They were shivering and were all colours of the rainbow as they stood there waiting to be cleaned

Dec 17th, 2006 | By 

Category: Notes and Comment Blog

[OB] You may remember that last month I did a brief comment on Goldenbridge, which I knew little about until I saw some comments Marie-Therese O’Loughlin had recently left on a comment from 2005 on industrial schoolsin Ireland. I asked Marie-Therese to tell me more, and she has; we’re working on an article which will be on B&W soon. Yesterday I asked Marie-Therese for a little basic detail about daily life – and she sent some. I don’t feel like waiting to publish it.

Warning: the following contains material which some readers may find disturbing. I know I do. Marie-Therese finds it very disturbing to recall it.

Morning at Goldenbridge

The children got up at six o’clock each morning. A staff member who grew up in the institution stormed into the dormitories and switched on the lights and roared ‘Get out of those beds immediately!’ If a child hesitated at all the bed covers were flung across the floor, if a child became even more stubborn, as often happened, the mattress with the child was toppled over onto the floor. We then had to make our beds to hospital standards.

Goldenbridge housed on average two hundred children, which included infants and babies; a good percentage of them were infants, babies and toddlers. I remember clearly, at 6:30 in the mornings, when I was eleven years old or thereabouts having to go to St Joseph’s babies/infants dormitory. I had to dress the toddlers. It was normal for some of them to have slept in their own excrement. When I took them from their destroyed beds, I found it so upsetting as they were always covered from head to toe in excrement. They were shivering and were all colours of the rainbow as they stood there waiting to be cleaned. I had to use the clean corners of the destroyed sheets. The only place to get water was from a very small toilet bowl. I dipped the sheet in the bowl and then cleaned the children. The whole dormitory which was a dark dank cold place stank to high heaven. The head honcho of the Sisters of Mercy at this time of morning was up in the convent saying her prayers. The sheets were placed in a soiled open sheet, and with the help of another child we carried them down to the school laundry. There were other sheets there from the Sacred Heart dormitory.

Children like myself who had no family visitors, or big girls who wet the bed, were given the grotesque taks of handwashing the sheets in cold water in the laundry.

This story, like that of the rosary beads, can be properly told only by those who were hidden in Goldenbridge, the ones who were imprisoned behind the doors, who were the lowest on the rungs of the institutional Goldenbridge ladder. Bernadette Fahy, author of Freedom of Angels, or Christine Buckley who appeared in the documentary ‘Dear Daughter,’ would not have been doing this despicable job, as they were both allowed to go to outside school.


  • #1

    Aerik Knapp-Loomis

    So, what, were the nuns and workers who ran the place too high and mighty just too busy in the middle of the night to tend to infants and toddlers whose cries obviously confer mainly pain, hunger, and soiling? What kind of monster would let an entire room full of infants sleep in a bed of their own excrement and have the nerve to call themselves a “sister of mercy?”

    Oh, right. A religious person.

    What the fuck, nuns and clergymen, what the fuck. What the fuck.

  • #2

    Blackmailing, cruel, torturing bullies.

    What did you expect from religious believers, then?

    Peace and love?

    Grow up.

  • #3

    Was it here I saw the link to the “chastening instrument” (information overload)? It isn’t only that religion can get “good” people to do “bad” things; it can also act as a cover under which “bad” people do what they like doing most.

  • #4

    I see that Channel 4 here in the UK has Ron Liddle on tonight telling us all what’s wrong with atheism – apparently it means we can’t be moral. Unlike the Christians running Goldenbridge, presumably.

  • #5

    Chris. Rod Liddle is an irksome twit sometimes. He knows it, and is clever enough to make it work for him. (Oh I’m such a cynic, must be my lack of moral compass.)

    GT – get off the fence man !

  • #6

    Apparently he’ll be interviewing Dawkins, among others, with the ‘you’re just another kind of fundie’ line.

  • #7

    ‘What kind of monster would let an entire room full of infants sleep in a bed of their own excrement and have the nerve to call themselves a “sister of mercy?”‘

    Not to mention making an eleven year old child wake them and do her best to clean them up; not to mention making her do it with the corners of sheets and water out of a toilet and nothing else. Not to mention compelling all the children to make rosary beads by hand for the princely sum of 2/6 per annum.

    Marie-Therese has sent me some pictures of finished rosary beads so that I can see the complicated wire work involved. Small children were doing this – cutting their hands to shreds in the process.

    Ireland, Ireland, Ireland. What were you thinking.

    Joyce wasn’t kidding when he wrote that Ireland was a sow that eats her own farrow.

  • #8

    OB – Did I ever tell you that a couple of years ago Cheryl’s father was awarded £70,000 by the Irish Government because of the cruelty he experienced in the 1950s in a Jesuit school (in Ireland)?

  • #9

    Mind you that didn’t stop her father sending her to a Catholic school here in the UK where she spent a large part of her teenage years in a state of moral terror because she was unable to “purify” her thoughts to extent that was supposedly required by God…

  • #10

    Jerry – No, you didn’t. Jeez.

    I’m really starting to wonder why this subject doesn’t get more attention. It’s not as if there’s no interest in dear old Ireland in the US as well as the UK.

    You did tell me about the terrifying teenage years though.


  • #11

    Aerik Knapp-Loomis

    I’ll learn to grow up as soon as you learn to fucking read literately, G. Tingey. I think my “Oh, right. A religious person.” line pretty much conferred that I actually expect cruel and torturous behavior from religious believers.

  • #12

    Ya; I would have deleted that comment of GT’s except Nick had answered it. GT – I’ve told you before – stop telling us to grow up. Apart from anything else, you’ve said it in identical words fifty times now; we get it; we don’t need to hear it again. And we don’t want to. Knock it off.

  • #13

    Just watched The Magdalen Sisters, having recorded it from telly some weeks ago. This sums up my feelings when I saw that – fiction, yes, but presumably based on fact. Hyperbole? Who knows? No smoke without fire? So we’re led to believe. Certainly got my blood boiling, anyway. Never felt the urge to strangle Geraldine McEwen before!

  • #14

    I’m sure that most of the horror stories related by the victims of the Irish Catholic education system are true — at least judging from what I have been told directly by some of the victims themselves.

    But I wonder if Marie-Therese O’Loughlin isn’t putting on the agony a little — AFAIK she is seeking damages, and so there may be a temptation for her to exaggerate her own sufferings. She can hardly be considered to be an impartial observer. Some of the stories she tells are almost beyond belief (which dosn’t mean they aren’t true, of course).

    How reliable or credible is she as a witness? What’s her post-school history? And what have the accused to say for themselves? Were there mitigating circumstances (such as one nun being obliged to care for 30 infants on her own, etc.)?

    Just wondering. Even the Sisters of Mercy deserve their day in court.

  • #15

    >And what have the accused to say for themselves? Were there mitigating circumstances (such as one nun being obliged to care for 30 infants on her own, etc.)?

    >Just wondering. Even the Sisters of Mercy deserve their day in court.<

    I agree with Cathal that while there’s no doubt that appalling things happened, that doesn’t mean every accusation has a basis in fact. I’m thinking particularly of people who might be tempted to jump on the compensation bandwagon. While the situations may be rather different, a sobering example is the way that highly publicised stories led to the general acceptance in the press that North Wales Care Homes two or three decades ago were hotbeds of sexual abuse. See Richard Webster on this subject, on which he has done a huge amount of research:

    See also information about Richard Webster’s book detailing his research on the North Wales Care Homes sexual abuse allegations, *The Secret of Bryn Estyn: The Making of a Modern Witch Hunt*, at

  • #16

    Sure. It’s Marie-Therese’s account, it has her name on it.

    Still. It seems to be undisputed that the children did make rosaries; the dispute seems to be more about whether or not that was a problem than whether or not it happened. For instance there is disagreement over whether it was ‘training’ or just plain child labour. Granted one could exaggerate the conditions of the labour to make the latter case, but there seems to be little dispute that the work went on and children did it.

  • #17

    Cathal, you are quite entitled to your own views, admittedly, when you use words like ‘beyond belief’ it satisfies me enough because that is exactly what I want to see people post irrespective, of your meaning to same!

    “Wettings was defined as a crime and therefore punishable through physical beatings” This statement was made by Sister Fabian RIP some years ago. Sister Mary Fabian worked in Goldenbridge for nigh on forty years. An internal Report was sought by the Sisters of Mercy in the latter part of the 1990s because of claims of abuse {in Goldenbridge} that seeped into the Irish public domain. Sister Fabian’s few words spell out somewhat do you not think somewhat of what life was like behind the imprisoned walls in GOLDENBRIDGE Industrial school.

    Slan agus beannacht

    Marie-Therese O’Loughlin.

  • #18

    Also there’s this question, Cathal…

    “Were there mitigating circumstances (such as one nun being obliged to care for 30 infants on her own, etc.)?”

    But Goldenbridge itself wasn’t obliged to care for many of those infants (and children) at all, except according to its own view of ‘obligation’. Many of the children weren’t there because their mothers voluntarily gave them up (much less because their mothers or both parents were dead); they were taken from their mothers because their mothers weren’t married. The children were seized and imprisoned for their mothers’ non-crime. The problem isn’t necessarily particular nuns, but it is a systemic one, and there’s a lot of testimony about that that’s independent of Marie-Therese’s. Given that we know horrors took place, I think it’s well worth while to have some personal testimony on the subject.

    I’ll be posting the article soon.

  • #19

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

    Re: Cheryl’s father – I am surprised to read that the Irish Government took responsibility for abuse that occurred in a Jesuit-run school! I have always assumed that Jesuit type institutions would have been totally autonomous -from the government, given their fee-paying privileged status!

    The reasononing behind thinking follows on:

    A Corkonian woman, recently took the Dept of Education/Science to the High Court in Dublin for sexual abuse that occurred in the sixties/seventies in the Day School she attended in Dunmanway Co Cork. The respective department was found not guilty.

    Apparently so, if she had taken the Board of School Management court route she would have been successful.

    If Cheryl’s father had attended the notorious Christian Brothers, well say no more, it would be a different kettle of fish altogether.

    Is there the possibility that perhaps the father may have been dealt with through the Residential Redress Board, as that would put things into proper perspective with regards him having received payment of 700,000 Euro/Sterling?


    Marie-Therese O’Loughlin

  • #20

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

    OOPS!last posting should have read ’70,000,’ also ‘reasoning’

    Slan again! Wishful thinking indeed!

  • #21

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

    Re: “AFAIK – as far as I know she is seeking damages, so there may be a temptation to exaggerate her own suffering.”

    Yes, Cathal, AFAYK I may be “a fake” -is what you are subconsciously thinking. Well let me tell you this –

    I am a genuine article!

    I have nothing to hide or exaggerate!

    Anything that I have sincerely posted to date on butterfliesandwheels is not going to enhance my “damage claims.”

    The Residential Institutions’ Redress Board, that was set up in 2002 by the Irish government, after an apology was given by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, {PM, English equivalent} to Survivors/Victims of institutional abuse does not take on board anything that goes into the media.

    I have no hidden agenda,

    I was incarcerated in an institution from the age of almost four and a half.

    I can only personally tell how awful life was for me, and other babies/infants/toddlers… the operative words – being babies/infants/toddlers!

    I have, though, through the medium of B&WS tried to accurately give excerpts of what life was like for me in Goldenbridge Industrial School.

    The truth is all I tell.

    You are entitled to your opinions.

    I respect whatever “your thinking” – is, but yours is based on “hypothesis” – as is the case with Richard Webster. The latter can intellectualise till the cows come home about “his theories” but it wont change the fact that “my thinking” is based on having lived the virtual “reality”.

    FAIK, neither of ye have more than likely ever stepped inside an Irish industrial school!

    Peter Tyrell, who burned himself on Hampstead Heath London in the eighties tried to tell about the atrocities that systematically occurred in his institution, that being, “Letterfrack,” Ireland.

    Nobody in the wide earthly world wanted to know about his horrendous experiences. He was albeit just another ex institutional school nonentity that took the boat and failed moiserably.

    ALAS, all was not in vain, as

    a book was recently published regarding Peter Tyrrell’s gruesome/harrowing times that were spent in the godforsaken hellhole.

    It was launched in Nov,{2006} by Mary Raftery, {Irish Times Journalist and co-author {Eoin O’Sullivan} of “Suffer the little Children,” – a history of the industrial schools}in the Irish National Library.

    I would thoroughly recommend it, despite not having read it due to its miserable contents.

    Afterall it would not do to spend too much time in “the garden of agony,” -agonising about the dreadful existence that was so long ago, had, along with I might add,those of innumerable other babies/infants/toddlers in GOLDENBRIDGE GULAG would it Cathal!

    That is a place specifically for the genuine sufferers, like Jesus/Followers and not for those who take flights of fantasy. Am I intimating, or am I intimating, something here?

    But then again a closed/rigid/fixed mind is hard to open.

    Slan agus beannacht,

    Marie-Therese O’Loughlin

  • #22

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

    With all this agonising GOLDENBRIDGE distraction, I quite miserably so forgot to post title of Peter Tyrrrel’s book……….No it’s not called “Misery,” but it does have similarity to such as it is…….

    “Founded on Fear”

    Incidentally, Peter Tyrrell set himself alight because he could not cope with his demons.

    Peter entered Letterfrack Industrial School when he was eight years old.

    Elements of his personality had already been informed because of having lived in the outside world.

    He was thus, in my estimation, consequently so significantly able to differentiate between his home/institutional environment.


    Marie-Therese O’Loughlin.


    {miserable – Tyrrell corrections in last posting}

  • #23

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

    Re: “How reliable or credible is she as a witness and what is her post school history”?

    Cathal, I can quite categorically tell you via B&Ws that I am not psychotic, per say, although I can honestly say that I have moments/days when I may mimic such type behaviour.

    I also do not suffer with a combination of hallucinations, delusions, or – cognitively, i.e. {disorganised thoughts or any other ailments attached to schizophrenia}.

    I have verification of this from a top Irish Consultant, who is now incidentally, on the panel of experts on the Residential Institutions Redress Board.

    Gott Sei Dank, and ‘there for the grace of God go I’! as it is a debilitating hereditiary disease.

    I am not genetically predispositioned from any maternal perspective.

    I do not have a ‘post-school history’,

    as there was never a pre-school history to even begin with so that cancels that one out.

    Mind you, though Cathal, I do have a huge negative post-industrial school history – and by God, you can be rest assured that the murky tales causation factor stems from an even murkier source = pre-industrial school.

    How reliable or indeed, incredible I am as a witness is now in the hands of the Commission to inquire into Child Abuse to decide. It will make ‘its’ judgment as to my reliability/incredibility

    status, as I appeared before same in May 2006 to give evidence of my incarceration in Goldenbridge Gulag. So have no fear on that score.

    Slan agus beannacht.

    Marie-Therese O’Loughlin.

  • #24

    Apologies for not replying sooner, but I’ve been en route for three days and have just opened N&C after returning home

    More coming …

  • #25


    I’m currently trying to glean more information on the Goldenbridge scandal from the Internet.

    I have just come across this article published in ‘The Sunday Times’ (Ireland) on 28 April 2006. It concerns allegations of abuse made by another resident of the institution, Christine Buckley. One of the doctors who treated such cases seems to be claiming that Christine more or less ‘made it up as she went along’.

    What is your opinion?

  • #26

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

    “Breaking News” Announcement on a related matter.

    The Residential Institutions Redress Board has said that it is with profound regret that the Board announces the death today Friday 22nd December 2006 of its Chairman, the honourable Mr. Justice Sean O’ Leary.

    The Board wishes to extend its deepest sympathy to Judge O’ leary’s wife, Mary and to his Family.

    May he rest in peace Amen!

    From: Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

  • #27

    Marie-Therese writes:

    >I respect whatever “your thinking” – is, but yours is based on “hypothesis” – as is the case with Richard Webster. The latter can intellectualise till the cows come home about “his theories” but it wont change the fact that “my thinking” is based on having lived the virtual “reality”.<

    As the person who introduced the name of Richard Webster, I should clarify what I wrote. I’m sorry, Marie-Therese, if it appeared that I was questioning the accuracy of your accounts. That was *not* my intention, not least because I have been too busy on other things and have not followed Ophelia’s reporting of them. I emphasised that “I’m thinking particularly of people who might be tempted to jump on the compensation bandwagon”, adding: “While the situations may be rather different, a sobering example is the way that highly publicised stories led to the general acceptance in the press that North Wales Care Homes two or three decades ago were hotbeds of sexual abuse.”

    What I had in mind was not *your* account of your experience, but the possibility (that I believe has undoubtedly happened in relation to sexual abuse allegations) that “people might be tempted to jump on the bandwagon” [i.e., *other* people] to obtain compensation.

    Just to clarify the position of Richard Webster, of whom Marie-Therese writes:

    >The latter can intellectualise till the cows come home about “his theories” but it wont change the fact that “my thinking” is based on having lived the virtual “reality”.<

    Webster was not, of course, writing about anything related to the Irish situation reported by Marie-Therese, and nor was he intellectualising. In his massive research project on the North Wales Children’s Homes “scandal” he has examined an immense amount of documentation and interviewed a large number of people. He has provided strong evidence that, while there is no doubt that there were some cases which were absolutely genuine, a considerable number of miscarriages of justice have occurred. He also highlighted some cases where the ‘evidence’ provided by supposed victims – of alleged events a couple of decades earlier – were so full of contradictions that the cases were thrown out. The point here is that some ex-residents of the Homes (many of whom were there because of criminal behaviour) had been attracted by the offers of compensation to level unfounded charges against some careworkers, sometimes against people who had ceased to work at the Home at the time the assault was alleged to have taken place! What Webster does is to show that other careworkers had not been so lucky that the allegations against them contained such obvious contradictions, and were jailed on the word of people whose claims were more than a little dubious in an atmosphere which made it difficult for justice to be done.

  • #28

    Correction: I should have written “North Wales Care Homes”, not “North Wales Children’s Homes”.

  • #29

    I see that the text of the article I referred to in my last posting (“MEDICAL VIEW ‘INCONSISTENT’ WITH GOLDENBRIDGE ABUSE”) has been removed. Perhaps it was too long.

    Anybody who wishes to read it will find it here.

    Please note that the report was writted in 1996 — and not in 2006, as I erroneously stated.

  • #30

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

    >”I have just come across this article published in ‘The Sunday Times’ (Ireland) on 28 April 2006.

    It concerns allegations of abuse made by another resident of the institution, Christine Buckley.

    One of the doctors who treated such cases seems to be claiming that Christine more or less ‘made it up as she went along’”.

    >”What is your opinion”?

    From talking to Christine Buckley {on the same day that she went to the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse to give “her” Goldenbridge evidence} during May 2006, I gathered that the Surgeon, for the Respondents, could not prove that it “did not occur”!.

    Goldenbridge inmates; were called by the Investigation Committee; one after the other; to give evidence to the Commission. A bit of reassuring bantering inexorably took place; just in case one might think that, we were all conspiring with each other to tell the equivalent story against the Goldenbridge Management.

    By all accounts, the piece of information that the top Surgeon was ostensibly laying claim to that -Christine was more or less ‘making it up as she went along” did not wash too well with the plaintiff’s legal eagles.

    I was too young at the time so can only give an estimation.

    Given the background/climate I can guarantee you Cathal; nothing that Christine Buckley has claimed surprises me in the least.

    Christine also told me that in the mid eighties she wrote a forty eight-page letter to Sister X outlining the abuse that steadily happened to her. She perceptibly got no rely to same – but she unmistakably heard through a third party, some time later that Sr X maintained that there was a basis to the half of it.

    We lined up in Saint Patrick’s during the mornings, {before so called school} waiting to be flogged by Sister X. She always insisted that I put badly burned right hand out, when the left hand was offered, she would effectively do a jig and accordingly lashed into me further – on the bad hand. So you have it!

    I am telling this to draw an analogy with Christine’s claims, and to give insight into the mindset of the frenzied sick vindictive merciless overworked sister.

    Nollaig Shona duit.

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

  • #31

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

    Tanaiste, Irish Minister for Justice,


    Mr. Michael McDowell must be seriously challenged to erase records of victims/survivors of institutional abuse whom the Irish state still labels as criminals.

    Children sent into Ireland’s Industrial School’s between 1922 – 1973 were taken under the 1908 & 1922 Children Act.

    These Acts allowed the state to ALLEGE IMPROPER GUARDIANSHIP & grant gardai power to seize children, for instance from failing marriages, unmarried mothers, etc.

    Children were then prosecuted through the courts……… No “solicitors” were personally made available to the respective children, what a chilling scenario indeed!

    The latter were subsequently incarcerated into religious-run institutions.

    The Judiciary of the past ought to have been absolutely ashamed of itself.

    It now behoves the newly created Tanaiste {PD King of Irish Politics & Justice} to right the wrong that was visited upon thousands of innocent victims/survivors of institutional abuse.

    The operative word being:

    Expunge! Expunge! Expunge!

    “Fortuna Favet Fortibus”.

    The terminology > Residents < absolutely irritates me so much. Children were “imprisoned”.

    This fact has many times been brought to the attention of the powers-that-be.

    The media, also, has not got a clue.

    I was asked, when an article was in the process of being published if it was okay be me, if Goldenbridge Industrial School was referred to as a “care home”.

    This was to make it easier for the readership, whom the media had ascertained would not have any inkling as to what an industrial school was.

    I flinched and curdled at the mere thought of it and automatically said, “yes, I mind greatly to your watered down version, and take umbrage to your belittling image of what was considered to be a mini concentration camp to the inmates who were incarcerated there”.

    Talk about ignorance being bliss.

    The journalist, albeit went ahead and used her interpretation.

    Nollaig Shona Duit.

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

  • #32

    Oh, gawd. It’s all too believable.

    Cathal, yes, I deleted the text – copyright. It’s better just to link.

  • #33


    Thank you very much for your replies – it is very kind of you to go to so much trouble.

    Like Allen, I am not making any allegations against you. But still I can’t help feeling that some of the victims ‘protest too much’.

    Here’s an example. I presume you are familiar with Kathy O’Beirne’s ghost-written best-seller entitled ‘Don’t Ever Tell: Kathy’s Story – A True Tale of a Childhood Destroyed by Neglect and Fear’ which was published in 2005 and sold over 300 000 copies in the UK (summary: over 13 years at Magdalen laundries, raped at 13 by two priests, baby born at 14, baby died, baby buried in mass grave …)

    The snag is that, far from being a ‘true tale’, Kathy’s story may well have been a figment of her own imagination. At any rate her allegations have not gone unchallenged.

    Extract from a press report on what her own family have to say on Kathy’s ‘true tale’:

    At a press conference in Dublin yesterday [19 September 2006 — CC] five of Kathy O’Beirne’s siblings produced a detailed account of where she was in the years she claimed to be in a Magdalen laundry. A statement signed by Oliver, Eamonn, Mary, Margaret, John, Tommy and Brian O’Beirne said “our sister was not in a Magdalen laundry or Magdalen home”. […] They denied their sister was pregnant at 13 or gave birth at 14. “Our sister, to our knowledge, was not raped by two priests, and did not receive an out-of-court settlement for the same,” they said. They rejected her “horrific allegations of child abuse against our father, a religious congregation, and a psychiatric hospital”

    You will find the press report in full here

    Do you think Kathy is ‘the full shilling’? She sounds like a certified fruitcake to me. At any rate it would be a pity if genuine victims of abuse (and there are enough of them) were to be outshadowed by attention-seeking psychotics and ‘free-riders’ who are just in it for the money. I’m looking forward to what you have to say on the subject.

    Nollaig shona duit,


  • #34

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

    >”The snag is that, far from being a ‘true tale’, Kathy’s story may well have been a figment of her own imagination. At any rate her allegations have not gone unchallenged”


    I encountered Kathy O’Beirne some months ago in Dublin, we got into a deep tête-à-tête about an assortment of institutional child abuse issues and her imminent holiday to Geneva Switzerland.

    Kathy, also, during the course of it asked if was I aware of the hullabaloo vis-à-vis her book, I said; “who, {in Ireland} wasn’t!”

    I went on to tell her that I had not read it as a book of that nature would be too upsetting.

    To date, for the identical reason I have still not entertained either of her two books.

    “The snag is that, far from being a ‘true tale’, Kathy’s story may well have been a figment of her own imagination.”

    I have great empathy for Kathy irrespective of whether her anecdote’s are true or not. In fact, I do not care one iota if her two books were misrepresentations.

    So what if it is a figment of her imagination.

    You might, indeed, wonder from whence I am coming in saying this, or as the fella says, am I too not “the full shilling”.

    Well,it goes like this……………..

    The Irish Media, over the last year or so has repetitively said that Kathy’s outlandish assertions would bring genuine victims/survivors cause into ill repute.

    What a whole load of claptrap indeed!

    It follows on – a little of “why!”

    “At any rate her allegations have not gone unchallenged”.

    Yes, I concur with that indeed.

    She has been hounded morning noon and night, and what I do not seem to appreciate is that the very people who are attacking Kathy about the validity of her two books are also the same people who claim that she is mentally a sick woman.

    I find that unfathomable.

    Victims/survivors in broad-spectrum, find the double standards of these people who purport to be defensive of the religious/victims/survivors abominable and for these reasons alone do not condemn Kathy.

    She is also classed as a victim by virtue of the terrible life that she undoubtedly had “there is no smoke without fire”

    Whatever our own personal thinking on the subject is it does not come into the equation as victims/survivors will not kick a dog when it is down – This is the superseding dynamic here.

    We have too much familiarity of being the underdog and would not wish it upon our worst enemies.

    The witch hunters, once too often, have tousled, at us and still continue to do so; when they have completed mauling a very observably psychologically, distressed, hard-done-by in the past individual. We simply and purely identify with her,

    No court yet has verified Kathy’s books fictitious, the witch- hunters as it were have in consequence created their own Kangaroo court.

    I was so exasperated with the contemptible treatment Kathy was getting that I warned two of her detractors that they would personally be held accountable if her apparent psychological health worsened any further.

    One of the anti Kathy’s book campaigner’s is in the caring profession and should know better than to torment a poor unfortunate woman with a mental history, it is reprehensible without a doubt.

    They in essence tried the same caper with us but we have worn them out, for the time being anyway.

    When one carries the courage of their convictions it is hard to wear one down.

    The road has been travelled too much for us to bow to their caper/whims.

    Educated people, how are ye – I ask! They are trying to save from harm, the religious from the likes of Kathy O’ Beirne?. Lord preserve Kathy from all harm is all I can say!

    The religious are well able to defend themselves against the Kathy’s of this world.

    They have assets galore, which they have accumulated from various charitable/child labour/Magdalen laundry sources throughout the years to employ the best legal eagles, that is for sure.

    They certainly do not need rescuing from rail-lickers or hypocritical craw thumpers.

    Besides, I was of the impression that no religious institute/congregation as such was particularly mention in the books!

    Considering too the fact that the male/female Institutes/Congregations

    only paid E128 Million into the Residential Institutions Redress Board kitty I am sure that they could justifiably so absorb another ‘so called’ demented Kitty!

    Look to the Ghost writer, in my estimation, he should be the main protagonist in this whole Kathy debacle.

    More is the pity that “novel” title was not applied to books in question, it would have saved Kathy all this unwanted grief.

    Nollaig Shona Duit.

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

  • #35

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

    >The Irish Media, over the last year or so has repetitively said that Kathy’s outlandish assertions would bring genuine victims/survivors cause into ill repute.

    What a whole load of claptrap indeed!

    It follows on – a little of “why!”

    The apology below from the Irish Taoiseach, {Prime Minister equivalent} should be self explanatory. It would take more than two books written by a ghost writer to knock us down.

    We have the full backing of the Irish Government. So tough luck to the begrudgers. Ireland is infamous for its begrudgery.

    Taoiseachs Apology May 1999

    September 29, 2004

    Ministers, Deputies, Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished guests:

    How children are treated is one of the key elements, which defines any society. Over recent years, more and more attention has been paid to the many failures of our society in the treatment of children. Unfortunately, this has been a piecemeal approach driven by the bravery of individual victims determined to tell their stories and seek justice. A light has been shone into the dark corners of both our past and present, and these victims have performed an immense service in challenging our collective complacency. They have shown us that we cannot put the past behind us by ignoring it. We must confront it and learn its lessons. That is the least we can do to address the injustices of the past and the dangers of the present.

    The time has long since arrived when we must take up the challenge put to us all by the victims of childhood abuse.

    The starting point for this is simple, but fundamental. We must start by apologising.

    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.

    The short preface to the 1970 Report on Industrial Schools put it very simply: “All children need love, care and security”. Too many of our children were denied this love, care and security. Abuse ruined their childhoods and has been an ever present part of their adult lives, reminding them of a time when they were helpless. I want to say to them that we believe that they were gravely wronged, and that we must do all we can now to overcome the lasting effects of their ordeals.

    A new, comprehensive approach is required to deal with the effects of previous abuse, to detect the children caught in frightful isolation, and to put proper structures in place.

    In March 1998 the Government first discussed the need for a formal response to the needs of victims of childhood abuse. Following ongoing discussions, a sub-committee of the Cabinet was established last December, with the remit of reporting with comprehensive proposals to address this issue. Chaired by the Minister for Education and Science, Micheál Martin, T.D., the sub-committee includes the Tánaiste, and has eight members in total. They have considered best international practice and a range of different aspects to past and present instances of abuse, including how abuse cases should be handled in the future.

    In all of its work the sub-committee sought to bring forward a comprehensive package, appropriate to the concerns of victims. The sub-committee’s recommendations were endorsed at today’s Cabinet meeting.

    Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse

    Counselling Service

    Statute of Limitations

    Mandatory Reporting

    Register of Sex Offenders

    Other Measures

    Commission to Inquire into Childhood Abuse

    Back to Top

    One of the responses to childhood abuse, which older victims have sought, is a forum, where they can tell their story. This would give them assurance that the wrongs, which have been done to them, are recognised publicly in a responsible manner, and that lessons are properly learned.

    The Government considers that the interests of justice and the common good require the provision of such a forum, and to that end it has decided to establish a Commission to Inquire into Childhood Abuse. The Commission’s terms of reference have deliberately been drawn quite broadly, and have a number of different elements.

    The primary focus of the Commission will be to provide victims with an opportunity to tell of the abuse they suffered, in a sympathetic and experienced forum. In addition the Commission will establish as complete a picture as possible of the causes, nature and extent of physical and sexual abuse of children in institutions and other places. It will make such recommendations as it sees fit.

    The Commission will consist of three persons, who will be appointed during the coming week.

    In the first instance the Commission will be established on a non-statutory basis, with the broad terms of reference I have mentioned. Its initial task will be to decide on matters such as precisely how it will operate, whether its terms of reference need to be altered, and what powers and protections it requires to carry out its work.

    It will be asked to make recommendations on these matters within three months. The Government will then seek to enact any necessary legislation without delay. This approach is one, which we believe is best suited to ensure that the Commission meets the needs of victims, and achieves its objectives in an efficient and effective way.

    The Government’s approach to the Commission is that it will be able to carry out its work in an independent manner, without fear or favour. We hope that it will be a forum that will inspire the confidence of victims, whose co-operation is essential to its success.

    Nollaig Shona Duit.

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

  • #36

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

    >Do you think Kathy is ‘the full shilling’? She sounds like a certified fruitcake to me.”<


    Remember this, when you point the finger at someone – there is always three more pointing back!

    >At any rate it would be a pity if genuine victims of abuse (and there are enough of them) were to be outshadowed by attention-seeking psychotics and ‘free-riders’ who are just in it for the money.<

    There is no fear of institutional abuse victims/survivors being overshadowed by the Kathys of this world, The taoiseach’s apology has given us the all the recognition we need.

    How do you know that she is psychotic, when you have never encounterd her?

    Does all the hysteria surrounding the controversy that is coming from without easily inform your conscience?

    I was given to believe that monies that will accrue from sale of books will be going to charities. However true this is – I do not know.

    It is also neither here nor there when one measures it against the E45 million that the now demised ex Taoiseach Charlie Haughey was supposed to have owed to Ireland’s Tax Inland Revenue

    I heard that Kathy has been invited on to the Oprah Winfrey Show. Wow! would that not get up the noses of ‘the wannabe’ Irish Journalists who have constantly nailed her to the cross. I hope she is offered “a free ride” all the way to the United States of America in the process and points the finger up en-route to all her holier -than – thou pretenders to boot. I hope too that Oprah and her co workers will lavish her with all the attenttion that her heart desires.

    “I’m looking forward to what you have to say on the subject!”


    Nollaig Shona Duit,

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

  • #37

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

    >”She was in St Anne’s Children’s Home, Kilmacud, St Loman’s psychiatric hospital, Mountjoy prison, and Sherrard House for homeless people. Our parents placed her in St Anne’s for a brief period when she was 11 because of behavioural difficulties,” <

    Kathy did not end up in above institutions for no reason. There had to have been beforehand precipitating factors which caused the behavioural problems. Nonetheless, it is not for me to be judgmental.

    One of Kathy’s brothers has just in recent times stood up for her in relation to the suspected abuse at the hands of her father.

    Kathy in person told me that her family were trying to get her out of the family home in Clondalkin Dublin, the reason being that they wanted to sell the property. Kathy will not dislodge and it has according to the grapevine caused mammoth dissension within the O’ Beirne clan. A Dublin ex Corporation house in that particular environs would realise in the region of E300k.

    Nollaig shona duit.

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

  • #38

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

    >”E45 million that the now demised ex Taoiseach Charlie Haughey was supposed to have owed to Ireland’s Tax Inland Revenue”<

    Please note error above, the former Taoiseach took monies amounting to the equivalent of E45 million in todays terms

    However, it should have read as below.

    “The Moriarty Tribunal has found that the late Charles Haughey took payments of €11.56 million, the equivalent of up to €45 million in today’s money, between 1979 and 1996, and granted favours in return.”

    Nollaig shona duit.

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

  • #39

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

    Re: Goldenbridge Industrial School.

    It is only fair to give Sr. Xaveria’s view.

    A NUN accused of cruelty while in charge of orphanages in the 1950s and early 1960s has admitted punishing children, “at times too harshly”, but denied allegations of serious abuse of those in her care.

    Sister Mary Xaveria, became the focus of the latest damaging scandal for the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland when claims of ill-treatment were made by some who had lived in institutions run by her order, the Sisters of Mercy.

    Irish detectives are investigating allegations made in a television documentary that children were placed in a tumble-drier, scalded and, in one alleged instance, beaten hard enough to require hospital treatment.

    On Tuesday night Sister Xaveria broke her silence to tell the RTE programme Prime Time that her life had been wrecked by the claims.

    Many of those who spent time at the Goldenbridge orphanage in north Dublin had portrayed her as a harsh and pitiless woman. Sister Xaveria admitted forcing children to make rosary beads when they should have been playing.

    She also said: “I did slap, I am sorry to say, on the hands and the leg. I inherited a slapper. It was a half-inch thick and had rounded edges like a ruler. At times I was too harsh.”

    “Before my God and from my conscience, I have never put a child in a drier”

    Sister Xaveria denied scalding a child – “I would never have deliberately poured water on anybody” -and said no child was put in a tumble-drier while in her care.

    “Before my God and from my conscience, I have never put a child in a drier,” she said.

    She admitted that a child had been confined to a furnace room on one occasion for between 20 minutes and half an hour as a punishment, though not by her.

    “I would not approve of it, I did not do it. I’m sorry it happened at all.”

    Sister Xaveria, now living in retirement in a home run by her order, added: “I feel thoroughly sorry and I apologise to all the people out there I hurt in any way.”

    Christine Buckley,who alleged that she was the victim of severe beatings and ill-treatment by Sister Xaveria, said the programme did an injustice to those who had suffered.

    “It’s despicable that Sister Xaveria is now saying she is sorry. I wrote to her in 1984 listing abuses she inflicted on me and I never heard from her,” Mrs Buckley claimed.

    Carmel McDonnell, who was in Goldenbridge after Sister Xaveria left, said she was operating a helpline for victims and had received about 700 calls from people claiming they had been ill-treated.

    Others, however, defended Sister Xaveria. Jenny O’Brien, who lived at St Kyran’s orphanage in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow, said: “I cried on her behalf because she has to sit there and account for things she didn’t do…………”

    Mrs O’Brien is part of a group of former orphans supporting Sister Xaveria.

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

    Nollaig shona duit.

  • #40

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

    >Irish detectives are investigating allegations made in a television documentary that children were placed in a tumble-drier, scalded and, in one alleged instance, beaten hard enough to require hospital treatment.<

    In the same bathroom/industrial school {not orphanage}laundry {where I hand washed soiled sheets, as well as helped with the washing and drying of jumpers and socks, while a lay member of staff stood idly by with folded arms or, who may disappeared from the scene, because of the stench,}housed a gigantic tumble drier. Children oftentimes stood directly outside the laundry {which was situated at the end of the yard} where a hot air fan lay, {it linked up to the industrial tumble drier} to warm themselves, or dry stench, saturated clothing before going to so-called school.

    It was also common for children to be threatened with being put in the tumble drier by staff if they were perceived to be naughty. I know of some cases where they allege they were literally put into it.

    But as to whether the drier was actually turned on is another story which I cannot verify.

    I do not ever remember a sister of mercy ever threatening anyone with being put into the tumble drier.

    Sr. X kept a very ‘special’ long, thick, whitish, wooden/ash stick hidden behind the same one and only tumble drier. it was specificially used for what was considered very serious cases. Woe betide anyone who was the recipient of beatings from it as it was used for the mother/father of all floggings.

    Most children in fact would not have been aware of its existence, only those – in the know, so to speak were privy to this information.

    Nollaig shona duit.

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

  • #41

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

    >Sister Xaveria denied scalding a child – “I would never have deliberately poured water on anybody”

    The two sisters of mercy {who worked in Goldenbridge} “cells” were situated on the “notorious landing”

    I distinctly remember, {whilst awaiting floggings on the landing} one or other of the sisters coming up the nearby staircase {leading to the cells} with hot water kettles for washing purposes.

    I gather that it was during one of these moments that Christine Buckley acertains that she was scalded by Sr. X.

    In saying that {she] Sr. X would not have deliberately scalded a child I would also corroborate that.

    She may not have premeditated it, the whole alleged sordid incident was perhaps something that got out of hand.

    Nonetheless, I am merely speculating, and it is neither here nor there.

  • #42

    Thank you, Marie-Therese. This is all good to know.

    In a way, individual or personal guilt is neither here nor there (though I don’t suppose nuns in general would agree with that thought!). It’s clear enough just from what you say here, as well as from history, psychology, sociology about peer pressure, institutional pressure, custom, groupthink, and the like, how easy it is for people to accustom themselves to meting out harsh treatment. What matters is to expose the institutions and customs and to try to prevent their arising again.

    Actually I think your giving Sister X the benefit of the doubt is here or there (so to speak). I think it’s quite impressive.

  • #43

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

    I have often wondered – why, the child in the guise of Christine Buckley, who was allegedly so horrendously

    scalded, should, also, with the same token, be the same child, and only child to be educated to Leaving Standard in Goldenbridge since the 1800s.

    Could “guilt” have been a reason?

    But then again,

    ordinarily speaking, it was the ethos at the time to educate black/coloured children as the system was terrified that they would grow up and rebel.

    Ironically, and in the heel of the ‘Goldenbridge hunt’ that is precisely what occurred.

    The black widow normally sits on its own but in this case it was the reverse.

    Nollaig shona duit.

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

  • #44

    This is a truly appalling story, but it’s not surprising to see unwanted children being neglected and abused by people who oppose abortion.

    If early, safe abortions were more common and easily accessible, there would be fewer suffering, homeless children.

  • #45

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

    The Catholic church in Ireland has always been massively supported by the State and allowed a huge say in the running of the country.

    It has not changed very much even to this day.

    The following is a little bit of history.

    In 1951 Noel Browne, Minister for Health in the “inter-party” coalition government, introduced his “Mother and Child Scheme”. This was a proposal for free gynaecological care for pregnant women and a comprehensive health programme for children up to 16.

    Following their Autumn meeting in Maynooth the Catholic bishops sent a letter to the government.

    “The powers taken by the State in the proposed Mother and Child health service are in direct opposition to the rights of the family and of the individual and are liable to very great abuse. Their character is such that no assurance that they would be used in moderation could justify their enactment. If adopted they would constitute a ready-made instrument for totalitarian aggression”(!)

    Such was the power of the bishops (helped by other conservatives and with the strong support of many wealthy doctors fearing for their practices) that this tripe was sufficient to send Labour and Clann na Poblachta tripping over each other to catch up with Fine Gael in the “No” lobby. Noel Browne was forced to resign.

    Nollaig shona duit.

    Marie-Therese O’Loughlin.

  • #46

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

    >In 1861, abortion was made a criminal offence in Ireland. One hundred and forty three years later the Irish government continues to deny women their right to choice.<

    Between January 1980 and December 2002, over 105,000 Irish women terminated a pregnancy in the UK.

    These figures exclude Irish women that did not leave Irish addresses and those that are now travelling to mainland Europe because of the Euro and cheap flights from here to cities such as Brussels.

    Slan agus beannacht

    Marie-Therese O’Loughlin.

  • #47

    Wow. That letter from the bishops in 1951 is quite something. That whole bit of history is quite something.

  • #48

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

    Re: Doctor Noel Browne and the controversal “Mother and Child Scheme”.

    To his supporters he was a dynamic liberal who stood up to conservative and reactionary Catholicism.

    To his opponents he was an unstable, temperamental and difficult individual who was the author of most of his own misfortune.

    He was expelled from various parties.

    He was in my estimation simply misundestood, and hugely before his time.

    Children, {like myself} who were in feeder institutions such as the “Regina Coeli” {Queen of Heaven} Mother and Baby home lost out dreadfully because of the failure of the enactment of the Mother and Child bill that the good right thinking doctor had proposed.

    Our subsequent health/life care fate was sealed.

    We were doomed, also on a more serious level as we were inevitably sent to the industrial schools were it was considered that the good sisters would care for every aspect of our physical/health well being.

    Slan agus beannacht

    Marie-Therese O’Loughlin.

    “Clann na Poblachta” = Communist Party

  • #49

    So I see. I’ve been Googling, and I’ve just been reading Paddy Doyle’s ‘A History of Neglect’. I’m going to post the link to that in Flashback. Terrible, depressing stuff – to see all the chances there were to improve things, that were rejected.

  • #50

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

    Re: posting, last but one should have read, “controversial”

  • #51

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

    Yes, OB,

    I agree entirely,

    Paddy Doyle is an exceptionally courageous person

    He actually hails from the same neck of the woods as my predecessors.

    I read his autobiography “The God Squad” and as with others books that I have mentioned I would also thoroughly recommend it.

    Hw is well respected amongst victims/survivors of institutional abuse.

    As with Christine Buckley he too was institutionalised from a very young age.

    Both are – in essence, true connoisseurs of “the system”.

    Paddy is an absolute inspiration.

    Nollaig shona duit,

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

  • #52

    That’s good to know, Marie-Therese. He has a huge collection of newspaper articles on the subject on his site, too, which is tremendously useful.

    I’ll read his book.

    By the way, there are already two letters on the Letters page, responding to your article.

  • #53

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

    I recommend the following books to get a feel of what life was really like -way back then in Ireland.

    * = Institutional setting.

    Blain, Angeline Kearns, Stealing Sunlight: growing up in Irishtown. Dublin, A.& A. Farmar, 2000.

    * Doyle, Paddy. The God Squad. Dublin: Raven Arts Press, 1988.

    * Drennan, Mary Phil. You may Talk now. Cork: On Stream Publications, 1994.

    * Fahy, Bernadette. Freedom of Angels. Surviving Goldenbridge Orphanage. Dublin: The O’Brien Press, 1999.

    * Flynn, Mannix. Nothing to Say. Dublin: Ward River Press, 1983.

    * Galvin, P. Song for a Raggy Boy: a Cork childhood. Dublin: Raven Arts Press, 1991.

    *? MacGill, Patrick. Children of the Dead End. Dingle, Co. Kerry: Brandon, 1983.

    Matley, Mary. Always in the Convent Shadow. Dublin: Wolfhound Press, 1991.

    McCourt, Frank. Angela’s Ashes: A memoir of childhood. London: HarperCollins, 1996.

    * McGrath, Paul with Cathal Dervan. Ooh Aah Paul McGrath: the Black Pearl of Inchicore. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing Co., 1994.

    * Noble, Christine. Bridge across my sorrows: the Christine Noble story. London: John Murray, 1994.

    O’Connor, Frank. An only Child. London: MacMillan, 1961.

    Sheridan, Peter. 44: A Dublin memoir. London: MacMillan, 1999

    Mary Rafterys/Eoin O Sullivan’s book.

    “Suffer the Little Children” is the mother of all books if one wants to know, inclusively, about the Irish historical industrial school background.

    Mary Raftery, also, did a couple of years ago a very highly acclaimed award winning Irish documentary.

    “States of Fear”

    It shook this small Island of ours!

    Ireland was not ready for it!


    Christine Buckley’s, {Goldenbridge Industrial School} “Dear Daughter” Irish television documentary went out some time prior to that of States of Fear

    It too had a profound effect on the Irish psyche.

    Louis Lentin, the producer of same asked me if I would be interested in participating in a ‘follow up’ story.

    I declined the offer – due to the emotionality/traumatic effects of the whole unearthing of past memories which was presenting/flooding itself in the aftermath of Dear Daughter. I was devastated, as I had a whole lifetime hidden my past from everyone especially myself.

    I was constantly having nightmares after seeing in the documentary grown women – whom I had so long ago lived with virtually making rosary beads

    Also listening to Christine regaling about the awfulness of how life was in Goldenbridge just sent me into the abyss, a quagmire from which it was diffult to excape.

    Gosh, I am getting the shivers tapping away at this so will conclude.

    Nollaig shona duit.

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

  • #54

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

    R: last posting, – should have read “difficult”

  • #55

    Thank you for that list. (I have read Angela’s Ashes – but want to read the more directly relevant books now.)

    Take care of yourself! Take a break whenever you get the shivers.

  • #56

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

    Re: last posting but two should have read “unearthening”

    Thanks OB, I will.

    Rock me gently, by Judith Ward.

    Peter Tyrrells book, Founded on Fear is a simple one but from what I have heard it is powerful.

    The truth can be got across in all its simplicity.

    Bernadette Fahy’s book “Freedom of Angels” is one that I heavily identify with.

    She aptly describes the idiosyncracies of the staff/religious.

    Bernadette,told met hat

    her book was sensored quite dramatically,

    so it only gives a mild version of Goldenbridge events.

    She was not for example allowed to give names, also horrendous stories were not entertained at all.

    Slan go Foill.


    I should have stated in an earlier posting that SINCE THE 1800S Christine Buckley was the only person to be educated to Leaving standard up to 1963.

    For what it is worth there would not have been too many more that reached that standard since the demise of the institution in 1986.

    In the eyes of the religious we were never going anywhere.

    Christine Buckley was reminded by Sister X at the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse in July 2006, {not May, as I previously mentioned} that she was one of her “bright girls”

    All I could say to her was, “you see Christine, she does not think any differently about us today than she did then.” We were the scrapings of the barrel then and we still are in her eyes.

    Slan go foill!

  • #57

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

    Last posting should have read “censored”

  • #58

    “In the eyes of the religious we were never going anywhere.”

    That’s clear enough from the way they treated you. And such a terrible way to think. Not at all unusual, but terrible.

  • #59

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

    The Jesuit maxim, ‘Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man’,was variously attributed to Francis Xavier, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and others.

  • #60

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.


    The first caring creature to be seen after the hatchling leaves the egg can imprint “mother” on the young one’s memory. The “mother river” imprints its smell on the salmon fry, enabling the adult salmon to find the mother river after a journey of thousands of miles.

    Faith, religious or political, is largely a reflex, conditioned mainly by parents, teachers and handlers. But conditioning can be imperfect and reflexes can be de-conditioned: Out near Belmullet, another shaking Mayo bog,… echoed ragged hymns… No turf was cut as the people waited…. A shout went up, a roar as people pointed to the sun. Mother of God! it cart-wheeled, pulsing madly and out of the sun, the Virgin came. The boy’s left eye saw nothing but Thermos flasks, cracked cups, earnest faces searching the sky and the sun shining…. He had no faith.

    Thinkers often doubt the existence of the soul and the afterlife

    Unlike Lazarus, none of us have first-hand experience of the “country beyond the range of birds” but many of us hope and pray that it exists.

    Even saints, like Thomas and Peter, who knew the Master in the flesh, had crises of faith.

    Most of us, who did not meet Christ as they did, have had the same doubts:

    O give me faith/ that I may be/ alive when April’s/ ecstasy/ dances in every/ white-thorn tree

    For faith to have value, believers must wrestle constantly with unbelief.

    Patrick Kavanagh gets my vote every time. He was such an earthy man who had real contact with the Irish soil {psyche}.


  • #61

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

    Dear Daughter 1996


    “I wanted to find my Dad and say ‘see what I’m suffering because of the likes of you’.”

    The unwanted child from a relationship between a Nigerian medical student and a married Dublin woman,

    Christine Buckley was abandoned at three weeks and subsequently brought up in Goldenbridge Industrial School, Inchicore Dublin, Ireland where life for her and other children like her, was pure hell.

    Dear Daughter is the story of this coloured Irish woman’s persistent and ultimately successful search for her parents.

    Production Details


    CONTACT DETAILS: Crescendo Concepts

    Tel + 353 1 4974676

    Fax +353 1 4974799

  • #62

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

    Freedom of Angels

    Childhood in Goldenbridge {Orphanage}

    Industrial School

    ‘I entered Goldenbridge {orphanage} Industrial School in my Communion outfit. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing there.’

    At age seven, Bernadette Fahy was delivered with her three brothers to Goldenbridge gulag.

    She was to stay there until she was sixteen.

    Goldenbridge has come to represent some of the worst aspects of childrearing practices in Ireland of the 1950s and 1960s.

    Seen as the offspring of people who had strayed from social respectability and religious standards, these children were made to pay for the ‘sins’ of their parents.

    Bernadette tells of the pain, fear, hunger, hard labour and isolation experienced in the {orphanage}

    Can a person recover from such a childhood? How does the spirit ever take flight — and gain the ‘freedom of angels’?

    by Bernadette Fahy

    This is Bernadette Fahy’s concern.

    Now trained and working as a counsellor, she has had to dig deeply into her past to understand the patterns laid down by her upbringing.

    She has had to rebuild her life, and now she helps others to do the same.

    This book is a story of triumph over the harshest of circumstances.

    Slan agus beannacht.

  • #63

    MarieTherese O’ Loughlin.

    Dublin woman Ellen Kelly claimed that she was subjected to beatings with a large bunch of keys and a leather strap. She claimed that Sister Xaveria sometimes placed her in solitary confinement and deprived her of food and sustenance.

    She said that she was stripped of her clothes, had her hair shorn and was forced to wear rags. The nuns regularly told her that both she and her family were “bad,” according to

    Mrs Kelly. She claimed that she suffered three nervous breakdowns as a result of the alleged abuse, which occurred mainly between 1936 and 1947.

    Mrs Kelly claimed that she began to recall her past when she began counselling in 1997.

  • #64

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

    Athbhliain faoi Mhaise Duit,

    Thank you one and all for your contributions.

  • #65

    Thank you for yours, Marie-Therese.

  • #66

    Marie-Thertese O’ Loughlin.

    In a nutsheel – this is how the Irish Residential Institutions Redress Board operates on four options.

    1: Settlement.

    The solicitors tell the RIRB the points they have arrived at and awards are offered to the solicitors on behalf of his clients for acceptance/rejection.

    2: Hearings.

    Victims/survivors have to attend in person.

    3: Review.

    This is for the victims/survivors who have turned down the first two offers.

    4: High Court.

    This is only for the very rich! and when all else fails.

    Some victims/survivors are automatically

    called up for Hearings if the RIRB see, if fit. For example, if there are discrepancies/ inconsistencies etc.

    With the same token some victims/survivors can insist on going to hearings, whether they are ginen them is another story to be told.

    Regarding ones educational capabilities, and points being awarded because of the lack of it, The RIRB makes its judgments using the victims/survivors “lineage” yardstick.

    Hope this helps!


  • #67

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

    “Good, now, lets ask – are solicitors also supposed to “change the format of RIRB applications” lodged on their clients behalf?”

    So asks a victim/survivor of institutional abuse.

    He also said; “I met individuals who filled out their applications

    [excluding statements,} as they felt that part ought to be left down to their

    lawyers/barristers to address as part of the applications), and, when these people (subsequently) recieved copies of applications,(in some cases, up to 6 months later) they discovered that the copies they recieved, were ‘not’ the applications they had originally filled out!”

    It is is absolutely absurd if this type practice is going on with these legal eagles who should be acting above board in all dealings with very vulnerable, gullible people. They have chanced their arms once too often.

    He went on futher to say, “in their statements the abused acknowledged, to their lawyers, which included the names of their abuser(s) that, they had also discovered, that the names of their abuser(s) had been changed, from, say, father-to brother, and vice versa.”

    What a scam if this is the case!

    He rounded off with saying; “does anyone know why such tardy ineptness continues with victims/survivors lawyers in that regard?”

    No Siree, but I would sure love to know!

    For all our sakes, I sincerely hope the above is only “chinese whispers”.

    A band of solicitors got on the RIRB “gravy train” at the tail end of it all.

    Their advertisements in the papers looking for institutional victims/survivors were, subliminally, very clever indeed!

    Nothing, at this stage of the RIRB “game” surprises me.


  • #68

    It sounds like an arrangement full of potholes. Maybe there’s no other way to do it, but…it does sound flawed.

  • #69

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

    There is an old saying in Cavan, it goes; “there is more tar in a box of matches than there is on the roads of the whole of County Cavan” – given the amount of potholes.”

    There are albeit also lot of potholes on the RIRB, road with all the ” back door” solicitors having raked their dirty black hands on it. The genuine recipients will as a result, be given amounts, akin to the aforementioned box of matches.

    Slan, OB!

  • #70

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.


    The Residential Institutions Redress Board Bands

    The breakdown of awards by RIRB Band is as follows:

    Total Weightings for severity of abuse and injury/effects of abuse

    Award payable by way of RIRB number


    V = 70 or more €200,000 – €300,000 {20} 0.29%

    IV = 55 – 69 = €150,000 – €200,000 {143}



    III = 40 – 54 = €100,0O €150,000 {1151}


    II = 25 – 39 = € 50,000 €100,000 {3842


    I = Less than 25 = up to €50,000 {1719}


    Total = 6875 = 100.00%


    The RIRB sits every day in its premises in Clonskeagh Dublin and now completes approximately 213 cases per month. It also sat in Galway and Limerick. The RIRB sits for approximately one week per month in Cork and will continue to do so as long as there are sufficient applications from the region.

  • #71

    Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.


    To date the Residential Institutions Redress Board has completed the process in 7,168 cases. 5,256 offers have been made following settlement talks and 1,567 awards have been made following hearings. 5 applicants have rejected their awards. 345 applications were withdrawn, refused or resulted no award. By and large applications have been refused as, on the face of the documentation, the application was outside the Boards terms of reference as laid down in the 2002 Act. In other words the applications did not relate to residential institutions as defined in the Act. These applications are determined by the Board immediately on receipt so that the applicant is informed at the earliest possible date that his/her application is outside the ambit of the redress scheme.

    The average value of awards to date is €71,000, the largest award being €300,000.


  • #72

    Ok, here goes. You know these stories hurt my heart so bad, as a catholic. I type from New Zealand. In the very town I live in we had an industrial school for boys (St Marys) run by priests. The education board did reports on this school over a period of years and it was shut down. It alleged the children were ill kempt, poorly feed, beaten. There were also 7 unmarked graves at the back of the school (in a rural area) which caused some curiosity. How did the young boys die? Why no doctors and no death certificates? This was an Irish/Australian order. I will say no more.

  • #73

    Since we are discussing religeon here. I may ask a question just for a change. Are the non religious perfect. Never cruel, never lacking compassion? Just wondering.

  • #74

    Good heavens, of course not.

  • #75

    Marie-Thérèse O’ Loughlin

    “In the very town I live in we had an industrial school for boys (St Marys) run by priests”

    What town is that exactly, Dee? There was an orphanage for boys in Nelson, called St Mary’s, is there any connection, I say, at all? Do you know precisely the order of priests which ran the institution/. Were they, for example, the Christian Brothers.


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