Response to Report on Child Abuse in State Institutions
Irish Times, 28 May 2009
Madam, – Having heard that a listener to Radio Kerry asked “why St Joseph’s Sisters of Mercy School, Killarney was not investigated by the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, I looked again at my own connection with this convent. The records will show I was there from 1948 to 1954 and was then transferred to the Christian Brothers in Glin, Co Limerick. The home, as it was known as, could be harsh at times and we experienced the usual levels of corporal punishment for bed wetting etc, but no cruelty or abuses.
I was an orphan. When I was abroad from 1964 onwards, in England, Germany, Swaziland, Botswana, Bahrain, Cyprus, Canada and finally Northern Ireland in 1971, it was nuns who always sent me a card and letter for Christmas and Easter – the only mail that I would get for many years up until I got married in 1974. Indeed, I was also delighted to be able to visit as a family many years later.
This support was particularly welcome in the years after I had left the Christian Brothers Industrial School in Glin, Co Limerick, in 1962 and was making my way alone in life – often lonely, afraid, fearful of the future, until I got married in Derry in 1974. We have two boys.
I have spoken to many former residents of the convent who the nuns also kept in contact with and know of many others who also visited with their own families years later. Thankfully there was nothing for Mr Justice Ryan to investigate at Killarney. – Yours, etc,
TOM HAYES MBE,
Richhill, Co Armagh.