Mercy Convent goes under the hammer

The former Mercy Convent at Seatown Place. (12 Dec 2012 Margaret Roddy)

THE FORMER Mercy Convent and St Joseph’s Orphanage at Seatown Place are for sale with a reserve price which would hardly have bought an apartment at the height of the property boom.

Anyone with €275,000 to spare could purchase the historic building which is for sale through local estate agents REA Gunne Property, with Michael Gunne saying that it represents a great investment opportunity.’At today’s prices, it’s about the same as two town houses so it’s a great bargain, even if someone just sat on it until prices go up again.

The imposing three storey over basement building stands on a three-quarter acre corner site and is zoned for town centre mixed commercial use.

‘It has so much potential and could be used for a variety of purposes,’ says Michael.

‘It is widely recognised in the property industry that the market is actually ‘over corrected’ and this is due to the ongoing difficulty in securing the required finance,’ he continues.

‘ There has been a notable increase in activity over the last six to nine months proving things have at last ‘ bottomed out’.

‘Ireland is once again on the international radar for investors and a key factor in this, is value. We anticipate, however, that there will be little development in the short term and have factored this into our pricing of this extensive property.’

‘ The pure scale and prime location of this offering ensures profit to any investor and will no doubt raise a few eyebrows from astute would be purchasers, especially those who have a working knowledge of the commercial market . There are a number of obvious ways to immediately add value such as breaking up the holding into multiple units and applying planning permission and holding for a few years, or indeed simply holding will almost guarantee any investor a sizeable return.

For more in-depth details. See:

http://www.childabusecommission.com/rpt/02-11.php

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Survivors bleak institutional discoveries

I was just one of thousands of Reformatory and Industrial ‘School‘ survivors’ who had made bleak institutional past discoveries via the Freedom of Information Act 1997 (FOI). The information had been requested by the Commission to Inquire into Institutional Child Abuse (CICA) Investigative and Private committees set up in 2000, and the subsequent Redress Board (RIRB) from those appearing before same.

Survivors were fortunate in one sense because solicitors in the main had expert staff. The latter had been prepared well in advance for what lay ahead of them, and determined themselves to set a precedence in handling susceptible survivors in a highly professional manner. They were extraordinarily empathetic in their dealings, which was of the utmost importance to many thousands of persuadable past institutional beings. The staff had been chary and vigilant of who lay opposite them, as they steadily and methodically guided survivors at their own emotional pace through the jolting details held in their records.

Close relatives and counsellors had been allowed to sit in on appointments. However, many survivors had built up a rapport over a long period with their solicitors, and had felt that they did not need anyone with them at appointments – which normally lasted 55 minutes, or a counsellor’s hour – as they felt fairly secure in their dealings with the solicitors. There was an unspoken understanding all round that whenever survivors felt unable to commit to appointments due to severe stress, it was taken as an acceptable given.

I was one of those who had braced it alone. Be that as it may, that was not to say that I had been resilient when the reality of my personal file details fully sunk in, in the aftermath of stepping out of the office and landing onto the lonely street. I was definitely far from it, as it then straightaway hit me that I was utterly alone. I had been left with no other choice but to confront the raw reality of the past that had just been freshly laid out before me. For instance, on one occasion I had read the Regina Coeli mother and baby home records pre-Goldenbridge era, where I had spent my babyhood) and was involved in a serious accident, and that was incredibly unendurable to handle.

Emma Browne late of Village Magazine:

At some point during her second year in the Regina Coeli hostel, her mother was admitted to hospital with TB. Marie-Thérèse remained at the hostel under the care of the other mothers living there, some as young as 14. It was common practice for one mother to look after the children while the other mothers worked. When Marie-Thérèse’s mother was ill in hospital, Marie-Thérèse’s high chair fell into an “open blazing fire”. She sustained injuries that have left her with scars on her face, hand and leg.

I unambiguously dreaded going back to the solicitor to have that part of my files rehashed over again. I just could not go there, and became worn out trying to psychologically shelve the new-found knowledge. Every time I had been called in to the solicitors office it irked me considerably whenever the matter was mentioned, that I found it sometimes easier to ignore appointments. The Regina Coeli part of my life was the most painful of all to get my head around. At least the Goldenbridge element was in the public domain and had involved others, whereas in contradistinction the Regina Coeli episode was only applicable to me. It was personal and petrifying. I could understand why my mother could not talk to me about it. It spaced me out, but still and all I just had to plod on irrespective of everything. I just had to hope that things would get better. I kept thinking of all those who grew up with me in Goldenbridge who were in similar and even far worse situations.

The intensity of the words spoken in the office assiduously reverberated in my mind after each appointment. It was exacerbating to say the least having to try to continually remain calm and collected, as I wended my way along the quays of Dublin. I always felt extremely weighed down and isolated. How long more was I going to have to listen to horrifying stories vis-à-vis my past.

Another example on a further visitation I had learned from my records was that I had been admitted to Vergemount, Clonskeagh, fever hospital with pertussis, and had been on a dying list. The hospital’s official title was ‘House of Recovery and Fever Hospital’. I was all but five years old. I shivered uncontrollably after seeing the report in black and white. I went pale and cold. I came to somewhat after being given a piping hot cup of tea by a kind office assistant. I was also incensed at discovering that Sr. X had been my only guardian. It freaked me out no end to find that the nun who had been to the forefront of the Goldenbridge institutional child abuse controversy had also had her signature written large on my documents. It reminded me in a minor way of the obituary mass-cards belonging to my mother which had borne the signature of Father Brendan Smyth, the notorious Irish paedophile who brought the Irish government to its knees in the early nineties. I was deeply pained because my mother was not to be had whilst I lay dying in a strange Dublin hospital. It was the worst pain to have to contend with indeed.

I cried non-stop for a very long time after reading the hospital part of my files. I realised that I had no support system to turn to at that time of great need. I had exhausted all counselling avenues  –  as too had a lot of survivors who felt that cottage industries had sprung up out of their pain. They were rebellious. I was also very distrustful and disillusioned by counsellors, as they were indicative of authority figures. Survivors mostly detest those in authority, because of past negative dealings. Bearing the burden of the pitiful past had been the story of my life. It made me feel very disconsolate and melancholic. But the truth had to be told. I knew that I could live far better with it than with the unknown, the latter of which I wouldn’t wish on my own worst enemy. I knew what it had been like to have had no identity for nearly 30 years. So, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth had to be apprised. It was imperative for my mental and emotional well-being in the finality.

I’ve had a recurring glaring memory all my life, and learning about my hospitalisation in Vergemount as a five year old unfolded it and placed it into total context for me. I repeatedly reminisced about a terribly frightened crying wee child standing up and nervously rocking backwards and forwards in a strange clinical cot, whilst holding very tightly on to the side bars. The child kept staring into the blackness in the distance. The child was absolutely haunted by its bleak surroundings. It was like staring death in the face.

I’d heretofore always associated that cyclical memory with the time when I had been hospitalised as an eighteen month old toddler after the Regina Coeli fire accident. Notwithstanding that – it had still puzzled me that the child in the cot was very steady on its feet. How too could I remember with such vividness an incident that occurred at so young an age? I had discussed it in passing with Christine Buckley, who was a midwife by profession. Christine told me that windows in fever hospitals were blackened out. By way of description she pointed out the Rec (wreck) windows at Goldenbridge, which were blackened out whenever the nuns from the convent came to watch seasonal films. It stunned me – the true picture emerged. It tied in neatly with the new found hospital reports.

The gruelling stories about how survivors came to be in the Reformatories and Industrial ‘Schools’ were spoon-fed them in dribs and drabs over a long period, so as not to overwhelm them too much. However, it was still excruciating for survivors. Some of whom had to endure listening intently to horrendous details in their files, whilst at the same time desperately trying to remain calm and focussed.

From having listened to many survivors recounting their stories at the time in question, I know that many of them simply could not handle the stress associated with the new findings, and absolutely freaked out in their respective solicitors’ offices. Some survivors just could not stomach the contents discovered therein, and consequently reacted very badly by storming out of their solicitors’ offices. Some even slammed the doors so hard behind them; vowing never to revisit the solicitors’ offices which had revealed such terrifying secret stuff pertaining to their past lives.

Some survivors found themselves banging on the tables with their fists and yelling at the solicitors, or even maybe bursting into tears. Some of them became numb and silent because they found the file contents too unfathomable to comprehend. Others became stupefied and giggled out of sheer shock at the astounding new revelations. Some survivors simply switched off, or spaced out never allowing anything to sink in because it was all too unbearable. I know that one particular solicitor who had specifically dealt with male survivor clients had a gigantic table that separated them for safety. The wide berth between them was to preserve sanity all round. The RIRB office adopted the same procedure. There was also a case of a male survivor who had wanted to turn the table over in a solicitor’s office, because he was so vexed and frustrated at listening to such devastating news recorded in his files. Some of them simply wanted to get at documents and tear them to shreds.

The aggression was fiercely palpable. The religious had denied them rights to family details as children, and the consequences of that despicable wrongdoing was played out a lifetime later in solicitors’ offices throughout Ireland, and indeed in countries as far afield as AustraliaU.S.A., New Zealand and Continental Europe, where survivors had fled or emigrated to out of sheer shame and humiliation in the immediate aftermath of their ultimate disposal from their respective Reformatories and Industrial ‘Schools’.

Some survivors became suicidal. There was an incident of a very disturbed survivor who jumped into the River Liffey and drowned after RIRB dealings with a solicitor. I know that many survivors had felt that they too had wanted to do similar after hearing incomprehensible documented family details.

Can you just imagine that for the first time in their whole lives many survivors were confronted with traumatic historical data regarding family backgrounds. They learned things of every conceivable kind about themselves and their families that was hidden from them by the religious. It was a very distressful time. The staff went on sick-leave after only short periods of dealing with survivors, as invariably they suffered vicarious traumatisation. There was a very tearful solicitor who had to leave the job, as it all became overwhelmingly stressful. She was young and did not have the expertise required to handle the aggressiveness of survivors.

Stories that emerged from the FOI records could have involved parental suicides; parents having had two or three more families in various countries. Stories of children who were reared together in the same institution, who had then amazingly discovered for the first time that they were sisters, despite having had the same surname. Notwithstanding, that this would have been unsurprising given that when they grew up together they would not have known anything about themselves. Children in Goldenbridge on the whole were not aware of their surnames. Children went by their prison numbers mostly; so hence being none the wiser about their familial connection. The religious never told the children anything about their family history. Survivors had to withstand all their young lives not knowing anything about themselves. Not to be recommended at all. I think those dealing in childcare today have been made cognisant of this factor by survivors of Industrial ‘Schools.’ The religious should not have deprived those in their care the right to know their identities. The untold damage wreaked havoc, to not only the survivors but also their families whom they later discovered in life. The religious have a lot to answer for deterring children from knowing their identities.

There was one particular incident of twins, who had been denied knowledge of their family by a nun at Goldenbridge because the latter did not want disgrace blighting the good image of the Mercy order. It transpired that the head-honcho was a friend of the two aunties belonging to the twins, as both aunties were also Sisters of Mercy. The head-honcho apparently denied the twins the right to know their mother because of shame attached to the fact that she was a sister of the aunties, and had the twins out-of-wedlock. Not only that, the nun also managed to split up the twins who were very close to each other. One twin was abruptly whisked out of Goldenbridge, and sent to Rathdrum at a very early age to work for the head-honcho when she was shifted there. It was only by accident that the twins discovered each other some years later in the town of Rathdrum. There was a holiday home there for Goldenbridge children who had no families. The second twin subsequently went to work for the nun at St. Kyran’s Industrial ‘School’ for Junior Boys, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow.

For fifty years that nun in charge flatly refused to tell the twins anything about themselves, despite their constant pleading and suffering. It was only revealed when threatened with legal action by a professional who had the interest of the twins at heart. This occurred at the outset of the commission to inquire into child institutional abuse. What a despicable act!

There were stories that entailed having had siblings that survivors never knew existed, because they had either been adopted or reared by their fathers who may have been in separate relationships and living in England.

There were stories of parents who had struggled relentlessly with the Irish authorities to get their children out of institutions, but were unsuccessful. Nevertheless, there is one very good example of a father who diligently fought the Irish system in a landmark case in order to secure the release of his daughter from an Industrial ‘School’. Doubtless, he won the high profile court case. His name was Desmond Doyle, there was a film made about his notorious struggle with the Department of Justice and the Department of Education. For more information about this…

See: Evelyn Doyle: Evelyn | Marie-Thérèse O’Loughlin 

There were letters telling children they had been dearly loved by their parents. They were never handed over to the children by religious management of the institutions. There were stories of children, who had been left at convent doorsteps, which was devastating for survivors involved. Some survivors discovered that their mothers had been in mental hospitals, and had even died very young in them. One survivor couldn’t believe it when he discovered as an adult that between two separate families that his siblings amounted to 22 members in total. Large families were common with a lot of survivors.

The trauma of all the new-found discoveries commingled with the commission to inquire into child abuse (CICA) and the redress board (RIRB) caused so much heartache that it inevitably culminated in many unnecessary suicides and early deaths of survivors. Some of who were still in their early forties.

Many survivors such as myself had learned that they had lived with their mothers for the first few years of their lives and/or had been initially reared by relatives prior to placement in out-of-home care. A number of survivors, who had identified themselves as ‘orphans’, reported to the private arm of CICA that frequently their mothers had, for various reasons, been unable to support them. The majority of these survivors had known little or nothing about the circumstances of their admission to out-of-home care. This lack of information included not knowing where they had been born, who their mothers and their fathers were, whether they had siblings, why their parents were unable to care for them and who decided they would be admitted to the Industrial ‘School’ system.

There were also a lot of other applicable details in the reports such as hospital visitations, reports from visitation officers sent to host families where difficulties may have arisen, as was the case with me personally. There were medical and “school” reports, and even bogus inspection menus and Industrial ‘School’ inspection reports contained in the records.

I also learned from my files that as a mere nine year old, I’d been found wandering aimlessly in the heart of Dublin. Two nuns from Goldenbridge had been on business in the city centre and had spotted me off chance. I was instantly whisked off O’Connell St, and escorted back to Goldenbridge in a Black Maria. I never saw the Boyne host family ever again. I had been on licence from Goldenbridge, and had spent ten months of freedom with them at Boyne St. Westland Row, Dublin. From that day forward I was mostly to never see the outside world until my incarceration period was ended at 16. All connections with the Boyne family were severed thereafter. I never had a visit from them in Goldenbridge. It was very strange learning for the first time the circumstances surrounding that period of my childhood. I remember likening it to being a rag doll that had been thrown around from pillar to post. No explanation was given as to why I was torn away from the host family. Indeed, I asked the Boyne family when I made a return visit in the eighties, why they abandoned me as a child. I told them that it was grossly unfair of them to befriend me and then suddenly disappear into oblivion. They never divulged the reason.

The stories go on ad infinitum. I recall on innumerable occasions in the past in the Aislinn survivor centre comparing the reason behind incarcerations of survivors to 
Goldenbridge. Survivors knew very little, if anything at all about each others personal background. So there were a lot of nonplussed looks on the faces when they saw, for example, that they had been incarcerated with the consent of parents or guardians. It had never dawned on most of them prior to receipt of records that they may have had lives pre Goldenbridge, as their past lives mostly never came into the equation whilst growing up in Goldenbridge.

I know for certain that it stunned me immensely to find out from my mother that I had a life beforehand at the Regina Coeli mother and baby home for almost five years before entering Goldenbridge. I was glad to have been given that information by my mother in the 80s, rather than to have found out about it from my records in the late 90s.

The Industrial ‘Schools’ (IrishScoileanna Saothair) established in Ireland under the Industrial ‘Schools’ Act of 1868 to care for “neglected, orphaned and abandoned children” failed the children wretchedly. So too did the Reformatories. The premature words of Richard Robert Cherry, a future Chief Justice of Ireland, speaking in 1911 was of the opinion that:

It is impossible to exaggerate the good effect (of)…. this twin system of Reformatory and Industrial Schools. The latter have been particularly successful in Ireland; and the combination of voluntary effort and private management, with State regulation and partial support—a rather dangerous experiment—has been completely justified by the result.

Nonetheless, In light of the findings in the Ryan Report almost one hundred years later, his assessment of the ‘experiment’ was apparently premature. The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse was established in 2000 with functions including the investigation of abuse of children in institutions in the State. It was dependent on people giving evidence of which they did in large numbers. The conclusion of the report, issued in May, 2009, was that over a period going back at least to the 1940s, many children in Industrial Schools in the Republic, had been subjected to systematic and sustained physical, sexual and emotional abuse. It also found that the perpetrators of, this violence; had been protected by their religious superiors, primarily out of self-interest, in order to maintain the reputations of the institutions concerned.

Mannix Flynn sums up succinctly everything I would wish to say about the architecture of containment of thousands upon thousands of children in Irish reformatories and Industrial ‘Schools’ in Ireland. Children, who should have been cherished by the nation, and who, instead, were marched off to child prisons, thus scarring them permanently because their character formation was tampered with at an important growth point in their young lives.

Romantic Ireland is truly dead and gone‘ Mannix Flynn said with justifiable anger. In his review of Bruce Arnold’s new book, The Irish Gulag: How the State Betrayed its Innocent Children (The Irish Times, May 30th), Flynn added: “Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany will now have the company of the Irish Church State, a brutal regime that perpetrated acts of unimaginable horror on its most vulnerable children. It will take generations to heal and understand this trauma. The Irish people will suffer for a long time to come.

Industrial ‘Schools’ were the product of a religious but unspiritual society.

The discoveries of survivors institutional and family past were paved with indelible pain and hurt.

Magdalen Laundry survivor story

Magdalene LaundriesThe front door and hallway of the now derelict Sisters of Our Lady of Charity Magdalen Laundry on Sean McDermott St in Dublin. Credit: Julien Behal/PA Wire.

I went to visit the Magdalen Laundry in Sean McDermott St., Dublin that is depicted in the video > Click on link to connect to video < when I was a teenager. Valerie – now deceased was sent there after her whole childhood incarceration period was up at Goldenbridge. Valerie had also spent her time prior to that in the Regina Coeli mother and baby unit. She had no luck at all from the time she was born. When she left the Magdalen Laundry she spent many years at the Regina Coeli hostel for downtrodden women. It was only in the latter part of her life that she got social housing. Nevertheless, by that time she had been a spent force. She lived, though, to tell her experiences to the commission to inquire into child institutional abuse. I was proud to help her out by way of writing a long statement to the CICA on her behalf. Valerie never lived to enjoy her compensation from the RIRB.Magdalene Laundries

Women were locked up in Catholic-run workhouses known as Magdalen laundries between 1922 and 1996. Credit: Julien Behal/PA Wire

It’s also such a pity that she never saw the day when the Magdalen Laundry survivors would get the justice that they most rightly deserve.

In those days in the late sixties when Valerie was in Sean McDermott St. Magdalen Laundry working-class girls in general in the vicinity would have been in gainful employment at 14 years of age. They had no choice but to grow up fast, as starvation and hunger saw to that happening. So they too did not get off lightly. However, the difference between them and Valerie was that they had parents or guardians to go home to at the end of the day, and freedom to enjoy themselves at week-ends. There was none of that luxury afforded to the girls in the laundry.

Valerie never knew the meaning of a loving mother or a father throughout her life. She had a brother who once visited her from Artane when she was a child at Goldenbridge. She was clueless as to the meaning of a brother. She stood at a huge distance from him, with a blank face when they met each other in the main porch. That was to be expected, as she was none the wiser about her relationship to him. She had spent her whole childhood in Goldenbridge on her own, thinking that she was alone in the world. That was common with many Goldenbridge child inmates.

I talked with Valerie in later years about her background. As I knew nothing about her, despite growing up with her. It turned out that her mother was only 14 when Valerie was born. The mother went on to have four more children in straight succession. They too were either institutionalised in Industrial ‘Schools’ or adopted. Valerie discovered that her mother also went on to have another large family of eight after she had married, and they were all reared by the family. Her mother rejected her. She wanted to have nothing to do with Valerie. She had made a new life for herself and her husband.

Valerie never came to terms with the rejection of her mother. Even though she was a mere stranger. She became so embittered about the fact that the biological mother was able to look after the new family whilst ignoring the other family of five that she had out of wedlock.

One day a beautiful woman knocked on Valerie’s door. She told Val that she was her sister. Val nearly had a fit. She was gobsmacked. She could not comprehend why she was not also adopted. The newfound sister was very kind to Valerie, but the latter was beyond caring at that stage of her life. The rejection by the mother really got to her, despite inwardly not knowing any meaning of a mother’s role. It took every ounce of trust out of her. It was painful for the sister, who was successfully married with children to come to terms with a sister who had such a brutal past. There was simply no comparison with both their lives.

Valerie was a broken woman when she died, but then she had always been a broken child. Some people are given a raw deal in life, and Valerie was certainly one of those people. She never believed there was a God above, because if there was, she said, she would not have had to have suffered in the manner that she did in life. I so agree with her.

Valerie’s suffering was three dimensional from an institutional perspective. 1. Mother and Baby Home. 2. Goldenbridge. 3. Magdalen Laundry. That doesn’t include the homelessness that she had to endure after all that institutionalisation. It’s a sad story.

Incidentally – Valerie would have been on the lowest rung of the Goldenbridge ladder.

A host family that she went to on holidays as a child left much to be desired. She allegedly suffered serious sexual abuse there. That was commonplace with defenceless ‘orphan’ children from Industrial ‘Schools’.

Avenue to the Institutions: Part II Discoveries

I was just one of thousands of Reformatories and Industrial “Schools” survivors’ who had made bleak institutional past discoveries via the Freedom of Information Act 1997 (FOI). The information had been requested by the Commission to Inquire into Institutional Child Abuse (CICA) Investigative and Private committees and the subsequent Redress Board (RIRB) from those appearing before same.

Survivors were lucky in one sense because solicitors had expert staff who were prepared for what lay ahead of them. The staff handled survivors extraordinarily well. So empathetic in their dealings, which was of the utmost importance to traumatised beings. The staff were very mindful and vigilant of who lay opposite them, as they slowly and methodically guided survivors, at their own emotional pace through the traumatic details in their records. Close relatives and counsellors were allowed to sit in on the appointments. I did not have anyone with me, as I felt secure in my dealings with the solicitor. I had built up a rapport over a long period. So too did many other institutional counterparts. That’s not to say, though, that I was resilient when the reality of details in my file sunk in, as I had stepped out into the street and was thoroughly alone. The intensity of words spoken in the office repeatedly befuddled and exacerbated me. The solitariness weighed me down, as the actuality was brought home to bear of that of having no support system to turn in time of great need. But the truth had to be told. I could live far better with it than the unknown, which I wouldn’t wish on my own worst enemy. I knew what it was like to have no identity for nearly 30 years.
The gruelling stories about how they came to be in the Reformatories and Industrial “Schools” were spoon-fed them in dribs and drabs over a long period, so as not to overwhelm them too much.
However, it was still excruciatingly debilitating for thousands of survivors. Some of whom had to endure listening intently to a plethora of unknown white-knuckle details in their files, whilst simultaneously trying to remain focussed and calm overall.
From having listened to many survivors recounting stories at the time, I know that many simply could not handle the stress associated with the new findings, and absolutely freaked out in their respective solicitors’ offices. Some survivors just could not stomach contents discovered therein, and therefore reacted very badly by storming out of the solicitors’ offices in question. Some even slammed doors hard behind them, and never wanted to revisit the solicitors’ offices which had revealed such terrifying secret stuff pertaining to their past lives.
Some found themselves banging on tables with their fists, yelling at solicitors, or maybe even bursting into tears. Some just went numb and silent because they found file contents so unfathomable and bizarre. Some became stupefied and giggled out of sheer shock at astounding new discovery revelations. Some survivors simply switched off or spaced out; never letting anything sink in because it was too unbelievable. I know that one particular solicitor who had specifically dealt with male survivor clients had kept a very wide berth between them. He had a gigantic table that separated them for safety. The RIRB office adopted the same procedure.
There was also a case of a male survivor who had wanted to turn the table over in a solicitor’s office, because he was vehemently vexed and frustrated at listening to such devastating news recorded in his files. Some just wanted to get at documents and tear them to shreds. The aggression was fiercely palpable. The religious had denied them rights to family details as children, and the consequences of that despicable act was played out a lifetime later in solicitors’ offices throughout Ireland, and in countries, as far afield as Australia, U.S.A., New Zealand and Continental Europe where survivors fled to or emigrated out of sheer shame and humiliation in the immediate aftermath of the ultimate disposal from their respective Reformatories and Industrial “Schools”.
Some survivors became suicidal. There was an incident of a very disturbed survivor who jumped into the River Liffey and drowned after RIRB dealings with a solicitor. I know that many other survivors had felt they had wanted to do a similar act after hearing incomprehensible documented family details.
Can you just imagine, that for the first time in their whole lives many survivors were confronting the history of their family backgrounds. They had to learn things of every conceivable kind about themselves. It was a such a hauntingly harrowing time. The staff went on sick-leave after only short periods of dealing with survivors, as invariably they suffered vicarious traumatisation. There was a very tearful solicitor who had to leave the job, as it all became too overwhelmingly stressful. She was young and did not have the skills required to handle the aggressiveness of survivors.
Stories that emerged from the FOI records could have involved parental suicides; parents having had two or three more families in various countries. Stories of children who were reared together in the same institution, who had then amazingly discovered for the first time that they were sisters, despite having had the same surname. Notwithstanding, that this would have been unsurprising, given that when they grew up together they would not have known anything about themselves. Children in Goldenbridge on the whole were not aware of their surnames. They would have been known by their prison numbers mostly; so hence being none the wiser about their familial connection. The religious never told the children anything about their family history.
Survivors had to withstand all their young lives not knowing anything about themselves. Not to be recommended at all. I think those dealing in childcare today have been made cognisant of this factor by survivors of Industrial ‘Schools.’ The religious should not have deprived those in their care the right to know their identity. The untold damage wreaked havoc, to not only the survivors but also their families whom they later discovered in life. The religious have a lot to answer, for deterring children from knowing their identities. I referred to the situation here:
There was one particular incident of Goldenbridge twins, who were denied knowing who their family was by a nun because the nuns did not want disgrace blighting the good image of the Mercy order. It transpired that the head-honcho nun was a friend of two aunties belonging to the twins, as both of the former were also Sisters of Mercy. The head-honcho denied the twins the right to know their mother because of shame attached to a sister of the aunties because of having had the twins out-of-wedlock. For fifty years the nun in charge flatly refused to tell the twins anything about themselves, despite the constant pleading and suffering. It was only revealed when the nun was threatened by someone – with the interest of the twins at heart – with legal action. This occurred at the outset of the commission to inquire into child institutional abuse. What a despicable act. –

There were stories that entailed having had siblings that survivors never knew existed, because they had either been adopted or had been reared by their fathers who may have been in separate relationships and living in England.

There were stories of parents who had struggled relentlessly with the Irish authorities to get their children out of institutions, but, were unsuccessful. Nevertheless, there is one very good example of a father who diligently fought the Irish system in a landmark case in order to secure the release of his daughter from an Industrial “School”. Doubtless, he won the high profile court case. His name was Desmond Doyle, there was a film made about his notorious struggle with the Department of Justice and the Department of Education. For more information about this…

See: Evelyn Doyle: Evelyn | Marie-Thérèse O’Loughlin 

There were letters telling children they had been dearly loved by their parents, but those letters were never handed over to them by religious management of the institutions. There were stories of children, who had been left at convent doorsteps, which was devastating for survivors involved. Some survivors discovered that their mothers had been in mental hospitals, and had even died very young in them. One survivor couldn’t believe it when he discovered, as an adult, that between two separate families that his siblings amounted to 22 members. Large families were common with a lot of survivors.
The trauma of all the new-found discoveries commingled with the commission to inquire into child abuse (CICA) and the redress board (RIRB) caused so much heartache that it inevitably culminated in many unnecessary suicides and early deaths of survivors… some of whom were still in their early forties.

Many survivors, such as myself, had learned that they had lived with their mothers for the first few years of their lives and/or had been initially reared by relatives prior to placement in out-of-home care. A number of survivors, who identified themselves as ‘orphans’, reported to the private arm of CICA that frequently their mothers had, for various reasons, been unable to support them. The majority of these survivors had known little or nothing about the circumstances of their admission to out-of-home care. This lack of information included not knowing where they had been born, who their mothers and their fathers were, whether they had siblings, why their parents were unable to care for them and who decided they would be admitted to the Industrial “School” system.

I read the Regina Coeli mother and baby home records (pre-Goldenbridge era, where I had spent my babyhood) and was involved in a serious accident, and that too was excruciatingly unbearable to handle. I dreaded going back to the solicitor to have that part of my files rehashed over and over again. I just could not go there, and became worn out trying to psychologically shelve the new-found knowledge. Every time I had been called in to the sollcitors’ office it irked me considerably whenever the matter was mentioned, that I found it sometimes easier to ignore solicitor appointments. The Regina Ceoli part of my life was the most painful of all to get my head around. At least the Goldenbridge part was in the public domain and involved others, whereas in contrast the Regina Coeli episode was only applicable to me. It was personal and scary and very isolating. I could understand why my mother could not talk to me about it.

There were also a lot of other applicable details in the reports such as hospital visitations, reports from visitation officers sent to host families where difficulties may have arisen, as was the case with me personally. There were medical and “school” reports,  and even bogus inspection menus and Industrial “School” inspection reports contained in the records.

I learned from my records that I had been admitted to Vergemount, Clonskeagh, fever hospital with pertussis, and was on a dying list. The hospital’s official title was ‘House of Recovery and Fever Hospital’. I was all but five years old. I was incensed at discovering that Sr. X had been my only guardian. It freaked me out no end to find that the nun who had been to the forefront of the Goldenbridge institutional child abuse controversy had also had her signature written large on my documents. It reminded me in a minor way of the obituary mass-cards belonging to my mother which had borne the signature of Father Brendan Smyth, the notorious Irish paedophile who brought the Irish government to its knees in the early nineties. I was deeply pained because my mother was not to be had whilst I lay dying in a strange Dublin hospital. It was the worst pain to have to contend with indeed. I cried non-stop for a very long time after reading that part of my files.
I also learned from my files that as a mere nine year old, I’d been found wandering aimlessly in the heart of Dublin. I was spotted by two Goldenbridge nuns, who happened to have been in the city centre on business. I was instantly whisked off O’Connell St., and escorted back to Goldenbridge in a black Maria. I never saw the Boyne host family ever again. I had been on liicence to them from Goldenbridge, and had spent ten months of freedom with them at Boyne St. Westland Row, Dublin. From that day forward I was mostly to never see the outside world until my incarceration period was ended at 16. All relations with the Boyne family were severed. I never had a visit from them in Goldenbridge. It was very strange learning for the first time the circumstances surrounding that period of my childhood. I remember likening it to being a rag doll that had been thrown around from pillar to post. No explanation was given as to why I was torn away from the host family.

Formation of reformatories and industrial schools

Formation of reformatories and industrial schools

Posted on March 19, 2013

I would like to begin by summarising an overview of parts of a report into the historical background of reformatories and industrial schools in Britain and Ireland. The report laid out by *experts was requested by the commission to inquire into child institutional abuse (CICA), which was set up to deal with allegations of child abuse in Irish reformatories and industrial schools. Prominent survivors had rose up to tell Ireland and the world of the secretive systemic inter-generational abuse that occurred behind closed reformatory and industrial school doors. They demanded to be heard. Hence the instigation of the CICA by the then taoiseach, Bertie Ahern’s Fianna Fáil led government. The Commission was thus established on 23 May, 2000, pursuant to the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Act 2000” and given three primary functions:

▪   to: hear evidence of abuse from persons who allege they suffered abuse in childhood, in institutions, during the period from 1940 or earlier, to the present day;

▪   to: conduct an inquiry into abuse of children in institutions during that period and, where satisfied that abuse occurred, to determine the causes, nature, circumstances and extent of such abuse; and

▪   to: prepare and publish reports on the results of the inquiry and on its recommendations in relation to dealing with the effects of such abuse.

My deep interest in the historical aspects of reformatories and industrial schools stems from a very personal perspective, as I was a product of Goldenbridge industrial school, Dublin. I also attended the CICA to give evidence of very harrowing times spent at Goldenbridge in the mid-fifties and late sixties. It touches my very core learning about the history. I also find it therapeutic, as it brings home to me the memories that need to be faced up to, and the reality that conceivably 170,000 lives were not that disparate to mine.

In order to find out why child slave labour of every inconceivable kind occurred in reformatories and industrial schools, I needed to go all the way back to the roots of how reformatories and industrial schools were first formed – most specifically apropos to Ireland. I needed to discover how those who ran the institutions came to be so doing. I needed to know why it was that so many children came to be together in these institutions.

As Ophelia Benson pointed out in a discussion with me:

I think they needed to understand what they thought their moral principles were and how they reconciled that with the way they treated helpless children. The discrepancy we all keep talking about and being amazed at? They’re churchy, so they’re Good – that’s what we’re told, that’s what we’re supposed to think. So how did they understand “Good”? And how did that harmonise with being so incredibly Bad toward helpless children?

I think the religious sought to reconcile their moral principles that were grounded by the code of Catholicism: Sexual morality thinking that dated back to medieval times. Beating the daylights out of children because parent/s went astray probably justified the cruelty towards children. The dirt had to be beaten out of children. Clergy routinely warned believers that children conceived on holy days would be born leprous, epileptic, diabolically possessed, blind, or crippled.

Starvation was also a big problem in the reformatories and industrial schools. Is it any wonder when one considers that in medieval times penalties of 20 to 40 days of strict fasting on bread and water were imposed on transgressors who strayed from the moral beaten-track. The reformatories and industrial schools religious management were still abiding in antediluvian times and making children suffer (by proxy) for the transgression of the parent/s.

I would like to take readers on an historical reformatories and industrial schools journey. Roots of every kind are important – even the tangled ones. In order to let go of a painful past, it’s necessary to try to figure out its root cause. I know this is true in my case, anyway. So many survivors, throughout their lives, have disassociated from the lives they experienced in their respective institutions. They also discovered in recent years when coming together at reunions, or when meeting each other at various survivor centres, that their past institutional lives came back to haunt them. They clashed with each other. I have personal knowledge of this happening. It was also painful being on the receiving end of this perceived rejection. Some survivors just simply cannot be around other survivors because of triggers of the past emanating from their beings. Period! The fear and anguish of the horrors they lived on a daily basis as child inmates are locked in their brains and hauntingly mirrored back when they meet survivors. I now refuse to let go of that loveless; pitiless; isolated; godforsaken miserable past, because of having hidden away from it for so long. I want to get to the bottom of the pain. I want to look deep and dare to thread into the miasma of my deepest pain and hopefully be somewhat wiser for looking back. I don’t mean being in a time warp, or being stuck in a rut. I do feel that by learning all about the history of reformatories and industrial schools it can become a cathartic healing experience.

Workhouses

According to the *experts report, the Act of the Relief of the Poor of 1598 in Britain and Ireland saw appointments in every parish of ‘overseers of the poor’ whose duty amongst others was to work with children whose parent/s were not considered fit to maintain. 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 by the parish. It was envisaged, too, that workhouses were to be built, financed either by voluntary contribution, or if these were not forthcoming, by official grants. The needs far outweighed both voluntary contributions and official grants. By the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, in both Britain and Ireland populations grew so much that the parish failed to be a practical component for relief management. Impoverished children perambulated the countryside or streets rummaging for food and purloining for a livelihood. In Ireland, the Famine (1845-1849) made an unsatisfactory situation extensively worse, leading to the abjuration of children by parents. The Poor Relief (Ireland) Act, 1838 was the response Ireland looked to on an official level to sort out the great social problem. Workhouses were established 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 waifs’ were still living untamed in the towns. Families were inevitably separated when they went to the workhouses. However, children had access to the parent/s once a week. It was the workhouse rule. The children were seen as risk factors, given that they had to mix with adult down-and-outs. No education facilities were available to the children. There was a dreadful stigma attached to workhouses, they were seen as the lowest of the low. Officials toyed with the idea of making direct payments or essentials available to those in the workhouses, so that they could live independently, alas, it became frowned upon when it was thoroughly considered that those who were not in need… could possibly take advantage of the ‘outdoor relief’ system. After all the charities were specifically set up for those who were completely dependent on them, and who suffered the ignominy of having to live in dire substandard overcrowded conditions. There were also other individual charities and do-gooders who attempted to lessen the plight of children by collecting and bringing them into orphanages. Think ‘ragged schools’. The brainchild, behind these schools being developed was by John Pounds, a shoemaker in 1818. He began teaching poor children without charging fees.

Reformatory and industrial school beginnings

Even still all these charitable organisations put together could not dampen the seriousness of the social problem that was gaining rampant impetus. So in the first half of the nineteenth century committees and commissions were set up to investigate the wider need of child poverty. This was when the industrial school system was first thought of as a way of alleviating the problem. It was to be based on a ‘Continental model’. By the 1850s, Germany, Switzerland and Scandinavia had already approximately one hundred of these industrial schools. Some were called ‘Farm Schools’. The ethos of them was to provide practical training, as opposed to academic learning. This of course suited very well the Victorian ideas of utilitarian progress. Besides, the skills learned would fuel the Industrial Revolution. There would be a two-pronged approach to helping, 1) the children most in need would be provided for and 2) those seen as a threat to society could be controlled. The Continental model was legislated into British law in 1850. For those found guilty of offences. In Ireland a little later reformatories were established.

Reformatory Schools (Ireland) Act, 1858 A decade later: Industrial Schools (Ireland) 1868. For those neglected, orphaned or abandoned. In other words not for criminal children, but those exposed to potential 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.

A number of charities which had already been in existence took advantage of the, 1858 and 1868 Acts and applied to the government for certificates to act as reformatories and industrial schools. These were for children committed through the courts. Those who were granted certificates could avail of public funds for the upkeep of children. For decades in the aftermath new buildings sprung up, and although reformatories were in existence for a decade longer, industrial schools soon overtook them in both number and inmates. In the seven years after 1858 10 reformatories (five for females) were certified. By the end of the century only seven of the ten original reformatories existed. Some were re-certified as industrial schools. By 1922 only five remained (of which was a reformatory in Northern Ireland) The reformatory school population, which was nearly 800 just after the passing of the 1858 Act, fell to 300 in 1882 and 150 in 1900. In 1875 – on the other hand – there were 50 industrial schools. Even reaching to a total of 71 schools. 56 schools for Catholics and five for Protestant) that were in the 26 counties. At its height, in 1898 the population of industrial schools was 7,998 inmates, compared to 6,000 children in the same year in the miserable workhouses. In 1882 committal entries to Industrial schools were made under the category of begging. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century British social reformers such as Charles Booth and Sebohm Rowntree began questioning and analysing the causes of poverty. They became cognisant of the fact that children were impressionable individuals that were open to all sorts of child abuse. Thus came about change in legislation that was replaced by the Children Act, 1908, popularly known as the Children’s Charter. Though inappreciable, important meaningful changes were made that created a unified structure of law that was both applicable to Britain and Ireland. The Children Act, 1908 covered a lot of topics, for example, the prevention of cruelty to children, protection of infant life, and provision for juvenile offence. The most significant provisioning of the Act was in Part IV, which provided for the constitutional basic for reformatories and industrial schools. It continued that way for susceptible children until its amendment by the Child Care Act, 1991, which became fully operational in 1996. The 1991 Act replaced the Children Act, 2001, which became law in July 2001. Section 44 of the Children Act 1908 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.

The 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’.

*This historical overview has drawn extensively on the research provided to the Commission by Professor David Gwynn Morgan, Dr Eoin O’Sullivan; Professor Se ́amus O’Cinne ́ide; Dr Moira Maguire (who along with Professor O’Cinne ́ide 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).

I was prompted to find out about the historicity of reformatories and industrial schools because of first wanting to know the raison d’être behind why so many inmates of these institutions in the past were utterly bereft of any knowledge of their own history. So many lives have been irreversibly damaged because of having been incarcerated into a very cruel system. Families were broken up, with many never recovering from the childhood separation that was foisted upon them by an uncaring society, who thought very little of the needs of children. I wanted to explore the historical roots of the institutions that in turn deprived generations of children of their own natural genealogical roots. There are countless adult survivors to this very day desperately trying to discover their roots, as they without fail were told as child inmates in their respective institutions that their mothers had either abandoned them or were dead, or were worthless beings not worth knowing. Loss of siblings! Loss of mothers! Loss of extended relatives was the price child inmates paid for crimes they either never committed, or, if they did, were so hideously minor to be incarcerated for years. The crimes comprised of mitching from school; robbing orchards or being impertinent. Some children also paid the price because their mothers were not deemed fit enough by the ‘cruelty men’ (euphemistically referred to by all) (ISPCC) to look after the children. The mothers could have been in relationships with men who weren’t the biological fathers. Roots are important to children and adults. So many lives were irreversibly damaged as a consequence of having been incarcerated into a very cruel system. Families were broken up, with many never recovering from the childhood separation that was foisted upon them by an uncaring society, who thought very little of the needs of children. They thought the solution was to set up reformatories and industrial schools. However, the commission to inquire into child abuse and the subsequent Ryan report immensely disproved their worth. They were still in existence in Ireland until the seventies, yet, Britain had dispensed with them in 1933.

Related:

Industrial Schools – RTÉ

The Irish Workhouse.

CICA: History of Industrial schools and reformatories

CICA Investigation Committee Report Vol. I 35 Chapter 2

History of industrial schools and reformatoriesA Destitute woman with child c.1876from London Street Life in Historic by John Thomson

A Destitute woman with child c.1876

An early nineteenth-century social problem

  1. 2.01  The 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. 2.02  On 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.
  3. 2.03  One 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’.
  4. 2.04  It 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.
  5. 2.05  Apart from these official efforts, charitable organisations and individual philanthropists also attempted to alleviate the problem by gathering some of these children into orphanages, charity

1 This historical overview has drawn extensively on the research provided to the Commission by Professor David Gwynn Morgan, Dr Eoin O’Sullivan; Professor Se ́amus O’Cinne ́ide; Dr Moira Maguire (who along with Professor O’Cinne ́ide 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).

Clifden WorkhouseA photograph of Clifden Workhouse from the Illustrated London News, 5 January 1850.

By 1st May 1848, workhouses had been established in Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea and Tuam.

CICA Investigation Committee Report Vol. I 35

schools, ‘ragged schools’2 – all institutions depending on voluntary contributions and, often, on voluntary labour.

  1. 2.06  However, 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. 2.07  This 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.
  3. 2.08  In 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.
  4. 2.09  On 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
    1. 2  The idea of ‘ragged schools’ was developed in 1818 by John Pounds, a shoemaker. He began teaching poor children without charging fees.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
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36 CICA Investigation Committee Report Vol. I

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

  1. 2.10  The 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. 2.11  The 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.
  3. 2.12  It 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.
  4. 2.13  The 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’.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
page3image34624

CICA Investigation Committee Report Vol. I 37

Policies underlying the School system

Intervention in the family

  1. 2.14  Until 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. 2.15  Barnes9 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
  3. 2.16  Each 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.
  4. 2.17  A 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
  5. 2.18  In 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.

9 Jane Barnes, Irish Industrial Schools, 1868–1908 (Irish Academic Press, 1989), pp 85–86.
10 Br ́ıdFaheyBates,TheInstituteofCharity:Rosminians,TheirIrishStory1860–2003(Dublin:AshfieldPublishing

Press, 2003), pp 68–69.

page4image34872

38 CICA Investigation Committee Report Vol. I

Policies underlying the School system

Intervention in the family

  1. 2.14  Until 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. 2.15  Barnes9 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
  3. 2.16  Each 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.
  4. 2.17  A 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
  5. 2.18  In 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.

9 Jane Barnes, Irish Industrial Schools, 1868–1908 (Irish Academic Press, 1989), pp 85–86.
10 Br ́ıdFaheyBates,TheInstituteofCharity:Rosminians,TheirIrishStory1860–2003(Dublin:AshfieldPublishing

Press, 2003), pp 68–69.

 38 CICA Investigation Committee Report Vol. I

Irish Catholic church child abuse: ‘A cruel and wicked system’ [2009]

A rosary is held during prayer

Photograph: Danilo Krstanovic/Reuters

Henry McDonald reports from the Guardian in 2009

In their distinctive Thunderbirds-style light-blue uniforms with red trim the Artane Boys Band are icons of Irish music. For decades, the band marched around the pitch at Croke Park, Dublin, and played across Ireland, Britain and the US.

But behind this image of boyhood whole­someness lay a darker truth.

Until the 1970s thousands of the young men in the band were being abused, beaten and exploited at the industrial school that gave the ensemble its name.

One of those who was physically beaten on a regular basis by members of the Christian Brothers order that ran Artane was Patrick Walsh, now a businessman who lives in north London.

“The band was an extraordinary facade back then at that time,” Walsh, who played the clarinet in the band during the 1960s, told the Guardian. “It was used by the church and state to convey a bogus image of wholesomeness that did not exist in these institutions. In Artane, the brothers were men of violence. On a daily basis, I witnessed some savage behaviour meted out to me and other boys.”

Walsh added: “The boys in the band didn’t receive a farthing, the Christian Brothers pocketed the money. We did the work, they took the money. There is a word for it: unpaid labour, or slavery.

“They also had a 500-acre farm at Artane, growing potatoes and vegetables, and we, the kids, worked in the fields without pay.”

For 10 years Walsh has campaigned alongside the group Irish Survivors of Child Abuse to expose a system that allowed thousands of vulnerable children to be exploited and sexually abused while in the care of both church and state.

He has welcomed today’s publication of the report by Justice Sean Ryan. But he is not convinced that, even now, the full truth will come out.

From the mid-1920s until the early 1970s thousands of Irish children officially in the care of the state were subjected to a double regime of sexual abuse and wageless slavery. Ireland’s notorious industrial schools and orphanages – all run by Catholic orders – were home to boys and girls who had been officially declared criminals by the courts.

Some children were even sent to these institutions simply because their parents had split up: one-parent families, usually held together by abandoned wives, were regarded with suspicion in post-independence conservative Catholic Ireland.

In the last 12 years, up to 9,000 former members of Ireland’s childcare system have claimed tens of millions of euros in compensation for being either exploited, abused or both in these institutions.

The five-volume report, published by the Irish government today, seeks to address decades of clerical child abuse and state neglect. It confirms allegations from former pupils that they were used as unpaid virtual slaves, who made money for religious orders in mini factories, farms, shops and laundry services.

The Ryan commission (originally the Laffoy commission) was established nine years ago and has investigated allegations of abuse in orphanages, industrial schools and church-run hospitals across the republic. The Artane industrial school, in north Dublin, was among the institutions under scrutiny.

But Walsh said it was frustrating that the terms of the Ryan commission meant that no abusers would be brought before the Irish courts.

He said: “The victims of abuse will most likely be even more traumatised than ever to learn that, following this lengthy inquiry, there will be no criminal prosecutions brought against their abusers or against those in the hierarchy of the church … complicit in the brutal crimes against innocent children.

“It is unlikely that officials from any government department will ever be held accountable having presided over an illegal, cruel and wicked system that led to untold suffering for tens of thousands of innocent Irish children and their families since the foundation of the state.”

Walsh was “sentenced” to six years in Artane after appearing in an Irish court. His “crime” was that his father had abandoned him along with his brothers and sisters, and the Irish authorities deemed his mother not fit to look after the children.

Between 1963 and 1969, he was incarcerated alongside young juvenile offenders in the industrial school.

He said he was disappointed that the courts system that processed thousands of children and labelled them criminals simply because of situations such as marital breakdowns would not be put under the spotlight.

Both the Ryan commission and the earlier Laffoy commission refused to scrutinise the role of the Irish courts in sending children to places such as Artane or the Goldenbridge industrial school in Dublin’s Inchicore district.

Like the individual cases of paedophile priests in the early 1990s, the revelations of widespread child abuse in state-owned but church-run institutions dealt blow after blow to the Catholic church’s authority in the republic.

Yet when the final bill for compensating the thousands of victims of that abuse is counted, the cost will be shouldered, in the main, by the Irish taxpayer rather than the Catholic church.

In June 2002, under a special deal worked out between the Catholic hierarchy and the government, then led by ­Bertie Ahern, the church will pay only €128m (£112m) in compensation.

The overall cost, according to official figures, will be €1.3bn.

Article history+Report on Catholic sex abuse released Rape, beatings and humiliation affected 30,000 children, nine-year inquiry finds+ Clergy who admit abuse ‘courageous’ – archbishopCatholic church sexual abuse in IrelandHenry McDonald on the ‘devastating report’

Andrew Brennan revisited

« 

In the picture below are a mining family. My Grandmother – wife of a Miner. My mother – wife of a Miner, mother of 14. My big sister. My big brother – dead but never forgotten and me.

 ENEMIES OF THE STATE- When Ireland Incarcerated Mothers

Here’s the memorable photo that Andrew talked about at Twitter last night. I just love the way everyone – toddler and all – are all focussing so firmly on the camera. Maybe the younger ones responded to the camera because they were given chocolate biscuits. What a treasure to be given by a neighbour.

I haven’t addressed contents of article, as of yet, but placed photo here in connection with the chat we had, so as to give any prospective reader an inkling, via a Twitter conversation alone – a tiny glimpse of a life of an industrial school inmate.

It actually pains me so much reading the harrowing stuff Andrew had to contend with, that the thought of clicking on to the article gives me the horrors. It goes through me like a dagger. That’s the reality of how the past has affected survivors of industrial schools. The type of lives we lived – which is very alien to a world of people- that has grossly stunted our intellectual and emotional growth. Counsellors have claimed that because of the systematic abuse of the past that a lot of us have not emotionally gone past the age of sixteen years of age. That is a fact. I can concur with that sentiment. Survivors of clerical abuse who were never incarcerated are mostly much more emotionally articulate in being able to express themselves, and are amazing spokespersons for the abused. I used to resent it at first, as I thought that some of them were hijacking our cause, but it’s not that way at all. They are damaged in a different way to us. We do share some of their symptoms. I simply get PTSD symptoms reading about it; just as I do reading stories of other counterparts. I bleed for survivors and the pain they had to withstand as innocent children. It’s hard for those who’ve never had trauma as children to comprehend the devastating effects. They can sometimes think we’re just moaners. who’ve never got their over problems. Shackled brains know no rest.

@MarieTherese39 He’s the boy standing to the right of my Mum and Granny – http://theraggedwagon.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/enemies-of-the-state/ …

Yeah, Andrew certainly knows what he’s talking about, having spent his childhood, along with his siblings in two industrial schools. We had reason to attend a meeting at the dept of education on matters concerning child institutional abuse some years ago, and also on other occasions at ultimatedisposal.com – a site that connected survivors to each other, but has now morphed into just gathering media stuff about child abuse. A. frequently comments at online thejournal.ie newpaper, and his comments are pure gems.

I had a very constructive conversation with him via Twitter DM just recently. It amazes me how strong he is considering all his siblings and himself had to go through in their young lives. He has such a wonderful sense of humour, despite everything he endured in the past

Related reading.

[PDF] Research Guide for Relatives of Magdalene Women  Quick View

Ireland’s Magdalen Laundries and the Nation’s Architecture of  

Magdalene asylum – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Welcome to Justice for Magdalene

Ireland’s Magdalene laundries scandal must be laid to rest | Mary 

Magdalene Laundries

The Magdalene Story

A very Irish sort of hell – theage.com.a

Magdalene laundries apology motion defeated – RTÉ New

Magdalene Laundries Lyrics – Joni Mitchel  › Joni Mitchell Lyrics

The Magdalene Sisters (2002) – IMDb

Here’a an example taken from his blog at theraggedwagon

In those places EVERYTHING was part of your punishment. Mealtimes were a PUNISHMENT. Our food was vile, it really would have been illegal AND cruel to feed pigs on what we “survived” on. Our main food really was bread and dripping. And the dripping wasn’t the nice white strained stuff you’d see on the shelves of Tesco’s all nicely wrapped, nope it was a funny yellow colour.

Right on, Andrew, I too wrote about the GHASTLY food in Goldenbridge, [I must look it up and link to it here.] I know exactly where you are coming from with respect of saying that it was part of the punishment. There was a cold feeling going into the dining-hall at Goldenbridge, especially at supper time at 6: 00p.m. when you knew that two slices of bread with margarine was facing you, with a cup of sugarless dark cocoa. Nothing else. You were famished going into the dining hall and you were almost the same way coming out of it. You left with the same cold feeling. As Bernadette Fahy said in her book Freedom of Angels. One wondered why they went to all the trouble of having to wash dishes, when all that was placed on them was bread – that was oftentimes damp and mouldy. The chore could have been avoided. After all, a slice of bread was literally thrown at us at 3:00p.m.in the prison yard, that Christine Buckley said “where the sun never shone”. It was just a punishment. I can just imagine the ghastly food that was served up to you. We didn’t have bread and dripping, but I do know that it was not long before my time, that it was in existence. Two slices of bread had to sustain us to well after breakfast the next morning. in the interim, we had to go back to St. Bridget’s to continue with the rosary-bead making. No wonder children fainted in the chapel every single morning, as they were starving. You could hear their bellies rumbling with hunger in the stillness of the chapel. The host was a welcome relief, as it sustained them for a while.

As I said up above I had a very fruitful conversation with Andrew recently. The same thing happened last evening on Twitter, John from Cork joined in on the chat.

The Tweets need to be read in reverse. I tried putting them in correct order. Alas,  to my chagrin I had made a complete mess of same, so left well alone.

Raphael Sensei and 3 others retweeted you
12h:

@walkcork @AndrewSB49 MT: “Cruelty Men removed children from homes. I was 1 of them. This http://twitpic.com/baof9o  criminalises me 2 this day”

@MarieTherese39 Agus codladh sámh duit-sé a Mháire. 🙂

@MarieTherese39 @andrewsb49 @mrpaddydoyle Those women’s rights were taken away by religion and state!

@MarieTherese39 @andrewsb49 @mrpaddydoyle In Magdalen laundries adults were held against their will. Police forcibly returned ‘escapees’.

@MarieTherese39 @andrewsb49 @mrpaddydoyle Me too, but as I said earlier, children had rights then too, but they were ignored. Vigilance.

@MarieTherese39 @andrewsb49 Yeah, it was the poor that we’re preyed on by these vampires. The state handed over children in droves.

@MarieTherese39 @andrewsb49 @MrPaddyDoyle Yes, Paddy tweeted this recently. It is a disgrace, the way children were treated in this country.

@MarieTherese39 @andrewsb49 What’s not to unðrstand, Marie Thérèse? They wanted to make as much money as possible out of the children.

@AndrewSB49 @marietherese39 I have never heard of these aspects of industrial schools and court orders, Andrew. They should be broadcast.

13h
Andrew Brennan favorited your Tweets
15h:

@AndrewSB49 Weren’t you blessed to get photo! What a treasure. I remember getting first photo of my mother & uncle. Overwhelmingly emotional
2 other favorites

@MarieTherese39 The only music we heard (or sang) was church music: Tantum Ergo etc. and Jim Reeves! A real Taliban state

@MarieTherese39 He was ordered by judge to pay half a crown each for myself, my brother an sister. 7/6 a month. By 1967 he owed £62.

@MarieTherese39 I was supposed to sing Bless This House – I had Angel’s voice – instead I belted out ‘Off The Hook’ a phone-sex song!

@MarieTherese39 @YouTube I was beaten to within an inch of my life for singing a Stones song in 1965 – in front of local dignitaries.

@MarieTherese39 I have official Garda Siochana files referencing the nuns 18 demands that they search for my father!

@AndrewSB49 @MarieTherese39 @walkcork That’s such an awful thing to have happened to u. So sorry to hear that. Hard to get over, I’d say.

@MarieTherese39 I was out on licence working in Hotel/Guesthouse in Waterford when he died. The owner just told (cont) http://tl.gd/jv7mf9 

@AndrewSB49 Thanks for link. I’ll read it in due course. ‘Out on licence’ caper sickens me 2 the core. We were only children who never erred

@MarieTherese39 They used the ‘out on licence’ to get the Parental Monies. That’s an issue – along with the judiciary – that Ryan avoided.

11:27 PM – 10 Nov 12 · Details

@AndrewSB49 Clever. Child prisoners, eh! Nuns persecuted children whose parents were slow in paying dues. Ryan just dealt w/ certain angles.

@MarieTherese39 I have official Garda Siochana files referencing the nuns 18 demands that they search for my father!

@AndrewSB49 That’s amazing that you got hold of them. Historical data. Was that 2 retrieve monies initially ordered by court? He scarpered?

@MarieTherese39 He was ordered by judge to pay half a crown each for myself, my brother an sister. 7/6 a month. By 1967 he owed £62.

@AndrewSB49 Blimey, he could have bought house with that amount of dosh. You must have felt doubly cheated b/c of his debt. It was so common

14h
John Collins retweeted you
14h:

Survivors of industrial schools/clerical child abuse never got where they did with government by being nice. They’d 2 bring it home sharply
John Collins

@MarieTherese39 I was out on licence working in Hotel/Guesthouse in Waterford when he died. The owner just told (cont) http://tl.gd/jv7mf9 

@MarieTherese39 @andrewsb49 I totally agree with you, Marie Thérèse!! Well, how about it Andrew?

@MarieTherese39 My contact in Southampton was called Muldowney – I think relatives still live in ‘Comer still

@MarieTherese39 @andrewsb49 They had their rights taken from them by religious and state, with no-one to defend their rights.

@MarieTherese39 @andrewsb49 Marie, all inmates of industrial schools, Magdalen laundries etc. had rights but these rights were just ignored.

@MarieTherese39 @andrewsb49 Yes, Andrew is very articulate, and speaks with passion and commitment, based on truth and experience.

15h
Andrew Brennan favorited your Tweet
15h:

@AndrewSB49 Weren’t you blessed to get photo! What a treasure. I remember getting first photo of my mother & uncle. Overwhelmingly emotional
Andrew Brennan

@MarieTherese39 Never saw him again after 1958 – he was 8 years old then. I was 5. Only saw his grave in1982

@AndrewSB49 @marietherese39 Yes, Andrew, slowly but surely. And we can’t do it, without people like you telling your story.

@MarieTherese39 Quite militant miners as well~http://www.sip.ie/sip019B/index1.htm … ~They went on strike once to demand their pay in English pounds!

@MarieTherese39 Our Granny kept him. He wasn’t child of the marriage so he wasn’t hauled before court. He was also born in Magdalene asylum

@walkcork @MarieTherese39 We’re slowly but surely coming out of the dark past I think – despite present circumstances. There’s Hope

@MarieTherese39 Castlecomer mines in Kilkenny! Ironically if he had been consigned to Ind.Schs. he’d be alive today. He died of TB in 68

@MarieTherese39 He knew my family very well and took a raft of photos … he also supplied to me my family genealogy!!

@AndrewSB49 @marietherese39 Andrew, that is a very sad story. Irish society has a lot to answer for.

@MarieTherese39 I got the photo from an elderly Kilkenny man who emigrated to Southampton in 1947 – he revisited Eire only on holidays

@MarieTherese39 “To those whom much is given much is expected.” [Luke –12:48] There are those who don’t draw people to give them attention. Charmed

23h
Martine Brennan retweeted you
23h:

World-wide people are coming forward re: clerical/other child abuse. Irish survivors of institutional & clerical abuse set the ball rolling.
Martine Brennan

Andrew Brennan

This comment by  on the Journal about #crref posters is food for thought… 

A poster tackling the actual reality of childcare in Ireland would be too unwieldy: The State loved its children so much it gave 170,000 of them to the Church to mind. Unfortunately the children were physically and sexually tortured by the Church, and because the State was so in thrall to the Church that it allowed all the torture to continue. On the upside it was mostly children from poor backgrounds that suffered so the media never made a big issue of the odd death of a child here and there – one institution even managed to lose 60 children through death in it’s first year of existence. Needles to say we expanded that Institution and it’s is estimated it ‘lost’ 2,400 children over the 40 years of its existence. Then the State had a great idea and it handed over childcare to the Dept. of Health now the HSE and, would you believe it, children got mislaid. Hundreds of them. To be sure we lost some through death as well mostly children from poor backgrounds. The media made the odd fuss now and again, which was a bit of a sea change, but the HSE managed to keep themselves from getting wet. But things are different now – HONEST! Now we’re going to give other people’s children to other people and things will be grand at last. Trust Us. We Know Stuff About Caring For Children.

Column: We must stop claiming that ‘we never knew  – TheJournal.ie 

Gilmore: Children’s Referendum “never really took fire” – TheJournal.ie 

Children vote on… children’s referendum (They went  – TheJournal.ie

How holy ‘apparitions’ pressed pause on War of  – TheJournal.ie by Susan Daly

Barack Obama wins second term as US President · TheJournal.ie

Prospect of future Saturday voting determined by  – TheJournal.ie

Here is the week’s news… skewed – The Daily Edge – TheJournal.ie

8 memories and 2 little known facts about the Famous Five books

RIRB Dodder tributary

I’m not a very conventional person in any sense at the best of times. So one can make what one likes of this video that I took adjacent to the Residential Redress Board. The gushing water represents [to me, anyway] the torrent of anxiety that was hidden behind survivors of industrial *schools* visages, who went before the commission of inquiry into institutional child abuse to tell the harrowing stories of their despicable, decrepit, inhumane lives in their respective industrial *schools*.

I’ve now exhausted my limitation on uploading snaps. I got following message:

Howdy!

Looks like you have used 3.0 GB of your 3.0 GB upload limit (100%). Since you are close to your limit…

I could paste the snaps in, but would have bother aligning them, which has been the case with others, and really, I found therefore that they would be more trouble than they’re worth. I enjoyed uploading my own photos. They helped incredibly with learning how to express what I saw in the snaps in writing. It’s not as easy as it looks to someone in literacy education.

On another level one could see the video as a rejuvenation and cleansing experience that also would have taken place when survivors outpoured all the pain and hurt to the RIRB. I know that it was for me a very cathartic experience.