The following horrific story is told in a documentary on Flesh & Blood. It’s from the perspective of two very courageous industrial *school* survivors. The video and RTÉ One synopsis down below are self explanatory!
Paddy Doyle’s mother died when he was four years old. Six weeks later he witnessed his father tragically hanging from a tree in his front garden in Yoletown in Co Wexford. With no one to look after him, Paddy and his sister were committed to institutional care.
The publication of his biography and best-seller, The God Squad, in 1988 changed everything. Responses from the public, many of them anonymous, questioned Paddy’s understanding of his background, particularly his relationship to the man he thought was his father. Since the early 1990s, Paddy has made several attempts to find out the truth about his identity and believes now that his biological father is another man, known to some people among the community of Killinick in Co Wexford, but kept secret for some strange reason. He believes that his efforts to find out who he is have been purposely thwarted and blocked. What it’s doing to him, he says, is worse than any of the abuse he suffered as a child while in care.
The rumours about Paddy’s parentage have caused him and his sister Ann to question their sibling relationship. Is their real father the man they’ve been told is buried in the graveyard in Ballymore, Co Wexford, and where is their mother’s grave? Are they brother and sister at all? Who was/is their real mother? Paddy has always wanted to get to the bottom of the rumours but Ann wished they would just go away.
For years this caused friction between the two and only recently has Ann felt ready to face, what might be, the truth about her past.
Some local people who lived through the 1950s in and around Killinick in County Wexford say they know who Paddy’s real father is. Both Paddy and Ann go back to their roots in Co Wexford and to their difficult childhoods in the hope that they will discover who they really are. Brother and sister or not, they agree to do a DNA test which might reveal the true nature of their relationship.
H/t RTÉ One.
Paddy is an activist and runs a very successful website mostly for survivors of industrial *schools*.
He is recognised as one or Ireland’s leading disability activists and has served as a member of the government-appointed Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities.
He has recently been appointed by the Government as a member of the Memorial Committee to Survivors of Child Abuse. His appointment follows a recommendation of the Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, that a memorial be established to the memory of children who were abused, physically, sexually, psychologically and emotionally while in the care of Religious Orders and the Irish State.
Read more here.