) received by the Investigation Committee from former residents of its institutions, and in the number of hearings held (149) and interviews given (220).

6.15The Investigation Committee conducted full investigative hearings into four of the institutions: Artane, Letterfrack, Tralee and Carriglea Park. Limited inquiries by way of analysis of discovered documents took place into the remaining two industrial schools, Salthill and Glin, and St Joseph’s School for Deaf Boys, Cabra.

The Christian Brothers’ mission

6.16In 1923 the Christian Brothers set out a new Constitution and Rule that reiterated the mission of the Congregation:

The main end of the Congregation is that all its members labour for their own sanctification by the observance of the Evangelical Counsels and of these Constitutions. The secondary end is that they endeavour to promote the spiritual good of the neighbour by the instruction of youth, especially the poor, in religious knowledge, and their training in christian piety.

The Brothers conduct Schools in which they teach the poor gratuitously; Institutions for orphan and neglected children; Day Schools and Boarding Schools which are maintained by the fees of the pupils; and other educational works.4

6.17The majority of the Brothers who had worked in the industrial schools and who gave evidence made the decision to join the Congregation when they were 13 or 14 years of age. Some spoke of having joined the Christian Brothers at such a young age out of a spirit of adventure and a desire to do good in the world. They received instruction in theology and philosophy, and believed in the message of salvation through good works that was the cornerstone of the Christian Brothers’ mission.

Organisation and management

6.18Supreme authority in the Congregation is vested in the General Chapter5 which is held every six years. It is composed of former senior office holders, former Superiors General and delegates from each Province. The General Chapter is also the Congregation’s legislative body whose statutes are known as Acts of Chapter. Outside the periods when the General Chapter is in session, authority is vested in the Superior General and his Council as the governing body.

6.19The General Chapter elects the Superior General and four assistants to serve for a period of six years on the General Council. The Superior General may serve for no more than two consecutive terms. The assistants remain in office until a new General Chapter is convened.

6.20The General Council appoints the Provincials and their assistants, who in turn appoint Superiors to Communities. The basic organisational unit is the Community. Each Community is headed by a Superior, assisted by a Sub-Superior and a local council, all appointed by the Provincial Council. The Superior is appointed for a three-year term and may be reappointed, but, like his superiors, he may only serve two consecutive terms.

6.21When a Community of Brothers operated an industrial school, the Provincial Council ensured that their Superior was also the Resident Manager. These dual roles are relevant when considering the statutory demands of the position of Resident Manager. The practice also made it difficult for the Brothers to accept the recommendation of the Cussen Commission6 that the Minister for Education should control the appointment of Resident Managers. The Congregation was obviously going to guard its right to appoint Superiors of its own Communities.

6.22Brothers appointed to the position of Superiors, who thereby became ex officio Resident Managers of the institutions, assumed a very large responsibility but received no training for the role, even though the calibre of the manager affected the whole institution. A good manager not merely ran the school well, but improved the living conditions for staff and boys. A poor manager had a serious impact on an institution.

6.23Although the Congregation was well organised at a national and provincial level, local organisation was often unsatisfactory. There was no discernable management structure in place within the industrial schools looked at by the Committee. Individual post-holders were appointed by the Superior, but there was no system of monitoring or support once the appointment had been made, and there was no obvious system of consultation with younger members of the Community who were often responsible for the day-to-day running of the school. There was no formally recognised complaints procedure within the local Community. This was evidenced by the number of complaints communicated to the Visitor7 that had not been voiced by the Brothers to the Superior in the community.

6.24The lack of any safe, secure method of making a complaint was a serious difficulty for the boys. Boys could only speak about the actions of a Brother to another Brother and were naturally reluctant to do so, fearing that they would be disbelieved or reported back to the Brother about whom they complained of. In the 1940s, a sodality8 in Artane allowed boys to make complaints in a safe and confidential environment. Four sexual abusers were uncovered as a result, and were removed from the institution. This facility was discontinued and was never introduced into any other industrial school run by the Brothers. The obvious success of this initiative was not perceived as such by the Congregation, and it is probable that a great deal of the sexual abuse that continued unchecked for many decades in some schools could have been prevented by the introduction of a simple complaints mechanism.

Christian Brothers managers’ meetings

6.25Meetings were held annually by the managers of the Congregation’s six industrial schools together with the O’Brien Institute, St Vincent’s, Glasnevin, and St Joseph’s School for Deaf Boys, Cabra. They discussed general issues affecting the operation of their institutions, and little attention appears to have been focused on the affairs of individual schools. From a review of the minutes of these meetings held between 1936 and 1965, it can be seen that among the matters considered were:

  • Dealings with the Department of Education and its policy regarding the institutions.
  • Numbers in the institutions and the impact of decreasing numbers.
  • Matters concerning the welfare of the children, including health, education, and aftercare.
  • Financial affairs of the schools including the manner in which accounts should be maintained and presented, determination of the level of income to be taken by brothers (stipend) from the school income, payment of teachers; approach to be adopted in seeking increased grants from the Department.
  • Consideration of issues to be discussed at Resident Managers’ Association meetings.
  • Other significant issues that might affect the institutions from time to time, for example the response to the Cussen Report.

6.26These meetings were held in advance of the annual meeting for Resident Managers of all industrial schools and reformatories, which were convened by the Resident Managers Association. This association was a means whereby industrial schools could present a united front in negotiations with the Department of Education.


6.27The Christian Brothers contended that the quality of care provided in their industrial schools was the best they could provide, because the State funding was significantly below what was necessary to provide a proper standard of care.

6.28The funding from the State was by the capitation system, whereby a fixed sum was paid to the Congregation for each boy in the institution. Part of the grant was paid by the State and part by the local authority from whose area the child came.

6.29According to the Department of Education and Science in its statement furnished in advance of the Phase III hearings, the payment was intended ‘to cover the expenses incurred in maintaining the children in the schools, including clothing, footwear, food, general medical care, staffing and accommodation’. The Department of Education and Science also explained that, under the legislation that set up this system, ‘the school premises were owned and provided by the religious orders. The schools provided their own buildings, farms and plant without the aid of the State and local Authorities’.

6.30The main disadvantage of the capitation system was that the financial position of the institution was determined by the number of children committed. As a result, there was pressure on schools to maximise numbers and there was no incentive to allow early release of children.

6.31In their Opening Submission for the Artane hearings, the Congregation dealt with the question of funding in general terms, which applied to all their industrial schools. It made two important assertions: first, it stated that the Kennedy Committee found that the grant aid paid to industrial schools in Ireland was ‘totally inadequate’; and, secondly, it compared the capitation in the State to funding in Northern Ireland and found that the former rate was significantly below the allowance in the neighbouring jurisdiction.

6.32With regard to the Kennedy Report finding, however, it must be noted that, at the time of the publication of that report in 1970, numbers in industrial schools had fallen dramatically and therefore the system of capitation that depended on large numbers of children in care was no longer an appropriate method of funding such schools. Kennedy recommended that the capitation system be replaced by an annual agreed budget, and this was ultimately put in place.

6.33Throughout the 1940s and 1950s and for some of the 1960s, capitation was a reasonable method of financing because schools had large numbers of children and the fixed costs associated with the running of these schools could be spread across a larger pupil population.

6.34The industrial schools run by the Christian Brothers, with the exception of Letterfrack after 1954, had sufficient numbers of boys for economies of scale to be an important factor in assessing adequacy of funding. Farms provided food for the institutions and, in some cases, additional income. Trades such as tailoring and boot-making provided cheap clothing and could also be a source of additional income.

6.35The chapters on the individual schools reveal that food, clothing, accommodation, education and aftercare were poorly provided. When the Department Inspector raised any of these issues with a Resident Manager, the standard response was that funding was inadequate to provide a higher level of care.

6.36For most of the relevant period funding was adequate to provide basic care for children in industrial schools, particularly during periods of high occupancy. By the late 1960s, falling numbers made it impossible for all six industrial schools to stay open and, by 1973, only Salthill continued to operate.

6.37The Brothers who lived in the monastery, even those with little or no involvement with the school, were assigned a stipend out of the capitation grant. This money was not paid to them personally but put into a fund for the maintenance of the Community.

6.38The level of stipend to be taken from the school was determined internally by the Congregation and on occasion was discussed at the Annual Managers’ Meeting. The 1940 minutes stated:

The Community income is made up mainly by the brothers’ Stipends. The following scale was decided upon.

Artane: Manager: £500

Sub-Manager: £300

And each of the brothers (engaged in the institution) £120

For all other institutions:

Manager: £300

Sub Manager: £200

And each Brother: £120.

6.39The minutes went on:

The Community Expenses would not include ordinary “Rations” such as Bread, Flour, Meat, Milk, Butter, Fish, Eggs, Vegetables – Laundry, Fuel & Light. Any Balance (cr.) is to be treated as an Advance from Community to Institution as is done in case of ordinary House Loan A/c.

6.40By 1954, the stipend had increased to £250 per Brother, and was £400 per Brother in 1964.

6.41The stipend was the same amount irrespective of how much work the Brother did in the institution or in caring for the boys.

6.42Stipends were in effect, in the nature of salaries that the Brothers paid themselves out of the school income and amounted to a substantial proportion of it. These stipends could represent up to 15% of the total capitation grant received by an institution.

6.43The stipend was sufficient to enable some Communities, notably Artane, Carriglea and Glin, to invest money in the Congregation’s Building Fund and to make payments to the Congregation by way of annual Visitation Dues.

6.44Details of the Building Fund requested by the Committee were furnished between July 2007 and February 2008.

6.45The Congregation stated:

The Building Fund consisted of monies which were forwarded to the Provincial Councils by communities for use in refurbishing existing schools and building new schools. A Community submitted excess funds to the Building Fund, which funds could be called on for refurbishments and/or erections of new buildings.

6.46This contrasted with the Congregation’s Opening Statement for Artane in which they stated:

the Brothers, in keeping with their vocation, lived frugal lives and surplus monies thus, generated in the Community Accounts were lodged to a Building Fund established by the Congregation for use on capital expenditure on Artane. It is quite clear, therefore, that the financial contribution from the Community in Artane to the Institution was substantial.

6.47The Congregation was not in a position to say how much money in total was paid into the Building Fund by their industrial schools, but the accounts furnished show that Artane was consistently one of the largest contributors. Visitation Reports show payments into this fund by all the industrial schools at some point. There was also some evidence of payments out of this fund to the industrial schools, but these were relatively small sums and were generally concentrated in the period immediately prior to the closure of the institution as an industrial school.

Visitation Dues

6.48In the Phase III public hearing for Tralee, Br Nolan was asked to explain what the Visitation Dues were:

The Brothers in the Community maintained their House through taking a stipend and taking a salary from the money available. So also would the Provincial Council, they had no means of support other than putting a stipend on each House. It is a few hundred pounds. It changed with time of course. It was a levy on each Brother to contribute to the Provincial Council.

6.49The accounts for Artane show that the greatest expense in the House accounts over the period 1940 to 1969 was annual Visitation Dues. In that period the non-capital expenditure of the House was £236,000, and approximately one-third of this, £82,575, was sent to the Provincial towards the support of the Congregation by way of Visitation Dues.

6.50In all of the correspondence between the Department of Education and the Orders on the question of finance, the financial needs of the Community or the Congregation were never discussed. The Department of Education’s understanding of its role as set out above was to pay capitation grants in respect of youthful offenders and children committed to their schools under the provisions of the Children Acts, 1908 and 1941, and the School Attendance Act, 1926.

6.51The stipends paid to all Brothers, out of which Visitation Dues and payments to the Building Fund account were made, represented a drain on resources available for the maintenance of the children.


6.52Supervision of Communities was the responsibility of the Provincial Council for the region and was exercised by way of annual Visitations by a member of the Council. The Visitor stayed with the Community for a number of days, following which he sent a written report to the Provincial Council, which was copied to the Superior General. The Provincial or another member of the Council sent a follow-up letter to the Superior of the Community referring to salient points in the report, but the report itself was not given to the Superior.

6.53Visitations were a requirement of Canon Law, and their primary objective was to ensure that the Brothers were acting in the spirit of their vocation and observing the rules of the Congregation. In addition, the Visitor was required to inquire into the condition of discipline in the Community, its finances, and its premises. Although his function was primarily to inspect, the Visitor was also required to take immediate action if, during the course of his inspection, he encountered ‘anything of a serious nature … opposed to the religious spirit’ in the Community.

6.54Visitations proceeded according to a formal pattern laid down in the Constitutions of the Order. The Visitor had a preliminary meeting with the Superior and then he had individual meetings with the Brothers. These conversations were confidential, and the Superior was expressly prohibited from attempting to influence what Brothers said in their conversations with the Visitor. The Visitor then met the Superior for a second time to discuss his administration of the Community. The Visitor did not routinely speak to the boys, and only met individual boys on exceptional occasions.

6.55Visitation Reports for Communities attached to industrial schools followed the same general pattern, dealing with topics of Community observance and usually including comment on some or all of the following topics: health and diet, schools, premises, trades, aftercare, statistics, recreation, and finances.

6.56The rules of the Congregation required that, if ‘serious irregularities’ reported at the time of the Visitation had not been remedied within a period of two months, the Brothers who reported them were to write to the Provincial or the Superior General directly and inform him of their continuance.

6.57The Visitations were thorough, and the reports provided a good deal of detail about the operation of the various Communities. Although their purpose was primarily religious and concerned with the Community, the reports usually contained information about the industrial school and the children. Some Brothers were candid in reporting problems to the Visitor, as is demonstrated in the individual chapters on institutions. The system also enabled a Brother to circumvent his Superior by making a complaint to the Visitor if he felt that the former would not believe him. A number of cases of sexual abuse became known in this fashion.

6.58Visitors often made frank observations and they could be severely critical in their reports, although the summaries that the Provincials sent to the Managers were usually much more discreet in their comments.

6.59Visitation Reports are the single most valuable source of documentary evidence about life in the Brothers’ industrial schools. They were written during inspections or shortly afterwards. The writers were senior members of the Congregation. Reports were intended for internal use by the Council of which the Visitor was a member. Where they contain criticisms of Brothers or institutions, the reports can therefore be considered reliable.

6.60The Visitation Reports often contain information and comment that are much more critical and disapproving than the Department of Education Inspector’s reports, which were also supposed to be conducted annually and were focused on the health of the boys and the conditions within the school.

6.61The system had its limitations. In Communities where there were no personnel problems, the staff tended to close ranks. Visitors were more likely to get a realistic picture of an institution when there were problems in the Community, such as when relations were strained among the Brothers. Some Brothers testified that they were reluctant to complain to the Visitor for a number of reasons, including lack of familiarity with the Visitation system or feeling too junior to report. Others feared they might jeopardise their careers by complaining or that the complaint would get back to their Superior who would react badly to it. Furthermore, there were no objective standards applied to these reports and so different Visitors inspecting within months of each other could come to quite different conclusions as to the adequacy of the management.

6.62The major deficiency of the Visitation system was that, while it was able to identify problems in an institution, it did not provide solutions or ensure that changes were put in place. In some cases, the Visitation Report was highly critical of a particular Resident Manager or member of staff, but the Council did nothing to remedy the situation, and the Provincial in his follow-up letter did not even mention the problem. A member of the current Provincial Leadership Team was asked to explain this failure to act on Visitors’ complaints, and he attributed it to the fact that the Visitation was a personal inspection, the report was a discussion document, and the Provincial Council might not necessarily agree with all of its conclusions.

6.63Even if this interpretation is accepted as applying in certain cases, it does not explain why the Provincial authorities remained inactive in cases where they and the Visitor were united in their criticisms of a particular staff member. The records of the Congregation do not disclose any instance when a Superior/ Resident Manager was removed from his post for failing in his duties.

Joining, leaving and transferring

Joining the Congregation

6.64Christian Brothers were recruited when they were very young. Most of the Brothers and former Brothers who gave evidence joined in their early teens, many when only 14 years of age. Brothers known as Postulators travelled around the country visiting primary and secondary schools to recruit boys. The new recruits were then sent to boarding schools operated by the Congregation, where they studied and sat for their Intermediate and Leaving Certificates, before beginning their preparation for life in religion. Brothers who were not suitable for teacher training became Coadjutor Brothers and worked as cooks, gardeners, farmers or general support staff in the schools.

6.65Many of the Brothers and former Brothers who gave evidence to the Committee described the education and standard of care that they received in these schools as excellent. Conditions were good, the quality of care they received was of a high standard and, while life was extremely regimented, there was no corporal punishment.

6.66One former Brother described his experiences as follows:

[it was a] well run [boarding school] … much better run school than the one I had left … It was immensely pleasant and companionable and I have nothing only good memories of it. I had no trouble about it I think in my mind … When I went to the juniorate, to Old Connaught, there was no corporal punishment, there was no sense of fear. They were much better. I think I had a particularly bad set of teachers in [a named National school], but there was good teaching and everything was structured. I think again, a good boarding school operates on keeping you busy all the time and we were certainly kept busy all the time …

6.67Other Brothers described a similarly positive experience. One Brother said that ‘the staff were very good, they were very good teachers … they were excellent teachers’. Another former Brother, who was critical of many aspects of the training process, said that;

‘I have very happy memories of Baldoyle. It was a very friendly place. We got on very well with each other. It was happy go lucky. We were very well treated. I have no particular axe to grind about … Baldoyle’.

6.68In his article ‘Seven Years in the Brothers’, Professor Tom Dunne described the contrast between the juniorate he attended and his old schools as ‘remarkable’:

Here there was no corporal punishment and bullying was not tolerated. We were treated fundamentally as adults who had taken on immense responsibilities, and as new members of the Community. The teachers were all Brothers, and were among the best the Congregation had. It was all profoundly civilised, carefully disciplined and immensely caring.

6.69A boy could not enter the Novitiate until he was 15 years of age, at which point he wore the habit of the Congregation. When he had completed his Leaving Certificate, he spent a year in the Novitiate studying religion. He took his first religious vows on the first Christmas Day after the completion of the Novitiate. These were temporary vows and were renewed annually.

6.70Having completed the Novitiate, the temporarily professed Brother was sent to the Congregation’s Teacher Training College in Marino to study primary school teaching. The course was two years in length, but the Congregation was given a dispensation from the Department of Education whereby its members left the college when they completed their first year to work in schools run by the Congregation. After a number of years working in the field, the Brothers returned to college to complete their second year and become fully qualified National Teachers. This arrangement with the Department delayed the acquisition of the National Teacher qualification.

6.71The rules of the Congregation provided that a temporarily professed Brother could not take perpetual vows until he was 25 years old and had made temporary vows for at least six years. In this regard, the rules of the Congregation differed from the requirements of Canon Law, under which an individual could make permanent vows at 21 years of age.

6.72The combination of these provisions meant that young Brothers were unable to acquire their qualifications as teachers until they were well advanced towards a binding commitment to their vocations. These young, temporarily professed Brothers were often sent to industrial schools to teach for a number of years before returning to Marino. They were put in charge of large classes of boys and were also expected to perform supervisory duties in the afternoons and evenings and throughout the weekend. They had neither the teacher training nor the childcare training to equip them for this task.

Leaving the Congregation

6.73An individual could leave the Congregation voluntarily or he could be dismissed. The rules governing the departure and the dismissal of religious are contained in the Constitutions of the Congregation and the Code of Canon Law 1917.

6.74The rules draw a distinction between Novices, temporarily professed Brothers, and perpetually professed Brothers. Novices could leave voluntarily at any time, as they had not taken any vows. The General or Provincial Councils could dismiss them for ‘just reasons’, and there was no requirement to inform the Novice of the reasons for his dismissal. The decision to dismiss the Novice was taken by the General or Provincial Council.

6.75A temporarily professed Brother could leave voluntarily at the expiration of his annual vows. The Superior General or the General Council could dismiss him for ‘grave reasons’. He was entitled to be told the reason for his dismissal, and had the right to have an opportunity to defend himself and to appeal to the Holy See. The Congregation also had the power to refuse to permit a Brother to renew his vows for ‘just and reasonable motives’. The evidence before the Committee indicated that the latter was the preferred method of removing temporarily professed Brothers.

6.76Having taken perpetual vows, a perpetually professed Brother could only leave the Congregation voluntarily by applying to be dispensed from his vows. In Pontifical Congregations such as the Christian Brothers, only the Holy See could grant a dispensation from perpetual vows. This power was sometimes delegated to an Apostolic Visitor, who could grant a dispensation where he considered it wise and necessary to do so. If Rome granted it, the local Bishop formally executed the indult. The discovery material indicated that Brothers who wished to be dispensed applied first to the Provincial Council who, if they voted in favour of the request, would forward it to the General Council. If they in turn voted in favour, it was sent to the relevant Secretariat in the Vatican. A dispensation was not automatically granted.

6.77The dispensation procedure was often utilised in cases of suspected sexual abuse. Where the authorities were satisfied that a particular individual had committed the acts complained of, he was encouraged to apply for a dispensation instead of having to undergo the dismissal procedure.

6.78This method of dispensation was also employed in cases where the dismissal procedure had been instituted and the General Council had taken the decision to dismiss the Brother but the decree of dismissal had not been issued. The Brother would be invited to pre-empt the dismissal by applying for voluntary dispensation and could leave the Congregation without stigma.

6.79If a Brother was accused of a serious offence under Canon Law or the rules of the Congregation, and the authorities were satisfied as to the truth of the allegation, but the Brother refused to apply for a dispensation, they were left with no option other than to institute formal dismissal proceedings. A perpetually professed Brother could not be dismissed unless he had committed an ‘external grave delict’, had received two warnings about his conduct and had failed to correct his behaviour. These admonitions were known as Canonical Warnings, and the immediate major Superior administered them personally or had them administered by a colleague acting on his instructions. The warning was composed of two parts: the first was a call to correct the offending activity and to do the appropriate penances; and the second was a threat of dismissal. In addition, the Superior was ‘bound’ under Canon Law to remove the offending Brother ‘from the occasion of relapse even by transfer if it is necessary to another house where vigilance is easier and the occasion of delinquency is more remote’. The Canon Law set out what constituted a ‘grave delict’ and it included sexual offences against minors. The rules required that each of the three offences must have been of the same type, or, if different, have been ‘of such a nature that when taken together they manifest the perversity of the will resolved on evil’. The rules also provided that one continuous offence could give rise to dismissal if it ‘from repeated admonitions, has virtually become threefold’.

6.80If a Brother had been issued with two Canonical Warnings and had committed a third delict, his case was forwarded to the Superior General and the General Council, who then considered whether he should be dismissed. The Brother was given the opportunity to defend himself, and Canon Law required that his responses be entered in the records. The General Council then voted on whether the Brother should be dismissed. If a majority of the votes was in favour of dismissal, the Superior General issued a formal decree of dismissal, which was forwarded to the Holy See for confirmation. The Brother had a right to appeal the decision to the Holy See. Even if the dismissal was confirmed, the Brother remained bound by his religious vows until he applied for, and was granted, a dispensation by the Holy See.

6.81Canon Law and the Constitutions of the Congregation also provided for immediate dismissal in the case of ‘grave external scandal, or of serious imminent injury to the Community’. In this situation the decree of dismissal was issued by the Provincial with the consent of his Council, or ‘if there is danger in delay’ by the local Superior with the consent of his Council and the Local Bishop. The case was then forwarded to the Holy See for judgment.9

6.82The dismissal process which took place in the General Council, and which was often described as a canonical trial, is different from the formal canonical trial provided for in the Code of Canon Law, which describes the procedure for the dismissal of religious priests or members of non-exempt religious orders, and the procedure for the dismissal of members of diocesan congregations.

How Brothers were transferred

6.83The Congregation was a large national organisation that moved its members around periodically. The regularity with which Brothers were moved depended on the functions they performed and where they were working. Teaching Brothers were moved more regularly than Coadjutor Brothers.

6.84Industrial schools were perceived as hardship postings and they had a high turnover of staff. The vow of obedience meant that Brothers had to accept their postings no matter how unpleasant they found them to be.

6.85Young Brothers were often appointed to teaching positions in industrial schools. The posting of Brothers happened at the same time each year, at the start of a new academic year. Brothers transferred outside of this period often excited comment, because the sudden transferring of a Brother could signal a serious punishment. No contemporaneous information exists concerning the criteria that were used to assess the suitability of Brothers for particular postings. However, the records of the Congregation show that, on a number of occasions, individuals who were accused of sexual abuse were transferred to other residential or day schools. In some cases, Brothers who had been sexually abusing children were, in their later careers, appointed to senior positions within the Province. When asked at the Phase I hearing for Letterfrack how this had happened, Br Gibson explained that, because the leadership in the Congregation changed every 12 years, there was no memory within the organisation of offences committed before that. He acknowledged that there was a personal file for each Brother and concluded that these files were not consulted in making appointments.

6.86If Br Gibson’s theory is correct, it means either that the Provincial Council made its decision to fill senior posts without reference to the Brother’s history or to his personal file, or that the Council made its assignment in the knowledge of the man’s previous trouble.

Impact of religious life on institutional care


6.87Christian Brothers took the traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, as well as two additional vows, namely ‘perseverance in the congregation’, and, for teaching Brothers, ‘teaching the poor gratuitously’. They differed in this regard from the Coadjutor Brothers, who did not teach, and whose commitment was to domestic chores in communities.


6.88The vow of poverty required Brothers to deprive themselves of the right of disposing of anything of monetary value without the permission of their Superiors. They were not allowed to accept, take or retain anything for themselves save what they were allowed by their Superiors. They were required to give to the Congregation whatever they acquired by their industry or ability while under temporary or perpetual vows.


6.89Constitution 87 relates to the vow of chastity. It ‘not only obliges the Brothers to celibacy, but also imposes upon them the obligation of avoiding everything contrary to the sixth10 and ninth11 Commandments of God’12. In addition to the injunctions against adultery and coveting one’s neighbour’s wife, the Brothers were to restrict communication with women to a minimum. Constitution 89 spelled out what was required:

The Brothers, in their interviews with the mothers or female friends of their pupils and in all conversations with females, must observe great reserve and modesty and make the conversations as brief as possible.

6.90Constitution 91 deals with relations between Brothers and their pupils. It states:

Whilst the Brothers should cherish an affection for all their pupils especially the poor, they are forbidden to manifest a particular friendship for any of them. They must not fondle their pupils; and unless duty and necessity should require it, a Brother must never be alone with a pupil.13

6.91The meaning of the word ‘fondle’ was discussed during the public hearings into Letterfrack Industrial School, when Br Gibson, on behalf of the Congregation, argued that the word did not have a sexual connotation, notwithstanding its location in the chapter of the Constitutions dealing with chastity.

6.92A circular letter from the Superior General, Br P. J. Hennessy, in 1926 went into the nature of the vow of chastity in some detail. He wrote:

In a discourse on “The Education of the Child”, Pere Lacordaire says: “It is necessary, above all, to love one’s pupil: to love him in God, not with a weak and sensual affection, but with a sincere affection which knows how to preserve firmness”.

The child’s spiritual endowments and the end to which he is destined naturally cause the thoughtful religious to “love him in God”, while his natural charms tend to excite that “weak and sensual affection” that may easily prove to be ruinous to the child and teacher. Here is a DANGER SIGNAL that should never be lowered and should ever be heeded. The teacher who allows himself any softness in his intercourse with his pupil, who does not repress the tendency to “pets”, who fondles the young or indulges in other weaknesses, is not heeding the danger signal and may easily fall. Disastrous results for teacher and pupil have sometimes resulted from such heedlessness and effeminacy. Chapter VIII, Part I, of our Constitutions in its different articles, sets forth salutary precautions in this connection.

6.93Assertions by some members of the Congregation that they had no awareness of the possibility of Brothers sexually abusing boys were not supported by the Acts of Chapter or the documentation.

6.94Br Hennessy went on to exhort teachers to impress on their pupils the importance of purity:

They must rigidly refrain from all unnecessary freedoms with their persons at all times. In bed they ought to fold their arms over their breasts in the form of a cross, and before falling asleep pray to their Guardian Angel to preserve them from every dangerous thought or act during the night.

6.95As early as 1887, the Superior General was explicit in pointing out the danger of sexual activity amongst the boys:

With vigilance in the playground is intimately connected watchfulness in regard to the conduct of boys in and about the water-closets … Much harm may be done, and sin not unfrequently committed, in those places, if the necessary precautions be not taken, and if wholesome discipline be not strictly enforced … A serious responsibility rests on the Brothers in this matter, if through their carelessness or want of proper caution any of their pupils should come to learn evil they knew not before.

6.96Although these advices were sent out to all Communities, they do not appear to have formed part of the training Brothers received. Some Brothers spoke of their lack of any awareness of the possibility of peer abuse among the boys in their care. The Committee heard evidence, however, that peer abuse was a constant and serious problem in industrial schools.


6.97The vow of obedience required Brothers to obey their Superiors in all things that pertained, directly or indirectly, to the life of the Congregation, as well as their vows and the Constitutions of the Congregation. They owed their entire obedience to the Superior General of the Congregation and to their immediate Superiors. The reason for this total obedience was explained as follows:

The motive of obedience should be the spirit of faith whereby the Brothers consider their Superiors as the representatives of Jesus Christ in their regard; hence they must always show them honour, esteem and reverence.14

6.98This vow of obedience permeated every aspect of life within the Congregation and was something the Brothers and former Brothers who gave evidence to the Committee spoke about at length. Apart from the obvious implications of the vow, the main way in which it affected Brothers was in their interactions with their seniors, in particular their reluctance to criticise them. The chapters on specific schools disclose cases where the obligation to be subject to the will of the Superior and to serve the interests of the Congregation discouraged or prevented Brothers from reporting abuse, or making protests about objectionable behaviour, or even making suggestions as to improvements. In some circumstances, it inhibited the reporting of suspicions about sexual misconduct on the part of other Brothers.

6.99The importance of the vow is emphasised by Constitution 62, which requires the General Council to be careful not to admit to the profession of vows by any Brother who in his conduct shows a ‘want of submission, and due respect for, those placed over him’ or a ‘litigious and critical spirit’. A Brother who deviated from this duty to obey was quickly reminded of his position. One former Brother described his experience of obedience thus:

I think the vow of obedience was conceived of as being partly like military discipline. Indeed, the priests who gave the Brothers their retreats and so on, and the 30-day retreat we had in the novitiate, all from Jesuits, and they’d famously have a military metaphor for what they’d do. I think there was a certain amount of that, this was like the army and you just obey.

But that’s not what I understood as the vow of obedience, I think the vow of obedience was an internal – if I can use the kind of language that I think would have learned – an internal resignation of your will to the will of your Superior. The most important thing about obedience was not what you did but how you thought. I certainly would have believed that when I was that age, yes.

6.100The same witness described some of the more unusual ways in which obedience was tested while the Novices were in training. He recalled how Novices were made to walk about with no coats or hats in bad weather, and he went on to describe one incident when he was put to the test. He told the Committee:

The one I remember in terms of work was being told to move a pile of stones in part of the garden, I think, an old shrubbery from there to literally the far side of the table and spending several days doing it with an old wheelbarrow, when it was all finished he came around and said, “That is very good now. Excellent. Now would you move them all back again please”. You were meant to say, “certainly, Brother”, which I did being a very good boy…. It was a bit silly really but we just accepted it.

6.101This unnecessary labour had a function: it was an exercise in discipline and obedience. The vow of obedience taken by all perpetually professed Brothers required them to obey their legitimate superiors. The Superior was empowered to impose ‘such penances or humiliations as his faults or the usage of the Community may require.’15

6.102The Brothers and former Brothers who gave evidence recounted a number of examples of the punishments, often humiliating, that were meted out to Brothers who disobeyed. A number of respondent witnesses described how their Superiors verbally admonished them. Discipline seemed to be harder on the younger Brothers.


6.103Brothers were required to exercise discipline in their daily lives. They rose early for prayer and Mass, and were required according to the rules of the Congregation to live an asectic and spiritual life with few comforts. They practised fasting, and mortification of the flesh, in order to perfect their communion with God. Visitation Reports contained long and detailed accounts of the Brothers’ religious observances, and any laxity on the part of the Superior in enforcing the Rule was a matter for comment.

Retirement from the world

6.104The Christian Brothers were obliged ‘not to maintain any intercourse with externs’ without permission from their immediate Superior. Brothers were not allowed to read newspapers, listen to the radio, visit friends or attend outside functions or sporting events without express permission. Walks had to be taken in the company of at least one other Brother.

6.105Correspondence from lay people, particularly containing complaint or criticism, was treated with suspicion and hostility. The documents revealed an anxiety on the part of the Congregation to avoid scandal or adverse comment, which dominated its relationship with the outside world.

6.106The injunction against undue familiarity with lay people was even more strictly enforced in the case of women. Brothers were instructed to keep all conversations with mothers or female friends of the children in their care to the minimum. One consequence of this was that the Christian Brothers’ institutions became all-male worlds. Numerous witnesses gave evidence to the Investigation Committee about the problems caused by the lack of female involvement in the day-to-day operation of the schools.

Modesty and silence

6.107According to Chapter XIII of the 1923 Constitutions, ‘The Brothers shall observe silence at all hours out of recreation. If, however, duty or necessity require a Brother to speak at such times, he should do so as briefly as possible and in a subdued tone’. This necessity for silence affected the general atmosphere of the schools and was often imposed on the children as well as the Brothers. Justice Cussen16 was particularly critical of the practice of imposing silence during meal times and recommended that it be discontinued. Some complainants recalled silence during mealtimes into the 1950s, and many recalled that there was a general rule of silence when moving through the building and in the dormitories at night.

6.108A consultant psychiatrist who regularly visited Artane in the 1960s told the Committee:

On average my general impression, well; with the greatest respect to everybody, it was a daunting institution. The abiding impression I had was that during the school hours my biding impression was the silence. The silence. So you had all these children, young boys, and virtually not a sound.

6.109In his evidence to the Committee, he said, ‘it was one of an intimidatory type of silence’.

6.110Numerous complainants spoke of the insistence on silence in the daily tasks of eating and preparing for bed. Silence was a rule strictly adhered to in everyday life. Whistles were used in some cases to signal to the children when they were to move from one activity to the next.

6.111There were several warnings in the Visitation Reports referring to the neglect of the rule of silence in the school.

Impact of vows on institutional life

6.112The adherence by the Christian Brothers to their vows, and the monitoring of such adherence by senior Brothers, led to the application of these principles to the day-to-day care of the children. The virtues of obedience, chastity and hard work had to be inculcated in the children for the good of their souls, and for the good of society as a whole.

6.113Obedience and discipline were part of the life of the institutions. The daily timetable provided the framework for a closely controlled and well-orchestrated routine. The whole system was regimented, but Artane with its large numbers was particularly so.

6.114The regimentation and discipline were needed not just to keep order: it was, the Christian Brothers believed, a necessary lesson to be learned by boys who had never been properly controlled by their parents.

6.115There were, however, doubts within the Congregation about the efficacy of the industrial school regime as the best way to prepare children to become upright and decent citizens in a Christian society. These reservations were sometimes expressed in Visitation Reports but were not acted upon by the authorities.

6.116This concern, that the needs of the boys were not being met by the school, clashed with the philosophy of the Congregation and the way of life they advocated for themselves. The boys needed to be prepared for the day ‘when they pass through Artane gates into the wide world’, but the Brothers needed to keep their minds on the spiritual way of life and withdraw from that wide world.

6.117The importance of all the vows taken by the Brothers was emphasised in a circular letter dated 3rd October 1958 from the Superior General to each Christian Brothers’ Community. The Superior General wrote:

It is evident that in many of the houses of our Province the rule of silence is not being well observed. The observance of silence has always been regarded as essential to the Religious Life …

Silence is necessary for the practice of recollection without which there can be no spirit of prayer or true holiness of life…

The cause of these defections [from the Brothers] is to be found in the loss of the religious spirit due to such secularizing influences as too great intercourse with externs, frequenting places of public resort and undue preoccupation with the news of the day.

Our rule warns us against the danger to vocation of holding too great intercourse with externs. The sentiments and outlook of people who live in the world are, of necessity, very different from those of religious. A Brother who frequents the company of seculars either by visiting them in their homes or by holding long and unnecessary conversations with teachers, parents, or domestics will be in danger of imbibing the spirit of the world and losing his esteem for his vocation …

Too great preoccupation with the newspaper or with radio programmes can also be a cause of the loss of the religious spirit by diverting attention from the affairs of the soul and diminishing interest in the spiritual life.

6.118These are values for a spiritual life of religious meditation, but they do not form a basis for training young boys to enter the outside world.

6.119To counteract the attraction of the outside world the Brothers lived a life of religious and secular study. It was not surprising that they applied the same way of life to the boys in their care. Through moral teaching, religious observance and hard work in the school and in the workshops, they sought to change and reform the children. Young boys from poor families were confronted with this regime, and found it arduous. It not merely clashed with the culture from which they came, but it placed them in an all-male world that did not meet the emotional and developmental needs of children and adolescents.

6.120The strict regime, the routine that took away all initiative and placed all its emphasis on following orders, led to the boys becoming institutionalised. Many left to join the army, or drifted into other institutionalised occupations, and far too many ended up in institutions like prisons or in psychiatric care.

Evidence of Brothers

6.121A recurrent complaint made by Brothers in their evidence to the Committee and found in the documentation was the unequal division of work.

6.122In his evidence at the public hearing into Letterfrack during Phase I, Br Gibson stated:

You see the Brothers who were teaching in the school, who were mainly the young Brothers, they were with the boys almost 24 hours a day; in other words, from 6:00 to 10:00 at night. They would have had very little free time during that period. They slept then in small bedrooms at the end of one of the dormitories. Often those rooms were very simple. There wasn’t heating for a lot of the time. That was their place of living and then they went up to the house for a short period of recreation at night-time, but effectively speaking they were on the job seven days a week.

6.123The vow of obedience made it difficult for these Brothers to voice their disquiet. Junior Brothers were in awe of their seniors in the Community. Each Community that operated an industrial school had senior Brothers who did not work in the school or act as carers but who nevertheless exercised authority and influence over those who fulfilled those arduous duties. Many Brothers spoke of how they resented this unequal burden of labour when they were juniors in the institutions, but felt they could not challenge the system by asking the senior Brothers to do more. Some junior Brothers felt that, because of their lack of seniority, there was no point making suggestions for reform.

6.124Many of the Brothers who gave evidence complained about the difficulties they had in carrying out the onerous dual responsibilities of teaching and caring, which inevitably had an adverse effect on the children.

The failure to train Brothers in childcare

6.125In their Opening Statement on Tralee, the Christian Brothers defined the purpose of industrial schools as being:

To cater especially for neglected, orphaned and abandoned children, to safeguard them from developing criminal tendencies and to prepare them for industry.

6.126To achieve this end, children were removed from the backgrounds of neglect and poverty, given a basic education and were taught a trade. In the process, it was believed that they were improved by hard work and religious observance. These objectives remained central to the Christian Brothers’ thinking, and became the basis of the training given to the new recruits. The teaching Brothers were trained as national school teachers, and received no special training in childcare. Many Brothers deplored this fact.

6.127The Brothers explained that this failure to give specialist training was due to the fact that ‘there existed no special training system in Ireland for carers in Industrial Schools’ and that there was no awareness of the emotional needs of children. They had a ‘physical care philosophy’.

6.128In fact, ideas on how to provide better care were being developed abroad. As early as 1943, Dr Anna McCabe, the Medical Inspector of Industrial Schools, attended a course in England and recommended the establishment of a child guidance clinic, but her advice was ignored. The Carysfort Conference of 1951 revealed that there was expertise in the State on care issues. Members of the Sisters of Charity went to England to do Home Office courses and returned with schemes to reorganise the system of care homes they provided.

6.129No such training was undertaken by the Christian Brothers until, in the early 1970s, Br Burcet17, who had worked in senior positions in both Letterfrack and Artane, attended the course in the School of Education in Kilkenny in 1973, and implemented some of what he had learned in the last remaining industrial school operated by the Brothers, Salthill. He recalled his frustration in Artane in the mid-1960s when he was trying to change teaching methods and to introduce psychological expertise. He felt that he was engaged in an uphill struggle and that there was no understanding of the importance of this kind of approach among the Leadership of the Congregation.

6.130New ideas had the potential to undermine the institutions and the Brothers who worked in them. It was this fear of change that ensured that the institutions run by the Christian Brothers remained, in all essential respects, unchanged from their foundation in the 19th century to their closure.

6.131One effect of the belief that teacher training and the religious way of life were an adequate basis for training and caring for children was that the Christian Brothers never passed on their expertise in a formal way. They were experienced in dealing with boys in institutions; their own members had taught and cared for boys for years. They should have been in a position to pass on information and advice to those coming after them, yet they produced no written texts, nor did they give formal lectures on the subject even to their own members. Brothers testified that they were given no guidance on childcare issues during their training in Marino. Brothers learned techniques of control from older Brothers, in an ad hoc way.

6.132It is unfortunate that a Congregation dedicated to the education of the poor never devised a system of education for their own members, which would have prepared them for the demanding care work they did in these schools, in addition to their teaching duties.

How the Brothers responded to the allegations of abuse

6.133During the Investigation Committee’s Emergence hearings, Br David Gibson, then Province Leader of St Mary’s Province of the Christian Brothers, outlined the response of the Congregation to the issue of child abuse in Ireland.

6.134He said that allegations of child abuse first arose as an issue in the 1980s, when four allegations of child abuse were made against Irish Christian Brothers. Following an official inquiry into child abuse at an orphanage run by the Congregation at Mount Cashel in Canada, the Canadian Leadership highlighted the issue at the 1990 General Chapter of the Congregation. The Province Leader from Canada presented a graphic picture of what it was like to have to deal with allegations from the past in a public inquiry and the subsequent litigation under the full glare of media exposure. He also referred to the need to look at institutions and the protocols that were in place to deal with the issue of abuse.

6.135After the General Chapter concluded, the Congregation leader urged its various Provinces to issue guidelines and protocols on child protection. The leadership teams of the Irish Provinces drew up guidelines based on international best practice and published them in 1993.

6.136Between 1990 and 1996 the Congregation received approximately 30 allegations of child abuse. Because of these complaints and the increasing publicity, the Congregation established an independent advisory group to which it passed the complaints, and received advice on how to respond. A further 52 complaints were received between 1996 and the Christian Brother Public Apology issued in March 1998.

6.137Br Gibson said that the Congregation had great difficulty in coming to terms with the fact that Brothers could have abused children. ‘It was something totally contrary to the whole vocation of a Brother and yet we were getting detailed accounts of how Brothers abused children’. It had particular difficulty in accepting that members of its Congregation had engaged in sexual abuse, ‘[This] was creating the greatest problem and difficulty for us to come to terms with’.

6.138It is difficult to understand why allegations of abuse should have come as such a shock to the Congregation. The documentation made available to this Committee disclosed that allegations of child abuse, and particularly child sexual abuse, were a recurring and persistent problem for the Congregation.

6.139In 1995, St Mary’s Province organised seminars about the nature of child abuse which were conducted by Dr Art O’Connor, a consultant Forensic Psychiatrist in the Central Mental Hospital, and Ms Kate Keery, a social worker from Temple Street Children’s Hospital, and they were attended by individual Brothers. A similar exercise was carried out in the Southern Province.

6.140Child abuse was a major issue at the 1996 General Chapter of the Congregation, which was held in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Chapter issued a document entitled ‘New Beginnings with Edmund’ in which it stated:

There are signs of that death [in not living the Gospel vision] in our congregational story. Such signs include undue severity of discipline, harshness in Community life, child abuse, an addiction to success, canonizing work to the neglect of our basic human needs for intimacy, leisure and love. To-day we have been made painfully aware of these aspects of our sinful history.

6.141The Congregation appointed a full-time Director of Child Protection Services, and set up an office called the Westcourt Child Protection Service to deal with allegations of abuse.

6.142On 14th April 1997, on the occasion of his receiving the Freedom of Drogheda, the Congregation Leader, Br Edmund Garvey, expressed an apology and asked for forgiveness from former pupils who had suffered abuse at any of the schools or institutions run by the Congregation.

6.143In October 1997 the Congregation asked Dr Robert Grant, a psychotherapist, to come to Ireland to speak to the Brothers and school principals on the issue of child protection and abuse. During its meetings with Dr Grant, the Leadership Teams considered making a public apology acknowledging certain failures on the part of the Congregation and expressing a willingness to meet with complainants and to deal with their complaints.

6.144According to Br Gibson:

He [Dr Grant] was emphasising the need to really take this on board, that child abuse had taken place in our institutions. Through his help but also from our own realisation of this, we felt the time had come to make some form of apology.

6.145In order to consider what form the apology should take, the Leadership held a retreat in November 1997 and invited an Australian Brother, Br Paul Noonan, to attend. Br Noonan had been leader of the Melbourne Province in Australia when it responded to allegations of child abuse in Australian Christian Brothers’ institutions and had issued its own apology in 1993. Br Noonan outlined the impact of the apology and encouraged the Irish Provinces to follow suit. The Australian apology included the following:

We have studied the allegations available to us, and we have made our own independent inquiries. The evidence is such as to convince us that abuses did take place, abuses that in some cases went well beyond the tough conditions and treatment that were part of life in such institutions in those days.

While the extent of the abuse appears to have been exaggerated in some quarters, the fact that such physical and sexual abuse took place at all in some of our institutions cannot be excused and is for us a source of deep shame and regret. Such abuse violates the child’s dignity and sense of self worth. It causes psychological and social trauma that can lead to lasting wounds of guilt, shame, insecurity and problems in relationships.

6.146There followed a paragraph entitled ‘Our Apology’, which read as follows:

We, the Christian Brothers of today, therefore unreservedly apologise to those individuals who were victims of abuse in these institutions.

We do not condone in any way the behaviour of individual Brothers who may have perpetrated such abuse.

In apologising, however, we entreat people not to reflect adversely on the majority of Brothers and their co-workers of the era who went about their work with integrity and deep regard for the children entrusted to their care.

Their work and dedication are reflected in the numerous students who, despite deprived backgrounds, went on to take their places as successful members of Australian society. We are deeply grateful for the very many expressions of thanks and support we have had from former students.

6.147Br Gibson said that the Irish Leadership Team decided to issue a public statement:

because we felt that there was a need for healing and we felt that no healing would be possible unless we were prepared to accept the fact that it happened, number one, and to say that we know it happened, we are sorry it happened and to be open and honest with that.

6.148He added that the Congregation intended its public statement to be more than an apology: it was to set out various mechanisms to promote healing, such as mediation, counselling and reconciliation. The leaders engaged in a widespread consultative process before issuing the apology. It met with individual Brothers, the advisory group, the Archbishop of Dublin, the Conference of Religious of Ireland (CORI), the Government and legal experts. The statement was issued on 29th March 1998 and read:

Over the past number of years we have received from some former pupils serious complaints of ill-treatment and abuse by some Christian Brothers in schools and residential centres.

We the Christian Brothers in Ireland wish to express our deep regret to anyone who suffered ill-treatment while in our care. And we say to you who have experienced physical or sexual abuse by a Christian Brother and to you who complained of abuse and were not listened to, we are deeply sorry.

We want to do much more than say we are sorry. As an initial step we have already put in place a range of services to offer a practical response and further services will be provided as the needs become clearer.

6.149The Congregation subsequently received a further 260 complaints which ranged from ‘allegations of a harsh regime or of inadequate schooling to very serious allegations of abuse’. In consultation with the independent advisory group, the leadership teams asked 18 individual Brothers against whom allegations were made and who remained in active Ministry to withdraw from work. Three subsequently returned to work.

6.150The Congregation in 1998 established an independent pastoral service, to respond to the needs of those alleging abuse and to provide practical and financial support to those coming forward, but did not proceed with a mediation and conciliation scheme on the advice of a task force.

6.151Another part of the Brothers’ reaction to the issue was its contribution to the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme. In its statement to the Commission prior to the Emergence Hearings, the Congregation stated that it had wished to make ‘a meaningful contribution’ to the scheme, but this decision was not based on a sense of culpability or negligence but on a pastoral desire to bring healing and closure. Other reasons included:

  • A greater number of former residents would get redress from the scheme than they would through the courts;
  • The experience would be less adversarial and less stressful;
  • The money would go directly to the former residents;
  • It would be faster than the courts; and
  • The scheme would be set up on a statutory basis.

6.152Br Gibson described a change in attitude in the Congregation following the ‘States of Fear’18 television programmes in 1999 and the publication of Suffer the Little Children19 in 2000, when the Brothers became more sceptical and disbelieving of claims of abuse. He said that the Congregation was ‘alerted … to the danger of exaggerated allegations, false claims, and false memory’. It believed that many of the allegations contained in the programme and book were ‘inaccurate and grossly exaggerated’, and the Leadership Teams became concerned that ‘every allegation was being viewed as the absolute truth’. The Congregation also complained that their submissions were not taken into account by the Government in the drafting of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Act, 2000. ‘The Act that was passed failed to provide protection to those who could be wrongfully accused.’

6.153This account of the Brothers’ odyssey on abuse, particularly sexual and physical, traces their journey from shock and dismay at the allegations, through a period of acceptance, which gave way ultimately to scepticism and suspicion, which were the characteristics of the stance taken by the Congregation in the Investigation Committee’s proceedings.

6.154A closer examination of the Brothers’ March 1998 public statement of apology shows that it was not at all apparent what conduct was regretted. The ‘formal apology’, instead of making clear the Congregation’s regret for abuse that had happened in its institutions, gave rise to considerable problems of interpretation and called into question the nature of their attitude to the complaints. Indeed, it was not even clear that the statement could properly be called an apology. It did not expressly acknowledge that abuse had occurred and did not accept any Congregational responsibility for what had taken place in its institutions.

6.155If the Brothers intended this document to have substantial meaning, they should have made it clear that they were apologising for abuse that they believed and accepted had happened. This they notably failed to do. A public apology that required scrutiny to discover whether it actually contained a meaningful expression of regret failed in its purpose.

6.156This first public step that was taken by the Brothers was couched in guarded, conditional and unclear terms, and did not actually acknowledge that Christian Brothers had committed abuse of children in their care or that the Congregation bore any responsibility. This was before ‘States of Fear’ was broadcast in 1999 which was, according to Br Gibson, the catalyst for a more defensive approach by the Congregation.

6.157The statement compared unfavourably with the Australian version, which may have some difficulties of interpretation but which did expressly admit that abuse happened and apologised to victims.

6.158The Australian Brothers also stated that they had conducted their own independent inquiries, which had yielded convincing evidence. If the Irish branch had examined the records and consulted members and former Brothers, it would also have discovered convincing evidence that serious cases of abuse had occurred in the Irish institutions.

Rome Files and documentary evidence

6.159In the Emergence hearings in July 2004, Br Gibson described how files, which came to be known as ‘The Rome Files’, came to the attention of the Leadership Team in Ireland.

6.160In 2003, the Leadership Team took the decision to employ an archivist to look at all the documents in the possession of the Congregation. This archivist was asked to go to Rome to look at the files there that related to the Irish Communities for any references to abuse. He explained that, in the early 1960s, a decision was taken to move the Congregation’s headquarters from Dublin to Rome. The management team brought with them the relevant archives for their own work, and left in Ireland the files and records that dealt with the Christian Brothers in Ireland.

6.161Br Gibson explained:

However, when our archivist went to Rome, she came across their minute books of their Council decisions, the General Council decisions. In those, she came across details of allegations of abuse in the institutions in Ireland that did not exist in our files … Yes, all of these dealt with incidents of child abuse in our institutions between, say, 1930 and when they closed.

6.162Br Gibson outlined the number of allegations recorded in respect of residential schools:

… we came across details of incidents of abuse in our institutions in Ireland. We came across eleven incidents of child abuse in Artane, ten in our day schools, three in Letterfrack, two in Tralee, two in the OBI,20 and two in Glin. Now, what we came across was that there had been information given to the Leadership Team at the time when they occurred. These allegations had been investigated. The investigation included getting the boys to write out what had happened to them and the boys had done that in some cases – well, in one case at the moment we have one incident of that. Then they had at the end of what they called a trial, they had a decision made, and the decision was either to give a Canonical Warning to the person, they were dismissed from the Congregation or they were rejected for the application for vows that year. Now, we wouldn’t have the details of all the allegations, but a lot of material has emerged there which we didn’t know about …

It shows that there were individual cases of abuse. It wasn’t, in a sense, systematic or widespread, but over 30 years in Artane there were eleven cases that had been discovered at the time they had occurred.

6.163Br Gibson went on to state that, in 1990, the Leadership Team in Ireland was not aware of the existence of these files at all. He asserted that it was only when he saw these files that he understood the comments that he saw in the Constitutions and Acts of the Congregation emphasising that a Brother should never be alone with a child. He said:

That makes sense in the light of this discovery of complaints where children were abused in the institutions.

6.164He confirmed that there was no mention of the children in these records:

The focus was on the culpability of the person who did it and I am not sure how much was done for the children who suffered.

6.165The Rome Files were made available to the Committee after the Emergence hearings had been completed. They contained details of applications for dispensations or disciplinary hearings in respect of more than 130 Brothers. At least 40 of these cases referred specifically to improper conduct with boys. In the majority of cases, the actual crime being investigated was not detailed, and phrases such as ‘evidenced unsuitable moral character’ or ‘grave misconduct’ or ‘caused scandal’ were used when recommending a dispensation.

6.166The Rome Files were by no means exhaustive. Brothers who left the Congregation before any allegations came to the attention of the authorities would not appear in the Rome Files.

6.167In addition, the Brothers who left following allegations of abuse did not appear in these files. For example, Mr Brander21 a former Christian Brother, did not feature although he received a Canonical Warning for sexually abusing boys in 1953 and was ultimately dispensed from his vows in the late 1950s.

6.168The Rome Files make it impossible to contend that the issue of abuse and, in particular, sexual abuse of boys was not an urgent and continuing concern to the Congregation. In circumstances where the issue of abuse in institutions had been the object of so much media attention from 1995 onwards, it is surprising that these files were only discovered to the Committee in 2004.

6.169The scale of the problem as revealed in these documents was very serious. When other features of abuse are taken into account, there is reason to believe that the amount of such abuse was substantially greater than is disclosed in these records. First, there was the recidivistic nature of child abuse; secondly, children were frightened and reluctant to speak about it; and thirdly, many adults experienced difficulty in dealing with it.

6.170In light of the investigations that had taken place in other jurisdictions and the evidence contained in their own archives, together with the complaints received, the Leadership Team in this country could be in no doubt that sexual abuse of children in their care had occurred at an unacceptably high level in their institutions.

6.171In the circumstances, although it was legitimate to protest about exaggerated allegations and false claims, which were undoubtedly made in some instances, it was also the case that an attitude of scepticism and distrust of all complaints was unwarranted and unjustified.

The Congregation and the Commission

6.172The Christian Brothers, like every other Congregation coming to the investigation, had to decide what position to adopt on the various issues that arose including:

  • The quality of life generally for the children in its institutions;
  • How it would approach the issue of whether abuse of children took place in the institutions; and
  • How it would conduct itself at the private hearings.

The Christian Brothers on the nature and quality of institutional life

6.173The apologies issued by the Christian Brothers of Australia and Ireland said nothing explicit about the nature and quality of life in their institutions. The evidence of the Irish Christian Brothers to the Investigation Committee helped to clarify their position on this matter.

6.174The Christian Brothers submitted that their schools provided positive experiences for the boys in them and that they offered a generally good standard of care, education and training when considered in the context of the time, having regard to shortages of resources and finance, and lack of training for the Brothers. Br Gibson expressed this in his evidence in Phase I of the Letterfrack hearings. He said:

I think also it is important to remember that we are talking about a time in the 40s, 50s and 60s where now there is a tendency to judge life at that time from the viewpoint of how life is now. What I would be hoping to show is that the Christian Brothers provided a very necessary service to the State in caring for children who themselves were marginalised. The financial support provided by the State will show that it was grossly under funded and that the Brothers had to go to enormous lengths to provide adequately for the needs of the pupils.

I suppose what we are pointing out in fact is that the funding level was very difficult and it meant that literally the Brothers had to provide a quality education and a care of children on funding that was very inadequate.

The emotional impact of residential care, and we will deal with that later on, was not really understood and certainly separation from home and from the family, however bad the home was, and unfortunately some of them were very inadequate, it wasn’t fully understood the impact of that on children separated from their families.

Well, I suppose what I would say is this: Brothers were trained to be teachers. There was no training for residential childcare. There was no State training, there was no State funding … I think the first course in childcare, serious course, was in Kilkenny in 1970 and one of our Brothers went on that course when it started. There wasn’t any form of childcare formation. There were occasional day courses or day seminars in childcare in the 1950s, but other than that there was no proper training available and certainly no funding for it. I would say the Brothers who went to these institutions were chosen specially, a lot of them were of the highest calibre.

6.175This view, that the emotional needs of children and the effects of residential care and separation from family were not really understood, was reiterated in the oral and written submissions made by the religious Communities. Issues raised in these submissions include the lack of any appreciation for the emotional needs of children in care, the inadequate funding from the State, and the lack of childcare training until the 1970s. Each of these is examined in the chapters dealing with individual institutions.

Philosophy of care

6.176The Congregation accepted that a focus on physical care was not sufficient to care for a child fully and properly, but they stressed the prevailing economic and legal climate in which the industrial schools operated as being the reason for this emphasis. In particular, they emphasised the extreme poverty of the country during the relevant period. They contended that there was no awareness anywhere prior to the early 1960s of the need for developmental or emotional care of children. The Closing Submission for Artane quoted one senior member of staff who served in Artane from 1954 to 1969:

I knew absolutely nothing about this, the philosophy of Artane when I was there was a physical care philosophy. Look after the health of the boys, look after their physical education, like by drill and so on. Look after their health and so on. But it was a physical education philosophy. There was no understanding and I had no understanding at the time about any kind of emotional education, psychological education, I had no understanding of that at the time.

6.177In 1927, the Superior General, Br P. J. Hennessy, set out the obligations on Superiors of orphanages, industrial schools and schools for the deaf and dumb:22

Because of their forlorn and afflicted condition, the children of our orphanages, industrial schools and schools for the deaf and dumb are specially dear to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord, and the Brothers who are assigned to labour in these schools may truly feel that they are specially privileged … Superiors and Brothers must hold in respect the inmates of these institutions, manifest sympathy in their lowliness and afflictions, and at all times treat them with consideration and kindness. Severity and sternness would produce ruinous results on the character of these afflicted ones.

The Superior, showing himself as a kind father, should set the standard of conduct to his Brothers in their regard. He should be generous in supplying their temporal needs – abundance of wholesome, well-prepared food of which pure milk should be a large constituent, decent clothing suitable to the season, tender care in their ailments, and kindly provision for their recreation and pastimes. He should, as far as he can, secure for them suitable employment when they must leave the school, and they should know that kindly sympathy in difficulties they may encounter after having left school will be gladly extended to them by Superiors and Brothers.

6.178The circular went on to recommend that the Superior should address the boys once a week and give guidance on the importance of cleanliness, truthfulness and honesty, and should impress upon them the meaning of ‘moral courage’ and the ‘love of truth’.

6.179Although the words ‘emotional care’ were not used, the obligation of love, respect and consideration for their vulnerability outlined by Br Hennessy encompassed much of what would now be regarded as ‘emotional care’. In advocating that the Superior ‘should set the standard of conduct to his Brothers’ by being ‘a kind father’, it is clear that the idea was to nurture children through love, kindness and good example, and not just through punishment for infringement of rules.

6.180The contention in the Opening Submission for Artane was that emotional needs were not considered at all in the caring of children, because such needs were not recognised in society as a whole. It was clear, however, from the Cussen Report which was published in 1936, and even from earlier Department of Education23 Annual Reports dating back to 1926, that the vulnerability of children who were removed from their parents and placed in care was recognised and understood well before the 1940s. These reports advocated the requirement for something more than mere physical care.

6.181The 1926 Department of Education Report stated:

When children have to depend entirely on a school for what their homes should give them, much more than efficient instruction and material comfort is of importance, and it will be obvious that, apart from arrangements for education and physical wants, there is good reason to avoid any exaction of a hard and fast uniformity in other phases of school activity and to encourage whatever may relieve the institutional features of such schools.24

6.182This Report went on to state:

Interwoven with all activities of the schools is the moral training of the pupils, each child’s circumstances having to be taken into account – physique, intelligence, habits, recreations, surroundings and the effect of home influences before and after the school period being recognised as factors in the formation of character. Individual tendencies are noted, and, together with character developments, are briefly recorded to enable responsible members of the staffs to draw out the best qualities and to overcome the weaknesses of their pupils as well as to aid managers in making prudent decisions for disposal on discharge.

6.183In 1936 the Cussen Report stated at paragraph 69:

It must be borne in mind that the children committed to these schools have been deprived of parental control, where such control existed, and that, in many cases they are children requiring special study and care. It is, therefore obvious, that the person in whose charge they have been placed should be carefully selected for the work which, because of its difficult and peculiar nature, demands qualifications and gifts that might not be considered indispensable in ordinary schools.

6.184The Congregation correctly pointed out that an emphasis on physical care was echoed in the Department of Education inspections. The inspection reports dealt with material and physical aspects of the care of the children with little mention of their emotional well-being. Emotional well-being could have been assessed by talking to the children and the Department Inspectors did not generally do this.

6.185The Christian Brothers stated that the failure of the Department to address this aspect of the work being carried out ‘… gives an indication of how even at that time, the Department viewed the purpose and function of industrial schools’.

6.186The Department of Education’s Annual Report for 1924–1925 set out its function:

These schools came under the control of the Department of Education on 1st June 1924. The function of the Department is to certify that the schools are fit for the reception of the young persons and children committed to them. This is carried out by inspection and while the Certificate is in force, State contributions in the form of Capitation Grants are made towards the maintenance of the inmates.25

6.187The Report went on to state:

In Saorstát Éireann all Reformatory and Industrial Schools are conducted by voluntary managers, who own the Schools and are responsible for the upkeep of the buildings, the appointment of the staff, the expenditure of the funds and all details of the school management.

6.188The Department did not assert control over the daily management of the schools or the way in which care was provided. The Department was at fault because it failed to supervise the institutions to ensure that the emotional needs of the children, which it had recognised from 1925, were being met. That did not exempt the Congregation from responsibility for its own failure in this regard. Moreover, the Christian Brothers had been educating children and managing industrial schools since the preceding century and were therefore, in a position to identify the failings of the system and to address them.

All these fuckers should be put in this Judas Chair and tortured

The Christian Brothers’ position on whether abuse occurred in their schools

Physical abuse

6.189Br Reynolds gave evidence in public to the Investigation Committee on 15th September 2005 regarding Artane. He prefaced his evidence with his general view that the picture presented of Artane from the late 1980s through media coverage and publicity was largely negative and seriously unbalanced. He stressed the need for balance because, ‘the Congregation’s position is that Artane in the whole and in the round was a very positive institution’.

6.190This was a position adopted in the Submissions in respect of the four Christian Brothers’ schools examined in detail by the Committee.

6.191The basic stance that their institutions were not abusive and provided a positive experience for the boys led Br Reynolds to be sceptical of evidence to the contrary. As far as the Congregation were concerned, when something was documented it was more likely to make some concessions but not otherwise. An example of this was when he was asked about boys being punished for bed-wetting. Even though individual Brothers had conceded that this occurred and many ex-residents had testified about their experience, he was unable to accept that punishment for bed-wetting was a feature of life in industrial schools: ‘Yes, they may have happened in instances, and all I am saying is I haven’t any documentary evidence’.

6.192Evidence from Brothers and ex-Brothers was regarded as potentially fallible unless backed up by documentation. For this reason, in preparing their Submissions, the Congregation stated that they took no account of the statements of complaints made by former pupils. They confined themselves for this exercise to the archive material. He accepted that they had cross-checked documented evidence with people in the Congregation as a separate exercise, but these results did not form part of the public statement, and were a matter for private hearings. He was challenged about the limited picture that the 11 instances documented in their records for Artane gave of the situation, and his response was that he depended only on what he could find in the documentation and these were presented to the Commission, and thereafter it was up to the Committee to decide.

6.193On the issue of corporal punishment, the Christian Brothers submitted that the industrial schools were no different from other schools in that they all accepted the use of corporal punishment.

How about we shove red hot coal filled Pope’s Pears up these fuckers assholes and see how they like it?

Rules and regulations governing corporal punishment

6.194The official rules and regulations governing corporal punishment are set out above. For the convenience of the reader they are repeated in this section. There were two sets of rules for the use of corporal punishment, one consisting of the rules and regulations produced by the Department of Education,26 and the other was set down by the Congregation.

6.195The 1933 Department of Education Rules and Regulations for Certified Industrial Schools were aimed at reducing corporal punishment to a minimum and to controlling as far as possible such punishments as were inflicted. Regulation 13 stated:

Punishment shall consist of:—

  1. Forfeiture of rewards and privileges, or degradation from rank, previously attained by good conduct.
  2. Moderate childish punishment with the hand.
  3. Chastisement with the cane, strap or birch.

Referring to (c) personal chastisement may be inflicted by the Manager, or, in his presence, by an Officer specially authorised by him, and in no case may it be inflicted on girls over 15 years of age. In the case of girls under 15, it shall not be inflicted except in cases of urgent necessity, each of which must be at once fully reported to the Inspector. Caning on the hand is forbidden.

No punishment not mentioned above shall be inflicted.

6.196This regulation was prefaced by a clause which counselled caution in its use. It said:

The Manager or his Deputy shall be authorised to punish the Children detained in the School in case of misconduct. All serious misconduct, and the Punishments inflicted for it, shall be entered in a book to be kept for that purpose, which shall be laid before the Inspector when he visits. The Manager must, however, remember that the more closely the school is modelled on a principle of judicious family government the more salutary shall be its discipline, and the fewer occasions will arise for resort to punishment.27

6.197The 1946 Rules and Regulations for National Schools applied to the education28 provision within the industrial and reformatory schools.

Instruction in regard to the infliction of Corporal Punishment in National Schools

96.(1)Corporal Punishment should be administered only for grave transgression. In no circumstances should corporal punishment be administered for mere failure at lessons.

(2)Only the principal teacher, or such other member of the staff as may be duly authorised by the manager for the purpose, should inflict corporal punishment.

(3)Only a light cane or rod may be used for the purpose of corporal punishment which should be inflicted only on the open hand. The boxing of children’s ears, the pulling of their hair or similar ill-treatment is absolutely forbidden and will be visited with severe penalties.

(4)No teacher should carry about a cane or other instrument of punishment.

(5)Frequent recourse to corporal punishment will be considered by the Minister as indicating bad tone and ineffective discipline.

6.198This rule did not permit the use of the leather strap in the classroom.

6.199In November, 1946 a circular Cir. 11/46 prepared by Michael Ó Síochfhrada, the Department Inspector, gave more detailed guidelines. The title of the circular was ‘Discipline and Punishment in Certified Schools’. It impressed upon Resident Managers their ‘personal responsibility to ensure that official regulations’ on matters of discipline and punishment were ‘faithfully observed by all members of the staffs of their schools’. The circular stated corporal punishment should only be used as a last resort where other forms of punishment had been unsuccessful as a means of correction.

6.200The Circular went on to stipulate:

  • Corporal punishment should be administered for very grave transgressions and in no circumstances for mere failure at school lessons or industrial training.
  • Corporal punishment should in future be confined to the form usually employed in schools, viz., slapping on the open palm with a light cane or strap.
  • This punishment should only be inflicted by the Resident Manager or by a member of the school staff specially authorised by him for the purpose.
  • Any form of corporal punishment which tends to humiliate a child or expose the child to ridicule before the other children is also forbidden. Such forms of punishment would include special clothing, cutting off a girl’s hair and exceptional treatment at meals.

6.201The Circular attempted to marry the provisions of the 1933 Rules and Regulations for Certified Schools with the new 1946 Rules and Regulations for National Schools. In so doing a certain amount of ambiguity arose with regard to the use of a leather strap in the classroom which was clearly not permitted in the classroom by the 1946 Rules and Regulations.

6.202In December 1946 Cir.15/46 prepared by Michael Breathnach, Secretary of the Department of Education and entitled ‘Circular to Managers and Teachers in regard to the infliction of Corporal Punishment in National Schools was sent to all national schools’. It appears from this document that two additions were made to Section (1) and (3) which did not appear when the original 1946 rules and regulations were circulated to the schools:

96.(1) Corporal Punishment should be administered only for grave transgression. In no circumstances should corporal punishment be administered for mere failure at lessons.

(3) Only a light cane or rod may be used for the purpose of corporal punishment which should be inflicted only on the open hand. The boxing of children’s ears, the pulling of their hair or similar ill-treatment is absolutely forbidden and will be visited with severe penalties.

6.203The circular did not authorise the use of a leather strap as an implement of punishment in national schools.

6.204In 1956 a further circular from the Department of Education Cir. 17/56 entitled ‘Circular to managers and teachers of national schools in regard to corporal punishment’ was issued. This circular was in response to publicity which had been given to the matter of corporal punishment in national schools and was issued to re-affirm the Department’s policy with regard to corporal punishment and to give guidance to those ‘who may be disposed to contravene Rule 96 of the Code’. The Department stated:

In re-issuing that rule, set out hereunder, opportunity is being taken to announce an amendment printed in italics, of Section (3).

6.205The full rule 96 was then set out with the amendment to Section (3) was as follows:

(3) Only a light cane, rod or leather strap may be used for the purpose of corporal punishment which should be inflicted only on the open hand. The boxing of children’s ears, the pulling of their hair or similar ill-treatment is absolutely forbidden and will be visited with severe penalties.

6.206This amendment is significant in that it authorised at an official level the use of the leather strap into national schools after a ten year gap. The evidence of the Investigation Committee would indicate that the leather strap was used in Christian Brother schools throughout this period.

6.207The Christian Brothers had their own rules and regulations in their Acts of Chapter and circular letters and, from the earliest days of that organisation, minimal use of corporal punishment was advocated. In the regulations made at the annual meetings of the Managers between 1881 and 1906, the position was clearly stated:

8. No instrument of punishment is to be allowed in the institution except the strap of leather. No boy shall be punished therewith on any part of the body save on the palm of the hand.

10. Extraordinary punishments are to be inflicted by the Manager only, or by some one specially appointed by him, and in his presence.

6.208The dangers of excessive or abusive physical punishment were well understood by the Congregation. In 1900 the Superior General, Br Moylan, wrote on the topic of corporal punishment in his first circular letter:

Though the Rule (Const 180, Acts of Chapter 65; D and R Chap L.1) contains definite instructions relative to the use of Corporal Punishment in our School, the Chapter desired I should refer to it in this Circular. Indeed, there are few matters I wish to urge with greater insistence upon the attention of the Brothers and especially of the young Brothers, than the evil done by the use of injudicious punishment when correcting faults of their pupils.

Corporal punishment is always degrading, and is more or less so according to the nature of the corrective used. Apart from the physical pain endured, the child’s nature shrinks from the shame which its infliction inspires; the boy’s incipient manhood revolts against it. Given in excess or when undeserved, it does harm which runs through a whole lifetime; it is never forgotten and sometimes never forgiven. The remembrance of such punishment sinks into the retentive memory of childhood, and there remains in clear outline and with every aggravating detail, when even the wrongs of after years have been well nigh forgotten.

Corporal punishment should be resorted to only when every other means of correction has failed. In some instances it should not be employed at all, as it serves only to render the delinquent more obdurate, and to hurry him more rapidly along the evil course from which it was intended to turn him aside.

6.209Br Moylan continued with an uncompromising indictment of unfair or excessive punishment that echoed through the century that followed and has immediate resonance with the work that was undertaken by the Commission:

He does far worse who punishes when punishment is not deserved, or exceeds what the child’s own consciousness of justice tells him should not be overstepped. Such chastisement is brooded over and resented as a wrong which, perhaps, even years of kindness may not entirely obliterate. Sometimes it does incalculable injury. Long after it is recalled with bitterness, and associated unhappily not merely with the teacher who inflicted it, but with religion itself.

6.210Br Moylan’s words were not generally adhered to, as was clear from the circular written by his successor, Br Whitty, in 1906:

At the General Chapter of 1900, Acts were framed to lessen the amount of corporal punishment in the schools. Conditions were prescribed for the use of it; and various restrictions imposed to prevent its abuse. In many schools, and even in many establishments, these regulations faithfully were carried out, in the proper spirit, and with the best results. In other schools – the minority truly, but still, I regret to say, too large minority – it was not so. In these schools much of the old spirit continued to prevail. The restrictions, laid down by the Chapter, were either ignored, or but half observed, and even that grudgingly. The Brothers in these schools set up a standard to suit their own ideas of what was, and what was not, legitimate punishment in given cases. These Brothers also decided for themselves the proper times and occasions for administering corporal punishment-and not in accordance with Rule. This course of action was very improper, very censurable and could not have the blessing of God.

6.211Br Whitty went on to recount the consequences of such behaviour as including discontent in the classrooms and even petitions from parents calling for the removal of Brothers.

6.212He concluded with a strong exhortation to his members to restrict corporal punishment ‘within the narrowest limits’:

The Brothers generally would do well to bear in mind that the growing spirit of the times is opposed to corporal punishment in the schools. The tendency is to abolish it. In some countries it is positively forbidden, and illegal, for the teacher to punish a child for any cause. He must find other and more rational methods of dealing with him. Other countries are much ahead of Ireland in this respect; but even in Ireland the same tendency is manifesting itself – to restrict corporal punishment in schools within the narrowest limits. It would not be to the credit of the Brothers, as educators, to be found at the rear of this movement when they should rather lead the way.

6.213The 1920 Chapter was even more specific. It set down guidelines for corporal punishment which included the advice that it should not be administered within one hour of starting or finishing school and that numbers of boys should not be punished at the same time. It stated that:

the strap … shall not exceed 13 inches in length; 1¼ in width and ¼ inch in thickness; in junior schools the strap is to be of smaller dimensions … No child shall be punished on any part of the body save on the palm of the hand.

6.214The rules were revised in 1930 and stated:

It must be the aim of every Brother to reduce corporal punishment to the minimum. Frequent recourse to corporal punishment indicates a bad tone and ineffectual discipline …

Corporal punishment should be administered only for grave transgressions – never for failure in lessons.

The principal teacher only, or a Brother delegated by a Superior, shall inflict the corporal punishment. An interval of at least ten minutes should elapse between the offence and the punishment.

Only the approved leather strap may be used for the purpose of inflicting the corporal punishment. The strap is to be left on the master’s desk except when in actual use.

The boxing of children’s ears, the pulling of their hair and similar ill treatment are absolutely forbidden.

The particulars required by the headings in the corporal punishment book should be entered in that book before the infliction of the punishment.

6.215Residential institutions were specifically brought within these Acts of Chapter relating to corporal punishment, which were the rules applying to Christian Brothers throughout the period relevant to this inquiry.

6.216The prohibition on striking a child on any part of his body other than the palm of the hands, which was reiterated in the 1910 and 1920 Chapter, was omitted in the 1930 rules and did not appear again in any of the rules set down by the General Chapters until 1966.

6.217As long as corporal punishment was tolerated, the possibility of abuse existed and this was recognised by Br Noonan, Superior General, in 1930:

The opinion amongst educators that corporal punishment should be altogether abolished in schools is hardening. While admitting its decline in our schools, the Committee felt, and the Higher Superiors are aware, that abuses have arisen; and they will recur, I fear, as long as our regulations give any authority for the infliction of corporal punishment. Let us aim at its complete abolition in our schools and anticipate legislation which would make its infliction illegal.

6.218The 1930 rules were adopted verbatim in 1947 and in the 1960s, and circulars were sent to all institutions requesting moderation and decorum in the use of the strap. In 1966, for example, the Acts of General Chapter stated:

It must be the aim of every Brother to reduce corporal punishment to a minimum. It should be administered for serious transgressions only – never for mere failure in lessons. Only the approved leather strap may be used for the purpose of inflicting corporal punishment. Not more than two strokes on the palm of the hand are to be administered on any occasion. The strap is to be left in the Master’s desk except when in actual use. The Department’s regulations should be borne in mind.

6.219This was the first time that Government regulations were referred to, but the recommendation was that they should be borne in mind rather than adhered to as a legal obligation. This was addressed in 1968 when the Acts of Chapter stated:

Government regulations must be observed in the administration of corporal punishment and it must be the aim of each Brother to reduce it to a minimum.

6.220Abolition of corporal punishment did not occur in Irish schools until 1st February 1982, when a Department of Education circular stated that any teacher who used corporal punishment was now to be ‘regarded as guilty of conduct unbefitting a teacher’ and would be subject to ‘severe disciplinary action’.

6.221Although this circular could have provided grounds for a civil action against a teacher who acted in breach of it, it was not until 199729 that physical punishment by a teacher became a criminal offence.

6.222For over 100 years the Acts of Chapter recommended that corporal punishment should be minimised and ultimately abolished. It is inexplicable, therefore, that Brothers who were in serious breach of the Congregation’s own rules were tolerated and protected by the Congregation. Complaints by parents or lay-persons were discounted, even when these complaints reached the Provincial Leaders, notwithstanding the clear understanding the Congregation had of the danger posed by abuse of this rule.

6.223As already cited a submission made by the Christian Brothers and other Congregations on the subject of corporal punishment and physical abuse is that the historical context is essential to any investigation, and particularly the fact that such punishment was permissible and widespread in schools and homes at the relevant time. The chapters that follow recount details of corporal punishment which by any standards, at any time, amounted to physical abuse.

Arm the children so that any time a perverted priest of the RCC touches them? They get their fucking heads blown off and sent straight to hell.

Punishment book

6.224Under the 1933 Rules and Regulations for Certified Industrial Schools, all such schools were required to keep a punishment book in which all serious punishments were to be recorded.

6.225There was no evidence that the Christian Brothers kept such a book in any of their residential schools during the relevant period. To require exclusive reliance on records and documentation was a difficult position to justify, because the Brothers themselves failed to keep the records that were required by law, and which were intended to allow external inspectors to see that regulations were being complied with.

6.226However, such documents that do exist are an important source of information. In the chapters on each individual institution that follow, a detailed examination of the records precedes the oral evidence heard by the Committee in the hearings.

We need to behead these motherfuckers, put their heads on pikes in front of churches as a warning of what will happen to them should they ever touch another child wrong.

Sexual abuse

6.227The Congregation’s approach to allegations of sexual abuse of pupils was broadly similar for all its schools. It was set out by Br Michael Reynolds in a representative capacity in September 2005 and may be summarised as follows:

  • The Congregation accept that there were instances when members of the Congregation and members of staff engaged in the sexual abuse of boys while in their care.
  • That such instances took place is a matter of great regret to the Congregation.
  • That there was no systemic sexual abuse of boys in their institutions.
  • Brothers who did sexually abuse boys betrayed the trust given them and thereby caused pain to the great number of Brothers who honoured this trust and devoted themselves to the education and welfare of the boys in their care.

6.228It is stated in the Congregation’s Artane Opening Statement that:

  • The Congregation endeavoured to ensure the safety of the children in its care, whether in day schools or in residential institutions.
  • Brothers, during their training as teachers, were not given specific instruction in child protection, and such instruction is relatively new in the training of teachers and others involved in the education and care of youth.
  • The issue of sexual abuse was seen as a moral one where such abuse was seen as a grave moral failing. It was the cause of scandal and a moral danger both to the child and to the abuser.
  • Long-term psychological damage caused by sexual abuse was not understood by society at the time.
  • The recidivist nature of child sexual abuse was, likewise, not understood by society at that time.
  • The response of the Congregation to instances of sexual abuse was conditioned by this inadequate understanding of the issue.
  • Procedures were in place for dealing with abuse, but they were of their time and were therefore very inadequate by current standards.

6.229The Congregation’s statement describes how Brothers guilty of child sexual abuse were dealt with:

  • A Brother not yet a finally professed member of the Congregation was usually dismissed.
  • A finally professed Brother was summoned to the Provincialate and either given a formal Canonical Warning or dismissed.
  • A repeat offender was dismissed.

6.230The source material referred to and analysed by the Congregation in making its submission was identified as contemporaneous documentation extracted from the Provincial Archives of the Christian Brothers in Ireland and the General Archives of the Christian Brothers in Rome. As in the case of its submission in relation to corporal punishment, the Congregation does not in this submission place reliance on other possible sources of information such as the recollections and accounts of those who lived and worked in the institutions during the relevant period, nor on the accounts contained in the statements of complainants furnished to the Commission.

6.231The documents extracted from the Christian Brothers archives in Rome were not comprehensive; in most cases, they did not contain statements of the evidence; they sometimes referred to the offence under scrutiny in oblique terms and they referred only to those cases where the allegation against the Brother was considered well founded.

6.232Having analysed the documented cases, the Congregation concluded that the approach to sexual abuse was that it was seen as a moral issue. Such abuse was seen as a grave moral failing on a number of grounds:

  • It was morally wrong, sinful in itself.
  • It was a cause of serious scandal to and endangered the morals of the child.
  • It damaged the reputation of the individual offender, the institution and the Congregation.

6.233Its analysis of these cases also leads the Congregation to comment that there was no adequate understanding either of the emotional impact which sexual abuse caused the child or of the recidivistic nature of the abuser. The Congregation agreed with a suggestion by counsel for the Commission that the fact that the abuse was a crime should have been added to this list.

6.234It was submitted by the Congregation that, while the approach to instances of sexual abuse of children was very inadequate by present-day standards, the manner in which the Congregation did respond was characterised as follows:

  • There was no cover up of the issue.
  • When personnel became aware of the issue they reported it to the Congregation authorities.
  • Structures in place made it possible for boys to bring such issues to the attention of the Resident Manager or other personnel, and this in fact happened.
  • The Congregation removed the abusers from the institution and in most cases from the Congregation.
  • The Congregation Visitor was attentive to the dangers of sex abuse.
  • Guidelines and recommendations were issued to assist with child protection.

6.235In its investigations into individual schools, the Committee found that the Congregation’s response to sexual abuse fell short of the measures outlined above.

6.236After the conclusion of the evidence given in Phases I, II and III hearings, the Congregation furnished written submissions setting out its position in relation to various aspects of the evidence heard by the Investigation Committee.

6.237In essence, the submissions made by the Christian Brothers at this stage in relation to allegations of abuse were that the quality and reliability of the evidence given by complainants during the Phase II hearings had been undermined owing to a broad range of significant factors. The effect of these undermining factors was to render much of the evidence (particularly in respect of sexual abuse) implausible, inconsistent, contradictory, and therefore unreliable.

Any pedophile priest of this cult touches a kid? Rapes a kid? Should have their fucking junk eaten off by the Rat Torture. Put the rat on their junk, cover it with the cage, put a bowl of hot coals on top and let the rat eat their junk.

Assessment of evidence

6.238The Congregation emphasised in its submissions the impact that publicity and lobby groups had on the reliability of evidence about abuse. It also outlined concerns regarding the Statute of Limitations (Amendment) Act, 2000 which, it submitted, affected the reliability of allegations of sexual abuse.

6.239Many witnesses were questioned closely by counsel for the Christian Brothers about their association with lobby and support groups. There was a clear implication by the Congregation that active association with a lobby group was indicative of a lack of objectivity on the part of the witness.

6.240The Committee recognised there were grounds for concern that some complainant witnesses had been influenced by events at meetings. For example, lists of names of Brothers who were present in the institutions were distributed at some meetings so that ex-residents would be able to name abusers. Issues such as this diminished the credibility and reliability of the testimony of some witnesses.

6.241The Christian Brothers were able to cross-examine all the complainants who came forward, and the issue of collusion was fully explored by their counsel. Evidence of some witnesses was discounted by the Committee where these issues arose.

6.242The Statute of Limitations (Amendment) Act, 2000 was also cited by the Congregation as a significant factor, in that it granted extension of time for bringing claims for damages in respect of sexual abuse in circumstances that did not apply to other forms of abuse including physical abuse. One of the conditions for getting an extension was making a complaint to the Gardaí.

6.243In their final Submission for Artane, the Christian Brothers stated:

it is likely that complainants were aware of the possibility of this requirement being incorporated into the pending legislation. Indeed … many complainants went to the Gardai at the suggestion of their legal advisors.

6.244The Submission went on to state:

A substantial number of the other allegations of sexual abuse which were made to the Commission (including allegations where the complainant ultimately chose not to give evidence) were first made to the Gardai around 1999/2000 also and it is not unreasonable to infer that some of these complainants may have been influenced by the prevailing perception as to what they would have to allege so as to be eligible to make a claim for compensation.

6.245Matters affecting weight and transparency of evidence were not confined to complainants. On the respondent side, some members and ex-members of the Congregation were reluctant to speak openly and frankly about their memories of the industrial schools in which they worked. They were reluctant to criticise the Congregation or their colleagues, and the defensive attitude which was adopted by the Congregation in its Opening Statement was mirrored by some of the respondent witnesses.

6.246These and other considerations were relevant in assessment of evidence, but the occasions of determining facts that were merely asserted on one side and denied on the other, with no accompaniment of documentary or circumstantial material or corroboration, were greatly reduced by the Committee’s method of investigation.

Impact of allegations on respondents

6.247The Committee was satisfied that some allegations of abuse were false. A small number were not the result of contamination or exaggeration but were deliberately manufactured for the purposes of compensation or to cause maximum damage to the Christian Brothers.

6.248Respondents spoke to the Committee about the impact that allegations of sexual abuse had on their lives.

6.249One Brother had an allegation of sexual abuse made against him which was never pursued by the complainant. This Brother had come in to the Investigation Committee to answer this charge, but was not given an opportunity to do so because of the failure of the complainant to attend, and expressed his distress at having the allegation hang over him for four and a half years.

6.250Another Brother described an allegation of sexual abuse that was made against him as ‘hurtful’. He went on to say that there had never been an allegation against him in all of the subsequent 40 years that he had been a teacher. ‘Yes, I feel deeply hurt that these allegations come from a period in my life where I literally cared for the uncared for’.

6.251After two years, a decision was made by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) that no prosecutions would take place. He spoke of the impact the allegations had:

This has had impact not alone on me … But it has impacted on me and my family. It has impacted also on a true and loyal staff, that any one of those could find themselves where I am today. This has got to be stopped. How I don’t know, but it will have to be halted.

6.252This man was reinstated to his teaching position shortly after the DPP’s decision, when the Board of Management of his school declared itself satisfied, after an investigation, that this be done.

6.253Another Brother described the experience of being accused of wrong-doing in 1997, some 40 years after he had left the Institution:

It was eight years of torture and disappointing because I felt I had dedicated myself when I was in Artane to the people there and done great work and I was the same in every school I was in and this was a horrible way to finish my career.

6.254This former Brother was in his mid-60s when these allegations were put to him. He was married with two children. Eventually, some seven years after the initial interrogation, the DPP made a decision not to prosecute.

6.255Allegations of sexual abuse are difficult to verify. Length of time and the inherent secrecy of the act make it hard for complainants to prove their case, even on the ‘balance of probabilities’. To prove such a case beyond reasonable doubt, as is required by the criminal law, is even more difficult. In the same way as it is difficult to prove abuse, so it is also difficult to prove that abuse did not occur.

6.256In one case before the Committee a Brother was reinstated on the strength of a DPP decision. Counsel for the Congregation stated that there was ‘an infrastructure put in place … to determine what is the correct thing to do’.

6.257In subsequent correspondence with the Investigation Committee, it emerged that no such procedures had been followed in this case and that the decision had been taken by the Provincial Leadership Team. The decision was based on the fact that the only allegations against this man were from the two years he had spent in Artane and that the Leadership Team ‘were satisfied that they had no concerns that Br Romain30 posed any childcare dangers to children or pupils under his stewardship’.

6.258The Congregation stated that they were guided in this case by the 1987 Regulations and by the Irish Bishops Advisory Committee which issued ‘A Framework for a Church Response’ (Green Book 1996) ‘which was being adhered to by the Congregation’. In fact, the Green Book set out a detailed procedure for dealing with allegations of child sexual abuse and these do not appear to have been applied in this case.

6.259It is in the interests of both genuine complainants and accused that allegations be investigated expeditiously and in an independent and transparent manner.

The private hearings – Phase II

6.260At the private hearings the Congregation of the Christian Brothers was usually represented by senior and junior counsel, who were attended by the firm of Maxwells, Solicitors. At least one senior member of the Congregation, and on most occasions more than one, was present on each day of the hearings and heard all the testimony of both respondents and complainants. Individual respondents were represented by either senior or junior counsel or by both. They, too, had their own solicitor in attendance. Complainants were represented for the most part by senior counsel. Solicitors for the complainants were also present. Some members of the Investigation Committee legal team was present throughout.

6.261The Congregation provided their own responses to all the complainant statements. Most were signed by former members of staff and they generally took the form of a blanket denial of the allegations.

6.262There were several problems with these response statements:

  • Some of the statements were signed by Brothers who were not in the School at the time. The fact that they had signed the document gave the impression that they were in a position to affirm the facts asserted in statements, but in reality they were in no position to do so.
  • Brothers who signed the statements gave evidence to the Committee that contradicted the facts asserted in the response statements.
  • Some statements simply omitted relevant facts, while at the same time making assertions that were known to be incorrect or misleading.

6.263The Christian Brothers began making their response statements using a policy of denying that a Brother was ever in the institution when a complainant had got a name even slightly wrong, or had used a Christian name or a nickname rather than the Brother’s surname.

6.264Counsel explained the reason for this approach as follows:

I understand that in the early statements instructions were given that the Brothers were known only by their surnames. We now know after only a few days it was a mixed bag.

6.265In circumstances where the individual respondent either admitted abusing the complainant, or elected to ask no questions, the Congregation was still entitled to cross-examine the witness, and in most cases it availed itself of this opportunity.

6.266The records provided by the Congregation, whilst limited and incomplete in some respects, were more extensive and detailed than the materials in the archives of other Congregations, and contributed significantly to the overall picture of these institutions. The structure of the chapters on the institutions, proceeding from documented cases of abuse to the uncorroborated evidence, reflects this approach. The documented cases were examined for behaviour described and for the way the cases were managed. This illuminated attitudes the Congregation had at the time to Brothers who broke the rules.

6.267The documents originally discovered to the Committee were added to on several occasions. A public hearing on discovery issues, arising out of the investigation of Carriglea Industrial School, took place in November 2006 after prolonged correspondence failed to produce requested material. The Congregation supplied this additional material subsequent to that hearing, which included recordings and notes of interviews with Brothers about their experiences in industrial schools. A further substantial body of documentary evidence was furnished in March 2007, when the Congregation’s solicitors notified the Committee that it had decided to waive its claim to withhold documents from discovery on the grounds of privilege.

6.268The contemporary records of the Congregation, and in particular their Visitation Reports, allowed an in-depth investigation of the industrial schools under their control, and this was helpful to the work of the Committee.

1 The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, commonly known as the Pope.

2 B. Coldrey, Faith and Fatherland. The Christian Brothers and the Development of Nationalism, 1838–1921 (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1988), p 22.

3 There are currently 122 schools in the Christian Brother network in Ireland, according to the Marino Institute of Education website.

4 Constitutions (1923).

5 The general assembly of representatives from the Congregation of the Christian Brothers.

6 Commission of Inquiry into the Reformatory and Industrial School System Report, 1936 (the Cussen Report) (Dublin: Stationery Office).

7 A Visitor was a Congregational Inspector who reported back to the leadership of the Congregation. See Supervision/Visitations below.

8 An association where the main object is the well-being and improvement of a different group of persons, such as men, women and children, or more specially, priests, youths, church helpers, prisoners, immigrants, nurses, married people, couples, etc.

9 Cn 653.

10 You shall not commit adultery.

11 You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife.

12 Congregation of the Christian Brothers 1962, Chapter VIII ‘Chastity’, p 23 section 81.

13 Const 8 of the 1923 Constitutions.

14 Const 97 of the 1923 Constitutions.

15 Congregation of the Christian Brothers 1962, Chapter XIII ‘Mortifications & Humilitations’, p 30 section 128.

16 The Cussen Report 1936 – Commission of Inquiry into the Reformatory and Industrial School System, para 74.

17 This is a pseudonym.

18 There were three programmes broadcast by RTE in 1999 in the ‘States of Fear’ series: ‘Industrial Schools and Reformatories from the 1940s-1980s’, ‘The Legacy of Industrial Schools’, and ‘Sick and Disabled Children in Institutions’.

19 Suffer the Little Children, by Mary Raftery and Eoin O’Sullivan, 1999, New Island.

20 O’Brien Institute.

21 This is a pseudonym.

22 P394 Circular Letters 1821–1930

23 Department of Education Annual Report 1925/1926.

24 Report of the Department of Education for the School Years 1925–26–27 and the Financial and Administrative Year 1926–1927, p 83.

25 Report of the Department of Education for the School Year 1924–1925 and the Financial and Administrative Years 1924–25–26, p 84.

26 Rules and Regulations for the Certified Industrial Schools in Saorstát Éireann Approved by the Minister of Education under the 54th Section of the Act, 8 Edw VII., Ch 67, clauses 12 and 13 (see DES chapter).

27 Rules and Regulations for the Certified Industrial Schools in Saorstát Éireann Approved by the Minister of Education under the Children Act, 1908.

28 The Department submit this wording ‘education provision’ in other words the internal national school.

29 Section 24 of The Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 provided:
the rule of law under which teachers are immune from criminal liability in respect of physical chastisement of pupils is hereby abolished.
With the removal of this immunity, teachers are now subject to section 2(1) of the 1997 Act which provides that:
a person shall be guilty of the offence of assault, who without lawful excuse, intentionally or recklessly, directly or indirectly applies force to and causes an impact on the body of another.Teachers who physically chastise pupils may now be guilty of an offence and liable to 12 months’ imprisonment and/or a fine of £1,500.

30 This is a pseudonym.

The ONLY good Roman Catholic pedophile or pedophile pimp is a fucking dead one

Ireland’s Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Report Volume One Part One Chapters 1-5

Here Atheist Militants Rising shares the five volumes of the Ireland’s Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse reports. Each volume are huge so I am also going to break them down to more managable sections.

This section desribes the commission, it’s purposes and gives us who the major scumbags were who harmed children and some of the victims organizations exposing this and seeking justice for the victims


It has been a privilege to serve on the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. The Chairperson and Commissioners acknowledge the trust witnesses placed in them and are acutely aware of the responsibility of reporting on these events that still affect the lives of so many people. The dignity, courage and fortitude of witnesses who endeavoured to recall events that happened many years ago was impressive and the Commission wishes to express its gratitude to all those who participated in its work.

There were two types of inquiry, one drawing on contested evidence (Investigation Committee) and the other on uncontested evidence (Confidential Committee), which reported to the Commission. Between them the Commission received the evidence of over 1,500 witnesses who attended or were resident as children in schools and care facilities in the State, particularly industrial and reformatory schools.

The system of industrial and reformatory schools belongs to a different era. However, many of the lessons to be learned from what happened have contemporary application for the protection of children and vulnerable people in our society. The Commission hopes that this Report will give rise to debate, reflection and action regarding the needs and rights of all children and persons in need of care.

Ms Justice Mary Laffoy was Chairperson of the Commission in its formative period until January 2004, when Mr Justice Sean Ryan succeeded as Chairperson. She established the legal framework and the structures for the work to be undertaken. The Chairperson and Commissioners are grateful to Ms Justice Laffoy, former Commissioners and their legal and administrative teams.

The Investigation Committee Report was the responsibility of:
Mr Justice Sean Ryan, Judge of the High Court (Chairperson)
Mr Fred Lowe, Clinical Psychologist (Commissioner)
Ms Marian Shanley, Solicitor (Commissioner).

The Confidential Committee Report was the responsibility of:
Ms Anne McLoughlin, Social Worker (Chairperson)
Ms Mary Fennessy, Social Worker (Commissioner)
Ms Norah Gibbons, Social Worker (Commissioner), resigned as Chairperson of the Confidential Committee in 2005 and continued to assist the Commission on a part-time basis.

The Solicitors to the Commission were Ms Feena Robinson and Ms Elisa McHugh, whose professional expertise was central to the running of the Commission.

The Secretary to the Commission was Ms Brenda McVeigh who, with her team of administrative, secretarial and support staff, provided a service which was essential to the efficient working of the Commission.

Counsel to the Investigation Committee provided invaluable assistance and included at different stages Mr Frank Clarke SC, Mr Brian McGovern SC, Mr Noel MacMahon SC, Ms Karen Fergus SC, and a team of document counsel.

The work of other staff members including para-legals, witness support officers and IT experts is also acknowledged with gratitude. A full list of the professional and administrative advisers and staff of the Commission appears at the end of the Report in Volume V.

Signed on behalf of the Commission:

Mr Justice Sean Ryan, Chairperson

May 2009

Chapter 1
Establishment of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (CICA)

1.01On the 11th May 1999, the Government apologised to victims of child abuse and the Taoiseach, Mr. Ahern, announced the establishment of a commission of inquiry and other measures. In the course of a special statement, he said:

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.

1.02Mr Ahern went on to outline a number of measures, including the setting up of a Commission to Inquire into Childhood Abuse, chaired by Ms Justice Mary Laffoy, Judge of the High Court. Other measures that were announced included the establishment of a national counselling service for victims of childhood abuse, and the amendment of the Statute of Limitations, to enable victims of childhood sexual abuse to make claims for compensation in certain circumstances.

1.03The Commission was initially established on a non-statutory, administrative footing, with broad terms of reference given to it by the Government, which had as its primary focus the provision of a sympathetic and experienced forum in which victims could recount the abuse they had suffered. The Commission was required to identify and report on the causes, nature and extent of physical and sexual abuse, with a view to making recommendations for the present and future.

1.04The Commission made two reports to the Government, in September1 and October2 1999, outlining how these terms of reference could be implemented, and its recommendations were embodied in the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Bill, 2000 which was published in February of that year. The Commission was established on 23rd May 2000 pursuant to the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Act, 2000 as an independent statutory body. This Act was subsequently amended by the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (Amendment) Act, 2005 (the Act of 2005).3 The Act of 2000 is referred to as the ‘Principal Act’.

1.05The principal functions conferred on the Commission, as laid down in section 4(1) of the Principal Act of 2000 and as amended by section 4 of the 2005 Act, were:

(1)(a)to provide, for persons who have suffered abuse in childhood in institutions during the relevant period, an opportunity to recount the abuse, and make submissions, to a Committee,

(b)through a Committee—

(i)to inquire into the abuse of children in institutions during the relevant period,

(ia)to inquire into the manner in which children were placed in, and the circumstances in which they continued to be resident in, institutions during the relevant period,

(ii)to determine the causes, nature, circumstances and extent of such abuse, and

(iii)without prejudice to the generality of any of the foregoing, to determine the extent to which—

(I)the institutions themselves in which such abuse occurred,

(II)the systems of management, administration, operation, supervision, inspection and regulation of such institutions, and

(III)the manner in which those functions were performed by the persons or bodies in whom they were vested,

contributed to the occurrence or incidence of such abuse,


(c)to prepare and publish reports pursuant to section 5.

(2)Subject to the provisions of this Act, the inquiry under subsection (1) shall be conducted in such manner and by such means as the Commission considers appropriate.

(3)The Commission shall have all such powers as are necessary or expedient for the performance of its functions.

(4)(a)The Government may, if they so think fit, after consultation with the Commission, by order confer on the Commission and the Committees such additional functions or powers connected with their functions and powers for the time being as they consider appropriate.

(b)The Government may, if they so think fit, after consultation with the Commission, amend or revoke an order under this subsection.

(c)Where an order is proposed to be made under this subsection, a draft of the order shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas and the order shall not be made unless a resolution approving of the draft has been passed by each such House.

(5)The Commission may invite and receive oral or written submissions.

(6)In performing its functions the Commission shall bear in mind the need of persons who have suffered abuse in childhood to recount to others such abuse, their difficulties in so doing and the potential beneficial effect on them of so doing and, accordingly, the Commission and the Confidential Committee shall endeavour to ensure that meeting of the Confidential Committee at which evidence is given are conducted

  1. so as to afford to persons who have suffered such abuse in institutions during the relevant period an opportunity to recount in full the abuse suffered by them in an atmosphere that is sympathetic to, and understanding of, them, and
  2. as informally as is possible in the circumstances.

1.06The term ‘abuse’ was defined by the legislation:4

  1. the wilful, reckless or negligent infliction of physical injury on, or failure to prevent such injury to, the child,
  2. the use of the child by a person for sexual arousal or sexual gratification of that person or another person,
  3. failure to care for the child which results, or could reasonably be expected to result, in serious impairment of the physical or mental health or development of the child or serious adverse effects on his or her behaviour or welfare, or
  4. any other act or omission towards the child which results, or could reasonably be expected to result, in serious impairment of the physical or mental health or development of the child or serious adverse effects on his or her behaviour or welfare.

The legislation governing the Commission is set out in the Appendices at Vol V.

The structure of the Commission

1.07The Commission comprised two separate and distinct Committees which were required to report separately to the Commission as a whole: the Confidential Committee, and the Investigation Committee. Members of the Commission were assigned to one or other Committee. They could not be members of both.

1.08The principal functions of the Confidential Committee,5 as laid down in section 15(1) in the Principal Act as amended by section 10 of the 2005 Act, were:

  1. to provide, for persons who have suffered abuse in childhood in institutions during the relevant period and who do not wish to have that abuse inquired into by the Investigation Committee, an opportunity to recount the abuse, and make submissions, in confidence to the Committee,
  2. to receive evidence of such abuse,
  3. to make proposals of a general nature with a view to their being considered by the Commission in deciding what recommendations to make and
  4. to prepare and furnish reports.6

1.09The specific mandate of the Confidential Committee was to hear the evidence of those survivors of childhood institutional abuse who wished to report their experiences in a confidential setting. The legislation provided for the hearings of the Confidential Committee to be conducted in an atmosphere that was as informal and as sympathetic to, and understanding of, the witnesses as was possible in the circumstances.7

1.10The Confidential Committee heard from 1,090 witnesses who applied to give oral evidence of abuse they experienced in Irish institutions. Volume III contains the part of the Report that is based on evidence received by the Confidential Committee.

1.11The principal functions of the Investigation Committee,8 as laid down in section 12 of the Principal Act, which was amended by section 7 of the Act of 2005, were:

  1. to provide, as far as is reasonably practicable, for persons who have suffered abuse in childhood in institutions during the relevant period, an opportunity to recount the abuse and other relevant experiences undergone by them in institutions,
  2. to inquire into the manner in which children were placed in, and the circumstances in which they continued to be resident in, institutions during the relevant period,
  3. to inquire into the abuse of children in institutions during the relevant period,
  4. to determine the causes, nature, circumstances and extent of such abuse, and
  5. without prejudice to the generality of any of the foregoing, to determine the extent to which—
    1. the institutions themselves in which such abuse occurred,
    2. the systems of management, administration, operation, supervision and regulation of such institutions, and
    3. the manner in which any of the things referred to in subparagraph (ii) was done,9 contributed to the occurrence or incidents of such abuse,


  1. to prepare and furnish reports pursuant to section 13.

1.12The powers of the Investigation Committee10 were, inter alia:

  • to direct the attendance of witnesses,11
  • to direct the production of documents,12 and
  • to give such other directions that appear to be reasonable, just and necessary.13

1.13The Investigation Committee also had the power:

  • to require the discovery of documents,14
  • to furnish interrogatories (or questions) which must be replied to,15 and
  • to require parties to admit facts, statements and documents.16

1.14The evidence obtained was presumed to be prima facie evidence of the matters to which it related.17 Finally, the Investigation Committee also had the power to take evidence of a person’s conviction for abuse of a child as evidence before the Committee of that abuse.18

1.15The Principal Act also provided penalties, similar to those applying to contempt of court provisions, for failure to comply with directions of the Committee.19

1.16Section 13 of the Principal Act, as amended by section 8 of the 2005 Act, dealt with the report of the Investigation Committee, and provided that the report:

  1. may contain findings that abuse of children, or abuse of children during a particular period, occurred in a particular institution and may identify—
    1. the institution where the abuse took place, and
    2. the person or, as the case may be, each person who committed the abuse but only if he or she has been convicted of an offence in respect of abuse,
  2. may contain findings in relation to the management, administration, operation, supervision and regulation, direct or indirect, of an institution referred to in paragraph (a), and
  3. shall not contain findings in relation to particular instances of alleged abuse of children.

1.17The importance of the 2005 Act was that it amended Section 1320 of the Principal Act so that the Investigation Committee could no longer identify a person it believed had committed abuse unless that person had been convicted by a court.

1.18The term ‘institution’ was defined by the legislation to include:

a school, an industrial school, a reformatory school, an orphanage, a hospital, a children’s home and any other place where children are cared for other than as members of their families.21

1.19The ‘relevant period’ of the inquiry was from 1940 to 1999, but the Commission had power to extend it in either direction. The Commission exercised this power for the Investigation Committee by extending the beginning of the period back to 1936, by a decision of 26th November 2002. The relevant period for the Confidential Committee was determined to be between 1914 and 2000, being the earliest date of admission and the latest date of discharge of those applicants who applied to give evidence of abuse to that Committee.

1.20The Third Interim Report set out the history of the Commission from its inception as a statutory body in 2000 to the suspension of the operations of the Investigation Committee and the resignation of Ms Justice Laffoy which was announced in September 2003. Ms Justice Laffoy stood down on 12th January 2004 (see Appendix II).

Appointment of new chairperson to the Commission

1.21On 26th September 2003, the Minister for Education and Science announced the appointment of Mr Sean Ryan S.C. as chairperson designate of the Commission to succeed Ms Justice Laffoy. The Government requested Mr Ryan to undertake his own independent review of the Commission and to make all necessary recommendations having regard to:

  • the interests of victims of abuse
  • the requirement to complete the Commission’s work within a reasonable timeframe, which would be consistent with the needs of a proper investigation so as to avoid exorbitant costs.

1.22Mr Justice Ryan furnished his review of the workings and procedures of the Commission in November 2003.

1.23In summary, he concluded that there were major problems facing the Investigation Committee. If it were to continue unchanged, there would be no prospect of its work being completed within a reasonable time and at an acceptable cost. He suggested a number of changes that were needed to overcome the problems:

  1. Amendments to the 2000 Act so as to focus the Investigation Committee on its core function, which was to inquire into abuse of children in institutions.
  2. Changes to procedures which would enable allegations to be heard in logical units for hearings (Modules).
  3. Publication of interim reports as the work proceeded.
  4. Establishment of ‘trust’ between the parties as to the fairness of the hearings.

1.24The work of the Investigation Committee was suspended from September 2003 until March 2004. Judgment was awaited in a High Court action brought by the Christian Brothers. This case sought judicial determination, inter alia, of the constitutionality of the Investigation Committee’s approach to making findings of abuse against elderly or deceased Brothers or those who could not properly answer the allegations.

1.25The work of the Confidential Committee continued throughout this time.

The work of the Investigation Committee post-2003

1.26The Investigation Committee began in March 2004 to engage in widespread consultations, to see if an agreed way forward could be found. The aim was to accommodate the 1,712 complainants who had come forward by that time, together with respondent witnesses, within a reasonable timeframe.

1.27The Investigation Committee’s legal team met with representatives of over 20 special interest groups representing complainants, and no consensus emerged.

1.28The legal team explained to the groups the practical and logistical problems the Investigation Committee would face if every single person who complained to it were to be heard. The representatives were opposed to any form of selection of witnesses, even though they had no solution to the problems that the requirement to hear every witness imposed.

1.29The Investigation Committee also met the solicitors representing complainants. A further complicating factor was that not all firms of solicitors were willing to communicate with the legal team as a collective group. This may give some idea of the difficulties that the Investigation Committee faced in trying to get the Inquiry restarted.

1.30The Committee also had meetings with different groups representing respondents against whom allegations of abuse had been made, to apprise them of the situation, to seek agreement, and to invite their suggestions.

1.31There was no agreement or any realistic proposal acceptable to all of the stakeholders as to how to proceed. However, these meetings revealed a general acknowledgement of the difficulties that had to be overcome. There was consensus as to the problems, even if the solutions were elusive. The various stakeholders expressed goodwill towards the Committee and its efforts to make progress. They were, in addition, reconciled to the fact that they were not going to achieve all that they wanted, and that the Investigation Committee would be obliged to decide on a way forward if no agreement emerged. The majority of the representatives recognised that the Committee had gone to considerable lengths to explore possible solutions and agreement on how to proceed with the Inquiry.

The Investigation Committee Policy Paper – May 2004

1.32At a public meeting held in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, on 7th May 2004, the Investigation Committee announced its intention to make significant changes to deal with the obstacles to its work. The chairperson set out proposals for hearing selected witnesses in the investigation of institutions that had the largest number of complaints made against them; however, the larger institutions had far more complainants wishing to give evidence.

1.33At that point in May 2004, the length and form that the hearings would take was difficult to assess. It was not known what, if any, objections were going to be raised. These uncertainties gave rise to some concern in the Investigation Committee, particularly in relation to larger institutions, and whether all hearings could be completed within a reasonable time. This would leave other potential witnesses out of the investigative process.

1.34For most of the smaller institutions (i.e. those against whom a small number of complaints had been made), the Investigation Committee believed it could hear all those who had notified the Committee of their intention to give evidence and who had then followed up with statements.

1.35At the meeting on 7th May 2004, the Committee published and circulated a position paper on the question of ‘naming and shaming’ abusers, which stated that the Inquiry was not going to be able to complete its work if it proceeded on the basis of naming abusers. The document suggested that, because of difficulties of proof, there would probably be many abusers in respect of whom the evidence fell short. There were risks that people not guilty of abuse could be named. A further point was the disparity that would exist between people who were named – necessarily, a limited number – and the larger cohort of people who had indeed committed abuse (as a matter of probability) but who were not named. These and other points were made in proposing the policy that the Investigation Committee would not name abusers in the report, and would proceed with the investigation on that basis.

1.36Time was allowed for submissions to be made, and all parties were asked to assist the Investigation Committee with suggestions that would allow the process to move forward. No substantial submissions were received in respect of the policies outlined above.

1.37At a further meeting in June 2004, the Committee announced its decision to proceed on the basis of selection of witnesses for the hearings. This applied only to the larger institutions, which were Artane, Letterfrack, Ferryhouse, Upton and Daingean. The policy of not naming abusers was applied generally.

1.38The Commission sought amendments to the legislation to incorporate these changes, and these were set down in the Act of 2005.

1.39The Investigation Committee at this time wrote to all complainants/solicitors to ascertain the number of complainants who wished to proceed with their application to be heard. As a result of this, 143 complainants withdrew their request to give evidence to the Investigation Committee, while 174 other complainants transferred to the Confidential Committee.

1.40The Investigation Committee then proceeded with the work of the Inquiry.

The Emergence hearings

1.41The Emergence hearings began in June 2004. They were held in public at the Distillery Building, Church Street, Dublin 7. The function of these hearings was:

  • to re-commence the work of the Investigation Committee,
  • to place the work of the Investigation Committee in historical context,
  • to understand the reasoning behind the Government’s public apology,
  • to understand the Government’s decision to institute a Scheme of Redress,
  • to understand the reason why the Religious Congregations came to contribute to the Redress Scheme, and why some of them had also issued public apologies,
  • to understand the reasons why support/survivor groups were set up, and how they were organised.

1.42The Commission wanted to assure the public and the various stakeholders that the work of the Commission was resuming in full. The hearings were scheduled for June and July 2004, and took place over a period of about four weeks.

1.43In advance of the Emergence hearings, the Investigation Committee’s legal team wrote to representatives of the State institutions, the Religious Congregations, and to survivor groups, setting out the types of questions that the Investigation Committee wished to explore. In the case of the State and Religious Congregations, the Investigation Committee asked questions on the following issues:

  1. insofar as the body concerned has ever issued a public apology in respect of child abuse, the reasons for issuing such an apology;
  2. the reasons why the body contributed to the Redress Fund;
  3. the timing and manner in which allegations of child abuse emerged as an issue in respect of institutions under the management or regulatory control of the body;
  4. a brief account of the protocols or procedures, which were in place from time to time within the body which were designed to prevent, investigate or deal with allegations of child abuse;
  5. the extent to which the body made enquiries as to how other similar institutions, whether in Ireland or abroad, dealt with such matters and, if so, the result of such enquiries; and
  6. the extent to which any enquiries carried out within the organisation (concerning whether there was child abuse within the institutions managed or regulated by it) led to it forming a view that such abuse did occur, together with the extent to which any such view may have contributed to (a) and (b) above.

1.44In the case of the survivor groups, the Investigation Committee asked questions on the following issues:

  1. the timing and manner in which allegations of and knowledge of child abuse emerged as an issue in Ireland;
  2. how the group was formed;
  3. by whom the group was formed;
  4. when the group was formed;
  5. who were the groups members (in general terms without any individuals being named);
  6. how did the groups members come to join the group;
  7. what the group had done since its formation; and
  8. how the group was funded.

1.45There was a very positive response to these questionnaires, and the Committee received comprehensive statements from the various State agencies, the Religious Congregations, and the survivor groups. Statements were received from the Department of An Taoiseach, the Department of Finance, the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the Department of Education and Science, and the Department of Health and Children. Statements were received from all of the 18 Religious Congregations that contributed to the Redress Fund, and statements were received from 10 survivor groups.

1.46In order to place the emergence of child abuse as an issue in Irish society in its historical context, the Investigation Committee invited Dr Eoin OSullivan, Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at the Department of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College, Dublin, to give evidence, and this is included in the historical overview.

State evidence

1.47In order to explore the State’s response to the emergence of child abuse as an issue, the Committee called the Taoiseach, Government Ministers and senior department officials to give evidence.

1.48In his evidence at the Emergence hearings, Mr Tom Boland, who was then Head of Legal Affairs at the Department of Education and Science, provided a chronological account of the manner in which the issue of child abuse was dealt with in his Department from 1998 to 2002. He stated that institutional abuse first came to the attention of the Department of Education and Science as an issue that they would have to deal with, as a result of the increase in the number of legal cases being taken against the Department. There was also an increase in the number of Freedom of Information requests coming into the Department from former residents seeking access to their records. More generally, the Department was also aware of the fact that institutional abuse had become a major public issue, following the broadcast of television programmes such as ‘Dear Daughter’22 and ‘States of Fear’.23

1.49Mr Boland said that the then Minister for Education and Science, Mr Micheál Martin, brought the issue of institutional child abuse to Cabinet for the first time on 31st March 1998, and the issue of litigation by former residents of reformatories and industrial schools. There was a general discussion at that meeting as to how the State might best respond to the emerging question of institutional child abuse. There was some discussion of the possibility of dealing with the issue through a Commission process, but at that stage the focus was on establishing a scheme that would provide counselling for the victims of abuse. The matter was not significantly progressed during 1998, but it was raised informally at a number of Cabinet meetings throughout that year.

1.50In December 1998, the Government decided to establish a Cabinet Sub-Committee to deal with the issue of child abuse in institutions. The Committee was chaired by the Minister for Education and Science and was composed of the Tánaiste, the Ministers for the Marine and Natural Resources, Health and Children, Social, Community and Family Affairs, Justice Equality and Law Reform, the Attorney General, and the Minister of State at the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

1.51Mr Boland said that the Cabinet Sub-Committee’s remit ‘was to bring forward proposals to Government on how to deal with the issue of sexual abuse’. However, according to Mr Micheál Martin, the then Minister for Education and Science, its remit was wider and ‘not just sexual abuse, but the, I suppose, the broad abuse of children’.

1.52The Cabinet Sub-Committee immediately established a Working Group composed of the Secretaries General and related officials from all of the Departments involved. It furnished its report to the Cabinet Sub-Committee on 28th April 1999. The report was entitled ‘Measures to Assist Victims of Childhood Abuse’. On 10th May 1999, the Government agreed the following proposals:

  • Establish a Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.
  • Legislate within the then Dail session to extend the concept of disability under the Statute of Limitations to victims of child sexual abuse who, because of that abuse, were unable to bring claims within the normal limitation period.
  • Immediately refer the issue of limitation periods as they applied to non-sexual childhood abuse to the Law Reform Commission.
  • Establish, over as short a timescale as practical, a dedicated professional counselling service.
  • Provide for an effective programme of publicity for these services.
  • Prepare and publish as soon as possible a White Paper on mandatory reporting of sexual abuse of children.
  • Prepare the legislation for the establishment of a sex offenders’ register as a matter of high priority.
  • Apologise to victims of childhood abuse.
  • The Cabinet Sub-Committee to meet regularly, to review the implementation of the different elements of this decision.
  • Accept the principle of the Labour Party Private Member’s Bill to amend the Statute of Limitations, but in the context that the Government was progressing its own comprehensive programme of measures, including legislation, in relation to child sexual abuse.

1.53Mr Boland explained the policy basis for the various child abuse measures adopted by the Working Group:

A point had come where there was a general acceptance in political and administrative circles that that process was not acceptable anymore, and that society and Government needed to engage with this problem in a much more proactive way. In the interests of the survivors of abuse themselves very definitely, but also in the interest of Irish society, that the boil of past abuse, if you like, would be lanced and we would find some answers as to what happened and explanation as to what happened.

1.54He said that this view was informed by ‘a folk memory, if I could use that word, that industrial and reformatory schools were very harsh places’, and also by the report of the Kennedy Committee, the media and, in particular, the ‘Dear Daughter’ RTE television programme. Mr Boland’s view was further informed by meetings with former residents and, to a limited degree, the work done by Dr Gerry Cronin, a social historian appointed by Minister Martin to review the Department’s files.

1.55On 11th May 1999, the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, announced the Government measures relating to childhood abuse, as set out above. At the same time, he stated that ‘the starting point for this is simple, but fundamental. We must start by apologising’.

1.56In his evidence to the Investigation Committee, the Taoiseach described the thinking behind the apology:

Well, it was the State has let you down, the State should have done better. There were reasons why it didn’t, but they weren’t in our view justifiable. While times were different and it is never a good thing to try to put policy today to what policy would have been on another day, we still felt in this case that we had left a section of our community, who were vulnerable, exposed in a way that would affect their lives. While all of the other measures in the report were measures of guidance, help, assistance and therapeutic and all of the rest, that sympathy wasnt just the only thing we could do, we actually had to express it in a way that the State does not normally do. These were our people, these were issues that were perpetrated against them and while not giving a judgment on any of the institutions or what people in the institutions were trying or trying not to do, obviously there were circumstances, circumstances of staff and resources and God knows what, and mentality of people. The reality is we were dealing with a group of victims who were decent honourable people, who had suffered and deserved the States best apology the State could give. The best way of doing that, whether it is always accepted or not in life, is to do what you do in your own life, you would say sorry, and that is what we set out to do.

1.57Mr Micheál Martin, the Minister for Education and Science at the time, said:

Basically, I felt at the time that if we stopped short of issuing an apology from the perspective of the survivors it would have been a devastating blow. The package for a lot of them would have been meaningless if there wasn’t that State recognition that what was done to us was wrong and do you please believe us.

1.58The Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, told the Investigation Committee that the apology was his and Minister Martin’s idea:

Yes, in fairness to the Working Group, I dont think they ever discussed the issue of the apology. The apology, Chairman, I remember how the apology [came] around very clearly, because while all of the issues that we were talking about; professional help and caring and trying to assist these people back who had been badly dealt with by the State in our view, the hurt was not going to be removed unless you said sorry. It was my view and Minister Martins view, we made the decision.

1.59This was borne out by the evidence of Mr Tim Dalton, former Secretary General to the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. Mr Dalton said that the apology did not emanate from the Working Group, it was a political decision:

It emanated at Cabinet level subsequently … While the apology was very much in line with what the working group was saying the apology, as a matter of fact, arose later. Yes.

1.60He continued:

I mean the Committees working groups report emphasized the need for what was described as a proactive approach, a sympathetic approach, and an apology would have been very much in line with that. Although as a matter of fact the apology came up subsequently.

1.61The Taoiseach and Minister Martin described meetings they had with former residents of reformatory and industrial schools at this time. The Taoiseach told the Investigation Committee:

I had met a number of the individuals, individuals who lived in my own constituency and elsewhere as you travel around who made me aware of what they hoped and the concerns they had and, obviously, wanted to see us taking action, and I think were happy to see that we had set up a Cabinet Committee and that we had set up a Working Group that was representative of our most senior public servants … They wanted to see a Government do something about it, they wanted a forum where they could express themselves if they wished to do, some of them did, some of them didnt, and where they would be able to put forward what had happened in their lives, what had happened in institutions that they were sent to, as they saw it, totally as a matter of State action. They wanted to see us do something about correcting the hurt that they suffered.

1.62He continued:

I met a number of these groups and met a number of individuals. I think I can say without exception, they struck me as being entirely genuine, entirely trustworthy and asking me for help, asking for assistance and wanting us to do it because many of them, it had been a long time since they left these institutions and their lives had been affected. Even those of them who had moved on and where their life was together, they believed that this was a hurt that had not been corrected and they were urging us to deal with it comprehensively.

1.63Minister Martin said that he first became aware of the issue of institutional abuse in his ministerial capacity in early 1998. Prior to his appointment, he had watched the two television programmes ‘Dear Daughter’ and ‘States of Fear’, and these programmes, particularly ‘States of Fear’, had a profound impact on him. He told the Committee that, having viewed this programme, ‘… I was left with the view they can’t all be wrong, they can’t all be false stories’.

1.64Mr Boland explained the factors that led to the establishment of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse in 1999:

First of all, I think of primary concern for the sub committee would always have been the victims themselves. The objective of a Commission would be that it would provide a place where they could tell the account of their lives to a sympathetic panel. That element of having a sympathetic panel was always very important in the whole process of the Commission. The hope was that in this way victims of abuse could be reassured that the abuse they suffered was wrong and was utterly condemned by Irish society. There was a very strong demand for that kind of listening forum from the victims themselves.

In addition then it was felt that a Commission could begin a process for victims of abuse whereby they would feel more able to approach the institutions that were there for professional help so that they could work through their pain and trauma.

For Irish society the idea was – and this is rather like a truth Commission – that it would establish for Irish society precisely what happened and establish as complete a picture as possible of the causes, nature and extent of childhood abuse including why it happened and also who was responsible. It was very much an important factor that the Commission would establish at least at an institutional level what institutions were responsible for what happened. It was also felt that this kind of process would help Irish society to come to terms with a very negative, very black period in our history. And it would also give to those who were involved in running the institutions, primarily the religious congregations, an opportunity to put their side of the case and show that in some cases, and maybe even in many cases – that is a judgment for the Commission – that in fact they did good service for the State too.

Perhaps this might have been a bit naive, but nevertheless it was an opportunity for perpetrators of abuse, particularly those who felt appalled by what they had done, to come forward and to give them an opportunity to relieve themselves of their burden. Very, very importantly then a Commission would make recommendations for the future as to how to prevent this happening again and what to do for victims of abuse going on into the future.

1.65Later in his evidence, Mr Boland went on to discuss how the issue of compensation came into consideration. He said that ‘a compensation scheme was very much in policy minds from a very early time’, but the Government had taken the view that they would deal with it once the Commission had concluded its work. On 20th July 2000, the chairperson of the Commission informed the Department of Education and Science that a number of solicitors representing clients who alleged having suffered abuse as children had adopted a position, whereby they would advise their clients not to cooperate with the Commission until the issue of compensation was dealt with. The chairperson expressed the view that this would have serious implications for the Commission’s ability to carry out its task, and asked the Government to make a decision in principle in relation to the setting-up of a compensation scheme as quickly as possible. On 27th September 2000, the chairperson criticised the lack of action in relation to the issue of compensation at a public sitting of the Commission. On 3rd October 2000, the Government decided to agree in principle:

  • to set up a compensation scheme,
  • that the definition of abuse for the purposes of the scheme would be the same as in the Commission legislation,
  • that compensation would be paid on an ex-gratia basis, without establishing liability on the part of State bodies, but subject to the claimant establishing to the satisfaction of the body that he or she had suffered abuse and resulting injury, and
  • that the amount of compensation would be broadly similar to that which would be awarded to a claimant had he or she pursued successfully a claim for damages in the courts.

1.66Mr Boland outlined the policy basis for the compensation scheme:

I suppose there were a number of reasons … Allowing cases to proceed to litigation from a survivors point of view and from a social point of view was simply the wrong thing to do in the view of Government. It would negate any real sense of meaning from the apology on behalf of the Irish Nation if then people who wanted to get compensation for the abuse they had suffered had to go through an extraordinarily lengthy process in the High Court. There was also of course the fact that many of those cases would fail not because they didnt suffer injury and not because they had not been injured, but because of what might be regarded as technical rules of evidence. And that was not acceptable to Government either. There was a pure operational issue for the courts. 800 cases at that stage, maybe a couple of thousand. Now we think maybe a few thousand. The effect it would have had on the administration of justice or from the court system would be enormous.

1.67Mr Boland pointed out that, in developing a policy on the compensation scheme, the Government carried out a comprehensive review of the practice in other jurisdictions.

1.68Following a consultation process, the Minister for Education and Science returned to Government with a set of proposals for legislation, which subsequently became the Residential Institutions Redress Act, 2002 (the Act of 2002).

1.69Mr Boland discussed the indemnity agreement24 with Religious Congregations and issues of apportionment of liability. He said that the Governments action in setting up the scheme was not motivated to any significant extent by considerations of legal liability or culpability:

the Government determined upon a redress scheme with an approach that said this was to be done regardless of the involvement of anybody else. And it was to be done by the State paying for full compensation. This was seen as an issue for Irish society. It was an issue that had to be dealt with fully and firmly for once and for all. Therefore, the most effective way in which Government could achieve that was that to take responsibility for it, and that is what it did. So the scheme was to be fully funded by the State. That was the starting position. And full awards were to be paid.

1.70He explained to the Committee how the Congregations became involved in making a contribution to the scheme:

Clearly there would always be a difficulty in the minds of many people, not least those who had suffered abuse, if the Congregations had no involvement at all in the compensation scheme. Therefore it was felt as a policy objective desirable that they would be involved. And in fairness to them they said quite early on that they would like to make a meaningful contribution to the scheme. That was finally decided with them and Government made a decision on that basis. But the scheme was going ahead in any event.

1.71The indemnity agreement between the State and CORI provided for the 18 Religious Congregations to make a contribution of €128 million to the Residential Institutions Redress Fund. In return, the Government agreed to grant an indemnity to the Religious Congregations that were parties to the agreement. However, the indemnity agreement of 5th June 2002 was not based on any apportionment of responsibility for abuse.

1.72Dr Michael Woods was appointed Minister for Education and Science on 27th January 2000, at which stage the Taoiseach had issued his apology and the decision had been taken to establish the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. During his time as Minister for Education and Science, Dr Woods was responsible for bringing proposals to Government regarding the Redress Scheme, subsequently the Act of 2002 and the indemnity agreement with the Religious Congregations.

1.73Dr Woods gave evidence at the Emergence hearings, where he noted that Mr Boland had dealt comprehensively with the Redress Scheme in his evidence but commented briefly on the matter himself. He told the Investigation Committee that the more he became involved in the process following his appointment as Minister for Education and Science, the more he became ‘acutely aware of the issues and the problems which were faced by the victims’. Dr Woods said ‘that the early establishment of the scheme was seen as (a) greatly reducing the stress of survivors of abuse and, (b) it was to facilitate the progress of the Commission’. He said that the involvement of the Congregations was seen by the State as a desirable policy objective but stressed:

as far as the State was concerned it was very firm in its decision that the State was going ahead in any event with the Redress Scheme. That it was the right way to go.

1.74Dr Woods said that part of the Governments desire to get the Congregations to contribute was to bring about a situation where there was closure to the whole issue of past institutional abuse.

Religious Congregations’ evidence

1.75The two major topics for the Religious Congregations at the Emergence hearings were the contributions they made to the State Redress fund of compensation to victims and the apologies that many of them issued. Contributions to the State fund posed much less of an issue or a problem for them than the question of apology. They were largely in agreement on compensation. Negotiations were carried out on their behalf by the Conference of Religious of Ireland (CORI), which is an umbrella organisation for the various Religious Congregations in Ireland. The agreement reached was favourable to the Religious Congregations, but the Investigation Committee was not concerned with the wisdom or reasonableness of the agreement reached.

1.76It might have been thought that Congregations who contributed to the fund were in effect conceding that there had been some abuse in their institutions. The agreement did not require them to do so, but the mere fact of payment into the fund, in return for an indemnity in respect of any actions that might be taken, could have been regarded as an expression of some kind of admission or acknowledgement, but it was said not to be the case.

1.77The position with regard to apologies was more complicated. Some Congregations issued apologies and some did not. Those that issued apologies used a variety of different expressions. Through their spokespersons, they testified to the good intentions that lay behind the apologies. Some of the apologies were more effective than others in meeting the needs of survivor groups.

1.78Congregations were fearful that what they said in order to assuage the feelings of victims of abuse might be used to damage them, as they saw it. Their words might be taken as concessions or admissions as to events that were alleged to have happened. The aims of acknowledging past wrongs and assuaging feelings of victims are at odds with the desire to avoid admissions and concessions about abuse. Most of the apologies reflected tension between these objectives, and were largely unsatisfactory as a result.

1.79The attitude of many of the Congregations was conditional. If their members committed abuse, they expressed regret for it. They did not accept Congregational responsibility for any abuse that happened. As to whether abuse had actually happened, they said they were leaving that to the Commission to establish, because that was the function of the Commission, and because they had contradictory information on the claims of complainants and in the responses of their own members.

1.80On 31st January 2002, CORI issued a general apology on behalf of its members:

We accept that some children in residential institutions managed by our members suffered deprivation, physical and sexual abuse. We regret that, we apologise for it. We can never take away the pain experienced at the time by these children nor the shadow left over their adult lives. Today the congregations with the State are giving a concrete expression of their genuine desire to foster healing and reconciliation in the lives of former residents.

1.81The Investigation Committee at the Emergence hearings heard evidence from representatives of the following Religious Congregations that had contributed to the Redress Fund:

  1. The Rosminian Institute of Charity
  2. The Dominican Order
  3. The Sisters of Mercy
  4. Our Lady of Charity of the Good Sheperd
  5. The Presentation Brothers
  6. The Religious Sisters of Charity
  7. The Christian Brothers
  8. The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul
  9. The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of Refuge
  10. The Brothers of Charity
  11. The Daughters of the Heart of Mary
  12. The De La Salle Brothers
  13. The Sisters of St Clare
  14. The Presentation Sisters
  15. The Sisters of St Louis
  16. The Hospitaller Order of St John of God
  17. The Sisters of Nazareth
  18. The Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

1.82These representatives were examined as to the reasons underpinning the decision taken by the Congregations to issue an apology, if they did so, and the reasons they contributed to the Redress Fund, if they did so. The Investigation Committee also heard evidence during the Emergence hearings from representatives of Congregations involved in the management, care and control of institutions that were not the subject of its investigations into individual institutions.

The Rosminian Institute of Charity

1.83The Rosminian Order operated two industrial schools, one at Upton in County Cork and the other at Ferryhouse in County Tipperary, as well as a School for the Blind at Drumcondra in Dublin. They had two post-primary schools, one in Omeath and one in Dublin. They also developed a retirement home for blind men in Drumcondra, and a centre in Cork for adults with learning disabilities.

1.84In 1999, the Rosminians issued a public statement:

The members of the Rosminian Institute are saddened and shamed that young people in our care were abused by members of our Order. We deeply regret not only the abuse but also the shadow cast on the lives of those abused. We abhor all mistreatment of children and we wish to express our profound sorrow.

1.85Fr Joseph O’Reilly, giving evidence on 30th June 2004, said that the Order made that statement because they felt it was the right thing to do:

Fundamentally we felt it was simply the right thing to do and it was something over which we had no option to do.

1.86The Order was aware that children had been abused in at least one of their institutions in 1979:

That was one of the reasons why we obviously felt that we would have to apologise.

1.87Fr O’Reilly told the Committee that the Order contributed to the Redress Fund because:

We believed it was the right thing to do, it was the just thing to do, it was the natural thing when you recognise that you have been part of something that has caused hurt and pain to people in the past, thats fairly inescapable. I think there was a recognition on our part that to go another route that seemed to be the only other route available at the time in terms of litigation and going to the High Court, we felt that that would be disastrous for all concerned.

1.88He continued:

I mentioned that we felt that the option of going through the High Court and denying — I am not sure of the technical word — denying complaints against us and being involved in that process, we felt that would not be the right way to go and it would be disastrous for all concerned. We felt it would be a hurtful, harmful way for all concerned … We were advised it would have meant years, maybe a lot more years than anybody knew at the time … Years of having to appear in court and putting people through questioning and cross-examination, and trying to provide proof on this, that and the other … From our end we dont have the personnel to do that. We didnt have the inclination to do that. We felt also that we didnt have the finances to do that in a way. We also felt that it would not be at all consistent with what we had said by way of apology. It would not be consistent with the type of relationship that we had with many past pupils. Not with all admittedly. We did not want people to have to suffer on through that type of system … It seemed that it would have been cruel to consider those type of things. We wanted to be involved in the process and we perceived the Redress Board as process that would offer a degree of healing, you know. Because it offered the opportunity for things to be dealt with in a short enough period of time in comparison to other options, and in a process that wasnt adversarial. So we felt it offered much more of an opportunity for healing and, perhaps not reconciliation, but certainly we would have been guided by the maxim of do no more harm. Do no more harm.

1.89The Rosminian Institute approached this issue, conscious of the obligations and of the difficulties, but also believing in the benefits that would accrue to victims, its own members and to the Order. In adopting this approach and pursuing it throughout the Inquiry, the Rosminian Institute was unique, and its senior management and its members deserve acknowledgment and appreciation in that respect.

The Dominican Order

1.90The Dominican Fathers have a long tradition in education in Ireland. They operate a number of schools throughout the country. They had one institution, an orphanage at Dominic Street, Dublin known as St Xavier’s Boys Home. It closed in 1993, and the Order received their first complaint in relation to this institution in 1995. Two further complaints emerged later that year and, in 2001, legal proceedings were instituted by six former residents.

1.91The Dominicans did not make a formal apology:

No, we didnt make a formal apology … We didnt feel that a kind of a general apology in terms of our small group of people would be of any great benefit, but if I were to meet them I would be more than happy to do so.

1.92Despite their decision not to make a general apology, the Order contributed to the Redress Fund.

The Sisters of Mercy

1.93The Sisters of Mercy played a significant role in the industrial school system, as they had been responsible for the management of 26 industrial schools. This is discussed fully in the General Chapter on the Sisters of Mercy. They were also involved in numerous primary and post-primary schools.

1.94The Sisters of Mercy issued an apology in 1996, following the broadcast of the ‘Dear Daughter’ programme in 1995, which characterised a Sisters of Mercy Industrial School, Goldenbridge, as having been abusive. The apology was as follows:

In the light of recent revelations regarding the mistreatment of children in our institutions we the Mercy Sisters wish to take this opportunity to sincerely and unreservedly express our deep regret to those men and women who at any time or place in our care were hurt or harshly treated. The fact that most complaints relate to many years ago is not offered as an excuse. As a congregation we fully acknowledge our failures and ask for forgiveness.

Aware of the painful and lasting effect of such experiences we would like to hear from those who have suffered and we are putting in place an independent and confidential help line. This help line will be staffed by competent and professional counsellors who will listen sympathetically and who will be in the position to offer further help if required. In this way we would hope to redress the pain insofar as that is possible so that those who have suffered might experience some peace, healing and dignity.

Life in Ireland in the 40s and 50s was in general harsh for many people. This was reflected in orphanages, which were under funded, under staffed and under resourced. It was in this climate that many Sisters gave years of generous service to the education and care of children. However, we made mistakes and irrespective of the passage of time as a congregation we now openly acknowledge our failures and ask for forgiveness.

Regretfully we cannot change the past. As we continue our work of caring and education today we will constantly review and monitor our procedures, our personnel and our facilities. Working in close cooperation with other voluntary and statutory agencies we are committed to doing all in our power to ensure that people in our care have a protective and supportive environment.

We were founded to alleviate pain, want and misery. We have tried to do this through our work in health care, education, child care, social and pastoral work. Despite our evident failures which we deeply regret we are committed to continuing that work in partnership with many others in the years ahead.

1.95Sr Breege O’Neill, then Congregational Leader of the Sisters of Mercy, told the Investigation Committee that the Congregation hoped that the apology would ease the pain and trauma of former residents, and help to restore their relationship with the Congregation. She said that the apology was not successful, because it was perceived as being conditional or incomplete. After the apology, the amount of litigation involving the Congregation increased, and the Sisters felt that this inhibited them in their dealings with former residents.

1.96On 5th May 2004, the Congregation issued a second apology, the circumstances of which are discussed in full in the General Chapter on the Sisters of Mercy.

1.97Sr Breege O’Neill also discussed the reasons the Congregation became involved in the Redress Scheme:

Our decision to become involved in the Redress Scheme, it came out of, I think, all of what I have said up to now. Out of the experience for four years of trying to respond in the different arenas to what was coming to us. I am talking about the litigation. I am talking about the Commission. But also knowing that in some way those of themselves were not going to bring closure … Our decision was also informed by a pragmatism in relation to the litigation. The sense that long drawn out litigation proceedings would be what we would be putting our energy into for years and years and years.

Our decision to become involved in the Redress was not informed by an assessment of the potential outcome of each individual case. It was a scheme the Government announced. They invited our contribution or our involvement in it and we welcomed that … But it wasnt an easy decision for the Congregation to take at the time because there were many voices holding different views and we had to in some way come to our own place of resting with it as being the best way forward at this time. That we did. Out of that the decision was taken that we would contribute.

Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd

1.98The Good Shepherd Sisters had four industrial schools in Cork, Waterford, Limerick and Wexford, as well as a reformatory school in Limerick.

1.99The Congregation did not issue a public apology:

We have not issued a public apology, no, but when we have met ex-residents and talking to them and listening to how it was for them and how they experienced it, you know, it has really saddened us a lot and we, like, we would always say, well, look, we are really sorry that these are your memories, that this is how it is, that this was your experience, we are really sorry about that.

1.100The Congregation took the view that the public apology issued by CORI covered all of the 18 Congregations involved in CORI:

we agreed with the publication of the apology, as we see it as conveying our regret and our sorrow that those who were in our care have painful memories and have been upset by their time there.

1.101The Congregation also contributed to the Redress Fund. Sr Claire O’Sullivan, a designated spokesperson for the Congregation, outlined the reasons why as follows:

Well, firstly, we decided in principle in October 2000 that we would make a contribution and, like, we did it for a few reasons. In response to the Governments invitation to Congregations to contribute to the scheme was one of the reasons. Also, it was a combination of our pastoral and practical considerations … Practical considerations were because of the financial restraints. If we went down the road of litigation, it would have cost a huge amount of money and would have gone on for years, as we would see it … Also, we just didnt want to get ourselves into confrontation with our ex residents at all. There was also the practical thing, that it would lead to a better use of the resources that are available to us, resources that could otherwise be used to help us to assist former residents and for other charitable works, rather than expending resources on preparing for litigation, as I would have said there. It would also, instead of members being very much involved in court cases, it would free up people, our Sisters, to spend time assisting former residents and meeting with them and engaging in other charitable works. So that would have been another reason for us. Also, we were glad to be able to get the indemnity, that we could obtain indemnity from the State, as it is better to contribute to the scheme, rather than processing, as I would have said, down the very costly road of litigation.

The Presentation Brothers

1.102The Presentation Brothers operated one industrial school, St Josephs Industrial School, Greenmount in Cork. The Presentation Brothers are currently involved in numerous primary and post-primary schools in Ireland.

1.103The Anglo-Irish Province of the Presentation Brothers has not issued a public apology, but the Congregation issued the following statement on its website, which was referred to at the Emergence hearings:

It was along the lines of, “we apologise for any wrongdoing or any abuse that occurred to any person while in our care”. That was done for two reasons. First of all to give our regret. Secondly, to encourage anybody out there who is hurting to come and make that complaint.

1.104The Congregation also contributed to the Redress Fund:

Well, we were members of CORI and in 2000 when this came up first we were participating in the Faoiseamh25 help line and we contributed to the Faoiseamh help line. We were a member of the 18 Congregations and when the question of the contribution came up we felt that especially because of our 1955 incident26 that we would feel very exposed if all this went to litigation. We felt that it was prudent management to make a contribution to the Redress Board.

The Religious Sisters of Charity

1.105The Sisters of Charity operated five industrial schools, including St Joseph’s and St Patrick’s in Kilkenny and a group home, Madonna House in Dublin. The Religious Sisters of Charity also operate 19 primary schools and eight post-primary schools, and provide special needs education to a small number of schools.

1.106The Sisters of Charity have never issued a public apology in respect of child abuse. However, the Congregation has issued three specific apologies relating to the criminal convictions of three of its staff, one in Madonna House and two in St Josephs, Kilkenny.

1.107The apology in relation to Madonna House was issued in 1994 and read:

The Religious Sisters of Charity are deeply concerned and saddened by what has happened to the children at Madonna House. We offer our heartfelt apology to each and every person who has suffered in a situation where we tried to ensure that they would experience warmth, care and support.

1.108The second apology was issued at the sentencing of a male childcare worker in St Joseph’s in 1997, and Sr Úna O’Neill, Superior General of the Religious Sisters of Charity, stated in respect of it:

While other Orders might have found that the “States of Fear” programme or other publications or broadcasts was their moment of realisation, I think it was the criminal conviction of that childcare worker that was a very significant moment certainly for me and those other Sisters who attended and for the Congregation subsequently. For us it was a brutal initiation into the reality of sexual abuse of the most depraved kind. While I would have read the Garda statements that the children made against this childcare worker, it became very real when the boys were asked to speak in Court and they described a most horrific litany of terror and hurt and humiliation and pain and powerlessness. It was at that moment I think for us as a Congregation it became real. I am not saying we accepted it or understood it, but it became real for us then.

1.109The third apology was issued when another childcare worker from St Josephs, Kilkenny was convicted:

We are appalled that a care worker employed at St. Josephs for 9 months from 76 to 77 abused children in his care and we are offering counselling services etc.

He came to St. Josephs as a qualified care worker, had excellent references from his former employees in the UK, and was interviewed by representatives from St. Josephs and from the Department of Education …

Peter McNamara’s27 abuse of the children at St. Josephs has caused untold misery for the men involved. Nothing can make up for what happened to them and we deeply regret their suffering.

1.110Sr Úna O’Neill’s evidence on the background to these apologies is dealt with in detail in the chapter on the Sisters of Charity.

1.111Sr Úna O’Neill said that the Congregation contributed to the Redress Fund because:

we had a number of civil cases before the Court at that time … We had had the experience, I had the experience of attending these court cases and I had seen what that process had done particularly to the men who had taken the cases against us. I had spoken to them about the experience with both of them. I saw what it did with both the volunteers and the staff who had to testify. There was a strong pastoral reason for us not subjecting anybody to that kind of process if we could avoid it.

We also felt the definition of abuse was so broad that it would invite many more cases against us and in fact that has proved to be the case. There has been a very, very significant increase in the number of cases that have come in from 2000 up to today, very significant increase for those that had come in beforehand.

We also felt that if we didnt contribute to the scheme, maybe we were wrong in this, we felt that perhaps the Redress scheme would give a partial payment to the children and then they would seek the rest from us through legal means and that would have been the same reason as I have given beforehand.

The Christian Brothers

1.112The Christian Brothers were involved in six industrial schools and one residential school for deaf boys, as well as numerous primary and post-primary schools throughout the country. This is discussed fully in the General Chapter on the Christian Brothers.

1.113The apologies issued by the Christian Brothers are dealt with in full in the General Chapter on the Christian Brothers. On 29th March 1998, the Christian Brothers issued the following apology:

Over the past number of years we have received from some former pupils serious complaints of ill-treatment and abuse by some Christian Brothers in schools and residential centres. We the Christian Brothers in Ireland wish to express our deep regret to anyone who suffered ill-treatment while in our care and we say to you who have experienced physical or sexual abuse by a Christian Brother and to you who complained of abuse and were not listened to we are deeply sorry.

We want to do much more than say we are sorry. As an initial step we have already put in place a range of services to offer a practical response and further services will be provided as the needs become clearer.

1.114The Christian Brothers told the Committee that they welcomed the establishment of the Redress Scheme. Br Gibson stated that:

We would have welcomed it because, I suppose, fundamentally we, ourselves, had tried to set up a mediation process and when the Government approached CORI and asked CORI would they be prepared to donate a sum to that fund, we were happy to be involved in doing that.

1.115He continued:

And, of course, the most important thing, I suppose, was it was going to be set up on a statutory basis, which we hadnt been able to do. Maybe, just to say also we were aware that because of the serious nature of the complaints that had come, it was very difficult to make a judgment about these. The Redress Scheme was not going to make a judgment on those. We found particularly ourselves that a lot of the people being accused were dead … And a lot of people that had complaints against them were denying them vigorously, Brothers were denying them vigorously. We were in the middle with an allegation and a person who was saying this did not happen. We had many Brothers who had spent, say, three or four years in institutions and then subsequently had spent, maybe, 30 to 40 years teaching outside the institutions. During their time in the schools, there had been no complaints against them, but subsequent to the apologies, allegations had come. So we felt that long drawn-out process of legal litigation would not help anyone. So because of that, we were quite happy to join with the Congregations in supporting the Government scheme. When the Taoiseach in October of 2000 announced in principle anyway that he was going to establish a body to compensate people, quite quickly we got an additional 380 complaints. By the time the Agreement was signed, we had roughly about 800 complaints, 791 potential complaints … So we felt that the Redress Scheme was an opportunity to assist those who had been in institutions to come to closure in a difficult experience that they had had … Also, that it wasnt making a judgment because – judging something that took place 40, 50, 60 years ago was very difficult to judge. So, in a sense, what we would feel is that from the very beginning of child abuse coming to our attention in 1990, we have tried to be proactive in setting in place structures that would assist people to come forward and would help them to come to terms with the experience of abuse that they have suffered. We also put in place supports for people who were accused of abuse, who were traumatised by the allegations of abuse and the fact of setting up independent advisory panels and child protection services helped us in doing that.

The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul

1.116The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul operated one industrial school, four orphanages, five centres for people with intellectual disability, an orthopaedic residential children’s hospital, and a mother and baby home.

1.117Sr Catherine Mulligan, a former Provincial Leader of the Congregation, stated that the Congregation did not give a public apology for the following reason:

that was a considered stance on our part, again because of what we considered to be the lower number of cases against any particular institution and … having gathered the information that we gathered, we could not say that we ran an abusive system.

1.118However, the Congregation did contribute to the Redress Scheme, and Sr Mulligan gave reasons for this. She said:

I think there was a general feeling that we should become part of that insofar as we could. We were invited by the Government to become part of it and I don’t think there was any sort of hesitancy about becoming part of it.

The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of Refuge

1.119The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of Refuge operated an industrial school in Drumcondra in Dublin, and a reformatory school at St Anne’s, Kilmacud, Dublin.

1.120Sr Lucy Bruton gave evidence on behalf of the Congregation, and reiterated that they wanted to be associated with the CORI apology of January 2002, which stated:

We accept that some children in residential institutions managed by our members suffered deprivation, physical and sexual abuse. We regret that, we apologise for it. We can never take away the pain experienced at the time by these children nor the shadow left over their adult lives. Today the congregations with the State are giving a concrete expression of their genuine desire to foster healing and reconciliation in the lives of former residents.

1.121She added that:

At that time this expressed for us the feeling we had for people, complainants, and for people who felt they had been abused or badly treated and we associate ourselves positively with that statement today. We also welcome the reconciliation aspect of the Commission and we hope that this would help us to move forward and move on.

1.122Sr Bruton gave a number of reasons why the Congregation decided to be part of the Redress Scheme:

First of all, CORI invited us to be part of the group of 18 Religious Orders who were involved in childcare and the Government invited that group to participate and contribute to the Redress Fund and in solidarity we decided to participate in the scheme …

We were conscious of the five litigation cases that were pending against us at that time and obviously we felt I suppose because there were some that we might hear of others. We felt that it would be easier and quicker and less adversarial than the court process. We would have indemnity following on the litigation which would mean that funds that would be contributed would be directed towards former residents rather than in legal costs and in long trials. We felt that it would give a measure of closure and that we would be enabled to move forward without the long process of legal trials which are hard to prove either way and particularly with so many of the people involved not actually being there.

The Brothers of Charity

1.123The Brothers of Charity operated two schools for children with learning disabilities: Our Lady of Good Counsel, Lota in Cork, and Holy Family School in Renmore, County Galway. They also ran an adult psychiatric hospital in Belmount Park in Waterford, which included an adjacent service for adults with intellectual disabilities. A similar service for adults with learning disabilities was established in Clarinbridge in Galway, and another in Bawnmore in Limerick. Today, the Congregation is the largest provider of services for people with an intellectual disability in Ireland.

1.124The Brothers issued a public apology in 1995. Br John O’Shea, the Regional Leader in the Congregation, gave evidence at the Emergence hearings:

We offered an apology and we offered counselling to people who had been abused while in our services, and we encouraged that other people who had been abused would go to their local Garda Station or whatever, and make their allegations known there … I feel for us that 1995 was the watershed in the sense of our awareness that we had a fairly significant issue with abuse. I suppose because the thing came to light, there was obviously a public interest in it, and I think while I wouldnt have the exact wording for 1995, but the general sense that we had was look, this has happened. It was quite a shock to us really because it wasnt something we were prepared for, and certainly the individual incidents we would have known of previously didnt add up to a comprehensive picture, if you like, of widescale abuse. I think when we became aware of this and the fact that it was a significant issue, our apology and, again, as I say, it was in the context of maybe responding to what was at this stage in the public domain and, I suppose, maybe articulating our response to it, that was to be one where we wanted to be open about it, we wanted to encourage people who had complaints to make that it was better to get them out in the open and that there were proper channels for doing this, and we particularly encouraged people to report their allegations to the Gardaí. Because the service we provide would have resources in counselling and so on, we encouraged people that felt they needed that to look for support, if you like.

1.125Explaining why the Congregation contributed to the Redress Scheme, he stated that, prior to the Redress Scheme, the Congregation was facing approximately 50 civil claims:

I suppose one of the things we felt if we were to go down a legal route, that it would be a very long and complex thing and very difficult, and maybe particularly again for people that were abused, it would be putting them through extra trauma and confrontation. Certainly our approach was that we wanted whatever we were doing to be as least confrontational as possible … Redress would have provided an opening to us that would have many advantages that the legal route wouldnt have. I suppose taking the population that we are dealing with again, that it would be difficult for people with a disability to maybe articulate their case, particularly if it had been done in a confrontational setting …

Redress offered the more acceptable forum, if you like, for dealing with the issues that we had to deal with. I suppose another issue would be where people are denying that any abuse took place, that it also affords the person making allegations, that if they feel that they are entitled to compensation for maybe the general institutional atmosphere that they lived in or whatever hardship or deprivation might go with that, where it mightnt be a specific allegation of a particular misdemeanour by anyone.

The Daughters of the Heart of Mary

1.126The Daughters of the Heart of Mary operated one institution, St Josephs Orphanage, Dun Laoghaire from 1860 to 1985. The Sisters also operated a school, a retreat house, and two guest houses for retired women.

1.127The Congregation had not issued a public apology. Sr Anne Boland, Provincial of the Daughters of the Heart of Mary, gave evidence to the Emergence hearings that, in 1971, a resident of one of the schools disclosed to the Sisters that she had been sexually abused by a man who, along with his wife, took some of the girls out for weekends. The Sisters reported the matter to the Gardaí. In 1997, a former resident instituted legal proceedings alleging abuse against a visiting priest. The Sisters believe that this priest was convicted of charges relating to the abuse.

1.128The Congregation contributed to the Redress Fund. Sr Boland stated:

when the Redress Scheme was being drawn up, at that time we had one set of allegations against us, and we also had a number of records or requests for records, small in number, asking for records. In view of the fact that we had over 2,000 children in our care down through the years, we felt more claims could come in. But I would have to say also we found there were very few. At that point, there was only one allegation. Since then, two other allegations have come to us and we felt the best way to compensate, even though we realise the care was good, and, you know, that would be from talking to the Sisters and, indeed, from the past children, that it was a place that they were happy in. But, nonetheless, we felt we could not meet their needs in a way that an ordinary family would. So in order to redress that or compensate, we felt it would be better to go down the line of entering the Redress Scheme. It would be less adversarial or conflictual to them and to us for them to have to come or to put a claim for money to us individually. So that is really why we entered the Redress Scheme.

The De La Salle Brothers

1.129The De La Salle Brothers had significant experience of residential care in England. They first became involved in residential care in Ireland in 1972, when St Laurence’s School in Finglas in Dublin was opened. They were involved in the school until 1994. The De La Salle Brothers also operate numerous primary and post-primary schools throughout the country.

1.130The De La Salle Brothers considered issuing a public apology but decided against it, preferring instead to issue individuals apologies. Br Pius McCarthy, the Provincial Secretary of the Order, gave evidence at the Emergence hearings:

After the Christian Brothers made their apology, we thought about something similar, we questioned whether we should do it or not, but we decided against it, we decided to deal with each case individually, because at the time there was the Garda investigation going on and we werent quite sure what the outcome would be. We felt that by making an apology, we might be indicating or influencing one way or the other. So we have apologised in individual cases where somebody has come to us and said that they were abused. We just decided that it would be better not to go down the road of a public apology.

1.131The Order contributed to the Redress Scheme for the following reasons:

In April 2001, we were invited by CORI to become part of the group of congregations who were then negotiating with the State with regard to making a contribution to the compensation scheme that had been announced in October 2000. The Congregations who were negotiating had agreed in principle to make a contribution to the scheme and details of the same were being discussed. We were approached, because there was at that time litigation in existence relating to Finglas Children’s Centre, and even though we didnt own the centre nor did we manage it in the strict sense, the Resident Manager was a De La Salle Brother throughout the years and we had an involvement in administration and also De La Salle Brothers had worked in it …

We were also aware that some of the complaints made were specifically directed towards members of the Congregation. At the time we were approached by CORI, we were aware of eight claims arising from the centre. Really we were made aware of them by CORI, they got the information for us. We were advised that any contribution made by the Congregations would be in consideration of an indemnity from the State and this would bring some certainty with regard to future litigation. We were also aware of the ongoing Garda investigation into St. Laurences which began in 1995 … Also, we had come into the negotiations at a late stage and accordingly we were guided to some extent by what the other Congregations had done and we also wanted to show solidarity with them.

The Sisters of St Clare

1.132The Sisters of St Clare, or the Poor Clares as they were also known, operated two institutions, an industrial school in Cavan and a private orphanage at Harold’s Cross, with a primary school and a commercial school attached.

1.133They did not issue a public apology. Sr Patricia Rogers, Congregational Leader, outlined the reasons for this as follows:

We have not issued a public apology, but we have associated ourselves with the CORI apology, because we would accept that for many years the daily routine in the institutions, they just didnt take account of the needs of children. The life was too regulated and too disciplined to allow for differences in their physical and emotional development. While Sisters and the lay staff who worked in the institutions made attempts to improve the physical surroundings in which the children lived, it seems clear that there was less understanding of the children’s need for affection and emotional support … The State provided very little at that time by way of support services, and access to psychologists and social workers was very limited. I think as a result of that, both the children and their carers suffered.

1.134Sr Rogers stated that the Congregation contributed to the Redress Scheme for the following reasons:

… we felt that we would be assisting people who had been in our care during their childhood and who are now experiencing difficulties in their lives. We believe that the Redress Scheme presented an opportunity for ending litigation in a quicker and in a less adversarial manner than would be the case in court. We wanted at all costs to avoid a confrontation situation if that were possible.

We also believe that the money expended by the Congregation would go directly to the residents rather than be absorbed by legal fees.

We were aware that the Redress Scheme was going to have a far lower threshold of proof than the courts in that no blame was going to be apportioned to any individual or institution as a result of that.

The Presentation Sisters

1.135The Presentation Sisters operated two industrial schools, St Francis’s Industrial School, Cashel, County Tipperary, and St Bernard’s Industrial School, Dundrum, County Tipperary, which later moved to Fethard in County Tipperary. The Presentation Sisters in Ireland continue to have strong links with both primary and post-primary schools.

1.136Sr Claude Meagher, Provincial of the South East Province of the Congregation, informed the Committee that the Sisters decided to contribute to the Redress Scheme because:

CORI invited the Congregations to participate and, I suppose, there was quite a lot of discussion and reflection went into that, and we made a decision because we had those two industrial schools and we were aware that claims were now being initiated by former residents, those made over the phone and those who had looked for records. We were aware too that in one of the institutions certainly, the regime might have been described as harsh, but the building and all about it prior to 1954, it wouldnt meet present standards or anything near present standards, but renovation was done there in 1974. I suppose our own enquiries and reading records would lead us to believe that the School wasn’t adequate, so we feel that people would have suffered there, they may have suffered … I suppose we believe too that protracted litigation isnt in anybodys interest and we know there would be huge difficulty, on the advice of our legal advisers, in following cases that are dating back to the past, particularly where the Sisters who may have been involved are dead and it is difficult to establish what happened. So in that sense we would feel it is important we would be part of the Government Redress Scheme. I suppose there would be considerable expenses involved in that, and that it is better to maybe direct the money to the Redress Scheme rather than maybe trying to pursue legal issues in court.

The Sisters of St Louis

1.137The Sisters of St Louis operated one industrial school, St Marthas Industrial School in Bundoran, County Donegal. Sisters from the Congregation also worked at St Joseph’s Orphanage in Bundoran, which was under diocesan management. The St Louis Sisters are involved in primary and post-primary education in Ireland.

1.138The Sisters of St Louis have not issued a public apology.

1.139Sr Noreen Shankey, Regional Leader for Ireland, outlined the reasons why the Congregation contributed to the Redress Scheme:

central to our participation in the Redress Scheme was a desire to prevent the ordeal of past residents and ourselves having to go through the courts. As I mentioned, we had no cases against us until after the Taoiseachs apology and the redress had been announced. We also felt that the way of redress was a more humane way and that it would lead in the direction of healing and reconciliation, and I welcome this emphasis with the present Commission and the approach you are taking.

We were also advised by our legal people of the difficulty of prosecuting cases of this nature before the courts, we could have long drawn out cases. Because the events happened so long ago and with the Statute of Limitations, most of the people are dead, in fact all except one person. We felt that the money would be better spent on redress than in legal fees.

There was also an element of support from the other congregations because these discussions were already underway when we joined in, there were already 12 Congregations, so we came in late in the day, but there was a supportive element being with the other Congregations as well as learning from their experience.

There was also the advantage that if people went to redress, we would be indemnified against other claims in the courts.

The Hospitaller Order of St John of God

1.140The Order of St John of God operated a day and residential school for children with learning disabilities at St Augustine’s in Blackrock, County Dublin and other institutions. In Ireland, the Order provides mental health services, care for older people, and services for children and adults with disabilities.

1.141Fr Fintan Whitmore, Provincial of the Order, said that the Order had not issued a public apology:

No, no. We have not been able to establish as a fact that what was said has actually happened. Therefore, we have no way of corroborating that. There have been no convictions, there have been no proceedings that have arrived at any court processes and so on in relation to that, and nobody has come forward with a confession that these things have happened or that they were perpetrators of these acts within our own organisation.

What we would say though, and I think what we have said in most cases, in all cases I would say if it were true that abuse had taken place, then it is a most regrettable thing and we would regret that any such happening could have happened or, indeed, that anything could have happened to people that would leave them disturbed as a result of being in treatment or in care with us or during their time with us.

1.142However, the Order did contribute to the Redress Fund. Fr Whitmore outlined the reasons why, as follows:

There are a number of reasons. One is the way in which we felt a lot of this could go without something like the Redress Board was that it could get into litigation that would be an adversarial system, that the people who were coming forward with accusations were vulnerable people who had difficulties with life in general, and neither for themselves nor for ourselves or anyone else would a long process involving court appearances and denials and statements and so on and so forth have been beneficial to anybody, so we felt that a process which would try to ascertain the truth without going through what could have been very difficult processes for all concerned would have been a better way to go. We also felt that we should act in solidarity with other religions at the time. The indemnity was also an attractive proposition. They would be the principal reasons.

The Sisters of Nazareth

1.143The Sisters of Nazareth provided services for children and the elderly in Ireland. The Sisters of Nazareth operated a residential home for boys and girls, called the Nazareth House, which was situated in County Sligo.

1.144The Sisters of Nazareth have not issued a public apology.

1.145Sr Cornelia Walsh, Sister Superior of the Congregation, outlined the reasons why the Congregation contributed to the Redress Scheme:

Yes, we did, we joined. As a congregation we are a member of CORI and have been for many years. And as such we were aware of and involved in the contacts between CORI and the government representatives, which culminated in the setting up of the scheme. As I said, we are one of the contributing Congregations. We welcome the Governments initiative and have been dismayed at the obvious pain felt by so many of the country’s citizens recalling a period in their lives when the pain of poverty, abandonment and loss was worsened. We consider that the Governments initiative in recognising the shared involvement of the State and those who sought to supplement and provide care which the State could not, was a very worthy one, particularly as it offered a non-adversarial and speedy avenue for those seeking and needing redress. We felt that the desire to heal and provide help was defeated by the necessary rigours of the adversarial process which was neither in the interests of the genuinely hurt and also the elderly and sick Sisters who would have been required to attend hearings. And it is for that reason that we joined the scheme.

The Oblates of Mary Immaculate

1.146The Oblate Order operated Daingean Reformatory School in County Offaly [formerly Glencree] and a detention centre at Scoil Ard-Mhuire in Lusk, County Dublin.

1.147The Oblates issued a press statement following the broadcast of ‘States of Fear’ on 28th April 1999. It read:

We are asked to comment on the programme “States of Fear”. We would firstly say that the abuse of young people is always abhorrent and abuse of young people in confinement is doubly so. The Oblates of Mary Immaculate deeply regret that any young man was mistreated while in their care and offer sincerest apologies.

At the same time we cannot accept certain of the assertions made by the programme particularly in relation to funding. However, before commenting further, a more detailed study of the available records would be required. We are glad the point was made that many boys did experience kindness. This programme has lifted a veil on the way that disadvantaged children have been treated in Irish Society. Hopefully it will prove to be a step in a continuing work of research and healing.

1.148Fr Tom Murphy, a member of the Order, said that the Oblates contributed to the Redress Scheme because:

We felt that the redress procedure was best for the claimants and that it was better that the money should go to them rather than for legal expenses. We also felt very strongly that this would be and should be a pastoral reaction, a pastoral action if you like, in relation to the whole question of abuse. We also saw a certain value in being one in solidarity with other religious Congregations who were supporting the contribution. It would also save surviving members, now elderly, and staff members from the trauma of maybe long, litigious lawsuits. And it would also sort of avoid any excessively adversarial modes of civil courts which would give rise to further alienation of claimants. In addition we hope that it would speed up and facilitate a process of closure around this whole question. We also needed to justify pledging funds that we held for our mission for this special purpose of contributing, and after legal advice which we felt we had to have, we made the contribution.

Evidence from representatives of the survivor groups

1.149Ten groups representing survivors of child abuse were invited to attend the Emergence hearings. These were:

  1. The Irish Deaf Society
  2. Irish SOCA
  3. SOCA UK
  4. Right to Peace
  5. One in Four
  6. Right of Place
  7. Alliance Victim Support
  8. Irish Survivors of Institutional Abuse International
  9. The Aislinn Centre
  10. The London Irish Women’s Group.

The Irish Deaf Society

1.150Mr Kevin Stanley gave evidence on behalf of the Irish Deaf Society, a representative body which has a number of umbrella groups within its organisation; one of these is for survivors of abuse who are deaf. This was set up following the broadcast of ‘States of Fear’ and was designed to ‘give deaf people an opportunity to discuss things, their experiences and really to assist in part of the healing process, healing from the pain that they would have experienced’.

1.151The long-term objectives of the Society are to raise awareness that abuse has taken place in schools for the deaf, which they believe was directly linked with the introduction of oralism and the banning of sign language, that led to physical abuse, emotional abuse and neglect.

Irish SOCA

1.152Mr Patrick Walsh is a member of a survivor group known as Irish SOCA (Survivors of Child Abuse), and he was nominated to represent it for the purpose of the Emergence hearings. After the Taoiseach’s statement of 11th May 1999, a number of firms of solicitors placed advertisements in various newspapers in the UK and Ireland, and public meetings were organised. SOCA (Survivors of Child Abuse) was established at a meeting in London on 19th June 1999. Soon afterwards, SOCA split into two groups, Irish SOCA and SOCA UK. The two groups were not mutually exclusive, and many of SOCA’s members belonged to both organisations.

1.153Mr Walsh said that the purpose of the group was to act as a support group for survivors, so that they could make representations to the Irish Government on the proposed Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse and Residential Institutions Redress legislation. It has also participated in various consultative processes and made submissions to the Law Reform Commission during its work on the Statute of Limitations. The group also assists its members in seeking access to information and operates a legal referral service.

1.154Mr Walsh said that Irish SOCA is funded from ‘the personal resources of the executive members of Irish SOCA‘. He said it is not funded by the State, the Roman Catholic Church, or membership fees.


1.155Mr Michael Waters gave evidence on behalf of SOCA UK (Survivors of Child Abuse – UK). He traced the origins of the group to meetings that he used to have with other former residents of Artane at social occasions. These meetings were initially very informal and in the nature of an Artane Old Boys School.

1.156In the early years, there were three to four meetings a year. They wrote to everybody they thought might be able to help. The broadcast of ‘Dear Daughter’ in the mid-1990s marked a watershed for them:

This without doubt was groundbreaking stuff … This was the flagship overall, this was the one that now had brought it all mainstream …

1.157He said that it had a major impact on his members:

It certainly did because although we were supporting each other and coming up into the mid-90s now you had a mixed group of people. It was no longer a sort of — although it still had a title until into the mid-90s, the Artane Old Boys, but that was really redundant, that was defunct as such because there was women that was involved as well that had been in the institutes.

1.158The first big meeting was in Coventry in 1998, and this venue was chosen to facilitate members travelling from all over the UK. They advertised the meeting in the Irish Post, and the meeting was attended by approximately 100 people. That meeting was followed by more meetings in Coventry and in Birmingham. Numbers had grown to over 500, and the idea to form a group was emerging. Eventually, a meeting was held on 19th June 1999 in London, and SOCA was launched at this meeting. A constitution was adopted on 27th June 1999.

1.159Mr Waters explained that his organisation has made representations to the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse and the Redress Board. They also worked towards developing an independent counselling service, as many of their members did not wish to avail of the counselling provided by the Religious Orders. SOCA UK continued to have regular meetings and assist their members in tracing their family of origin, and they also refer people for legal advice.

1.160The group is funded by the Department of Education and Science.

Right to Peace

1.161Mr Michael O’Brien gave evidence on behalf of ‘Right to Peace’. He said that the origins of his group could be traced back to 1999, when a lady named Josephine Baker organised a meeting to discuss institutional abuse for people who had attended Ferryhouse Industrial School. Following the meeting, a group of approximately 13 former residents of Ferryhouse decided to establish a group ‘to see what we could do about the abuse that we suffered while children, sexual, physical, traumatic and verbal abuse in an institution where we were sent to be cared for, in an institution where we were supposed to be taught, cleaned, looked after and fed’. After the meeting, Mr O’Brien said that he tried to promote his group in the media by placing advertisements in newspapers and giving interviews on local radio. He said that the group has approximately 300 members and its aim:

was to get the State to do something about this abuse. Why? That it would never again happen in this country that any child would be abused again in this country. That was our main aim. Every obstacle that you can think of was put in our way, no help from nobody.

1.162He continued:

Thats why we set up our group to see can we get our rights back, to see can we get redress for what happened for those of us who didnt do so well after coming out.

1.163Mr O’Brien said that Right to Peace engages in counselling, giving advice and holding meetings. The group is funded by the Department of Education and Science.

One in Four

1.164‘One in Four’ is a service-based, non-profit organisation and a registered charity that provides support to men and women who have suffered sexual violence or sexual abuse. It was founded by Mr Colm O’Gorman in the UK in 1999. Mr O’Gorman outlined the background to its establishment and its early development as follows:

The charity was originally founded in the UK in 1999 … It became a registered charity in the year 2000 and it launched its services then. In Ireland I had been personally involved in the making of a documentary with BBC television in relation to clerical sexual abuse. When that documentary aired we found that our office in London was being inundated with calls from Irish people, people both living in Ireland and in the UK, talking about their own experiences of sexual violence.

1.165He continued:

We subsequently in late April 2002 had a meeting with officials of the Department of An Taoiseach. As a result of that meeting we felt very encouraged to perhaps proceed more speedily than we had first anticipated towards the establishment of an organisation. We submitted proposals to Government and were told to go ahead with the establishment of the Irish organisation. We secured offices in November 2002 and started to see the first clients of the service in about February 2003.

1.166The organisation provides a psychotherapy programme and an advocacy programme. Mr O’Gorman said that the organisation is funded through a variety of means, including grants from the Department of Health and Children and by fundraising.

Right of Place

1.167Mr Eugene Tracey gave evidence on behalf of ‘Right of Place’, an organisation established on 10th July 1999 to help survivors of institutional abuse. Following the Taoiseach’s apology, he and another man decided to place an advertisement in the Cork Examiner, inviting former residents of St Patrick’s Industrial School, Upton to a meeting in Cork on 10th July 1999. At this meeting, a committee was elected and it was mandated to approach the Government:

with a view to securing primarily education because a lot of us people were lacking in education through no fault of our own. A lot of us needed counselling and we didnt know how to access it, and it was literally nonexistent. Housing, social housing situations – people were living, including myself at the time, in rat-infested bedsits. We took all of these sort of situations on board.

1.168They met with the Minister for Education and Science, Mr Micheál Martin, and a number of officials from his Department, and they had discussions about how their aim of providing education and improving conditions for survivors could be achieved. To assist them in their objectives, premises were secured in Cork and leased by the Department on behalf of the group. The premises was used by the group to hold meetings, so as to keep their members informed, and it was also used to provide evening classes and literacy classes for its members. They worked in conjunction with the CORK VEC,28 who provided them with an educational facilitator. The six staff in the building were paid by FÁS.29

1.169Mr Tracey told the Committee that the education programme had been a great success and had provided courses for many people in schools and universities and trades.

1.170The group also became aware that many people who came to give evidence to the Commission needed somewhere to stay before and after they had given their evidence. Having identified this need, the organisation obtained a house with the assistance of the Department of Health and Children, and this can accommodate around 30 people. This house is also used for short-term stays for members awaiting housing. In addition, the group received a grant from the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, to build 10 apartments for the repatriation of former residents who were living outside Ireland.

1.171The organisation was initially funded by the Department of Education and Science, but it is now funded by the Department of Health and Children.

Alliance Victim Support

1.172Mr Tom Hayes gave evidence on behalf of Alliance Victim Support. They are a voluntary organisation. They provide support to survivors in Ireland, particularly those who live in isolated areas. The type of support consists of establishing the living conditions of these people and putting them in touch with professional help and advising them of their statutory entitlements.

1.173They receive some funding from the Department of Education and Science.

Irish Survivors of Institutional Abuse International

1.174Mr Tom Cronin gave evidence on behalf of this group. They were established in the UK as a result of a split with another group in 2002. He identified a number of issues that they would like the Commission to consider, such as State financing of industrial schools and how the money was spent, the role of medical personnel within the industrial school system, and the role of the ISPCC.

1.175The group do not receive any funding.

The Aislinn Centre

1.176Ms Christine Buckley, who is the Director of the Aislinn Centre, gave evidence to the Investigation Committee. She described how, following the broadcast of the programme ‘Dear Daughter’, she and two fellow survivors organised an event in the Royal Dublin Society called ‘A Happy Day’ in April 1996. The purpose of this event was to put former residents in contact with each other, and to enable them to get in touch with siblings with whom they had lost contact. The event was attended by 550 people. She spent the next few years raising awareness of the issue of child abuse. After the Taoiseach’s apology in 1999, the Aislinn Centre was established. She said that the Centre operates an ‘open door policy’, where membership is not required. She insisted that they do not operate on a membership basis, but acknowledged that they had assisted approximately 3,500 individuals who had made contact with the Centre.

1.177The work of the Centre is to promote healing through a variety of ways: counselling, education, and activities which help with self-development. They offer courses in art, music, creative writing, swimming lessons, driving lessons, financial advice through the Money Advice Budgetary Service (MABS), computers, and drama, all with a view to confidence building.

1.178The group receives some funding from the Government.

The London Irish Women’s Group

1.179Ms Sally Mulready gave evidence on behalf of the London Irish Women’s Group. The group emerged from SOCA UK, where many of the women who attended these meetings wanted to meet and talk and share experiences that were personal to them as women, mothers and grandmothers. It was set up in November 1999 and is not a rival group, and many of the members are members of other organisations. They have a mailing list of 380 women and hold monthly meetings. The group was involved in negotiations that led to the setting-up of outreach services for survivors in the UK, which is funded by the Department of Education and Science.

1.180The organisation does not receive any Government funding.

Experts and their assignments

1.181The Commission engaged experts to assist in the investigation and to report on a number of areas as outlined below.

Physical surroundings – Ciaran Fahy

1.182The Commission appointed Mr Ciaran Fahy, Consulting Engineer, to report on the physical environment in which the children resided. His brief was to examine the physical surrounding with particular reference to the buildings in Artane, Clifden and Ferryhouse Industrial Schools as well as Daingean Reformatory School. His reports are annexed to the chapters dealing with those institutions.

Finance – Mazars

1.183At the Emergence hearings in July 2004, it was clear that the Congregations would be making the case that they had not been provided with adequate funds to enable them to look after the children properly. Although the representations by the State at the Emergence hearings, and in later submissions, seemed to accept that there was inadequate financial provision for the institutions, the Committee wished to have this matter explored to try to assess to what extent the lack of finance caused or contributed to failures of care in the system.

1.184The firm of Mazars, Chartered Accountants, was engaged to report on funding. Mazars’ brief was to examine the accounts of a number of specific institutions: Artane, Goldenbridge, Ferryhouse and Daingean, and also to consider the question of funding more generally, and to review the adequacy or otherwise of the capitation payments made in respect of children in industrial and reformatory schools.

1.185Because of the general importance of the issue of finance to the investigation of the institutions, and specifically in respect of those that Mazars examined, a full discussion of this topic is contained in Vol IV, Chapter 2 of the report, where the Mazars Report is annexed, together with all the submissions that were made in response to the first draft of the report that was circulated.

Health records – Professor Anthony Staines

1.186The Committee appointed Dr Anthony Staines, formerly of UCD, now Professor of Public Health Medicine in Dublin City University, to lead a small group of researchers in a project to examine health records relating to the children in institutions. It became clear that it was impossible in any reliable way to study the health of children in the institutions on the basis of the limited and variable records that were available.

1.187The Committee has not taken the results of this study into account in its analysis of individual institutions, but it recognises and appreciates the assistance that it has received from Professor Staines and his team in their examination of the available material. The study undertaken by Professor Staines and his team is annexed at Vol V of this report.

Dr Eoin O’Sullivan

1.188Dr Eoin O’Sullivan, Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at the Department of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin, gave valuable assistance to the Commission in two areas. First, he gave evidence at the opening of the Emergence hearings on 21st June 2004, where he outlined the history of industrial and reformatory schools in Ireland and helped to establish the historical context of the institutions.

1.189The second task undertaken by Dr O’Sullivan was to report on developments in the area of child protection and care in the State, from the time of the Kennedy Committee Report in 1970 to the present day. Dr O’Sullivan’s report is contained in Vol IV of this report.

Dr Diarmaid Ferriter

1.190Prior to the Phase III hearings, a firm of solicitors representing a large number of complainants commissioned Dr Diarmaid Ferriter, Senior Lecturer in Irish History at St Patrick’s College, Dublin City University, to produce a report.

1.191Dr Ferriter set out to:

attempt to put more historical context on the events discussed in the public hearings by drawing attention to issues of class, gender and sexuality generally in Irish society, and more specifically, sexual abuse in relation to the State and the legal system, as well as looking at the manner in which information emerged, and was sometimes suppressed. By extension, it will also touch on the institution of the family, emigration and how the State and the Catholic Church perceived its role in relation to the moral welfare of Irish Catholics.

1.192Because Dr Ferriter had already been engaged, the Investigation Committee received his report as a useful document containing expert research and opinion.

1.193Dr Ferriter’s report is of interest and value, but the Investigation Committee was aware that, because it deals with many of the questions that are at the very core of the Inquiry itself it could not be used as the basis of making conclusions. Recognising the value of the work, the Commission took over as sponsor, and it also is annexed to Vol IV of this report.

Mr Richard Rollinson

1.194Mr Richard Rollinson is a retired Director of the Mulberry Care Centre in Oxford. He is an expert in the field of residential childcare in the United Kingdom. The Committee asked him to furnish a brief history of residential childcare in England, as it developed in the later part of the twentieth century, and the report he furnished covers the period 1948 to 1975. Mr Rollinson’s report provides valuable comparative and contextual information on the English system, and is annexed to Vol IV of this report.

Professor David Gwynn Morgan

1.195Professor Morgan is a Professor of Law at University College, Cork. He provided enormous assistance to the Committee in research and analysis that extended over a wide area of interest to the Committee and the Commission. His work did not extend to the individual chapters on institutions, nor to the investigation of abuse in them. His particular contributions are reflected in the chapters entitled History of Industrial Schools and Reformatories, Gateways and the Department of Education. Professor Morgan conducted original research into material that would have been very difficult to access without the assistance of Mr Jimmy Maloney of the Department of Education and Science, whose contribution is acknowledged.

Research project – Professor Alan Carr

1.196In its Opening Statement and at the Second Public Sitting on 20th July 2000, the Commission announced its intention to conduct a research project. The Third Interim Report outlined the proposed project.30 Difficulties were encountered in setting up the project, and the Commission under Mr Justice Sean Ryan revised the scheme in consultation with Professor Alan Carr of the Department of Psychology, University College Dublin. It was undertaken in 2005 and 2006. There were 247 residents of institutions who gave evidence to the Commission and were interviewed by Professor Carr’s research team. The report containing the results of the research study is published in full in Volume IV of this report.

1.197The ‘research study’ stands alone and separate from the work of the Commission, and its conclusions were not taken into account in the reports submitted by the two Committees to the Commission. The ‘research study’ comprises original research which adds to the knowledge of this field of study.

1 Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, Initial Report on Terms of Reference, 7th September 1999.

2 Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, Report on Terms of Reference, 14th October 1999.

3 Amendments were also made by the Residential Institutions Redress Act, 2002: See Section 32.

4 Section 1 of the Principal Act, as amended by section 3 of the 2005 Act.

5 Section 15(1) of the Principal Act, as amended by section 10 of the 2005 Act.

6 Section 16 of the Principal Act as amended by section 11 of the 2005 Act.

7 Section 4(6) as substituted by section 4 of the 2005 Act.

8 Section 12(1) of the Principal Act, as amended by section 7 of the 2005 Act.

9 Section 12(1)(d)(iii), as amended by section 7(c) of the 2005 Act.

10 Section 14, as amended by section 9 of the 2005 Act.

11 Section 14(1)(a) of the Principal Act.

12 Section 14(1)(b)–(d) of the Principal Act.

13 Section 14(1)(e) of the Principal Act.

14 Section 14(8) of the Principal Act, as inserted by section 9 of the 2005 Act.

15 Section 14(9) of the Principal Act, as inserted by section 9 of the 2005 Act.

16 Section 14(11) of the Principal Act, as inserted by section 9 of the 2005 Act.

17 Section 14(10) of the Principal Act, as amended by section 9 of the 2005 Act.

18 Section 14(14) of the Principal Act, as inserted by section 9 of the 2005 Act.

19 Section 14 of the Principal Act, as amended by section 9 of the 2005 Act.

20 Section 13 of the Principal Act, as amended by section 8 of the 2005 Act.

21 Section 1(1) of the Principal Act.

22 ‘Dear Daughter’ was a dramatised programme broadcast in 1996 by RTE which featured Goldenbridge Industrial School.

23 There were three programmes broadcast by RTE in 1999 in the ‘States of Fear’ series: ‘Industrial Schools and Reformatories from the 1940s–1980s’, ‘The Legacy of Industrial Schools’, and ‘Sick and Disabled Children in Institutions’.

24 Under the terms of the indemnity agreement reached with the Religious Congregations on 5th June 2002, the Congregations agreed to make a contribution of €128 million towards the redress scheme. This was broken down as follows: cash contribution €41.14 million; provision of counselling services €10 million and property transfers €76.86 million.

25 An organisation funded by the Congregations that provides counselling for persons who have been abused by religious Orders and Congregations.

26 This is dealt with in full in the chapter on St Joseph’s Industrial School, Greenmount.

27 This is a pseudonym.

28 Cork VEC – Cork Vocational Education Committees.

29 FÁS – Training and employment authority.

30 See Third Interim Report, chapter 4.

Chapter 2
History of industrial schools and reformatories1

An early nineteenth-century social problem

2.01The earliest provision in Britain and Ireland for destitute children is to be found in the Act for the Relief of the Poor of 1598. It provided for the appointment in every parish of ‘overseers of the poor’ with, among other specific duties, those of ‘setting to work the children of all such whose parents shall not be thought able to keep and maintain their children’. In 1771, legislation was enacted, under which overseers were appointed to arrange for the maintenance and education of orphaned or deserted children out of money raised by the parish. It was envisaged, too, that work-houses were to be built, financed either by voluntary contribution or, if these were not forthcoming, by official grants. In fact, neither was available on anything like the scale necessary to meet the need. By the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, in both Ireland and Britain, the rapid growth of populations meant that the parish ceased to be a viable unit for the administration of relief. Destitute children roamed the countryside or streets, foraging for food and pilfering for a livelihood. In Ireland, the Famine (1845–1849) made a bad situation immeasurably worse, leading to the desertion of children by parents.

2.02On an official level, the response to this significant social problem was the Poor Relief (Ireland) Act, 1838. This established or confirmed a system of workhouses throughout the country, under the central authority of the Irish Poor Law Commissioners (replaced in 1872 by the Local Government Board for Ireland). By 1853, 77,000 children below 15 years of age (one third of them orphans), which was 6.5% of the age cohort, were living in workhouses, while an unknown number of ‘street urchins’ were still living wild in the towns.

2.03One of the workhouse system rules was that families were forced to split, with children seeing their parents only once a week. Moreover, in the workhouses, the children had to mix with all types of adult paupers and vagrants, giving rise to the real possibility of abuse. No effective education was provided. In addition, the stigma attached to workhouses meant that they were perceived as providing charity for ‘the shameless, the idle and the shiftless’.

2.04It might have been thought that an alternative policy to the workhouse could have been tried, namely to make direct contributions of money or necessities to those in need (a policy then generally known as ‘outdoor relief’), since this would allow the poor families involved to be assisted outside the workhouse system. However, this was unpopular in official quarters, because of the danger that it would be taken advantage of by persons who in fact had their own resources on which to draw. It was partly to reduce the chance of this that workhouses had been established: for the orthodox thinking was that charity should be extended only to those who were prepared to accept the harshest and most overcrowded of conditions.

2.05Apart from these official efforts, charitable organisations and individual philanthropists also attempted to alleviate the problem by gathering some of these children into orphanages, charity schools, ‘ragged schools’2 – all institutions depending on voluntary contributions and, often, on voluntary labour.

2.06However, neither workhouses nor voluntary efforts were equal to the scale of the problem, and it came to be accepted that something more was required. In the first half of the nineteenth century in Britain and in Ireland, there were several commissions and committees to investigate both the broad subject of poverty3 and the particular needs of poor children. The industrial school system was proposed as a solution. This idea was based on a Continental model and, by the 1850s, Germany, Switzerland and Scandinavia had nearly a hundred institutions for criminal and destitute juveniles, whose achievements were well known in Ireland and Britain. The thrust of the education provided in these schools, some of which were called ‘Farm Schools’, was in favour of practical training, which would equip the children for employment, rather than academic learning. This approach fitted in well with the Victorian idea of utilitarian progress, and also helped to provide skills to fuel the Industrial Revolution. The motivation for these reforms has also been variously attributed to the desire to help the needy, or the need to control those whom the authorities viewed as a threat to the existing order.

Legislation and establishment

2.07This Continental model was put into legislative effect and was implemented in Britain, in the 1850s.4 In Ireland a little later, the reformatory system was established by the Reformatory Schools (Ireland) Act, 1858. A decade later, the industrial schools came too, this time by way of a Private Member’s Bill introduced by The O’Connor Don,5 which became law as the Industrial Schools (Ireland) Act, 1868. The reformatories were for those guilty of offences; and industrial schools for those neglected, orphaned or abandoned; in other words, not for criminal children, but those potentially exposed to crime. This dichotomy was in line with a fairly well-established distinction between a penal school for youthful offenders and a ‘ragged school’ for the poor or vagrant.

2.08In Ireland, the initial result of the 1858 and 1868 Acts was that a number of existing voluntary schools and homes applied for and were granted certificates as reformatories or industrial schools. These were for the reception of children committed by the courts, and they became eligible for grants from public funds for the maintenance of such children. The next few decades brought extensive new buildings and institutions. Although reformatory schools were established first, industrial schools soon surpassed them, both in numbers of schools and of pupils. In the seven years after 1858, 10 reformatories (five for females) were certified. By the end of the century, only seven of the 10 original reformatories survived, some of the former reformatories having been re-certified as industrial schools; and, by 1922, only five remained (one of which was a reformatory for boys in Northern Ireland). The reformatory school population, which was nearly 800 immediately after the passing of the 1858 Act, fell to 300 in 1882, and to 150 in 1900.

2.09On the other hand, however, by 1875, there were 50 industrial schools, and the highest number of industrial schools was reached in 1898, when there were a total of 71 schools, of which 61 (56 schools for Catholics and five for Protestants) were in the 26 counties. At its height, in 1898 the population in the industrial schools was 7,998 residents, compared with the 6,000 children in the same year in the considerably less salubrious conditions of the workhouses. Moreover, in the late nineteenth century, social and economic conditions in Ireland were such that many children had to be refused places in the schools. In 1882, over 70% of committal entries to industrial schools were made under the category of begging.6

2.10The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were eras when social reformers began to notice children as individuals susceptible to neglect and ill-treatment. In Edwardian England, reformers like Charles Booth and Sebohm Rowntree were attempting to quantify poverty, analysing its causes and characteristics. One consequence of this thinking was that all the nineteenth-century legislation in this field7 was replaced by the Children Act, 1908, popularly known as the Children’s Charter. While making relatively slight substantive amendments,8 this Act applied a unified system of law to both types of schools in Britain and in Ireland. The Children Act, 1908 dealt with a number of topics, among them the prevention of cruelty to children, protection of infant life, and provision for juvenile offence. However, its most important provisions were in Part IV, which provided the constitutional basis for reformatories and industrial schools. It continued to be the primary legislation for vulnerable children in Ireland until it was amended by the Child Care Act, 1991 which was not fully operational until 1996. The 1991 Act was replaced by the Children Act, 2001 which was signed into law in July 2001.

2.11The 1908 Act was one of a trio of measures introduced by the Home Secretary, Herbert Gladstone, and justly regarded as a late flowering of Victorian reformism. The other two measures were the Probation of Offenders Act, 1907 and the Prevention of Crime Act, 1908, which established borstals. Another reform in a slightly earlier period was that the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) was first established in 1875 in the United States, and then in Britain in 1884, and in Ireland in 1889.

2.12It may be worth quoting from section 44 of the Children Act, 1908 since this is the closest the legislation comes to what later generations would call a mission statement for the schools. This section states:

The expression “industrial school” means a school for the industrial training of children, in which children are lodged, clothed and fed, as well as taught.

2.13The definition of a ‘reformatory school’ is defined in the same terms by section 44 of the 1908 Act, but, with the substitution of ‘youthful offenders’ for ‘children’.

Policies underlying the School system

Intervention in the family

2.14Until the legislation establishing the schools, the law seldom intervened in the affairs of a family. The new legislation, however, gave Magistrates’ Courts (the pre-Independence equivalent of the District Court) jurisdiction to intervene in the interest of the child, usually of the poorer class, to protect their physical or moral wellbeing. Doing so meant a major interference with the family and parental rights.

2.15Barnes9 states that, as originally conceived, industrial schools had two objectives: the first being to provide appropriate skills and training to enable children ‘to be capable of supporting themselves by honest labour’; the other being to reform the child’s character. To achieve these ends, it was considered necessary that ‘the links between child and home [be] ruthlessly cut’, on the basis that the home was a bad influence. For this reason, committal was generally imposed for the maximum period, correspondence between the children and families was vetted, and parental visits were allowed only at the discretion of the Manager.

Religious ownership and management

2.16Each type of school was to be independently managed and run, though subject to State approval and inspection. Thus, a fundamental feature was private, largely religious philanthropy. It seemed natural that churches should take responsibility for providing assistance to the poor. In Ireland, Catholic emancipation in 1829 made the Church a central institution. It was powerful both at the level of the Hierarchy and, even more so, at grassroots where, in the absence of a trusted landowner class, the priests who were educated and nationalistic were regarded as community leaders. Apart from religion, the main focus of the Church’s influence lay in education. The burgeoning character of the Catholic Church in the post-Famine period may be illustrated by the simple fact that the number of nuns increased eightfold between 1841 and 1901. There was huge growth in the numbers of priests and Brothers as well as nuns, and the establishment of a comprehensive range of services in the fields of education, health and social services. Moreover, there was even surplus capacity, so that many of the Orders exported personnel and services to America, Canada and Australia.

2.17A related issue was the fear of each of the major religions of proselytisation by the other side. On either side, this was not an unreasonable fear: Catholics were moved by the fact that the last relic of Catholic subservience was not gone until 1829. The ‘established Church’ was Protestant, in particular Anglican, and Protestant institutions were more richly resourced. Thus, a major concern of the Catholic side, which persisted into the twentieth century, was to keep Catholic orphans from being taken into the ‘Birds-nests homes’ run by the Protestant orphan societies. On the other side, the immense potential of the Catholic Church as the church of the great majority of the people was evident. From the perspective of both sides, the schools allowed an opportunity to imbue children with religion and to present a caring image of the Church.10

2.18In response to these considerations, the main modification of the English model, contained in the Irish Industrial Schools Act of 1868, concerned safeguards to prevent any change in the religion of a child committed. Catholic and Protestant children had to be committed to separate schools. The control of the religious was also copperfastened by a provision that State funds could be used only for maintenance and not for capital expenditure to set up State schools; and that funding would be on a capitation basis. This avoided any suspicion of the Government favouring one denomination, which might have existed had payments been based on the institution as an entity. In addition, this met Catholic resistance to State ownership. From the perspective of the State, the cost would be less, and it was believed that schools conducted by voluntary management would retain an adaptable character, and that their pupils would have better opportunities for employment than those afforded by juvenile houses of correction under official management.


2.19A distinction that was observed in the financial regime of the schools was that recurring expenditure on food, staff equipment, etc was the responsibility of the State. This was funded by central and local government on a capitation basis,11 whereas capital expenditure was funded by the owners of the schools. This was an incentive to maximise numbers and not to spend money on capital items such as buildings, sports facilities or other benefits for the children.

2.20A check was imposed by the Treasury on the granting of new certificates between 1875 and 1879, in order to keep down its contribution. As a result of this policy, admissions were restricted. Moreover, several new schools were built, their founders being under the impression that they would be certified on completion, yet they failed to receive certificates immediately. One such school was built for Roman Catholic girls at Mallow. The building was erected in 1873, but certification of this School was refused for six years after its completion.12

2.21The Children Act, 1908 dropped the restriction on the use of public funds for capital expenditure but, in contrast to the position in England and subject to one or two exceptions, Irish local or, until the 1940s, central government did not use this power. Indeed, the reality is that Irish local authorities were often overdue in paying the contributions, even to maintenance, which they were legally obliged to make.

2.22The schools were founded either by the philanthropic donation of a premises and land by a concerned land owner, or the capital required to build the schools was raised by public subscription from a group of community-minded citizens, with the major impetus in collection and spending coming from the religious authorities. For instance, almost immediately after the legislation was enacted, the Dublin Catholic Reformatory Committee was established to meet this financial challenge.

2.23Another example was the Cork Reformatory Committee,13 set up by the Cork Society of the St Vincent de Paul in 1858. They purchased a 112-acre farm at Upton, 14 miles from Cork City, for use as a reformatory school, and they asked the Rosminian Order to take charge of it, as they had experience of operating reformatories in England. A building was completed on the site in 1860 at a cost of £5,000, and the lease of the lands and buildings was transferred to the Rosminians in 1872.14 This operated as St Patrick’s Reformatory School in Upton, County Cork until 1889 and, thereafter, as an industrial school.15

2.24In 1869, Lord Granard, the local landowner, invited the Sisters of Mercy to establish a school in Newtownforbes, County Longford. He gave the Sisters a house for use as a convent and gardens, rent free, and an annual cash donation of £90.16 In the same year, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Industrial School, Newtownforbes, was certified for the reception of 145 girls.

2.25One of the legacies of this piece-meal way of establishing the schools was that there was an uneven geographical distribution of schools throughout Ireland, which had a considerable impact on whether children were likely to end up in an industrial school.

‘Industrial’ training

2.26The principal virtue claimed for the schools, by the utilitarian thinkers who championed them, was that they would equip the residents with skills, which would enable them in later life to survive by steady, if humble, employment. In the nineteenth century, this was accomplished in the case of girls. According to Ó Cinnéide and Maguire:17

Girls’ schools provided a narrower range of industrial training than boys schools, focusing on domestic service, laundry, and sewing. The majority of girls who left industrial schools went into domestic service. Indeed the schools were a vital source of domestic servants, particularly because the schools were among the few institutions that provided a coherent training program for domestic servants. Some schools, including High Park and St. George’s in Limerick, were particularly noted for their training program, and girls from these schools had no trouble securing work as servants. Goldenbridge Industrial School was also an important source of trained domestic servants. Mona Hearne, author of Below Stairs, shows that of the 877 girls discharged from Goldenbridge between 1880 and 1920, over 300 were placed in service; the nuns kept in touch with these girls for at least three years after discharge, and only rarely were bad reports received.

2.27As to the boys’ schools, they commented:

the [Samuelson Commission’s]18 remit was to examine industrial and technical training in all schools, including industrial schools, throughout the United Kingdom … The Commission’s report was extremely critical of the general standard of training in Irish schools generally; the one exception was Irish industrial schools, which they found to be models of technical and industrial training.19

2.28Barnes acknowledged that some schools did in fact excel in providing children with the skills and training which enabled them to support themselves once they were discharged. She took the view that, in the early years of the system’s existence, there was some tension between providing industrial training to ameliorate poverty, and the general feeling that industrial training should not facilitate upward social mobility.20

2.29Barnes claimed that only a small percentage of boys entered trades for which they had been trained, and that the majority ended up working as unskilled labourers, mainly on farms. However, this could be the result of the general lack of opportunities for poor people in Ireland in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.21

2.30Barnes and most other writers give a largely favourable impression of the nineteenth century industrial schools system. On the other hand, John Fagan, who was appointed Inspector of Reformatory and Industrial Schools in 1897, criticised virtually all aspects of the system at the end of the nineteenth century, especially the physical conditions in the schools and the overall condition of the children. He was particularly critical of the poor hygiene and lack of cleanliness in the majority of the schools.22 Ó Cinnéide and Maguire summarise Fagan’s criticisms, and comment:23

conditions in many of the schools seem to have deteriorated around the turn of the century, in what Barnes termed a spirit of “complacency and a resistance to change”.

1 This historical overview has drawn extensively on the research provided to the Commission by Professor David Gwynn Morgan, Dr Eoin O’Sullivan; Professor Séamus O’Cinnéide; Dr Moira Maguire (who along with Professor O’Cinnéide compiled reports to the Sisters of Mercy); Professor Dermot Keogh (who wrote a report for the Presentation Brothers on Greenmount) and Ms Sheila Lunney (who wrote an MA thesis entitled Institutional Solution to a Social Problem: Industrial Schools in Ireland and the Sisters of Mercy 1869 to 1950).

2 The idea of ‘ragged schools’ was developed in 1818 by John Pounds, a shoemaker. He began teaching poor children without charging fees.

3 For example, Royal Commission (Nassau, 1832) to review the working of the Act for the Relief of the Poor, 1601 in England (1832); Royal Commission for Ireland under Archbishop Whately of Dublin (1833–36) to inquire into the conditions of the poor and to ameliorate them; others according to Caul 12, in 1804, 1819, 1823 and 1830. Mary Carpenter’s seminal work, Reformatory Schools for the children of the perishing and dangerous classes and for juvenile offenders (1851) was among the causes of the Commission of Inquiry into Criminal and Destitute Children [HC 1852–53], before which Mary Carpenter was the principal witness.

4 In Britain, the schools were established by way of the Reformatory Schools (Youthful Offenders) Act, 1857 and the Industrial Schools Act, 1854, though the latter applied only to Scotland. The legislation was consolidated in 1866.

5 A liberal Catholic described by Cardinal Cullen as ‘the only good man’ in Parliament; and a member of the House of Commons Select Committee of 1861, which studied the problems of educating the destitute. Neilson Hancock, a statistician and social campaigner, was able to show that, although the juvenile crime rate in Ireland was half that of Britain, this proportion was reversed with regard to vagrants under 16 years of age; for Ireland had almost double the British rate of juvenile vagrants. These statistics provided The O’Connor Don with the intellectual ammunition to argue his case for the extension of industrial schools to Ireland.

6 The Aberdare Commission of Enquiry into Reformatory and Industrial Schools 1884, which dealt with the British and Irish systems separately, warmly endorsed the schools. Partly as a result of this, there was a considerable expansion in industrial schools in the 1880s and 1890s. See Jane Barnes, Irish Industrial Schools, 1868–1908 (Irish Academic Press, 1989), p 64. The Cussen Report 1934–1936 credits the early spread of the schools to a speech by the Lord High Chancellor of Ireland, Lord O’Hagan, to the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland (of which he was president), in which he drew attention to the advantages to the social order which would follow on the establishment of the industrial schools: JSSIS Part XXXIX, 1870, 225.

7 By 1908, for Ireland alone, the legislation comprised: the Industrial Schools Act, 1868, the Industrial Schools Acts Amendment Act 1880, the Industrial Schools (Ireland) Act, 1885 and the Industrial School Acts Amendment Act, 1894, and the Reformatory Schools (lreland) Act, 1858. Other minor amending Acts were passed in 1893, 1899 and 1901. The 1908 Act substituted the Chief Secretary for Ireland in place of the Home Secretary.

8 However, there were two significant improvements in the Act which never received a fair trial in Ireland: day industrial schools, and release on licence. Questioning the advantages of institutional life and perceiving the value of keeping a child in a family environment (unless this was wholly evil) in the late nineteenth century, the Philanthropic Reform Association proposed the establishment of day industrial schools: Jane Barnes, Irish Industrial Schools, 1868–1908 (Irish Academic Press 1989), pp 85–86.

9 Jane Barnes, Irish Industrial Schools, 1868–1908 (Irish Academic Press, 1989), pp 85–86.

10 Bríd Fahey Bates, The Institute of Charity: Rosminians, Their Irish Story 1860–2003 (Dublin: Ashfield Publishing Press, 2003), pp 68–69.

11 The Children Act, 1908, ss 73–75. In the nineteenth century, most of the recurring expense fell on central government [the Treasury paid 5s/week for each child]. Local authorities’ contribution ranged from 1 shilling to 2/6. Voluntary contributions were very small. The result was that, for example, in 1880: the contributions were as follows: treasury (£68,000); local authorities (£23,000); other sources (parental contributions, voluntary subscriptions and industrial profits): £16,000.

12 Barnes, p 50.

13 Bríd Fahey Bates, p 72.

14 Bríd Fahey Bates, p 71.

15 Bríd Fahey Bates, p 79.

16 Taken from: The Parish of Clonguish: Its People and its Culture (December 2005), p 15.

17 Séamus Ó Cinnéide and Moira Maguire, The Industrial Schools Over A Hundred Years: A Monograph, p 20

18 This was a Commission established by the British Parliament to examine industrial and technical training in all schools throughout the UK. It reported in 1884.

19 Séamus Ó Cinnéide and Moira Maguire, p 19.

20 Séamus Ó Cinnéide and Moira Maguire, p 19, p 20.

21 Séamus Ó Cinnéide and Moira Maguire, p 20.

22 Séamus Ó Cinnéide and Moira Maguire, p 21.

23 Séamus Ó Cinnéide and Moira Maguire, p 21.

Chapter 3


3.01Over the period from 1936 to 1970, a total of 170,000 children and young persons (involving about 1.2% of the age cohort) entered the gates of the 50 or so industrial schools.1 The period for which they stayed varied widely, depending on the ground of entry; but the average was more than seven years.

3.02The result was that, although the population of the schools at any particular time fluctuated widely, it remained above 6,000 from 1936 to 1952, peaking at 6,800 in 1946 partly as a result of the wartime emergency conditions. Thereafter, the improving economic conditions of the 1950s, and even more so in the 1960s, meant that the population in the schools fell steadily to 4,300 in 1960 and 1,740 in 1970. This amounted to an average reduction, over the period from 1950 to 1970, of 250 per year.

3.03Although the balance varied from decade to decade, the great majority of children were committed because they were ‘needy’. The next most frequent grounds of entry were involvement in a criminal offence or school non-attendance. Each of these grounds involved committal by the District Court. The remaining two grounds, which over the entire period from 1936 to 1970 were less frequently used, were being sent by a Health Authority and voluntary entry.

3.04The figures for reformatory residents were much smaller than those for industrial schools. There were only three reformatories, and their populations (most of whom were offenders) fluctuated between 100 and 250. Although the average length of stay was one year, this meant that, in the period from 1936 to 1970, a total of approximately 2,000 to 3,000 children and young persons spent time in a reformatory.

‘Needy’ children

3.05For the entire period under consideration, the governing law was section 58(1) of the Children Act, 1908 (as amended by the Children Acts, 1929 and 1941). A child could be committed to an industrial school if he or she, inter alia:

  1. was found begging or receiving alms;
  2. was found not having any home, or visible means of subsistence, or was [found] having no parent or guardian, or a parent or guardian who did not exercise proper guardianship; or
  3. was found destitute, not being an orphan and having both parents or his surviving parent, or in the case of an illegitimate child, his mother, undergoing penal servitude or imprisonment; or
  4. was under the care of a parent or guardian who, by reason of reputed criminal or drunken habits, was unfit to have the care of the child; or
  5. was the daughter … of a father who had been convicted of an offence of [sexually abusing his daughters]; or
  6. frequented the company of any reputed thief or of any common or reputed prostitute (other than the child’s mother); or
  7. was lodging or residing in a house used for prostitution.

3.06Section 58(4) of the 1908 Act stated:

Where the parent or guardian of a child proves to a [District Court] that he is unable to control the child, and that he desires the child to be sent to an industrial school … the court, if satisfied on inquiry that it is expedient so to deal with the child, and that the parent or guardian understands the results which will follow, may order him to be sent to a certified industrial school.

3.07Subsequent legislation expanded the 1908 Act in two main respects. In order to come within the ‘destitute’ category, a child’s parents had, under the 1908 Act, to be in prison or be deceased. The Children Act, 19292 in effect widened this category by providing that a child could be committed if its parents were unable to support it, in circumstances where both parents consented, or the court was satisfied that a parent’s consent could be dispensed with owing to mental incapacity or desertion.3

3.08Yet, the precise scope of these legislative categories probably did not make a significant difference in the numbers of children committed. Whatever the basis of the committal, these children all came under the category of ‘needy’, and the majority of them were as a result of poverty, but some were committed because of other social circumstances such as illegitimacy.

Each and every one of these offenders should be put into the Judas Chari, as they were all Judases to us whom they raped, tortured, beat, and out murdered.


3.09The second largest category of those committed were children or young persons who had been involved in an offence. Section 57 of the Children Act, 1908 as amended by section 9 of the Children Act, 1941 governed the law relating to young offenders. The first issue was on what basis it was decided to send a young offender to a reformatory rather than an industrial school. The main ground was age, although the seriousness of the offence was also a factor. The practice can be best explained in this area by considering the cases in three categories, according to age:

  1. A child under the age of 12 could not be sent to a reformatory school, only to an industrial school; and, indeed, the records show relatively few children below the age of 12 being committed for offences, even to an industrial school.
  2. A child of (after 1941) 12, 13 or 14 could be sent to an industrial school provided that: the child was a first offender; there were ‘special circumstances’ as to why the child should not be sent to a reformatory; and the child would not ‘exercise an evil influence over the other children’.4 In fact, despite these conditions, children under 15 years were usually sent to industrial schools.
  3. It was not open to the court, under the Act, to send the offender aged (after 1941) 15 years and upwards to an industrial school.5 Thus, if a custodial sanction were to be selected, the only option was the reformatory.

3.10Into category 2 above came girls who were regarded as having been ‘morally corrupted’. In 1944,6 St Anne’s Reformatory School in Kilmacud was established to accommodate girls who were considered a risk to other children because of sexual experiences. As can be seen in the chapter on St Joseph’s Industrial School, Kilkenny,7 girls as young as eight who had been raped or abused, or even those children in contact with such girls, were considered unsuitable for an ordinary industrial school and were sent to St Anne’s Reformatory School. Unlike boys, girls who were sent to reformatories were usually sent until their sixteenth birthday.

3.11The reformatory school was reserved for the tougher type of boy, who became eligible for committal between the ages of 12 and 17 years. After the Children Act, 1941 took effect, the legal period of detention was between two and four years.8 However, the period of actual detention for boys was often no more than one year, provided that the offender’s behaviour and home circumstances were satisfactory. Before 1941, the equivalent period of detention was between three and five years.9

3.12By contrast, boys committed to industrial schools were invariably sent until they were 16 years old.

3.13The practice was that offenders were committed to a reformatory only following a straightforward conviction, whereas those sent to an industrial school were sent when charged ‘with an offence punishable in the case of an adult by penal servitude or a less punishment, and the court is satisfied that the child should be sent to a certified school’,10 with no conviction being recorded.11

3.14Between 1923 and 1943, the most common offence for which juvenile males were sent to reformatories was larceny; subsequently, house-breaking overtook larceny in the share of the committals.12

3.15The position was complicated by the fact that several ways of treating the offender were open to the District Court. Committals to a reformatory or industrial school were just two among several possible sanctions within the range of sanctions that were available, irrespective of the particular offence committed13 since, in the case of young offenders, the law was more concerned with the offender than the offence.

3.16A detailed statistical analysis of the use of alternatives to committal shows that, between 1948 and 1957, out of 21,000 charges against juvenile offenders, only 701 or 4.5% of those against whom a ‘charge was proved but no order made’ were committed to an industrial school, whilst 916 or 18% of those convicted were sent to a reformatory school.

3.17The conclusion that may be drawn is that, in general, many District Justices did exercise some care and discrimination before they sent an offender to a school. The question of whether the two most viable alternatives, probation and a ‘fit person’ order,14 were under-utilised is discussed below.

Each of these scumbag pedophiles who raped us in the ass? Should have a Pope’s Pear shoved up their asses and opened.

Non-attendance at school

3.18For the period under review, the governing statute was the School Attendance Act, 1926. This Act15 made it an offence for a parent to fail to send to school any child below the age of 14 years, it became 15 years after 1972.16 More significantly, if the parent was convicted of a second offence within three months of conviction for the first, the court could ‘if it thinks fit’ either send the child to an industrial school or make a ‘fit person’ order. The thinking seems to have been that this would be a way of ensuring an education for such children.

3.19The annual number of prosecutions of parents ranged between 6,000 and 7,000 for most of the 1930s. This figure peaked in the early 1940s, and reached just below 13,000 in 1944. Subsequently, the numbers fell to the level of the 1930s, before beginning a steep decline in the early 1950s.

3.20Dublin, Cork, Waterford and Dun Laoghaire had dedicated full-time School Attendance Officers (SAO). Outside these centres of population, however, the SAO was a local Garda who took on this duty, as one among his many tasks. This was undoubtedly one of the reasons why so many children committed under this heading came from urban centres, as can be seen from the statistical analysis below.

3.21It seems reasonable to infer from the figures, for both the nation as a whole and Dublin, that the children committed under the 1926 Act were not the victims of a policy of pouncing on a few arbitrarily chosen children. Rather, there was a process with some flexibility and with intermediate stages before the point of committal was reached. Yet, while not arbitrary, the system was severe and far-reaching: from visits to parents to formal warnings, through prosecution of parents, to eventual committal. A striking point of contrast appeared from Table IV of the Tuairim Report, showing that those admitted to approved schools (equivalent of industrial schools or reformatories) in England in 1964 for ‘truancy’ numbered 45, compared with 66 in the same year in Ireland, although England had 16 times the relevant age cohort.

3.22Committal to an industrial school was most extreme in the case of non-attendance at school. Neediness could have complicated causes that were hard to resolve. It could be argued that there needed to be some sanction for juveniles who offended. However, non-attendance at school was not so heinous that it called for sanction of such severity. The enormity of committing a child for several years, simply for failure to attend school, began to be appreciated more as time went on.

3.23A major issue was the fact that it was a court which was selected as the agency through which children and young persons were directed to a reformatory or an industrial school. Historically, the reason for this seems to have been the simple, human rights point that, given the significant deprivation of liberty involved, it would have been inappropriate if this important decision had been vested in, for example, a local health authority. However, the court was known to the residents themselves, and everyone else, principally as a place in which minor criminal offences were tried. The inevitable result was that those committed were unfairly stigmatised as criminals whereas, in fact, their only ‘crime’ was poverty. The fundamental unfairness of this was raised consistently by witnesses before the Commission.

3.24In addition, most of the usual safeguards which are the hallmark of the adult criminal justice system were denied to those whom a court was considering sending to an industrial school. There was next to no legal representation, and the facts relied on by the Garda/ISPCC Inspector/SAO were seldom contested, so that the issue of whether they had to be proved beyond reasonable doubt scarcely arose. Although there was an appeal process, it was seldom used.

3.25Although some ex-staff members stated that they did not like this method of committal, there is considerable evidence, both from documents and oral testimony, that children committed to these schools were seen as being criminals by staff, and that a lot of the mistreatment experienced by the children emanated from this perception. Staff recalled that even very young children remembered appearing in court and talked about it among themselves. The general view was that committal through the courts was logical only if the schools were regarded as places of detention. In England, the Children and Young Persons Act, 1933 had established a radical distinction. It confined the courts’ involvement with children or juveniles to those who were accused of an offence.

3.26The Courts of Justice Act, 1924 made provision for the setting-up of Children’s Courts in separate buildings, in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford. However, only one such court came into being, in Dublin:17 the Dublin Metropolitan Children’s Court, which was established in 1923.

3.27The case for committal of a child was presented to the court by an Inspector of the ISPCC, who was also colloquially known as the ‘cruelty man’, or less often by the Catholic Protection and Rescue Society, or by an SAO or a Garda (depending on which ground was being relied upon).

3.28The main factor shaping the procedure was that the child was almost always unrepresented. A parent (or guardian) was required by law to be present, and the mother frequently appeared before the court. The parent was usually uneducated and, in an age of deference, dominated by the circumstances of the proceedings. They were unlikely to be able to make the best of any case against committal. As regards facts, the evidence of the ISPCC Inspector or the SAO was seldom contested.

3.29The schools deplored the reluctance of District Justices to make committals or, alternatively, to do so before an offender had committed so many crimes that a school would have no rehabilitative effect on him. In the 1960s, they complained, too, that committals were for too short a period for any good to be done. There were fundamentally different understandings of the objectives and potentials of the school. Some District Justices seem to have disapproved of the schools as places of ‘containment’, to which children were to be sent only as a last resort. By contrast, the schools themselves, or at least the managers speaking in public, would claim that the schools were primarily educational not penal institutions, which could be successful in educating a child and saving him or her from a life of crime or misery. The Managers18 claimed, too, that the District Justices’ view had the potential to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, since it meant that only ‘incorrigibles’ would be sent to the schools.

3.30The number of adjournments which were granted before the committal was actually made suggested a judicial reluctance to commit.

3.31Of equal importance with the numbers involved was the length of time for which each child was committed.

3.32For reformatories, the ‘period of detention’ was laid down as not less than two, or more than four, years,19 or in any case not beyond the age of 19.20 In practice, the period of actual detention was usually about one year, provided that the offender’s behaviour and home circumstances were satisfactory.21

3.33The position in regard to industrial schools was more complicated. As regards the children committed by the courts, the almost invariable practice was to commit until the age of 16. The legislation22 appeared to allow the court some discretion in committing children. Nevertheless, up to the 1960s in the thousands of cases which have been checked, in both the Dublin County Borough and provincial courts, the District Justice always made the order apply right up to the time when the child would be 16 years.

3.34Given that committal was until 16 years, the length of time for which any child or young person was committed by a court depended on their age at the time of committal. It is significant that those children who were committed for being ‘needy’ were often committed at very tender years. Thus, they had to reside for many years in both a junior industrial school and senior industrial school.

3.35The net result was striking. In the case of a reformatory school, an offender was sent away usually for about one year (which was in line with a normal criminal sanction). By contrast, for committal to an industrial school, the age of release was fixed at 16 years, and the length of the committal period varied depending on the age of the child at the date of committal. The justification offered for this anomaly was that committal was seen not as a punishment but as a period for which the child or young person needed protection (or education), until they were old enough to fend for themselves. In any case, the reality comes through in the following Dáil exchange:

Deputy Dillon: “May I bespeak the good offices of the Minister with special reference to this category of children so that they will not be left permanently in industrial schools …?”.

J Lynch: “… the word ‘permanently’ might create a wrong impression. They would all be entitled to be released at 14 years of age. For the purposes of childhood, that is surely permanently”. (DD: vol 166, col 779)

3.36These figures varied slightly from decade to decade; however, the average committal period for the period from 1951 to 1960 was:

  • ‘needy’: 8.8 years
  • school non-attendance: 4.2 years
  • offences: 4.1 years.

3.37Children were occasionally removed from school by their parents without the consent of the Minister for Education or the school. For example, some just failed to return from holidays; some parents removed their children from the jurisdiction; and some absconded.

3.38However, more official removals could be made by the exercise of the Minister’s discretion to order early discharge, usually because there had been a change in family circumstances or where a parent made a complaint about abuse.

3.39A parent or guardian of a child detained in an industrial school had the right to apply to the Minister for Education for the release of the child.23 The relevant legislation was, in the first place, section 69(3) of the 1908 Act, which gave the Minister discretion to release any child or young person committed. Following the constitutional challenge in the Doyle case,24 the law was amended by the Children (Amendment) Act, 1957 which made the exercise of this discretion mandatory where the circumstances that had given rise to the committal order had ceased and were not likely to recur; and, further, where the parents were able to support the child. This change did not apply to offenders or those committed for non-attendance at school.

3.40This trend in favour of early discharge was intensified following the Kennedy Report in 1970, which stated:

The whole aim of the Child Care system should be geared towards the prevention of family break-down and the problems consequent on it. The committal or admission of children to Residential Care should be considered only when there is no satisfactory alternative.25

3.41One of the most influential of the persons consulted, though his authority did not always carry the day, was the Manager of the relevant school. Their counsel was usually against early discharge: no case of the school authorities taking the initiative to secure a release has been found in the documents. Leaving aside any financial disincentive, the Resident Manager would probably have considered that the best option for a child was staying in the School and would have been inherently unlikely to draw back and determine dispassionately that any child would be better off elsewhere.

3.42The average percentage of applications for early discharge, as compared with the average percentage population in the schools, was 6.1%. Of these applications, an average of 72% succeeded. This was a fairly small number of applications, and may suggest that the system of early release was not well known.

3.43Throughout the 1950s, the number of successful applications increased. This trend was in line with the general improvement in economic and social conditions in the country over the course of the decade. There were, however, notable exceptions: Artane and Letterfrack for boys, and Goldenbridge for girls, stand out in terms of the high percentage of refusals.

3.44The figures for reformatories differ: St Conleth’s, Daingean, as the only reformatory school for boys, had, by its remit, different criteria in relation to the release and discharge of the children, not least because young offenders were committed by the courts for a relatively short period, compared to other categories of offender, so the vast majority of applications were turned down. Thus, there were relatively few applications, even compared to the population in the School. Furthermore, the success rate, at an average of 24%, was much lower than for industrial schools.

3.45The process had to be initiated by the parents, who would often have been uninformed as to how to do this. What is missing is any reference to residents whose parents or guardians never applied for early discharge in the first place or who had no parents to apply. This meant that children without parents or guardians to apply had no chance of being released. The documents do not contain any reference to release being considered for such children. There was no official agency charged with the duty of reviewing each case, either periodically or where there were signs of a change in the child or in family circumstances. This was a serious and fundamental flaw in the system.

3.46As mentioned, there were three paths to the schools, of which the first was committal via the District Court, and was by far the most frequently used and has already been covered. At the time of the Kennedy Report, there were 97 (or 4%) of the industrial school population in the voluntary category, with 80% and 16% in the court and health authority categories respectively. However, in an earlier period, when those committed by the court would have been more numerous, children maintained voluntarily were even less significant. For the period 1949 to 1969, the average ‘voluntary’ population figure was 101 or 2.2% of the entire schools’ population.

3.47The remaining major category was children placed in certified industrial schools by the health authorities. As with children placed voluntarily and directly in the schools, by parents or guardians, such children entered without the involvement of a court and could be withdrawn without legal formality;26 if and when family circumstances permitted.

3.48Until it was repealed in 1991, the statutory authority of a health authority or board to place a child in an industrial school was section 55 of the Health Act, 1953 (or its precursors). By this provision, a health authority was empowered to provide for the assistance of a child by boarding the child out, by sending him to an industrial school approved by the Minister for Health or, where the child was not less than 14 years of age, by arranging for his employment.27

3.49These powers applied only to two rather narrow categories of child. In addition to a means test, the child had to be either an orphan or had to have been deserted by his parents or parent; and, in the case of an illegitimate child, whose mother was dead or was deserted by the mother, or the parent/guardian had to consent.28

3.50The Cussen Report in 1936 took the view that local authorities/health authorities:

as a whole [they] would appear not to have sufficiently appreciated their responsibilities under law in regard either to the schools or the children, and the evidence which we have adduced indicates that they still display little interest in the work of the schools beyond the payment of a weekly capitation grant …

3.51In the early 1950s, the number of children sent to the schools by boards of health increased for such reasons as the need to find somewhere to house children who would earlier have lived in county homes. Whatever the causes, a pattern developed in the late 1940s by which health authorities sought to put children in industrial schools, despite the preference of the Department of Health for boarding out (this tension between the two authorities is discussed in Eoin O’Sullivan’s chapter).

3.52Accordingly, the health authorities encouraged existing industrial schools to apply to the Department of Health for the necessary certification to enable them to receive health authority referrals.

3.53Equally, because of the falling numbers of residents being committed by the courts, schools were actively looking for children, and made the health authorities aware of this.

3.54Little seems to have changed during the quarter of a century up to 1970, when the health boards were established, and they increasingly employed social workers to work with children in care and their families. The social workers saw it as their duty to try to avoid breaking up the family, unless there was no alternative. Where there was no alternative, then fostering was the preferred option.

1 Section 44 of the Children Act, 1908 (as amended by section 6 of the Children Act, 1941) defines ‘child’ as one under the age of 15 (originally 14); and a ‘young person’ as one between the ages of 15 and 17 (originally 14 and 16). This is pursuant to section 57(1) of the Children Act, 1908 as amended by section 9 of the Children Act, 1941. The umbrella term ‘young offenders’ comprehends any offenders between the ages of seven and 21 years.

2 Later re-enacted in section 10(1)(d) of the Children Act, 1941.

3 The full wording of section 10(1)(e) of the 1941 Act was as follows:
‘Provided also that the Court shall not make an order that a child be sent to a certified industrial school on the grounds stated in paragraph (h) unless—
(i) the child’s parents consent or his surviving parent or, in the case of an illegitimate child, his mother consents to such order being made, or
(ii) the Court is satisfied that owing to mental incapacity or desertion on the part of the child’s parents or his surviving parent or, in the case of an illegitimate child, his mother, the consent of such parents or parent may be dispensed with, or
(iii) one of the child’s parents consents to such order being made and the Court being satisfied that, owing to mental incapacity or desertion on the part of the other parent or to the fact that the other parent is undergoing imprisonment or penal servitude, the consent of that parent may be dispensed with’.

4 Section 58(3) of the Children Act, 1908 as amended by section 10(2) of the Children Act, 1941.

5 Section 57(2) of the Children Act, 1908 as amended by section 9(2) of the Children Act, 1941.

6 Kennedy Report, p 1.

7 See chapter on St Joseph’s, Kilkenny.

8 Section 65(a) of the Children Act, 1908 as amended by section 11(1) of the Children Act, 1941.

9 Section 65(a) of the Children Act, 1908.

10 Section 58(3) of the Children Act, 1908.

11 See sections 57 and 58(3) of the Children Act, 1908.

12 Annual Figures for the JLO for 1968–2003 are given in O’Donnell, O’Sullivan and Healy (eds), Crime and Punishment in Ireland 1922 to 2003: A statistical Sourcebook (IPA, 2005), Table 5.3.

13 What follows is a paraphrase of section 107 of the 1908 Act where the available sanctions are summarised. Section 107 states:
‘Where a child or young person charged with any offence is tried by any court, and the court is satisfied of his guilt, the court shall take into consideration the manner in which, under the provisions of this or any other Act enabling the court to deal with the case, the case should be dealt with, namely, whether—
(a) by dismissing the charge; or
(b) by discharging the offender on his entering into a recongizance; or
(c) by so discharging the offender and placing him under the supervision of a probation officer; or
(d) by committing the offender to the care of a relative or other fit person; or
(e) by sending the offender to an industrial school; or
(f) by sending the offender to a reformatory school; or
(g) by ordering the offender to be whipped; or
(h) by ordering the offender to pay a fine, damages, or costs; or
(i) by ordering the parent or guardian of the offender to pay a fine, damages, or costs; or
(j) by ordering the parent or guardian of the offender to give security for his good behaviour …’.

14 Section 17(4)(a) and (b) of the School Attendance Act, 1926.

15 Section 17 of the School Attendance Act, 1926 states:
‘(1) Whenever a parent fails or neglects to cause his child to whom this Act applies to attend school in accordance with this Act and, so far as is known to the enforcing authority of the school attendance area in which the child resides, there is no reasonable excuse for such failure or neglect, such enforcing authority shall serve on such parent a warning in the prescribed form …
(2) If a parent does not comply with a warning duly served on him under this section, he shall, unless he satisfies the Court that he has used all reasonable efforts to cause the child to attend school in accordance with the Act, be guilty of an offence under this section …
(4) If in any proceedings against a parent under this section the parent satisfies the court that he has used all reasonable efforts to cause the child to whom the proceedings relate to attend school in accordance with this Act or the parent is convicted of a second or subsequent offence under this section in respect of the same child, the court if it thinks fit may—
(a) order the child to be sent to a certified industrial school …’.

16 SI 105/1972: School Attendance Act, 1926 (Extension of Application) Order, 1972 raised the school leaving age from 14 to 15.

17 Section 80 of the Courts of Justice Act, 1924.

18 ‘Managers’ was the term used under the 1908 Act. This later became more commonly referred to as ‘resident manager’.

19 Section 65(a) of the Children Act, 1908 as amended by section 11(1) of the Children Act, 1941.

20 Originally (under the 1908 Act) this was three to five years. However, the 1941 Act reduced this period from two to four years. It also raised the upper age limit of committal to a reformatory from 16 to 17 years, and reduced the period of detention, after which managers could release on licence, from 18 to six months.

21 In The Irish Press 27th June 1967, Joseph O’Malley gives the eventual average length of stay in Daingean Reformatory as about 15 months.

22 Section 65(b) of the Children Act, 1908 states:
‘The detention order shall specify the time for which the youthful offender or child is to be detained in the school, being— … in the case of a child sent to an industrial school, such time as to the court may seem proper for the teaching and training of the child, but not in any case extending beyond the time when the child will, in the opinion of the court, attain the age of sixteen years’.

23 Section 69(1) of the Children Act, 1908 states:
‘The [Minister] may at any time order a youthful offender or a child to be discharged from a certified school, either absolutely or on such conditions as the [Minister] approves …’.
Section 5 of the Children (Amendment) Act, 1957, which superseded the 1908 Act provision, in the case of children committed under [section 58 of 1908 Act], stated:
‘(1) Where—
(a) a child has been committed to an industrial school under section 58 of the Principal Act, and
(b) an application is made to the Minister for Education by a parent or guardian for the release of the child, and
(c) the Minister is satisfied that the circumstances which led to the making of the committal order have ceased and are not likely to recur if the child is released, and that the parent or guardian is able to support the child, the Minister shall order the discharge of the child.
(2) The Minister may, if he so thinks proper, refer the application to the court.
(3) If the Minister refuses the application, the parent or guardian may refer it to the court.
(4) The court, if satisfied in regard to the matters referred to in paragraph (c) of subsection (1), shall have jurisdiction to order the discharge of the child.
(5) A reference to the court under this section shall be made to the District Court in the District in which the committal order was made or, if the applicant resides in another District, in that District.
(6) The order for the discharge of the child, whether made by the Minister or the court, shall operate to revoke the detention order.
(7) (a) Where the District Court or, on appeal, the Circuit Court, orders the discharge of a child, the court may award costs and expenses to the successful applicant …’.
This provision was introduced in response to the Doyle case discussed at Appendix, para (iii).

24 Doyle v Minister for Education. The case was decided in 1956 but not reported until 1989 at [1989] ILRM 277. The Supreme Court decided that, because of the wording of Article 42.1 of the Constitution, the right of parents to raise their children was inalienable and could not be transferred to the State, even with the consent of parents.

25 Kennedy Report, p 6.

26 Section 56 (2) of the Health Act, 1953 states that:
‘Where a health authority have sent a child to a school approved of by the Minister, the authority—
(a) may at any time, with the consent of the Minister, remove the child from the school, and
(b) shall remove the child from the school if and when required so to do by the Minister or by the managers of the school, or upon the school ceasing to be approved of by the Minister’.

27 Section 55(1) of the Health Act, 1953.

28 Section 55(1) and (2) of the Health Act, 1953.

Then? All of them, from their Pedophile Pimp Popes, Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops who protected the pedophiles? Should all be drawn and quartered, beheaded and their fucking heads put on pikes in fromt of the Vatican with the message

Chapter 4
What the schools were required to do

4.01The Children Act, 1908 described in very broad terms the functions of industrial schools and reformatories. The duties and responsibilities of owners and managers of these schools were set out in the Rules and Regulations for the Certified Industrial Schools in Saorstát Éireann which were approved by the then Minister for Education in 1933.

4.02The 1933 Rules are set out in full as follows:





Approved by the Minister for Education, under the 54th

Section of the Act, 8 Edw. VII., Ch. 67.


Date of Certificate.               

Number for which Certified….Accommodation is provided in this School for only       children. This number shall not be exceeded at any one time. No child under the age of six years is chargeable to the State Grant, and of the children of the age of six years and upwards not more than       are chargeable to that Grant.



Being [Roman Catholic Girls/ Boys] sent under the provisions of the Children Act, 1908, or the School Attendance Act, 1926, or the Children Act, 1929, or otherwise as the Management may determine.


The children lodged in the School shall have separate beds. Every decision to board out a Child, under the 53rd Section of the Children Act, 1908, shall have received previous sanction from the Minister for Education, through the Inspector of Industrial Schools.


The children shall be supplied with neat, comfortable clothing in good repair, suitable to the season of the year, not necessarily uniform either in material or colour.


The Children shall be supplied with plain wholesome food, according to a Scale of Dietary to be drawn up by the Medical Officer of the School and approved by the Inspector. Such food shall be suitable in every respect for growing children actively employed and supplemented in the case of delicate or physically under-developed children with special food as individual needs require. No substantial alterations in the Dietary shall be made without previous notice to the Inspector. A copy of the Dietary shall be given to the Cook and a further copy kept in the Manager’s Office.


Subject to Rule 8, all children shall be instructed in accordance with the programme prescribed for National Schools, Juniors (that is, children under 14 years of age) shall have for literary instruction and study not less than four and a half hours five days a week and Seniors (that is children of 14 years of age and upwards) shall have for the same purpose not less than three hours, five days a week; at least two-thirds of the periods mentioned to be at suitable hours between breakfast and dinner, when the most beneficial results are likely to be obtained. Religious Instruction may be included in those periods, and, in the case of Seniors, reasonable time may be allotted to approved general reading. Should the case of any individual pupil call for the modification of this Rule it is to be submitted to the Inspector for approval. Senior boys shall receive lessons in Manual Instruction which may be interpreted to mean training in the use of carpenter’s tools.


The Manager may arrange for children to attend conveniently situated schools, whether Primary, Continuation, Secondary or Technical, but always subject to (a) the sanction of the Inspector in each case, and (b) the condition that no increased cost is incurred by the State.


Industrial employment shall not exceed three and a half hours daily for Juniors or six hours daily for Seniors. The training shall, in the case of boys, be directed towards the acquisition of skill in and knowledge of farm and garden work or such handicraft as can be taught, due regard being given to fitting the boys for the most advantageous employment procurable. The training for girls shall in all cases be in accordance with the Domestic Economy Syllabus, and shall also include, where practicable, the milking of cows, care of poultry and cottage gardening.

Each school shall submit for approval by the Inspector a list setting forth the occupations which constitute the industrial training of the children and the qualifications of the Instructors employed to direct the work. Should additional subjects be added or any subject be withdrawn or suspended, notification shall be made to the Inspector without delay.


The progress of the children in the Literary Classes of the Schools and their proficiency in Industrial Training will be tested from time to time by Examination and Inspection.


Each day shall be begun and ended with Prayer. On Sundays and Holidays the Children shall attend Public Worship at some convenient Church or Chapel.


The Manager or his Deputy shall be authorised to punish the Children detained in the School in case of misconduct. All serious misconduct, and the Punishments inflicted for it, shall be entered in a book to be kept for that purpose, which, shall be laid before the Inspector when he visits. The Manager must, however, remember that the more closely the School is modelled on a principle of judicious family government the more salutary will be its discipline, and the fewer occasions will arise for resort to punishment.


Punishments shall consist of:—

  1. Forfeiture of rewards and privileges, or degradation from rank, previously attained by good conduct.
  2. Moderate childish punishment with the hand.
  3. Chastisement with the cane, strap or birch.

Referring to (c) personal chastisement may be inflicted by the Manager, or, in his presence, by an Officer specially authorised by him, and in no case may it be inflicted upon girls over 15 years of age. In the case of girls under 15, it shall not be inflicted except in cases of urgent necessity, each of which must be at once fully reported to the Inspector. Caning on the hand is forbidden.

No punishment not mentioned above shall be inflicted.


Seniors shall be allowed at least two hours daily, and Juniors at least three hours daily, for recreation and shall be taken out occasionally for exercise beyond the boundaries of the school, but shall be forbidden to pass the limits assigned to them without permission.

Games, both indoor and outdoor, shall be encouraged; the required equipment shall be provided; and supervision shall be exercised to secure that all children shall take part in the Games.

Fire Drill shall be held once at the least in every three months, and each alternate Drill shall take place at night after the children have retired to the dormitories. A record of the date and hour of each Drill shall be kept in the School Diary.


Parents, other Relations, or intimate Friends, shall be allowed to visit the children at convenient times, to be regulated by the Committee or Manager. Such privilege is liable to be forfeited by misconduct or interference with the discipline of the School by the Parents, Relatives, or Friends. The Manager is authorised to read all Letters which pass to or from the Children in the School, and to withhold any which are objectionable.

Subject to approval of the Inspector, holiday leave to parents or friends may be allowed to every well conducted child who has been under detention for at least one year, provided the home conditions are found on investigation to be satisfactory. Such leave shall be limited to seven days annually.

In a very special or urgent case, such as the serious illness or death of a parent, the Manager may also, at his discretion, if applied to, grant to any child such brief leave of absence as will enable the child to spend not more than one night at home: the circumstances to be reported forthwith to the Inspector’s Office.


Should the Manager of a School permit a Child, by Licence under the 67th Section of the Children Act of 1908, to live with a trustworthy and respectable person, or apprentice the Child to any trade or calling under the 70th Section of the Act, notice of such placing out on Licence, or apprenticeship of the Child, accompanied by a clear account of the conditions attaching thereto, shall be sent, without delay, to the Office of the Inspector.


Under the present financial arrangement no Child will be paid for out of the Funds voted by the Oireachtas until it has reached the age of Six Years. A Child, however, under the age of Six Years may be sent to the School under an Order of Detention signed by a District Justice; but in such case the State allowance for maintenance will not be made until it shall appear from the Order of Detention that the Child is Six Years old – from that date only will it be regularly paid for.


On the discharge of a Child from the School, at the expiration of the period of Detention, or when Apprenticed, he (or she) shall be provided, at the cost of the Institution, with a sufficient outfit, according to the circumstances of the discharge. Children when discharged shall be placed, as far as practicable, in some employment or service. If returned to relatives or friends, the travelling expenses shall be defrayed by the Manager, unless the relatives or friends are willing to do so. A Licence Form shall be issued in every case and the Manager shall maintain communication with discharged Children for the full period of supervision prescribed in Section 68(2) of the Children Act, 1908. The Manager shall recall from the home or from employment any child whose occupation or circumstances are unsatisfactory, and he shall in due course make more suitable disposal.


The School shall be open to Visitors at convenient times, to be regulated by the Committee (or Manager), and a Visitors’ Book shall be kept. The term “visitors” means members of the Public interested in the school.


A Time Table, showing the Hours of Rising, Work, School Instruction, Meals, Recreation, Retiring etc., shall be drawn up, shall be approved by the Inspector of Industrial Schools, and shall be fixed in the Schoolroom, and carefully adhered to on all occasions. All important deviations from it shall be recorded in the School Diary.

21. JOURNALS, etc.

The Manager (or Master or Matron) shall keep a Journal or Diary of everything important or exceptional that passes in the School. All admissions, discharges, licences and escapes shall be recorded therein, and all Record Books shall be laid before the Inspector when he visits the School.


I.A Medical Officer shall be appointed who shall visit the school periodically, a record of his visits being kept in a book to be provided for the purpose.

II.Each child shall be medically examined on admission to the School, and the M.O.’s. written report on the physical condition of the Child should be carefully preserved.

III.A record of all admissions to the School Infirmary shall be kept, giving information as to ailment, treatment, and dates of admission and discharge in each case. Infirmary cases of a serious nature and cases of more than three days duration shall be notified to the Inspector’s Office.

IV.The M.O. shall make a quarterly examination of each child individually, and give a quarterly report as to the fitness of the children for the training of the school, their general health, and the sanitary state of the school. The quarterly report shall be in such form as may be prescribed from time to time by the Minister for Education. Application shall be made to the Minister for the discharge of any child certified by the M.O. as medically unfit for detention.

V.Dental treatment and periodic visits by a Dentist shall be provided and records of such visits shall be kept.

In the event of the serious illness of any child, notice shall be sent to the nearest relatives or guardian and special visits allowed.


In the case of violent death, or of sudden death, not arising in the course of an illness while the child is under treatment by the M.O., a report of the circumstances shall be at once made to the local Gardaí for the information of the Coroner, a similar report being at the same time sent to the Inspector.

24. RETURNS, etc.

The Manager (or Secretary) shall keep a Register of admissions and discharges, with particulars of the parentage, previous circumstances, etc., of each Child admitted, and of the disposal of each Child discharged, and such information as may afterwards be obtained regarding him, and shall regularly send to the Office of the Inspector the Returns of Admission and Discharge, the Quarterly Accounts for their maintenance, and any other returns that may be required by the Inspector. All Orders of Detention shall be carefully kept amongst the Records of the School.


All Books and Journals of the School shall be open to the Inspector for examination. Any teacher employed in the school who does not hold recognised qualifications may be examined by the Inspector, if he thinks it necessary, and he shall be informed of the qualifications of new teachers on their appointment. Immediate notice shall be given to him of the appointment, death, resignation, or dismissal of the Manager and Members of the School Staff.


The Officers and Teachers of the School shall be careful to maintain discipline and order, and to attend to the instruction and training of the Children, in conformity with these Regulations. The Children shall be required to be respectful and obedient to all those entrusted with their management and training, and to comply with the regulations of the School.


Whenever a Child is sent to a Reformatory School, under the provisions of the 71st or 72nd Sections of the Children Act of 1908, the Manager shall, without delay, report the case to the Inspector.


In order to insure a strict and effectual observance of the provisions of the 66th Section of the Children Act of 1908, in every case in which a Child shall be ordered to be detained in a School managed by Persons of a different Religious Persuasion from that professed by the Parents, or surviving Parent, or (should that be unknown), by the Guardians or Guardian of such Child; (or should that be unknown) different from that in which the Child appears to have been baptized or (that not appearing), different from that professed by the Child the Manager or Teachers of such School shall, upon becoming acquainted with the fact, or having reason to believe that such is the fact, give notice in writing, without delay, to the Inspector, who will thereupon immediately take any necessary steps in the matter.


Should any Escape from the School occur, the Manager shall, with as little delay as possible, notify the particulars to the nearest Gardaí Station, to the Gardaí Superintendents of the County and adjoining Counties, and to the Inspector’s Office.

These Rules have been adopted by the Managers of                Industrial School.


Corresponding Manager


Approved under the 54th Section of the Children Act of 1908.


Minister for Education


Discipline in schools

4.03Discipline was an important issue in all the schools, and excessive corporal punishment for breaches of discipline was the most common complaint of former pupils. Unlike sexual abuse, which was in all circumstances wrong and unlawful, physical abuse arose, amongst other reasons, out of the then legal entitlement of school authorities to chastise pupils physically. It is important, therefore, to set out fully what the law was in relation to punishment, and to ensure that actions are judged by standards appropriate to their time.

4.04The basic law was set out in the Children Act, 1908 which recognised the existing common law right of a parent or teacher to punish a child. Section 37 provided:

Nothing in this Part of this Act shall be construed to take away or affect the right of any parent, teacher, or other person having the lawful control or charge of a child or young person to administer punishment to such child or young person.

4.05The common law position was that a teacher was entitled to punish a child if the child was of an age when he or she could appreciate the correction; when the punishment was both moderate and reasonable; when the implement used was fit for the purpose and not inappropriate. As to the amount of punishment, that varied with the age, sex and physical condition of the child.

4.06The Children Act, 1908 recognised the existing right to punish children but did not alter it. The Act brought together and consolidated the provisions relating to industrial schools and reformatory schools, and also authorised the making of rules and regulations for running such institutions. Pursuant to that statutory authority, rules and regulations were produced in a form that remained substantially unchanged during the lifetimes of the schools. The Manager of the School signed the certification form containing the rules and regulations and returned it to the Department. The result was that there was official acceptance by the School, through its Manager’s signature, of the rules and regulations contained in the certificate. This was the system that operated until the early 1930s.

4.07In 1933, instead of sending separate documents for signature to each school, the Minister embodied the rules in one standard form that was sent to the schools, and these rules are set out in full above. Although the precise form of the document changed over the years, from the late nineteenth century until 1933, when it crystallised into its final shape, the terms and conditions were essentially the same. The regulations governing the schools during the period of this Inquiry are those in the standardised form of 1933.

4.08The relevant sections of the 1933 Rules and Regulations relating to corporal punishment are set out again in full below.

Rules and regulations governing corporal punishment

4.09The 1933 Department of Education Rules and Regulations for Certified Industrial Schools were aimed at reducing corporal punishment to a minimum, and to controlling as far as possible such punishments as were inflicted.

4.10Regulation 13 stated:

Punishments shall consist of:—

  1. Forfeiture of rewards and privileges, or degradation from rank, previously attained by good conduct.
  2. Moderate childish punishment with the hand.
  3. Chastisement with the cane, strap or birch.

Referring to (c) personal chastisement may be inflicted by the Manager, or, in his presence, by an Officer specially authorised by him, and in no case may it be inflicted upon girls over 15 years of age. In the case of girls under 15, it shall not be inflicted except in cases of urgent necessity, each of which must be at once fully reported to the Inspector. Caning on the hand is forbidden.

No punishment not mentioned above shall be inflicted.

4.11This regulation was prefaced by a clause which counselled caution in its use. It said:

The Manager or his Deputy shall be authorised to punish the Children detained in the School in case of misconduct. All serious misconduct, and the Punishments inflicted for it, shall be entered in a book to be kept for that purpose, which shall be laid before the Inspector when he visits. The Manager must, however, remember that the more closely the School is modelled on a principle of judicious family government the more salutary will be its discipline, and the fewer occasions will arise for resort to punishment.1

Instructions in regard to the infliction of corporal punishment in national schools

4.12The 1946 Rules and Regulations for National Schools applied to the ‘education provision’2 within the industrial and reformatory schools. Regulation 96 of these Rules gave specific instructions for the use of corporal punishment in national schools. It stated:

  1. Corporal Punishment should be administered only for grave transgression. In no circumstances should corporal punishment be administered for mere failure at lessons.
  2. Only the principal teacher, or such other member of the staff as may be duly authorised by the manager for the purpose, should inflict corporal punishment.
  3. Only a light cane or rod may be used for the purpose of corporal punishment which should be inflicted only on the open hand. The boxing of children’s ears, the pulling of their hair or similar ill-treatment is absolutely forbidden and will be visited with severe penalties.
  4. No teacher should carry about a cane or other instrument of punishment.
  5. Frequent recourse to corporal punishment will be considered by the Minister as indicating bad tone and ineffective discipline.

4.13This regulation did not permit the use of the leather strap in the classroom.

4.14In November 1946, Circular No 11/1946, which was signed by Michael Ó Síochfhrada, the Department of Education Inspector, gave more detailed guidelines on the use of corporal punishment. It was directed to the Managers of all industrial schools. The title of the Circular was ‘Discipline and Punishment in Certified Schools’. It impressed upon Resident Managers their ‘personal responsibility to ensure that the official regulations’ on matters of discipline and punishment were ‘faithfully observed by all the members of the staffs of these schools’. The Circular stated that corporal punishment should only be used as a last resort, where other forms of punishment had been unsuccessful as a means of correction.

4.15The Circular went on to stipulate:

  • Corporal punishment ‘should be administered only for grave transgressions, and in no circumstances for mere failure at school lessons or industrial training’.
  • ‘Corporal punishment should in future be confined to the form usually employed in schools, viz slapping on the open palm with a light cane or strap’.
  • ‘This punishment should only be inflicted by the Resident Manager or by a member of the school staff specially authorised by him for the purpose’.
  • Any other form of corporal punishment which tends to humiliate a child or expose the child to ridicule before the other children is also forbidden. Such forms of punishment would include special clothing, cutting off a girl’s hair, and exceptional treatment at meals.

4.16The Circular attempted to marry the provisions of the 1933 Rules and Regulations for Certified Schools with the new 1946 Rules and Regulations for National Schools. In so doing, a certain amount of ambiguity arose with regard to the use of a leather strap, which was clearly not permitted in the classroom by the 1946 Rules and Regulations.

4.17In December 1946, Circular 15/46, signed by Michael Breathnach, Secretary of the Department of Education, and entitled ‘Circular to Managers and Teachers in regard to the infliction of Corporal Punishment in National Schools’ was sent to all national schools. It appears from this document that two additions were made to section 96(1) and (3) which did not appear when the original 1946 Rules and Regulations were circulated to the schools (these additions are identified by italics):

Rule 96(1): Corporal punishment should be administered only for grave transgression. In no circumstances should corporal punishment be administered for mere failure at lessons.

(3) Only a light cane or rod may be used for the purpose of corporal punishment which should be inflicted only on the open hand. The boxing of children’s ears, the pulling of their hair or similar ill-treatment is absolutely forbidden and will be visited with severe penalties.

4.18The Circular did not authorise the use of a leather strap as an implement of punishment in national schools.

4.19In 1956, a further Circular from the Department of Education, Circular 17/56 entitled ‘Circular to Managers and Teachers of National Schools in regard to Corporal Punishment’, was issued. This Circular was in response to publicity which had been given to the matter of corporal punishment in national schools, and was issued to re-affirm the Department’s policy with regard to corporal punishment and to give guidance to those ‘who may be disposed to contravene Rule 96 of the Code’. The Circular stated:

In re-issuing that rule, set out hereunder, opportunity is being taken to announce an amendment, printed in italics, of Section (3).

4.20The full Rule 96 was then set out, with the amendment to section (3) as follows:

(3) Only a light cane, rod or leather strap may be used for the purpose of corporal punishment which should be inflicted only on the open hand. The boxing of children’s ears, the pulling of their hair or similar ill-treatment is absolutely forbidden and will be visited with severe penalties.

4.21This amendment is significant, in that it authorised at an official level the use of the leather strap in national schools after a 10-year gap. The evidence would indicate, however, that the leather strap was used in schools throughout this period.

4.22The status of these Circulars could be debated. They were not statutory provisions, neither were they regulations or statutory instruments made under legislative authority conferred on the Department. The Department was, however, the relevant regulatory body and was clearly in a position to issue guidelines and recommendations and instructions. It appears that a school could not be prosecuted for breach of instructions contained in such Circulars. Neither, it would appear, could the Department enjoin observance by way of court order. The Circulars can be regarded as possessing a certain authority, on the basis that they represented the thinking of the Minister and the Department of what constituted reasonable and moderate punishment in schools at that time. Such views would not be binding on a court, but it would appear that they would have been relevant to the consideration by a judge or jury as to what was moderate or reasonable in the way of punishment in a school.

4.23Abolition of corporal punishment did not occur in Irish schools until 1st February 1982, when Department of Education Circular 9/82 stated that any teacher who used corporal punishment was now to be ‘regarded as guilty of conduct unbefitting a teacher’ and would be subject to ‘severe disciplinary action’.

4.24Although this Circular could have provided grounds for a civil action against a teacher who acted in breach of it, it was not until 19973 that physical punishment by a teacher became a criminal offence.

4.25Submissions made by the Christian Brothers and other Congregations on the subject of corporal punishment and physical abuse emphasised that the historical context is essential to any investigation. In particular, the fact that such punishment was permissible and widespread in schools and homes at the relevant time needed to be taken into consideration. The rules and prohibitions set out what was permissible or recommended in using corporal punishment, but it did not follow that departure from them constituted physical abuse. Neither did it follow that conduct that was occurring in other schools or in families at the time could not be abusive.

4.26The complexities of this question can be exaggerated and are, in fact, more theoretical than real. People who lived during the time when corporal punishment was legally permissible in schools, and was acceptable in family circumstances, have no difficulty in deciding whether punishments that they experienced or witnessed were excessive. Teachers, parents and children knew what was acceptable, and were able to condemn excesses. They also knew what amounted to cruelty and brutality. The documentary, and much of the oral evidence about physical abuse related to instances that were considered at that time to be wrong, judged by contemporary standards, not by those of today. The term ‘physical abuse’ was not used, but the concepts underlying the term were well understood.

Punishment book

4.27Pursuant to regulation 12 of the 1933 Rules and Regulations for Certified Industrial Schools, all industrial schools were required to keep a punishment book, in which all serious punishments were to be recorded. Only two such books, relating to a short period of time,4 were discovered to the Investigation Committee in the course of its inquiries, indicating that there was a complete disregard for this requirement on the part of school Managers. This had serious implications for the work of this Committee. Any investigation into historical abuse depends, amongst other factors, on proper records being maintained; and the information gleaned from one of the punishment books, from St Patrick’s Industrial School, Upton, would indicate that such records would have been a very important reference for the investigation.

1 Regulation 12 of the Rules and Regulations for the Certified Industrial Schools in Saorstát Éireann, 1933, approved by the Minister of Education under the Children Act, 1908.

2 The Department submits this wording ‘education provision’ means, in other words, the internal national school.

3 Section 24 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, 1997 provides:
‘The rule of law under which teachers are immune from criminal liability in respect of physical chastisement of pupils is hereby abolished’.
With the removal of this immunity, teachers are now subject to section 2(1) of the 1997 Act, which provides that:
‘A person shall be guilty of the offence of assault, who, without lawful excuse, intentionally or recklessly—
(a) directly or indirectly applies force to or causes an impact on the body of another …’.
Teachers who physically chastise pupils may now be guilty of an offence and liable to 12 months’ imprisonment and/or a fine of £1,500, pursuant to section 3(1) of the 1997 Act.

4 St Patrick’s Industrial School, Upton, County Cork and St Joseph’s Industrial School, Dundalk, County Louth.

Chapter 5
Investigation Committee Report – preliminary issues

5.01The work of the Committee from late 2004 covered over 20 industrial and reformatory schools. Further modules included the investigation of the career of one abuser, who was employed in a succession of national schools. In addition to these inquiries, other areas examined included the role of the Department of Education, and the funding of the schools.

5.02The work of preparation for the hearings was extensive and time-consuming. The steps included:

  • Obtaining statements from the complainants.
  • Locating respondents and obtaining responses from persons named by the complainants.
  • Obtaining responses from Religious Congregations and Orders affected by the allegations.
  • Inviting responses from relevant Government Departments.
  • Extensive discovery of documents was also obtained from: the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP); An Garda Síochana; the Health Service Executive; and the Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC). Discovery was also obtained from: the Department of Education and Science; the Department of Health and Children; the Department of Justice Equality and Law Reform; the Orders and Congregations and some dioceses; and, occasionally, from the complainants themselves.

5.03A vast amount of material was received through this process, and over a million documents had to be analysed in detail by the legal team in order to ascertain the relevant information needed for the hearings.

5.04Individual books of evidence and material were produced and furnished for each hearing, and circulated to the numerous parties involved in each particular case, including complainants and respondents and Congregations.

5.05The Investigation Committee had sought to limit the number of lawyers present at the private hearings, in the belief that that would have assisted complainants giving evidence about sensitive or private matters. The Committee referred the matter to the High Court under section 25 of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Act, 2000 for a decision as to whether its proposal was lawful, and the court decided that it was an interference with the constitutional rights of the respondents and Congregations.1 As a consequence, it was impossible to limit the number of lawyers who attended. A typical Phase II private hearing was attended by a large number of persons at very considerable cost. For example:

  • Chairperson and two Commissioners;
  • Registrar;
  • stenographer;
  • sound engineer;
  • senior and junior counsel and solicitor for complainant;
  • three members of the Investigation Committee’s legal team;
  • two senior members of the particular Congregation or Order;
  • senior and junior counsel and solicitor for an individual respondent plus the individual respondent;
  • the same for a second named respondent if there was one;
  • the complainant witness.

5.06The result was that it was a daunting experience for a witness to come to the Phase II private hearings. The Committee was conscious of this, and tried to make the occasion as informal as possible and to reduce areas of conflict. Counsel co-operated with the Committee in this respect, and the Committee was appreciative of the manner in which the lawyers for all the different interests conducted themselves in the hearings.

5.07A small number of institutions were the subject of a more limited form of investigation than by way of full hearings. In the case of St Joseph’s Industrial School, Salthill and St Joseph’s Industrial School, Glin, both run by the Christian Brothers, the institutions themselves and the system of management and the nature of the complaints were all very similar to the matters that had been investigated in all the other Christian Brothers’ schools; and, as a result, it was unnecessary to have full hearings. Instead, the discovered documentary materials were examined for information as to abuse during the relevant period. Significant documents were sent to appropriate parties for comment, where those parties had not produced the discovered material, and any comments received by way of submission were then taken into account in the chapters on these two institutions.

5.08A similar method was adopted in investigating Our Lady of Good Counsel, Lota. This institution was the subject of a series of six separate Garda inquiries, which were continuing while the Committee was pursuing its work. A limited number of witnesses had already been heard by the Investigation Committee prior to 2003, and that testimony, together with documentary evidence, formed the basis of the chapter on the institution.

5.09One category of institution that was not included in full Investigation Committee hearings comprised three schools for deaf children. It was clear that members of the deaf community wanted to participate. In the consultation period that took place in early 2004, Mr Kevin Stanley and other officials of the Irish Deaf Society attended meetings and offered assistance, and were enthusiastic about their members’ desire to be part of the investigation process. The numbers of persons (109 in total) who notified the Investigation Committee that they wished to participate in its proceedings in respect of deaf schools were as follows:

  • St Joseph’s School for Deaf Boys, Cabra – 65
  • St Mary’s School for Deaf Girls, Cabra – 23
  • Mary Immaculate School for the Deaf, Beechpark, Stillorgan – 21.

5.10Unfortunately, it proved impossible to arrange full hearings for these institutions. The principal difficulty was in getting statements from a sufficient number of former residents of these institutions. There had been a protracted and unproductive correspondence between the Committee and solicitors representing the great majority of the deaf complainants about the taking of statements, and the period of time that was necessary for that purpose, and the cost of doing so. The result was that little had been achieved even by late 2005. It was impracticable to prepare all the necessary materials and to arrange hearings in these cases. Obtaining statements from complainants was only the first step in putting all the pieces together to enable full investigative hearings to take place. Since that first step was not satisfactorily completed in a reasonable time, there was no question of all the other necessary procedures being completed so as to enable hearings to take place.

5.11The Investigation Committee had, since early 2005, been implementing a programme of interviewing witnesses who were not heard in private hearings, and decided to offer that facility to all of the deaf complainants. The Committee put in place appropriate interpretative services, and witnesses responded in considerable numbers. A total of 78 persons in this category were interviewed.

5.12In the circumstances, limited investigation of these institutions was also carried out by way of analysis of documentary material.

The programme of interviewing witnesses

5.13A scheme of interviews was introduced in early 2005, following the hearings into St Joseph’s Industrial School, Ferryhouse and St Patrick’s Industrial School, Upton. Selection of witnesses had previously been made in those investigations by examining the documents that had been submitted, and a proportion of the potential complainant witnesses had been called to testify. There remained a substantial body of witnesses who had the option of transferring to the Confidential Committee, but whose first choice was to contribute to the work of the Investigation Committee.

5.14In early 2005, the Committee devised another means of including complainants in the work of the Investigation Committee: in a progress report and outline of work to be done, the Committee published on its website details of an interview process that it was introducing. It proposed to invite complainants for interview, which would be carried out by members of the legal team.

5.15For those institutions which the Committee was not investigating by way of hearings, all the complainants were invited for interview.

5.16In respect of three large institutions – Artane, Letterfrack and Daingean – all complainants who were not called to give evidence before the investigation into these institutions were invited to be interviewed by a member of the legal team.

5.17In respect of the inquiries into the remaining institutions heard by the Investigation Committee, all complainants were invited to give evidence, and those that did not want to proceed to the hearing were offered an interview. Many complainants proceeded in this manner.

5.18The interviews had two primary purposes: first, to furnish a means of checking or cross-referencing, to ensure that all relevant topics arising in an institution had been properly considered; and, second, to give everyone who wished to do so a means of participating in the work of the Investigation Committee.

5.19The interview process was greatly valued, and witnesses participated in substantial numbers. A total of 552 people ultimately attended for interview.

The Investigation Committee’s method of investigation

5.20The Committee made clear, at the meeting of 7th May 2004, the difficulties of identifying and naming individual respondents accused of abuse. Having considered all the issues, the Committee abandoned the policy of naming individual abusers. This policy change paved the way for the Committee to concentrate on the area of investigating further into neglect and emotional abuse issues.

5.21The investigation into most schools consisted of a Phase I public hearing, which allowed the Congregation involved the opportunity of presenting their case as to how their institutions were managed. It also gave the Congregation the opportunity of making any concessions or arguments that it thought relevant before the hearing of the evidence in private.

5.22Most Congregations made concessions of some kind at these hearings, particularly in regard to questions of emotional abuse and neglect. They also furnished useful background materials which it would have been difficult for the Investigation Committee to assemble about the history of the Institution and relevant administrative details. Above all, the Phase I hearings outlined the position that the Congregation was adopting on the questions of abuse in the Institution.

5.23There was no cross-examination at the Phase I hearing. Counsel for the Investigation Committee took the Congregation witness through the evidence and invited responses, and the Congregation’s own counsel was then able to examine the witness further to clarify any matters. Complainants and their legal representatives were present at these hearings, but they did not have a role in questioning the witnesses.

5.24Phase II hearings, the private hearings into specific allegations of abuse in institutions, then commenced. When the private hearings were completed, the Phase III public hearings enabled the Congregations to respond to the evidence.

5.25The Phase III public hearings also included the Departments of Education and Science; Justice, Equality and Law Reform; and Health and Children, as well as hearings into the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC).

5.26At these Phase III hearings, legal teams that had represented substantial numbers of complainants were engaged by the Investigation Committee to cross-examine relevant witnesses. Counsel and solicitors on those occasions took the role of amicus curiae, which is that of a person whose role is to assist a court in a case where it is thought necessary to have interests represented when they are not parties in the action. The Committee expresses its gratitude to counsel and solicitors for performing this role so ably and helpfully. Submissions were sought and received from complainants and respondents heard following these hearings.


5.27The Rosminian Institute was unique among the Religious Congregations and Orders in its approach. Management and members were candid in their admissions, they were supportive of the work of the investigation, and they were sympathetic to their ex-residents. Other Congregations adopted a more defensive attitude and were more sceptical of evidence of abuse.

5.28Some Congregations appeared more concerned with discrediting the complainant than with finding out what had happened in its institution. No person or body should have been more concerned with uncovering instances of abuse than the Religious Congregations that ran the schools. However, some Congregations perceived allegations as an attack on the whole Congregation and adopted a defensive position, which militated against the truth emerging.


5.29Difficulties arose from the matters being investigated and the circumstances surrounding the establishment of the Commission and the Residential Institutions Redress Board.

5.30The events in question happened a long time ago. Most industrial schools had been closed by the mid-1970s. When the Investigation Committee hearings took place, many of the incidents recalled had taken place at least 40 years prior to that.

5.31The Investigation Committee heard from witnesses some of whom had endured lives of hardship and poverty, and many had been afflicted by physical illnesses and psychological problems. Some had experienced substance addictions that tended to impair memory. Many witnesses at private hearings acknowledged such misfortunes.

5.32Outside events had the potential to influence evidence given by witnesses. Following the ‘Dear Daughter’ programme in 1996, which documented allegations of abuse in Goldenbridge Industrial School, there was a flood of publicity about abuse in institutions. There were television programmes such as ‘States of Fear’, which were broadcast by RTE in April and May 1999 dealing with institutional abuse, which attracted enormous public interest and comment. The largest institutions such as Artane and Goldenbridge were often discussed in all the media, including the internet. Books of reminiscences appeared, and one major study, ‘Suffer the Little Children’ by Raftery and O’Sullivan,2 was published.

5.33The campaign for recognition and redress continued after the establishment of the Commission. Many meetings were held by victims’ groups in Ireland and the UK. They were also used to organise complainants to participate in the Commission’s work. These meetings were well attended. Members of the audience participated and, on occasions, recounted their experiences of abuse in the institutions. These meetings were another source of potential influence and suggestion to witnesses.

5.34Attending meetings to press for a Redress Scheme, and to provide generally for advantageous conditions for victims of abuse, was not wrong, and it was entirely to be expected that people would attend and would describe their experiences. Witnesses who attended the meetings, however, were very defensive and reticent about what went on. The Committee is satisfied that, at some of these meetings, individual accounts of abuse were recounted in detail and individuals were identified.

5.35Yet another source of potential pressure and influence on witnesses complaining of abuse was to be found in the developments that led to the enactment of the Statute of Limitations (Amendment) Act, 2000.

5.36The story of the amendment to the Statute of Limitations Act, 1957 can usefully begin with the Taoiseach’s announcement of the package of redress measures on 11th May 1999, when this Commission was also announced. The Taoiseach announced that the Government would amend the 1957 legislation to enable victims to bring claims for sexual abuse, but it was not anticipated at the time that physical abuse would be included. The progress of the Amendment Bill through the Oireachtas was followed closely, and was discussed at meetings of victims groups all over Ireland and the UK. The Government referred the question to the Law Reform Commission, whose consideration and report also gave rise to public interest. The solution that was put in place in the Statute of Limitations (Amendment) Act, 2000 was confined to sexual abuse. The Residential Institutions Redress Act, 2002 was not so confined, and extended to the full range of abuse with which this investigation is concerned. There was an important period during which there was real concern that compensation might be restricted to cases of sexual abuse.

5.37The amendment to the Statute of Limitations conferred an entitlement to bring a late claim on persons who, by virtue of the trauma associated with sexual abuse, had been unable to bring a claim within the existing limitation period. In addition, it provided for an extension of time to claim for victims who had spoken about their experiences and who therefore would have had difficulty in proving the necessary psychological impairment required by the Act. Such a person qualified by fulfilling one of two conditions, namely: (a) the claimant had consulted a solicitor and had been advised that the claim was statute barred; or (b) the claimant had made a report to An Garda Síochana about sexual abuse within one year prior to the enactment of the legislation.

5.38People giving evidence about events that occurred many years ago in their childhoods might not be precise on detail. Many of them were young children in large institutions, in which the adults dressed the same and were known as ‘Sister’, ‘Brother’, ‘Father’ or by surnames, religious names or nicknames. In addition, staff came and went, and sometimes stayed only for very short periods of time.

5.39Potential distorting influences on evidence were not confined to complainants. While some ex-staff members were extraordinarily candid in their acknowledgment of abuses in institutions, others were unable to recall major incidents or practices that were features of them. There was a tendency to shut out unpleasant and embarrassing incidents. The inability of some former staff members to recall any unfavourable aspects of their experiences in institutions was not inspired by a desire to mislead the investigation. It was, rather, incapacity to accommodate the fact that people whose mission was spiritual and religious could have behaved cruelly, basely and self-indulgently, and that colleagues might have stood by or covered up such wrongdoing.

5.40It was not always easy for respondent witnesses to testify to the shortcomings, either of themselves or of their colleagues, when they had to do so in the presence of senior members of their own Congregations.


5.41In the Position Paper published in May 2004, the Investigation Committee considered the question of naming individuals who were believed to be guilty of committing abuse of children. The Committee subsequently decided to implement the policy that was set out in the Position Paper.

5.42The amending legislation in 2005 only permitted the naming of persons who had been convicted in the criminal courts of abuse of children. The legislation did not require that the person to be named should have been convicted of the specific abuse that was the subject of the report. In other words, if a person had been convicted of abuse of children of some nature at some time, it was permissible under the legislation for him or her to be named as being responsible for abuse in some quite different circumstances or at a different time.

5.43Even under the unamended legislation, naming some individuals was always going to be fraught with difficulty and inconsistency. The probability was that only a very small number of persons would actually be named. This issue was debated in the Position Paper, and outlined to the public meeting of the Investigation Committee. The supposed benefits of being able to name persons who committed abuse were outweighed by the disadvantages.

5.44The Report does not identify individuals by name in respect of any abuse that they committed.

5.45The anonymity of complainants is guaranteed under the Act.

5.46Although the process is called anonymising, that is a relatively convenient and pronounceable, but somewhat misleading, way of referring to the actual process, which is protecting persons living or dead by giving them pseudonyms. The mechanics of the process are that respondents are given names from a catalogue of names that have a common source. For example, all the Christian Brothers are given names of French origin. In other cases, Spanish or Italian names are used. As far as possible, the names have been chosen with a view to emphasising the fact that they are pseudonyms.

5.47Some names have not been anonymised. Officials of the Department of Education are generally described by the names they used in correspondence or reports.

1 In Re Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse [2002] 3 IR 459.

2 Mary Raftery and Eoin O’Sullivan, Suffer the Little Children (New Island, 1999).


Pope Francis deserves death for his crimes against the children of the world

Scumbag Head Pedophile Pimp of the Unholy Roman Catholic Cult of Pedophile Scum


First up? The Head Pedophile Pimp Pope Francis should be on the receiving end of having his name sake, a Pope’s Pear shoved up his ass and twisted and let him see what it is like having his asshole ripped to shreds like his disgusting pedophile priests did to many of us.

Then this fucking piece of shit Pope Francis should endure the Unholy Roman Catholic Church’s Rat Torture. Strap his ass down, put a rat on his fucking junk, put a bowl of hot coals on top of a cage and let the rat eat his junk.

Then we put this disgusting piece of shit Pope Francis in the Judas Chair. For his being a fucking Judas to the children he had raped. And we place a fire under the seat and we can watch him rip out huge chunks of his flesh as he tries to escape it.

Then? That scumbag piece of shit Popo Franko should be hanged, drawn and quartered, his fucking head cut off and put on a pike in front of the Vatican with the words:


‘The Pope Ignored Them’: Alleged Abuse of Deaf Children on Two Continents Points to Vatican Failings

When investigators swept in and raided the religious Antonio Provolo Institute for the Deaf, they uncovered one of the worst cases yet among the global abuse scandals plaguing the Catholic Church: a place of silent torment where prosecutors say pedophiles preyed on the most isolated and submissive children.

The scope of the alleged abuse was vast. Charges are pending against 13 suspects; a 14th person pleaded guilty to sexual abuse, including rape, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The case of the accused ringleader — an octogenarian Italian priest named Nicola Corradi — is set to go before a judge next month.

Corradi was spiritual director of the school and had a decades-long career spanning two continents. And so his arrest in late 2016 raised an immediate question: Did the Catholic Church have any sense that he could be a danger to children?

The answer, according to a Washington Post investigation that included a review of court and church documents, private letters, and dozens of interviews in Argentina and Italy, is that church officials up to and including Pope Francis were warned repeatedly and directly about a group of alleged predators that included Corradi.

Yet they took no apparent action against him.

“I want Pope Francis to come here, I want him to explain how this happened, how they knew this and did nothing,” a 24-year-old alumna of the Provolo Institute said, using sign language as her hands shook in rage. She and her 22-year-old brother, who requested anonymity to share their experiences as minors, are among at least 14 former students who say they were victims of abuse at the now-shuttered boarding school in the shadow of the Andes.

Vulnerable to the extreme, the deaf students tended to come from poor families that fervently believed in the sanctity of the church. Prosecutors say the children were fondled, raped, sometimes tied up and, in one instance, forced to wear a diaper to hide the bleeding. All the while, their limited ability to communicate complicated their ability to tell others what was happening to them. Students at the school were smacked if they used sign language. One of the few hand gestures used by the priests, victims say, was an index figure to lips — a demand for silence.

“They were the perfect victims,” said Gustavo Stroppiana, the chief prosecutor in the case.

Pope Francis on Eve of Sex Abuse Summit: Those Who Spend Lives Accusing Church Are ‘Relatives of the Devil’

Those who spend their lives accusing the Church are the “friends, cousins and relatives of the devil,” Pope Francis said today, on the eve of the Vatican clergy sex abuse summit.

The statement comes as the world’s media is focused on the Vatican as it tackles accusations of clergy sexual abuse, silence and coverup. 

In a Feb. 20 address to pilgrims from the southern Italian diocese of Benevento — the birthplace of St. Padre Pio — the Pope warned against what he called the “fashionable” trend of destroying the Church with one’s tongue. 

“One cannot live one’s whole life accusing, accusing, accusing the Church,” he said. “Whose office is it to accuse? Who is the one the Bible calls the Great Accuser? The devil! And those who spend their lives accusing, accusing, accusing, are — I will not say children, because the devil doesn’t have any — but friends, cousins, relatives of the devil.” 

The assertion that the devil has no children is surprising given the clear statement of Jesus to the contrary in John 8:44, when the Lord said to those who denied their slavery to sin: “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” 

The Pope’s latest “Great Accuser” comments come one day before the opening of a widely anticipated Vatican summit on the “Protection of Minors in the Church.” The meeting, which will gather presidents of bishops’ conferences around the world together with the Pope, was called due to growing public anger, especially in the United States, over the McCarrick case, and a host of other abuse scandals that have come to light in the US, Europe, Latin America and Australia.

His comments also come the day after Cardinal Raymond Burke and Cardinal Walter Brandmüller wrote an open letter to the presidents of bishops’ conferences attending this week’s Vatican summit on clerical sex abuse, calling on them to “raise their voices” on the moral corruption in the Church, and after a coalition of 100 Catholic laity mobilized in Rome’s historic center to silently “oppose the Vatican’s policy of silence about homosexuality” in the abuse crisis. 

The original text Pope Francis was to deliver to the pilgrims of Benevento was limited to remarks about Padre Pio. His “relatives of the devil” comments were therefore off the cuff. 

Absent an act of God or heroic courage on the part of bishop participants, many observers believe the meeting will be a “failure,” a “masterpiece of hypocrisy,” or a smokescreen that perpetuates sin and coverup within the Church. 

The Pope’s words today — if understood to mean attempts to harm the Church through lies and false accusations — concur with scripture, tradition and the writings of the saints, all of which speak not only of the need to bridle one’s tongue, but also of the devil’s persecution and hellish pursuit to destroy the Catholic Church.

However, in light of past statements and present scandals, it is unclear to whom the Pope is referring when he speaks of the “friends, cousins and relatives of the devil.”

As LifeSite reported in December, the Pope’s new editorial director of Vatican communications, Andrea Tornielli, has openly named Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò as the “Great Accuser.”

In Tornielli’s view, Archbishop Viganò earned the title for alleging in his 11-page explosive testimony that, in 2013, as nuncio to the United States, he personally told Pope Francis that McCarrick had corrupted “generations of seminarians and priests.”

In a Nov. 6 television interview to promote his book on the Viganò testimony, Tornielli — who one month later was appointed the editorial director of the Holy See’s Dicastery for Communications — also named Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong as “another great accuser” of Pope Francis.

In his Feb. 20 address to pilgrims from Benevento, the Pope extolled St. Padre Pio — a priest, mystic and stigmatist who could read hearts — for “his firm faith in God, firm hope in heavenly realities, generous dedication to people, and fidelity to the Church, which he has always loved with all its problems and adversities.”

Padre Pio “loved the Church” with her many “problems, adversities and sinners,” Pope Francis said. “Because the Church is holy, she is the Bride of Christ; but we, the children of the Church, are all sinners — and some of us big ones! — but he loved the Church as she was, he didn’t destroy it with his tongue, as it’s fashionable to do nowadays.”

One who “loves the Church” knows how to forgive, because “he knows he is a sinner” in need of God’s forgiveness, he told pilgrims from Benevento, who were in Rome to repay the Pope’s visit to the Sanctuary of Padre Pio last March. One who loves “knows how to fix things,” he added, “because the Lord wants to fix things well, but always with forgiveness

“You must point out defects in order to correct, but when you point out the defects, when you denounce the defects, you love the Church,” he added. “Without love, that is of the devil.” 

“St. Padre Pio had both,” the Pope observed. “He loved the Church with all its problems and with the sins of his children.”

“Don’t forget this,” he said.

In his address, the Pope also encouraged the pilgrims to “accept more and more the love of God” and his “divine charity” and to “give this life-changing love, especially to people who weaker and in need,” after the example of Padre Pio and St. Francis. 

“Sometimes one has to speak,” he told them, “but begin with witness, live as Christians, witnessing that love is more beautiful of hatred, that friendship is more beautiful than enmity, and that brotherhood among all of us is more beautiful than war.” 

Yesterday’s silent protest in the heart of Rome demonstrated that Catholics are earnestly praying that bishops will speak up at the Feb. 21-24 Vatican sex abuse summit.







Muzzies and Christos are the greatest teachers of hate and violence ever known and should reap back all they have sown.

No group of people have taught me to hate more, or want to commit violence against more, than Christians and Muslims. Honestly? I fucking hate ALL Christians and Muslims and believe they are a disease to humanity, cockroaches, vermin, puss filled shitstains on the underwear of humanity. Who have committed far too many crimes against humanity, crimes against the children of the world. Crimes of mass genocides, crimes of mass murder, crimes of tortures and persecutions of others. Crimes of pure hate and violence, all for their twisted fucking theologies of bullshit and pure fucking unmitigated evil.

The ones who truly started teaching me how to hate? Were the Christian penguins at the Catholic school I went to. They taught me to hate myself, for supposedly being an evil motherfucker for having been born…..LEFT HANDED.

Then Christians taught me to hate in all kinds of other ways. In the Reich Wing Buybull Baptist Fundie cult church I was brought to while in a foster home? They taught me to hate lgbts and others.

Then the perverted pedophile priests who spent the night at St Thomas More in Durham NH gang raping me really taught me to hate.

And add more ChristoFascist Taliban scumbags whom I have had the unpleasantness to have met or seen etc in my long life. Scumbag ChristoFascist Taliban Cunt shitstains like Theodore Shoebat, Fred Phelps and the psychos of Westboro Baptist Cult; Steven Anderson, Scott Lively, Matt Barber, etc. All great teachers of Christian hate, violence and death.

And of course? You got the Muzzie Goat Fuckers, who hate us atheists so much? They got 13 countries of theirs with the death penalty punishment for being an atheist. And of course? Their deathly hate for lgbts, women who are raped, etc. The bunch of Allah (Shit Be Upon Him) and Momo the Pedophile Profit (Shit Be Upon Him) shit of the world want to take it over and be top dogs too and spew that shit from their well used Muzzie Cunt outhouses on the daily.

The only thing the Quran is good for is to take a shit on it or wipe your ass with the pages.

Yes, Muzzies and Christos are the greatest teachers of hate, of violence, of death, of bigotry, and persecutors of others. Oh but don’t you dare demand the deaths of Muzzies of Christos, or throw hate, bigotry or persecute them, cause then they get their little fucking diapers in a bunch and cry.

Well, I say it is pas t time that Christos and Muzzies reap back all the hate, all the violence, and all the mass death they have sowed upon far too many in their histories. Christos should be rounded up and forced on death marches to death camps and starved to death like they did to us Native Americans. They should be exterminated from the face of the earth as just Karma payback for all the extermination they did of us. And any of them left? Should be put into brutal slavery by black people. Let’s see if Christians like a fucking dose of their own goddamn medicine shall we?

As for Muzzies? For every atheist a Muslim murders? 20 Muslims should be lined up against a fucking wall and fucking shot. For every Muslim that rapes a woman or murders a raped women? 100 Muslim scum men should be lined up against a wall and the shots aimed at their fucking crotches and their dicks blown the fuck off. All psychopathic Muzzie Cunt Extremist? Should be rounded up, fucking beheaded and their fucking heads put on pikes as a warning to any other fucking Muzzie of trying to star t their bullshit.

Yes, see how great a teachers Christians and Muslims are in teaching others to fucking hate. Well they have taught me to hate so well, by their spewing unmitigated hate towards me for 59 years that I just now want to watch them all get fucking wiped off the face of the earth in the most majestic, the most brutal, the most vile and violent ways possible. Maybe then they would learn their fucking lessons?

The Only Good Roman Catholic Pedophile Pimp or Priest is a fucking dead one

Yes, the Unholy Roman Catholic Cult of Pedophile Pimps, Pedophile Priests and the Pew Polishers who suck their shriveled dicks in unholy love. A bunch of fucking perverted, degenerate pedophiles who believe they got a fucking right to tell everyone else how to fucking live, while they cannot keep their disgusting dicks out of young kids assholes.

If I had had a gun that night at St Thomas More parish in Durham NH? All three of those degenerate, disgusting pedo priests, Fathers Leon Gaulin, Joseph Desmond and Paul McHugh would have ended up just like this.

Yes, Pope Francis, you disgusting Head Pedophile Pimp, yes Pope Emeritus Benedict you disgusting Pedophile Pimp, the both of you deserve to have a fucking Pedophile Crucifixion upon your fucking Pedophile Pimps asses, right in the middle of St Peter’s Square.

Yes, Cardinals Timothy Dolan, George Pell, Bernard Law and all the rest of you scumbag pieces of shit Cardinals, Bishops like NH Bishop Peter A Libasci, and Archbishops who covered up for your fucking pedophile priests and hid behind laws like the statutes of limitations and sovereign immunity to get away with your crimes? You all deserve to be fucking drawn and quartered and your fucking heads put on pikes in front of St Peter’s Square with the warning that this is what we will now do to Roman Catholic leaders who protect their fucking pedophiles.

This, Bishop Peter A Libasci and Pope Francis is what should be done to all you Pedo Pimps and Pedo priests of your cult of pedophile scumbags.

St Thomas More Parish
6 Madbury Road
Durham New Hampshire 03824-0620

time to put christians who are adulterers to death per leviticus 20:10

“And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.”

ChristoFascist Talibans like say Walid and Theodore Shoebat, Steven Anderson, Rick Wiles, the Westboro Baptist crew, and many others, have all used Leviticus 20:13 to condemn homosexuals to death or denial of any and all civil rights. These cherry picking, buybull thumping, ChristoFascist hypocrites always though make excuses for the death penalty punishment in the book of Leviticus for their adulterers. Oh no, they say, since Jesus came? He did away with all those nasty Levitical laws and rules. But really? The ONLY TIME these scumbag, ChristoFascist Talibans use that line of apologetic bullshit? Is when the rules they insist all others follow? Applies directly to them. LGBTS? Oh hell no, the Levitical rules still apply. A Christian on their second, third or fourth “sacred” Christian marriage, or those who have committed adultery with another person, other than their spouse while married? Which is adultery? And demands a death penalty punishment of adulterers? Why oh no, that no longer applies to us.

As long as ChristoFascist Talibans keep going after lgbts with their use of the book of Leviticus and the Bible to call for their brutal murders or the denial of their rights? Then we should start going after Christians who have violated the Levitical and Biblical rules on adultery and either demand, as ChristoFascist Taliban use Leviticus to demand death for homosexuals? The death penalty punishment for all Christian adulterers.

All Christians who are on their second, or third, or fourth “sacred” marriage? Both husband and wife should be dragged out to the city square and stoned to death. For that is what Leviticus and the bible commands to be done to adulterers. For if Christians are going to keep attacking lgbts using Leviticus? Then WE should be attacking Christians for their adulterers and demand the same things for their adulterers that they demand be done to lgbts.

These ChristoFascist Talibans should reap back all they sow, and have done unto them exactly as they want to do unto others.

They want to put lgbts to death? Then they should be put to death. They want to deny lgbts any and all rights? Then they should be denied any and all rights.

Let’s take a look at just some of these scumbag ChristoTaliban pastors and preachers of hate who demand death penalty punishments for being an lgbt and for each and every one of them? They should be dragged out of their pulpits of hate, their cult churches of hate, put on their fucking knees and have exactly the same done unto them as they want to do unto others and let them reap back all the hate and death they sow upon others.

  1. Former Knoxville Police Detective and Pastor Grayson Fitts of the All Scripture Baptist Church in Knoxville Tennessee:
    A Knoxville pastor is under fire for calling for the deaths of homosexuals.

In early June, Det. Grayson Fritts of All Scripture Baptist Church reportedly preached on the book of Leviticus, saying, “Here’s how it should work, it shouldn’t work when we go out and we enforce the laws, because the Bible says the powers that be are ordained of God, and God has instilled the power of civil government to send the police in 2019 out to these LGBT FREAKS and arrest them. Have a trial for them, and if they are convicted, then they are to be put to death … do you understand that? it’s a capital crime to be carried out by our government.”

The CBS affiliate WVLT reported Fritts continued with an attack on “Pride” month.

“All the pride parades, man, hey call the riot teams, we got a bunch of ’em, get the paddy wagon out here. We got a bunch of ’em going to jail; we got a bunch of them we’re gonna get convicted because they’ve got their pride junk on and they’re professing what they are, they’re a filthy animal,” Fritts reportedly said. “After this onslaught, where the government’s arresting them and carrying out God’s laws and they’re all dead … you think.”

Fritts, a detective with the Knoxville Police Department, accepted a buyout from his position after the remarks. He is on paid sick leave until the buyout takes effect July 19.

2. From Let’s Count the Christian Ministers who advocated death for gays

Mr. Ewing says Imam Farrokh Sekaleshfar, an advocate for killing gays, was invited to speak in Orlando. He forgets to mention Christian Pastor Kevin Swanson, who advocates killing gays. (Huckabee, Jindal, and Cruz attended his ‘Freedom 2015′ knowing this.) Or televangelist Ben Bailey of the “Gospel of Christ’ TV program preaching God commands Christians to stone gays and prevent women from teaching. Or Baptist Pastor Roger Jimenez telling his congregation the Orlando massacre was “great” and “helps society.” Or Pastor Donnie Romero of Stedfast Baptist Church agreeing 100 percent with Romero. Romero advocates the death penalty for gays. Or Steven Anderson of Tempe’s Faithful Word Baptist Church applauding the Orlando massacre and calling for the death of all gays. Or Pastor Curtis Knapp of New Hope Baptist Church in Seneca, Kansas, who wants the government to put gays to death. Or Jeff Smith, Emmanuel Baptist Church in Florida who equates homosexuals with serial killers, rapists, and child molesters. Or Pastor and Republican Andy Gipson in Georgia whose Facebook rants include saying gays, according to Leviticus, “are to be put to death.” Or Lake Independent Baptist Church Pastor Dennis Leatherman’s fifty-minute sermon titled ,“Homosexuality and the Bible,” where he describes his struggle not to kill gays. Want more?

So? Let’s take a look at just some of the scumbag ChristoFascist Taliban pastors mentioned in that one letter to the editor shall we?


Maryland Pastor Dennis Leatherman of the Lake Independent Baptist Church.

On Sunday, Maryland Pastor Dennis Leatherman delivered a sermon titled, “Homosexuality & the Bible,” during which he said, discussing homosexuals, “Kill them all. Right? I will be very honest with you. My flesh kind of likes that idea. But it grieves the Holy Spirit. It violates Scripture. It is wrong.”

At least this scumbag does agree that Christos should also be going after adulterers too.

Curtis Knapp New Hope Baptist Church, Seneca Kansas

The Kansas-based pastor who argued that the U.S. government should put gay people “to death” is now defending his statements in an exclusive CNN interview.

“We punish pedophilia,” Pastor Curtis Knapp of the New Hope Baptist Church in Seneca, Kan. “We punish incest, we punish polygamy and various things. It’s only homosexuality that is lifted out as an exemption.”

As reported earlier this week by Good As You blogger Jeremy Hooper, Knapp appeared to call for the death of gays in a sermon. Hooper proclaimed: “Oh, so you’re saying we should go out and start killing them? No, I’m saying the government should. They won’t, but they should.”

Sean Harris, Berean Baptist Church, Fayetteville, NC

In a sermon given in April 2012, Pastor Harris took that to a whole new level with his solution to the gay problem: punch gay-acting children. “Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and you crack that wrist. Man up! Give him a good punch.” Yup, that’ll teach ‘em, especially because nothing says “my son is gay” like a limp wrist.

Charles Worley, Providence Baptist Church, Maiden, NC

This ChristoFascist Taliban’s solution to lgbts is:

“Build a great, big, large fence, 150 or 100 mile long. Put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals, and have that fence electrified till they can’t get out. Feed ’em. And you know what? In a few years they’ll die out. You know why? They can’t reproduce.”

Joel McDurmon, director of research for American Vision (AV), a Georgia-based Religious Right group

The Bible demands the execution of gay people, a Religious Right activist has asserted.

Joel McDurmon, director of research for American Vision (AV), a Georgia-based Religious Right group, made the claim in a recent essay on AV’s Web site.

American Vision is aligned with the Christian Reconstructionist movement, a Religious Right faction that openly seeks to replace America’s constitutional democracy with a government built around an ultra-fundamentalist reading of the Bible.

McDurmon was spurred to write the essay, titled “A Perfect Hatred,” after a situation in Uganda began attracting headlines in the American media. The Ugandan parliament is considering legislation that would apply the death penalty and other draconian punishments for homosexuality.

A number of prominent evangelicals, including the Rev. Rick Warren, have condemned the measure. But McDurmon argues that the opponents are wrong, and he condemns anyone who shirks from imposing “biblical law.”

Writes McDurmon, “The truth is, hate is an inescapable concept in every society….The problem is that in modern society, we have let the liberals and heathen define the values for us. Instead of gathering our standards of what is to be loved and what is to be ‘hated’ from God’s word, we are supposed to accept the shouts of shame from liberals – shouts which derive directly from their rejection of God’s word and replacing of God’s standards with their own value system.”

Continues McDurmon, “The evangelical mantra has always been ‘hate the sin but love the sinner,’ which is good pastoral advice to a large degree, but even this piece of folk-wisdom falls short of the biblical standard. God and His spokesmen reveal a clear role for hate of both sin (Ps. 97:10; 101:3; 119:104, 113, 128, 163; 139:21, 22) and the sinners themselves (Ps. 5:5; 11:5; 26:5; 31:6; Mal. 1:1–3; Rom. 9:13) in some circumstances.”

In McDurmon’s view, the Bible speaks clearly on homosexuality.

“God has revealed that specific sins are also civil crimes…. God also reveals specific punishments for specific civil crimes,” he writes. “He revealed that some civil crimes require restitution, a few require the death penalty. Where God says a civil crime deserves the death penalty, I propose that we keep in step with the first greatest commandment and recognize His total sovereignty in heart, soul, strength, and mind.

“Now, it just so happens that God revealed that the homosexual act is a civil crime, and it just so happens that He revealed that the homosexual act as a civil crime deserves the death penalty,” McDurmon continues.

In AV’s view, homosexuality is just one among many crimes that merit the death penalty. Christian Reconstructionists call for the death penalty for as many as 20 offenses, including adultery, homosexuality, fornication, witchcraft, incorrigible juvenile delinquency and spreading false religions.

David Berzins, Word of Truth Baptist Church, Prescott Arizona

Pastor David Berzins recently slammed a fellow pastor for not supporting Pastor Steven Anderson’s call for homosexuals to be put to death per the Bible.

Pastor Anderson said in December 2014 that the “cure” for AIDS was for homosexuals to be put to death, per Leviticus 20:13 in the Bible.

Pastor Anderson also said gay people were to be put to death in 2009, per the Bible, because they recruit via rape and molestation, noted

Pastor Berzins, of the Word of Truth Baptist Church in Prescott, Arizona, was furious that an unidentified preacher asked to have his church removed from Pastor Anderson’s Faithful Word Baptist Church directory web site, noted (video below).

Pastor Berzins called the offending pastor and (pastors like him) “limp-wristed,” reports the Daily Kos, for not standing “against the homosexual agenda.”

Pastor Berzins said that he liked the offending pastor, but added, “Look, God came up with the laws of the Old Testament. They’re breathed by the Lord. And if you think that you know better on how to run a country than God has ordained, you think that your laws are better!”

Pastor Berzins also complained about Christians who lamented that the Old Testament law (Ten Commandments) was being removed from public, but don’t support the judgment against “sodomites” in the same Old Testament law.

Steven Anderson, Faithful Word Baptist Church, Tempe Arizona

An Arizona Baptist pastor has claimed that the solution to the AIDS pandemic is the execution of all homosexuals.

In an astonishing sermon preached the day before World Aids Day entitled AIDS: The Judgment of God, Rev Stephen Anderson, pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, said that it was possible to achieve achieve an “AIDS-free Christmas”.

In remarks that have caused widespread outrage, Anderson said: “Turn to Leviticus 20:13 because I actually discovered the cure for AIDS. This is the cure for AIDS. Everyone is talking about ‘let’s have an AIDS free world by 2020.’ Look, we can have an AIDS free world by Christmas. OK, it wouldn’t be totally AIDS-free, but we’d be 90-something per cent AIDS-free by Christmas if we follow this.”

Reading the Leviticus passage, he said: “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. And that, my friend, is the cure for AIDS,” he said. “It was right there in the Bible all along — and they’re out spending billions of dollars in research and testing. It’s curable — right there. Because if you executed the homos like God recommends, you wouldn’t have all this AIDS running rampant.”

He also describes President Obama in the sermon as a “bastard”, explaining that the expression was “not a cuss-word” but referred to the child of an unwed mother (in fact Obama’s parents were married when he was born).

Theodore Shoebat, Shoebat Ministries

Right-Wing Extremist Calls For Global ‘Inquisition’ To End ‘Fag Problem’, Kill Gays:

Former Muslims, Shoebat Ministries incites violence against public gatherings of homosexuals. Walid Shoebat runs and his Theodore Shoebat is his son and Director of Communications. This goes beyond First Amendment free speech. Telling viewers that “god” wants them to harm or kill innocent people is a crime.

Scott Lively, Scott Lively Ministries

Scott Lively, ‘Kill The Gays’ Bill Supporter And Evangelist, On Trial For Crimes Against Humanity

the suit against Lively alleges that he “conspired with religious and political leaders in Uganda to whip up anti-gay hysteria with warnings that gay people would sodomize African children and corrupt their culture.” Vince Warren, executive director of the CCR, argues in a Washington Post blog that Lively calls himself the “‘father’ of the anti-gay movements“ in Uganda.

So these are just a few of these scumbag ChristoFascist Taliban demanding the brutal murders of lgbts based on Leviticus of the buybull.

Each and every one of these pastors, along with the rest of their kind? Should be dragged out of their churches of hate and death, put on their knees and executed with a bullet to the back of their skulls. Cause as far as I am concerned? These scumbags should reap back exactly as they have sown and have done unto them as they want to do unto others.

And any and ALL Christians who are adulterers? Should be rounded up and publicly executed by stoning to death as ordered in Leviticus.

And that , ladies and gentlemen is BIBLICAL.

christofascist taliban repugnant north dakota state rep terry b jones and his batshit crazy anti lgbt hb1476

Sick and twisted, ChristoFascist Taliban, GOP piece of fascist shit, North Dakota rep Terry Jones. Hey Terry, how about we start denying ALL Christian adulterers, divorced and remarried with adultery and then do as the buybull says we should do to adulterers. Put them to death.

Here is a link to the pdf of this sick and twisted, disgusting, ChristoFascist Talibans HB No 1476 seeking to lie about lgbts and secular humanism.

So GOPig ChristoFascist Taliban Terry Jones, using your stupid logic? All Christian adulterers should be denied all rights and even put to death according to Leviticus 20:10. Yes, we should round up all evil Christian adulterers and stone them to death in the town square as commanded to be done in the bible.

Now let’s take what this scumbag says in his bill, which violates the separation of church and state clauses, violates a persons ie lgbt or secular humanists right to Free Speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution and pushes ChristoTaliban religion over all others, and his outrageous bullshit lie as to what secular humanism is.

The introduction for this ChristoFascist Taliban discrimination bill.

A BILL for an Act to create and enact a new chapter to title14 of the North Dakota Century Code, relating to nonsecular self-asserted sex-based identity narratives, to prohibit the state from creating or enforcing policies that directly or symbolically respect nonsecular self-asserted sex-based identity narratives or sexual orientation orthodoxy pursuant to the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and section3 of articleI of the Constitution of North Dakota; to provide for the continued enforcement of secular marriag epolicies; to prohibit discrimination for nonsecular beliefs pursuant to the free exercise clause ofthe First Amendment to the United States Constitution and section 3 of article I of theConstitution of North Dakota.

First, this piece of shit ChristoTaliban Fascist GOPig Terry Jones has no fucking clue as to what secular humanism is. This is what this Jeebus the Dead Jewish Zombie still rotting on a stick Fascist shitstain says what secular humanism is:

The term includes a belief system that is centered on the unproven assumptions there are no moral absolutes and no one moral doctrine should be used as the superior basis for law and policy. The term includes a series of unproven faith-based assumptions and naked assertions that suggest that morality and truth are man made conventions and that at the heart of liberty is man’s ability to define his own meaning of the universe. The term refers to a religion that tends to promote licentiousness and to justify practices that are inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state. The term refers to the belief that man is merely a bundle of chemicals, animated pieces of meat, or accidental particles, and that nature is all there is…

GOPig Terry Jones House Bill No. 1476
Perfectly describes ChristoFascist Taliban hypocrisy.

Now let’s see what secular humanism really means

Secular humanism is comprehensive, touching every aspect of life including issues of values, meaning, and identity. Thus it is broader than atheism, which concerns only the nonexistence of god or the supernatural. Important as that may be, there’s a lot more to life … and secular humanism addresses it.

Secular humanism is nonreligious, espousing no belief in a realm or beings imagined to transcend ordinary experience.

Secular humanism is a lifestance, or what Council for Secular Humanism founder Paul Kurtz has termed a eupraxsophy: a body of principles suitable for orienting a complete human life. As a secular lifestance, secular humanism incorporates the Enlightenment principle of individualism, which celebrates emancipating the individual from traditional controls by family, church, and state, increasingly empowering each of us to set the terms of his or her own life.

Secular humanism is philosophically naturalistic. It holds that nature (the world of everyday physical experience) is all there is, and that reliable knowledge is best obtained when we query nature using the scientific method. Naturalism asserts that supernatural entities like God do not exist, and warns us that knowledge gained without appeal to the natural world and without impartial review by multiple observers is unreliable.

Secular. “Pertaining to the world or things not spiritual or sacred.”

Humanism. “Any system of thought or action concerned with the interests or ideals of people … the intellectual and cultural movement … characterized by an emphasis on human interests rather than … religion.”
— Webster’s Dictionary

Secular humanism provides a cosmic outlook—a world-view in the broadest sense, grounding our lives in the context of our universe and relying on methods demonstrated by science. Secular humanists see themselves as undesigned, unintended beings who arose through evolution, possessing unique attributes of self-awareness and moral agency.

Secular humanists hold that ethics is consequential, to be judged by results. This is in contrast to so-called command ethics, in which right and wrong are defined in advance and attributed to divine authority. “No god will save us,” declared Humanist Manifesto II (1973), “we must save ourselves.” Secular humanists seek to develop and improve their ethical principles by examining the results they yield in the lives of real men and women.

Now? Let’s educate this ChristoFascist Taliban troglodyte on the truth and facts about his brutally evil, disgustingly degenerate, hypocrisy of Christianity

Christianity and Christians rose to power not on their message of love, peace, forgiveness, not judging others, or in keeping any of their supposed commandments of Jesus, such as turning the other cheek, forgiving your enemies, etc. That if you have any hate in your heart for ANYONE, then YOU cannot call yourself a Christian and follower of Jesus.

Christian atrocities and butchery against the Pagans:

As soon as Christianity was legal (315), more and more pagan temples were destroyed by Christian mob. Pagan priests were killed. Between 315 and 6th century thousands of pagan believers were slain. Examples of destroyed Temples: the Sanctuary of Aesculap in Aegaea, the Temple of Aphrodite in Golgatha, Aphaka in Lebanon, the Heliopolis. Christian priests such as Mark of Arethusa or Cyrill of Heliopolis were famous as “temple destroyer.”

Pagan services became punishable by death in 356.

Christian Emperor Theodosius (408-450) even had children executed, because they had been playing with remains of pagan statues.

According to Christian chroniclers he “followed meticulously all Christian teachings…”

In 6th century pagans were declared void of all rights. In the early fourth century the philosopher Sopatros was executed on demand of Christian authorities.

The world famous female philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria was torn to pieces with glass fragments by a hysterical Christian mob led by a Christian minister named Peter, in a church, in 415.

Emperor Karl (Charlemagne) in 782 had 4500 Saxons, unwilling to convert to Christianity, beheaded.

Peasants of Steding (Germany) unwilling to pay suffocating church taxes: between 5,000 and 11,000 men, women and children slain 5/27/1234 near Altenesch/Germany.

Battle of Belgrad 1456: 80,000 Turks slaughtered.

15th century Poland: 1019 churches and 17987 villages plundered by Knights of the Order. Victims unknown.

16th and 17th century Ireland. English troops “pacified and civilized” Ireland, where only Gaelic “wild Irish”, “unreasonable beasts lived without any knowledge of God or good manners, in common of their goods, cattle, women, children and every other thing.”

One of the more successful soldiers, a certain Humphrey Gilbert, half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh, ordered that “the heddes of all those (of what sort soever thei were) which were killed in the daie, should be cutte off from their bodies… and should bee laied on the ground by eche side of the waie”, which effort to civilize the Irish indeed caused “greate terrour to the people when thei sawe the heddes of their dedde fathers, brothers, children, kinsfolke, and freinds on the grounde”.

Tens of thousands of Gaelic Irish fell victim to the Christian carnage.

It is far past time for ChristoTalibans to reap back what they have sown and have done unto them as they have done unto Pagans, Atheists, LGBTS, Native Americans and many others in their demonic 2,000 year history of forced conversions, tortures and murders of others. All in the name of their Christian god, their Jesus, their Buybull and their Christianity.

First Crusade: 1095 on command of pope Urban II.

Semlin/Hungary 6/24/96 thousands slain. Wieselburg/Hungary 6/12/96 thousands.

9/9/96-9/26/96 Nikaia, Xerigordon (then turkish), thousands respectively.

Until Jan 1098 a total of 40 capital cities and 200 castles conquered (number of slain unknown) after 6/3/98 Antiochia (then turkish) conquered, between 10,000 and 60,000 slain. 6/28/98 100,000 Turks (incl. women & children) killed.

Here the Christians “did no other harm to the women found in [the enemy’s] tents—save that they ran their lances through their bellies,” according to Christian chronicler Fulcher of Chartres.

Marra (Maraat an-numan) 12/11/98 thousands killed. Because of the subsequent famine “the already stinking corpses of the enemies were eaten by the Christians” said chronicler Albert Aquensis.

Jerusalem conquered 7/15/1099 more than 60,000 victims (jewish, muslim, men, women, children).

(In the words of one witness: “there [in front of Solomon’s temple] was such a carnage that our people were wading ankle-deep in the blood of our foes”, and after that “happily and crying for joy our people marched to our Saviour’s tomb, to honour it and to pay off our debt of gratitude”) The Archbishop of Tyre, eye-witness, wrote: “It was impossible to look upon the vast numbers of the slain without horror; everywhere lay fragments of human bodies, and the very ground was covered with the blood of the slain. It was not alone the spectacle of headless bodies and mutilated limbs strewn in all directions that roused the horror of all who looked upon them. Still more dreadful was it to gaze upon the victors themselves, dripping with blood from head to foot, an ominous sight which brought terror to all who met them. It is reported that within the Temple enclosure alone about ten thousand infidels perished.” [TG79] Christian chronicler Eckehard of Aura noted that “even the following summer in all of palestine the air was polluted by the stench of decomposition”.

One million victims of the first crusade alone.

Battle of Askalon, 8/12/1099. 200,000 heathens slaughtered “in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ”.

Fourth crusade: 4/12/1204 Constantinople sacked, number of victims unknown, numerous thousands, many of them Christian.

Rest of Crusades in less detail: until the fall of Akkon 1291 probably 20 million victims (in the Holy land and Arab/Turkish areas alone).

15th century: Crusades against Hussites, thousands slain.

1538 pope Paul III declared Crusade against apostate England and all English as slaves of Church (fortunately had not power to go into action).

1568 Spanish Inquisition Tribunal ordered extermination of 3 million rebels in (then Spanish) Netherlands. Thousands were actually slain.

1572 In France about 20,000 Huguenots were killed on command of pope Pius V. Until 17th century 200,000 flee.

17th century: Catholics slay Gaspard de Coligny, a Protestant leader. After murdering him, the Catholic mob mutilated his body, “cutting off his head, his hands, and his genitals… and then dumped him into the river […but] then, deciding that it was not worthy of being food for the fish, they hauled it out again [… and] dragged what was left … to the gallows of Montfaulcon, ‘to be meat and carrion for maggots and crows’.”

17th century: Catholics sack the city of Magdeburg/Germany: roughly 30,000 Protestants were slain. “In a single church fifty women were found beheaded,” reported poet Friedrich Schiller, “and infants still sucking the breasts of their lifeless mothers.”

17th century 30 years’ war (Catholic vs. Protestant): at least 40% of population decimated, mostly in Germany.

So this is how the ChristoFascist Taliban rose to power. First by declaring Pagans to be put to death and then? Christians putting millions of Pagans to brutal, vile, evil death.

Of course? ChristoFascist Taliban justify this by proclaiming they were the ones who were persecuted and were only defending themselves against the Pagans, which, according to the Christians own recorded history of this? They are full of bullshit when they say they were the ones persecuted.

Now? Let’s see how Christians treated Jews shall we?

Already in the 4th and 5th centuries synagogues were burned by Christians. Number of Jews slain unknown.

In the middle of the fourth century the first synagogue was destroyed on command of bishop Innocentius of Dertona in Northern Italy. The first synagogue known to have been burned down was near the river Euphrat, on command of the bishop of Kallinikon in the year 388.

17. Council of Toledo 694: Jews were enslaved, their property confiscated, and their children forcibly baptized.

The Bishop of Limoges (France) in 1010 had the cities’ Jews, who would not convert to Christianity, expelled or killed.

First Crusade: Thousands of Jews slaughtered 1096, maybe 12.000 total. Places: Worms 5/18/1096, Mainz 5/27/1096 (1100 persons), Cologne, Neuss, Altenahr, Wevelinghoven, Xanten, Moers, Dortmund, Kerpen, Trier, Metz, Regensburg, Prag and others (All locations Germany except Metz/France, Prag/Czech)

Second Crusade: 1147. Several hundred Jews were slain in Ham, Sully, Carentan, and Rameru (all locations in France).

Third Crusade: English Jewish communities sacked 1189/90.

Fulda/Germany 1235: 34 Jewish men and women slain.

1257, 1267: Jewish communities of London, Canterbury, Northampton, Lincoln, Cambridge, and others exterminated.

1290 in Bohemian (Poland) allegedly 10,000 Jews killed.

1337 Starting in Deggendorf/Germany a Jew-killing craze reaches 51 towns in Bavaria, Austria, Poland.

1348 All Jews of Basel/Switzerland and Strasbourg/France (two thousand) burned.

1349 In more than 350 towns in Germany all Jews murdered, mostly burned alive (in this one year more Jews were killed than Christians in 200 years of ancient Roman persecution of Christians).

1389 In Prag 3,000 Jews were slaughtered.

1391 Seville’s Jews killed (Archbishop Martinez leading). 4,000 were slain, 25,000 sold as slaves. Their identification was made easy by the brightly colored “badges of shame” that all jews above the age of ten had been forced to wear.

1492: In the year Columbus set sail to conquer a New World, more than 150,000 Jews were expelled from Spain, many died on their way: 6/30/1492.

1648 Chmielnitzki massacres: In Poland about 200,000 Jews were slain.

The Holocaust saw the internment and execution of an estimated six million European Jews between 1933 and 1945. The process that led up to the Holocaust and the justifications for the actions of the Nazis were deeply rooted in misrepresentations and misinterpretations of scripture by some of humanity’s worst people.[9] The Nazis were amazing propagandists who utilized people’s beliefs and prejudices to turn the German public against the Jews.

This was done through a variety of means, but ultimately, the justification was made that the Jewish people were “less than” the Christian majority in the country. Adolf Hitler justified many of his views in his book, Mein Kampf, through the Bible and cited numerous passages throughout indicating why the Aryan race was superior to all others:

Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.

The Holocaust represents how religion and preconceived prejudices can be used to negatively motivate people to do horrific things.

Next up GOPig Terry Jones, you disgusting ChristoFascist pig, let’s look at what you Christians did to us Native Americans, with Christians committing the worst case of mass extermination genocide against us Native Americans and justified it using the Christian Manifest Destiny evil:

Beginning with Columbus (a former slave trader and would-be Holy Crusader) the conquest of the New World began, as usual understood as a means to propagate Christianity.

Within hours of landfall on the first inhabited island he encountered in the Caribbean, Columbus seized and carried off six native people who, he said, “ought to be good servants … [and] would easily be made Christians, because it seemed to me that they belonged to no religion.”

While Columbus described the Indians as “idolators” and “slaves, as many as [the Crown] shall order,” his pal Michele de Cuneo, Italian nobleman, referred to the natives as “beasts” because “they eat when they are hungry,” and made love “openly whenever they feel like it.”

On every island he set foot on, Columbus planted a cross, “making the declarations that are required” – the requerimiento – to claim the ownership for his Catholic patrons in Spain. And “nobody objected.” If the Indians refused or delayed their acceptance (or understanding), the requerimiento continued:

I certify to you that, with the help of God, we shall powerfully enter in your country and shall make war against you … and shall subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church … and shall do you all mischief that we can, as to vassals who do not obey and refuse to receive their lord and resist and contradict him.”

Likewise in the words of John Winthrop, first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony: “justifieinge the undertakeres of the intended Plantation in New England … to carry the Gospell into those parts of the world, … and to raise a Bulworke against the kingdome of the Ante-Christ.”

In average two thirds of the native population were killed by colonist-imported smallpox before violence began. This was a great sign of “the marvelous goodness and providence of God” to the Christians of course, e.g. the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony wrote in 1634, as “for the natives, they are near all dead of the smallpox, so as the Lord hath cleared our title to what we possess.”

On Hispaniola alone, on Columbus visits, the native population (Arawak), a rather harmless and happy people living on an island of abundant natural resources, a literal paradise, soon mourned 50,000 dead.

The surviving Indians fell victim to rape, murder, enslavement and spanish raids.

As one of the culprits wrote: “So many Indians died that they could not be counted, all through the land the Indians lay dead everywhere. The stench was very great and pestiferous.”

The indian chief Hatuey fled with his people but was captured and burned alive. As “they were tying him to the stake a Franciscan friar urged him to take Jesus to his heart so that his soul might go to heaven, rather than descend into hell. Hatuey replied that if heaven was where the Christians went, he would rather go to hell.” [SH70]

What happened to his people was described by an eyewitness:

“The Spaniards found pleasure in inventing all kinds of odd cruelties … They built a long gibbet, long enough for the toes to touch the ground to prevent strangling, and hanged thirteen [natives] at a time in honor of Christ Our Saviour and the twelve Apostles… then, straw was wrapped around their torn bodies and they were burned alive.”

Or, on another occasion:

“The Spaniards cut off the arm of one, the leg or hip of another, and from some their heads at one stroke, like butchers cutting up beef and mutton for market. Six hundred, including the cacique, were thus slain like brute beasts…Vasco [de Balboa] ordered forty of them to be torn to pieces by dogs.”

The “island’s population of about eight million people at the time of Columbus’s arrival in 1492 already had declined by a third to a half before the year 1496 was out.” Eventually all the island’s natives were exterminated, so the Spaniards were “forced” to import slaves from other caribbean islands, who soon suffered the same fate. Thus “the Caribbean’s millions of native people [were] thereby effectively liquidated in barely a quarter of a century”.

“In less than the normal lifetime of a single human being, an entire culture of millions of people, thousands of years resident in their homeland, had been exterminated.”

“And then the Spanish turned their attention to the mainland of Mexico and Central America. The slaughter had barely begun. The exquisite city of Tenochtitln [Mexico city] was next.”

Cortez, Pizarro, De Soto and hundreds of other spanish conquistadors likewise sacked southern and mesoamerican civilizations in the name of Christ (De Soto also sacked Florida).

“When the 16th century ended, some 200,000 Christian Spaniards had moved to the Americas. By that time probably more than 60,000,000 natives were dead.”

Of course no different were the founders of what today is the US of Amerikkka.

Although none of the settlers would have survived winter without native help, they soon set out to expel and exterminate the Indians. Warfare among (north American) Indians was rather harmless, in comparison to European standards, and was meant to avenge insults rather than conquer land. In the words of some of the pilgrim fathers: “Their Warres are farre less bloudy…”, so that there usually was “no great slawter of nether side”. Indeed, “they might fight seven yeares and not kill seven men.” What is more, the Indians usually spared women and children.

In the spring of 1612 some English colonists found life among the (generally friendly and generous) natives attractive enough to leave Jamestown – “being idell … did runne away unto the Indyans,” – to live among them (that probably solved a sex problem).

“Governor Thomas Dale had them hunted down and executed: ‘Some he apointed (sic) to be hanged Some burned Some to be broken upon wheles, others to be staked and some shott to deathe’.”

Of course these elegant measures were restricted for fellow englishmen: “This was the treatment for those who wished to act like Indians. For those who had no choice in the matter, because they were the native people of Virginia” methods were different: “when an Indian was accused by an Englishman of stealing a cup and failing to return it, the English response was to attack the natives in force, burning the entire community” down.

On the territory that is now Massachusetts the founding fathers of the colonies were committing genocide, in what has become known as the “Peqout War”. The killers were New England Puritan Christians, refugees from persecution in their own home country England.

When however, a dead colonist was found, apparently killed by Narragansett Indians, the Puritan colonists wanted revenge. Despite the Indian chief’s pledge they attacked.

Somehow they seem to have lost the idea of what they were after, because when they were greeted by Pequot Indians (long-time foes of the Narragansetts) the troops nevertheless made war on the Pequots and burned their villages.

The puritan commander-in-charge John Mason after one massacre wrote: “And indeed such a dreadful Terror did the Almighty let fall upon their Spirits, that they would fly from us and run into the very Flames, where many of them perished … God was above them, who laughed his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to Scorn, making them as a fiery Oven … Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen, filling the Place with dead Bodies”: men, women, children.

So “the Lord was pleased to smite our Enemies in the hinder Parts, and to give us their land for an inheritance”.

Because of his readers’ assumed knowledge of Deuteronomy, there was no need for Mason to quote the words that immediately follow:
“Thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth. But thou shalt utterly destroy them…” (Deut 20)

Mason’s comrade Underhill recalled how “great and doleful was the bloody sight to the view of the young soldiers” yet reassured his readers that “sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents”.

Other Indians were killed in successful plots of poisoning. The colonists even had dogs especially trained to kill Indians and to devour children from their mothers breasts, in the colonists’ own words: “blood Hounds to draw after them, and Mastives to seaze them.” (This was inspired by spanish methods of the time)

In this way they continued until the extermination of the Pequots was near.

The surviving handful of Indians “were parceled out to live in servitude. John Endicott and his pastor wrote to the governor asking for ‘a share’ of the captives, specifically ‘a young woman or girle and a boy if you thinke good’.”

Other tribes were to follow the same path.

Comment the Christian exterminators: “God’s Will, which will at last give us cause to say: How Great is His Goodness! and How Great is his Beauty!”

“Thus doth the Lord Jesus make them to bow before him, and to lick the Dust!”

Like today, lying was OK to Christians then. “Peace treaties were signed with every intention to violate them: when the Indians ‘grow secure uppon (sic) the treatie’, advised the Council of State in Virginia, ‘we shall have the better Advantage both to surprise them, & cutt downe theire Corne’.”

In 1624 sixty heavily armed Englishmen cut down 800 defenseless Indian men, women and children.

In a single massacre in “King Philip’s War” of 1675 and 1676 some “600 Indians were destroyed. A delighted Cotton Mather, revered pastor of the Second Church in Boston, later referred to the slaughter as a ‘barbeque’.”

To summarize:

Before the arrival of the English, the western Abenaki people in New Hampshire and Vermont had numbered 12,000. Less than half a century later about 250 remained alive – a destruction rate of 98%. The Pocumtuck people had numbered more than 18,000, fifty years later they were down to 920 – 95% destroyed. The Quiripi-Unquachog people had numbered about 30,000, fifty years later they were down to 1500 – 95% destroyed. The Massachusetts people had numbered at least 44,000, fifty years later barely 6000 were alive – 81% destroyed. These are only a few examples of the multitude of tribes living before Christian colonists set their foot on the New World. All this was before the smallpox epidemics of 1677 and 1678 had occurred. And the carnage was not over then.

All the above was only the beginning of the European colonization, it was before the frontier age actually had begun.

A total of maybe more than 150 million Indians (of both Americas) were destroyed in the period of 1500 to 1900, as an average two thirds by smallpox and other epidemics, that leaves some 50 million killed directly by violence, bad treatment and slavery.

In many countries, such as Brazil, and Guatemala, this continues even today.

More Glorious events in US history

Reverend Solomon Stoddard, one of New England’s most esteemed religious leaders, in “1703 formally proposed to the Massachusetts Governor that the colonists be given the financial wherewithal to purchase and train large packs of dogs ‘to hunt Indians as they do bears’.”

Massacre of Sand Creek, Colorado 11/29/1864. Colonel John Chivington, a former Methodist minister and still elder in the church (“I long to be wading in gore”) had a Cheyenne village of about 600, mostly women and children, gunned down despite the chiefs’ waving with a white flag: 400-500 killed.

From an eye-witness account: “There were some thirty or forty squaws collected in a hole for protection; they sent out a little girl about six years old with a white flag on a stick; she had not proceeded but a few steps when she was shot and killed. All the squaws in that hole were afterwards killed …”

By the 1860s, “in Hawai’i the Reverend Rufus Anderson surveyed the carnage that by then had reduced those islands’ native population by 90 percent or more, and he declined to see it as tragedy; the expected total die-off of the Hawaiian population was only natural, this missionary said, somewhat equivalent to ‘the amputation of diseased members of the body’.”

20th Century Church Atrocities committed by Christians.

  • Catholic extermination camps
    Surpisingly few know that Nazi extermination camps in World War II were by no means the only ones in Europe at the time. In the years 1942-1943 also in Croatia existed numerous extermination camps, run by Catholic Ustasha under their dictator Ante Paveli, a practising Catholic and regular visitor to the then pope. There were even concentration camps exclusively for children!

In these camps – the most notorious was Jasenovac, headed by a Franciscan friar – orthodox-Christian serbians (and a substantial number of Jews) were murdered. Like the Nazis the Catholic Ustasha burned their victims in kilns, alive (the Nazis were decent enough to have their victims gassed first). But most of the victims were simply stabbed, slain or shot to death, the number of them being estimated between 300,000 and 600,000, in a rather tiny country. Many of the killers were Franciscan friars. The atrocities were appalling enough to induce bystanders of the Nazi “Sicherheitsdient der SS”, watching, to complain about them to Hitler (who did not listen). The pope knew about these events and did nothing to prevent them.

  • Catholic terror in Vietnam
    In 1954 Vietnamese freedom fighters – the Viet Minh – had finally defeated the French colonial government in North Vietnam, which by then had been supported by U.S. funds amounting to more than $2 billion. Although the victorious assured religious freedom to all (most non-buddhist Vietnamese were Catholics), due to huge anticommunist propaganda campaigns many Catholics fled to the South. With the help of Catholic lobbies in Washington and Cardinal Spellman, the Vatican’s spokesman in U.S. politics, who later on would call the U.S. forces in Vietnam “Soldiers of Christ”, a scheme was concocted to prevent democratic elections which could have brought the communist Viet Minh to power in the South as well, and the fanatic Catholic Ngo Dinh Diem was made president of South Vietnam.

Diem saw to it that U.S. aid, food, technical and general assistance was given to Catholics alone, Buddhist individuals and villages were ignored or had to pay for the food aids which were given to Catholics for free. The only religious denomination to be supported was Roman Catholicism.

The Vietnamese McCarthyism turned even more vicious than its American counterpart. By 1956 Diem promulgated a presidential order which read:

  • “Individuals considered dangerous to the national defense and common security may be confined by executive order, to a concentration camp.

Supposedly to fight communism, thousands of buddhist protesters and monks were imprisoned in “detention camps.” Out of protest dozens of buddhist teachers – male and female – and monks poured gasoline over themselves and burned themselves. (Note that Buddhists burned themselves: in comparison Christians tend to burn others). Meanwhile some of the prison camps, which in the meantime were filled with Protestant and even Catholic protesters as well, had turned into no-nonsense death camps. It is estimated that during this period of terror (1955-1960) at least 24,000 were wounded – mostly in street riots – 80,000 people were executed, 275,000 had been detained or tortured, and about 500,000 were sent to concentration or detention camps.

To support this kind of government in the next decade thousands of American GI’s lost their life….

  • Rwanda Massacres
    In 1994 in the small african country of Rwanda in just a few months several hundred thousand civilians were butchered, apparently a conflict of the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups.

For quite some time I heard only rumours about Catholic clergy actively involved in the 1994 Rwanda massacres. Odd denials of involvement were printed in Catholic church journals, before even anybody had openly accused members of the church.

Then, 10/10/96, in the newscast of S2 Aktuell, Germany – a station not at all critical to Christianity – the following was stated:

“Anglican as well as Catholic priests and nuns are suspect of having actively participated in murders. Especially the conduct of a certain Catholic priest has been occupying the public mind in Rwanda’s capital Kigali for months. He was minister of the church of the Holy Family and allegedly murdered Tutsis in the most brutal manner. He is reported to have accompanied marauding Hutu militia with a gun in his cowl. In fact there has been a bloody slaughter of Tutsis seeking shelter in his parish. Even two years after the massacres many Catholics refuse to set foot on the threshold of their church, because to them the participation of a certain part of the clergy in the slaughter is well established. There is almost no church in Rwanda that has not seen refugees – women, children, old – being brutally butchered facing the crucifix.

According to eyewitnesses clergymen gave away hiding Tutsis and turned them over to the machetes of the Hutu militia.

In connection with these events again and again two Benedictine nuns are mentioned, both of whom have fled into a Belgian monastery in the meantime to avoid prosecution. According to survivors one of them called the Hutu killers and led them to several thousand people who had sought shelter in her monastery. By force the doomed were driven out of the churchyard and were murdered in the presence of the nun right in front of the gate. The other one is also reported to have directly cooperated with the murderers of the Hutu militia. In her case again witnesses report that she watched the slaughtering of people in cold blood and without showing response. She is even accused of having procured some petrol used by the killers to set on fire and burn their victims alive…”

To GOPig, ChristoFascist Taliban Terry B Jones:

You, Terry B Jones are nothing more than a ChristoFascist Taliban, no different than a Muslim Taliban. You are disgustingly evil and no follower of Jesus Christ.

Not once, in the NT, did Jesus say anything about lgbts. But he did speak out against adulterers. And the bible? It gives a death penalty punishment for being an adulterer.

So you punk, you hypocrite, you cherry picking, buybull thumping hypocrite troglodyte… about we do unto Christian adulterers what you punk hypocrite Christians want to do unto lgbts?

It is far past time to start truly persecuting you disgusting ChristoFascist Talibans like you all persecute lgbts, atheists, secular humanists and others. Your own fucking buybull says? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And as you sow? So shall you reap.

So ChristoFascist GOPig Talibans like yourself? Should have all your fucking rights taken from you. All your First Amendment rights, to free speech should be taken from you as you wish to take the First Amendment rights of free speech from lgbts and secular humanists.

Matter of fact? Seeing you are such a hypocrite ChristoFascist Taliban punk bitch? Each and every one of you disgusting troglodtye Christians should be rounded up and put into concentration camps, like Charles Worley demanded be done to lgbts. Or as Steven Anderson demanded a US death penalty for lgbts? All ChristoFascist Talibans like you, Worley, Anderson, et al? Should be rounded up and put into concentration camps and then executed. For as you bitch assed ChristoFascist Taliban punks sow? So shall you reap and as you do unto others? The exact same should be done unto you punks.

KristoTaliban Pastor Robert Jeffress: We Allowed Atheists and Infidels to “Pervert Our Constitution”

KristoTaliban Pastor Robert Jeffress: We Allowed Atheists and Infidels to “Pervert Our Constitution”
By Beth Stoneburner

Not only is America a Christian country, but the Constitution has been perverted by infidels and atheists, according to MAGA cultist and Trump sycophant Pastor Robert Jeffress.

He made the comments on his “Pathway to Victory” broadcast during a series of episodes earlier this month promoting the Christian Nation myth. In the excerpt below, he was complaining about Supreme Court decisions that removed mandatory Bible readings from public schools.

And here’s the question: What has changed? What has changed? In these 150 years​, has the Constitution changed and nobody told us? Is that what happened? Of course not. What has happened is we have allowed the secularists, the humanists, the atheists, the infidels, to pervert our Constitution into something our Founding Fathers never intended. And it is time for Americans to stand up and say ‘Enough! We’re not going to allow this in our Christian country anymore.’ It is time to put an end to this.

It’s been said before, but conservative Christians like Jeffress always mistake religious equality for persecution because they’re so used to receiving special treatment.

It’s time to once again reiterate that the Bible says far more about welcoming the immigrant and serving the poor and marginalized than anything about abortion or LGBTQ issues — which Jeffress also brought up elsewhere in his episodes. (Interestingly enough, helping the poor would also result in fewer abortions, a fact Jeffress never seems to care about.)

Pretending we live in a Christian Nation doesn’t make it true. Lying about the past won’t change reality either. The fact remains if our government treated atheism or Islam the way we’ve historically treated Christianity, Jeffress would never stop whining about it.