March Comments 2017

ANON Mar 29th, 2017 @ 07:59 PM

Church ‘must reply to victims’, says Vatican's child protection commission…

The Vatican’s child protection commission, from which an Irish abuse survivor resigned in protest in recent weeks, has told the Pope that the Church needs to start responding “directly and compassionately” to the victims of clerical abuse.

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, of which Marie Collins was a founding member, met for its eighth Plenary Assembly over the past weekend.

Ms Collins stepped down from the commission at the start of March blaming “the resistance by some members of the Vatican Curia to the work of the commission”.

At the time, she said the lack of cooperation, “particularly by the dicastery most involved in dealing with cases of abuse, has been shameful.”

Following its assembly, the commission issued a statement in which it said members have unanimously agreed “to find new ways to ensure its work is shaped and informed with and by victims/survivors”.

“The commission discussed the importance of responding directly and compassionately to victims/survivors when they write to offices of the Holy See,” the statement read.

“Members agreed that acknowledging correspondence and giving a timely and personal response is one part of furthering transparency and healing.

“They acknowledged that this is a significant task due to the volume and nature of the correspondence and requires clear and specific resources and procedures.

They have agreed to send further recommendations to Pope Francis for consideration.”

The commission also said a “central topic” of its assembly has been Marie Collins’s resignation.

“The commission members expressed strong support for her and her continuing work to promote healing for victims of abuse and the prevention of all abuse of minors and vulnerable adults,” it said.

“They also expressed their particular gratitude that Marie Collins has agreed to continue working with the commission’s educational programs for new bishops and the offices of the Roman Curia.”

ANON Mar 26th, 2017 @ 11:56 AM

1/3...Ireland’s forgotten diaspora banished unwed mothers and adopted babies…

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny visited the US last week for what many in Ireland see as his farewell, St. Patrick’s Day tour.

But by traveling to America, Mr. Kenny also briefly escaped a scandal that shows no sign of abating back home.

Recent news headlines scream, “Tuam mother and baby home a chamber of horrors says Taoiseach” and “Enda Kenny says babies were treated like ‘some kind of sub-species.’”

Tuam was ostensibly a maternity home, providing services to unmarried mothers and their illegitimate children. It was owned by Galway County Council, managed by Catholic nuns, and inspected by the State.

Earlier this month, the government’s “Commission of Investigation” vindicated the claims of local historian Catherine Corless, who asserted in 2014 that 798 children had died at the Tuam Home.

Tests now confirm the presence of human remains in a series of underground chambers, consistent with young children from the period in which the Home operated (1926-1961).

The Sisters of the Bon Secours interred infant remains in what Minister for Children Katherine Zappone who visited Boston last week describes as “a series of chambers that may have formed part of sewage treatment works.”


The story connects to Ireland’s relationship with America as well. Institutions like Tuam sent over 2,000 children to the US for adoption between the late 1940s and early 1970s.

Ireland provided the requisite passport; the US Embassy in Dublin facilitated entry to the country by issuing a visa; and US Catholic Charities were anxious to provide oversight. We know a version of this story from the "Philomena" movie.

ANON Mar 26th, 2017 @ 11:53 AM

2/3...Meanwhile, other babies were trafficked illegally the Irish Examiner reporting that senior Irish officials in 2012 expressed concern for as many as 1,000 children trafficked from the Tuam institution alone. No investigation ensued.

And, countless Irish mothers left these institutions and came to America as Philomena Lee traveled to England to start over, to escape the shame, stigma, and secrecy.

Many carry their loss in silence, like a scar that goes unseen.

These mothers and children are Ireland’s hidden Diaspora.

More than all this, these revelations confront Irish society with questions that are not going away.

The Tuam story, lest we forget, follows on from the Ryan Report (2009) documenting “endemic” sexual abuse in residential institutions, the McAleese Report (2013) detailing arbitrary detention and compulsory labor in Magdalene Laundries, along with the reports confirming clerical abuse in the dioceses of Ferns (2005), Dublin (2009), and Cloyne (2011).

Mother and Baby Homes were never secret. Women in these institutions were daughters, sisters, and cousins. Children therein siblings, grandchildren were “boarded-out,” adopted, or transferred to Industrial Schools.

The Homes had a chaplain appointed by the local archbishop. They had State-licensed medical officers.

They interacted with local businesses.

Twice a year these institutions supplied information on individual children, including deaths, to Ireland’s Department of Health.

In 2012, the Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) advocacy group submitted evidence to the McAleese Committee for 26 babies at Tuam in the mid-1950s, the “whereabouts” of whose mothers on the aforementioned forms indicated “In the Magdalen.” One 10-month old baby died in Tuam while its mother washed society’s dirty laundry twenty miles away in Galway.

ANON Mar 26th, 2017 @ 11:49 AM

3/3...Irish society can no longer plead ignorance, and Tuam is clearly not an isolated case.

How many other children were discarded in mass graves? How many subject to vaccine trials without informed parental consent?

How many bodies sold to Ireland’s medical schools?

How many illegally adopted from these homes?

How many mothers transferred to Magdalene Laundries? And, how do the answers to these questions involve America?

Mr. Kenny’s government must now expand the Commission of Investigation’s Terms of Reference. It must ensure greater transparency in the Commission’s work. It must advertise the Commission’s existence to the “banished babies” and their mothers living in the US Ireland’s “hidden” Diaspora.

And, it must embrace Minister Zappone’s call for transitional justice to supplement the ongoing investigation accepting the truth that these events happened, owning them as part of the nation’s story, honoring the victims and acknowledging survivors, and recognizing the parts played by individuals, communities and institutions.

Herein lies a path towards truth and restorative justice.

In the days following the publication of the Cloyne Report (2011), Mr. Kenny asserted, “This is not Rome. Nor is it industrial-school or Magdalene Ireland.

This is a Republic of laws, of rights and responsibilities, of proper civic order where the delinquency and arrogance of a particular version of a particular kind of morality will no longer be tolerated or ignored.”

Is Ireland truly a different society today?

James M Smith is associate professor in the English department at Boston College.
He is author of Ireland’s Magdalen Laundries and the Nation’s Architecture of Containment, co-editor of Children, Childhood and Irish Society, and a member of JFM Research

ANON Mar 26th, 2017 @ 11:46 AM

1/2...Christian Brothers drop threat to sue abuse survivor…

The Christian Brothers dropped a threat to sue an abuse survivor over records he took from an industrial school in Limerick after his case was raised in the Dail.

Tom Wall, who survived a childhood of abuse at an industrial school in Glin, says he was asked by the Christian Brothers to burn the records when the school closed in
1973.

But he retained many of the files, including his own.

The Christian Brothers claimed ownership of the files after Wall donated them to the University of Limerick and threatened legal action.

The religious order backed down after Niall Collins, the Fianna Fail TD, raised Wall's case in the Dail last Wednesday. Deputy Collins called on the State to intervene to secure the records, which he said included "contracts for sale" that showed how children were effectively "sold into slavery".

The case has highlighted concerns about the records held by religious orders on the mothers and children who were incarcerated in their institutions.

Survivors have complained about the difficulties accessing the records which the Minister for Children, Katherine Zappone, said was "disconcerting".

Collins yesterday called for a "central register" of the records held by all religious orders to provide ease of access for people who "shouldn't have to beg" for information about their childhoods.

ANON Mar 26th, 2017 @ 11:44 AM

2/2...While religious orders gave their files on children adopted from their homes to Tusla some years ago, many organisations still maintain their own archives.

Tusla has no powers to seize records relating to children but the Government is pushing through legislation to centralise records with the Adoption Authority, which will have those powers.

Mr Wall's records include contracts that stipulate that wages earned by boys on apprenticeships be paid to the Christian Brothers, and that unopened letters that children wrote to their parents were confiscated by the Christian Brothers.

"Once the children got to Glin, they were completely cut off from the outside world," he said.

Mr Wall said the records of all religious orders should be in one central archive.

"It should have been done years ago. But by the time the religious orders hand over their archives, you will only get what the religious orders want you to see."

The Christian Brothers, which maintains its own archive of records in Dublin, wanted the original documents returned. Following Niall Collins's intervention, the Christian Brothers contacted him to say the order was now happy to accept copies.

Once the legal details are finalised, Tom Wall will give the records to the University of Limerick.

The Minister for Children is expected to publish an interim report from the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby homes this week.

The report is believed to recommend a redress scheme for the mothers and children who were abused in these homes which is expected to be discussed by government ministers next week.

ANON Mar 24th, 2017 @ 11:34 AM

1/2...Child abuse survivors angry at lack of consultation on memorial…

The Department of Education has been criticised by child abuse survivors for failing to consult them on the possible replacement of a permanent memorial with an exhibition.

The Irish Examiner revealed this month that, instead of the memorial recommended in the 2009 Ryan Report on institutional child abuse, Richard Bruton’s officials are looking at the possibility of a permanent exhibition.

The department said it was “engaging with potential interested parties” about whether an exhibition could be held in a public institution, as it says potential sites identified by Dublin City Council would not be suitable for the proposed memorial.

However, the department has also told the Irish Examiner that the committee established by ex-minister Batt O’Keeffe to oversee the process was not consulted.
he six-member group includes two representatives of institutional abuse survivors. It was formed to oversee implementation of the first recommendation of the Ryan Report, which was the erection of a permanent memorial as a reminder to future generations of what happened in industrial schools and other institutions.

However, it has not been convened since shortly after An Bord Pleanála refused planning permission in November 2013 for a memorial that had been planned to overlap with the Garden of Remembrance in inner city Dublin.

ANON Mar 24th, 2017 @ 11:32 AM

2/2...Bernadette Fahy, a former resident of Goldenbridge industrial school in Dublin, and a co-founder of the Aislinn Centre, said she suspects the committee has not been kept informed by the department as the memorial has fallen down the list of government priorities.

“They told us they would explore possible sites with Dublin City Council, but it’s nearly four years since planning was refused. We expected to hear from them, that’s where it was left,” she said.

The Department of Education said the idea of a “permanent exhibition” had not yet been discussed with the memorial committee because it is at an early stage, but any decision would be taken in consultation with survivor groups.

Paddy Doyle, the other survivor representative on the memorial committee, said he does not accept that the department was just scoping the idea first.

“They should absolutely have consulted us even before doing that, I would feel very strongly, even the courtesy of a phonecall to seek our view on this. Nobody, it doesn’t matter who they are, should ride roughshod over the committee, even if they’re only sitting down talking about it,” he said.

He and Ms Fahy did not rule out support for the idea of an exhibition, although Ms Fahy reiterated her belief that the Garden of Remembrance site would have been the ideal location.

The overturning of Dublin City Council’s grant of permission to the project hinged largely on the impact on the adjoining memorial to those who died fighting for Irish independence.

Ms Fahy said it would be interesting to know what alternative sites had been identified and why the department ruled them out.

“It’s been nearly 10 years, and there isn’t a brick laid and not a glimmer of light. What is it that they can’t communicate with a group they set up themselves, they seem to be talking to everybody else,” she said.

ANON Mar 24th, 2017 @ 11:29 AM

1/2...State accused of limiting payouts to child abuse victims…

The Government are deliberately trying to limit compensation to those who were abused as children in primary schools, the Dáil has heard.

Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin has accused the Government of applying a “bogus interpretation and application” of the Louise O’Keeffe judgement to other victims of abuse in a bid to avoid payouts.

In 2014, Ms O’Keeffe won a landmark case when the European Court of Human Rights ruled the Irish State had been negligent in failing to protect her from abuse in primary school. This left the State liable to pay compensation to Ms O’Keeffe, and looked like it set a precedent for other victims.

However, yesterday the Dáil heard the Government is behaving in an “appalling manner” by forcing other victims to take the costly route through the European Court of Human Rights to get a proper application of the judgement.

Mr Martin said: “This is not complex, it is quite simple. What happened after the Louise O’Keeffe judgement, it seems to me, is the Government asked how the hell would it limit this and how would it prevent genuine people who have been abused, and whose abusers have been convicted and limit the numbers.

This is what is going on and it is scandalous.”

Taoiseach Enda Kenny admitted the State had “been cautious, to put it mildly, about this”.

However, he was then accused of being “disingenuous” when he went on interpret Mr Martin’s question as relating to all abuse cases in primary schools which could stretch back to before the foundation of the State.

ANON Mar 24th, 2017 @ 11:26 AM

2/2...“What Deputy Martin is talking about now in the language he uses here is not just those who have come forward and were sexually abused in primary schools, but about looking at all the generations who went through primary schools, some of whom might not have understood the nature of sexual abuse or whatever.”

Mr Martin said this was disingenuous of the Taoiseach: “He knows full well what I am saying. It is the application by the Government of an interpretation of the Louise O’Keeffe judgment.”

He raised the case of John Allen, who was sexually abused by a Christian Brother, who he said has been seeking justice for 17 years.

“He is in very difficult financial circumstances and suffering from a chronic disease. He has had huge anxiety and trauma as a result of this. He has been dragged through the courts. There are many other victims as well,” Mr Martin said, referring 15 other similar cases.

He said the State was now using a “bogus” interpretation of the O’Keeffe case though the invocation of the prior complaint mechanism.

This prior complaint qualification means the abuse must have taken place after a complaint was made to the school and where the school failed to act on such a complaint.

“Only seven out of 360 cases have been settled via this mechanism,” Mr Martin said. “I am speaking about people where convictions have taken place and the abusers are now in jail. In John Allen’s case this is exactly what has happened, but he has been pursuing justice for 17 years.”

ANON Mar 24th, 2017 @ 11:24 AM

1/2...Court rules victims of Brendan Smyth entitled to full hearing for damages.

The Supreme Court has ruled that three victims of paedophile priest Brendan Smyth are entitled to a full hearing of their claim for damages in the High Court.

The three had appealed a previous ruling that they were bound by the settlement of cases they had taken in Northern Ireland.

The man, his sister and their cousin - were sexually abused as children by Smyth between 1969 and 1988.

In the late 1990s, they settled actions in the Belfast High Court for £25,000 each for the man and the cousin and £16,000 for the sister.

They say they learned from newspapers in 2012, that the Catholic Church authorities had been informed of Smyth's abuse as far back as 1975, by another boy. The same boy had also said the man in this case had been away on a holiday with Smyth where abuse occurred.

As a result, they brought new proceedings here claiming, among other things, that they had suffered a recurrence of trauma as a result of the publication of that information.

They sued Bishop Leo O'Reilly in his capacity as representative of the Kilmore diocese and former Cardinal Sean Brady, in his personal capacity arising from his role as part-time secretary to former Bishop of Kilmore, Francis McKiernan.

They claimed if steps had been taken in 1975, then it was probable the abuse of the man in this case might have ended and that of the sister and the cousin might never have even begun, it was claimed.

It was also asserted the Northern Ireland settlements did not represent the full monetary value of their claim and the church had concealed or failed to disclose information when making those settlements.

In 2014 the High Court halted the actions against Bishop O'Reilly on the basis that the proceedings had previously been subject to "accord and satisfaction" (in Northern Ireland).

The three appealed and in November 2015, the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court decision, similarly on the basis of prior accord and satisfaction.

They were given leave to appeal that decision to the Supreme Court which heard the case earlier this month.

ANON Mar 24th, 2017 @ 11:21 AM

2/2...Overturning the Court of Appeal decision, Mr Justice Donal O'Donnell, on behalf of a five-judge Supreme Court, said the matter should go back to the High Court for full hearing.

Mr Justice O'Donnell said it was doubtful that the question of prior accord and satisfaction in this case could ever have been capable of being dealt with as a preliminary issue by the High Court, without the hearing of oral evidence.

The High Court had ruled there could be no oral evidence even though the plaintiffs had a Queen's Counsel to give evidence on the question of whether the Northern Ireland settlements represented full value of the claim, Mr Justice O'Donnell said.

They also had the evidence of the man who as a boy had been abused by Smyth and had told the church authorities of it.

The plaintiffs may have been left with an understandable sense of grievance that they were precluded from adducing any evidence on the issue before their claims were determined, he said. This could have been avoided if the mode of trial had been fixed in advance.

This was a complex case and the issue of prior accord and satisfaction was anything but clear-cut. This was best illustrated in the case of the sister who had only sued Smyth's religious order, the Norbertines, in Belfast.

The brother and cousin had sued the Norbertines, then Cardinal, Cathal Daly, and Smyth himself.

The sister's settlement did not state that it was also against third parties and, on that basis alone, the conclusion that she was bound by that settlement not to bring further proceedings "must be doubtful".

The question of whether the Belfast settlements could also cover any actions here against Bishop O'Reilly and Cardinal Daly must also be doubtful, he said.

Mr Justice O'Donnell was satisfied the legal issues in these cases are not readily disposed of by a single preliminary hearing on the question of accord and satisfaction but are rather "best dealt with at a hearing in which all the evidence can be adduced." 24/3/2017

ANON Mar 23rd, 2017 @ 12:19 PM

1/2...Christian Brothers papers show children being ‘sold into slavery’…

Documents, including contracts that showed children being “effectively sold into slavery”, are at the centre of a dispute between the Christian Brothers and a former industrial school resident who retained the papers for more than 40 years.

Tom Wall, a former resident of St Joseph’s industrial school in Glin, Co Limerick, obtained the documents in 1973, when the Christian Brothers who were leaving Glin asked him to burn files on every resident.

Mr Wall held onto his own file as well as a significant number of files on other residents. In 2015, he donated them to the University of Limerick so they could be maintained and catalogued.

Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins told the Dáil that the Christian Brothers were now threatening legal action and seeking to recover all the documents from the university.

He called on the State to intervene to secure the documents.

The Limerick TD said Mr Wall believed the Brothers could have a copy of the documents but not the originals because he felt they “cannot be trusted” with exclusive possession of the original documents.

A number of the documents “are incriminating”, he said.

Holding up one document in the Dáil, Mr Collins said it was “effectively a contract for sale under which boys were sold out of the industrial school into the labour market”.

He said boys worked for a number of years on farms, but the Christian Brothers were paid by the farmers.

“The boys were effectively sold into slavery.”

ANON Mar 23rd, 2017 @ 12:16 PM

2/2...Letters home…

The documents included health reports, referral letters from the courts service, education referral letters from the Department of Education, and “letters the boys in the schools wrote to their parents and families, which were never sent by the Christian Brothers”.

Mr Collins said many of them were State papers, and he asked Minister for Education Richard Bruton to take possession of the documents and to meet Mr Wall to hear his account.

The TD said he had also written to the chief executive of Tusla but had not yet received a reply.

Mr Bruton said, however, that as far as he could establish his department had no power to seize or “essentially put a freeze on what are private records in this context.

I cannot be decisive on that issue because I do not know whether powers reside in another department”.

The Minister said he would get back to Mr Collins.

He also said it would be inappropriate for him to get involved in meetings sides in the dispute when it was potentially being litigated in the courts.

ANON Mar 23rd, 2017 @ 12:13 PM

1/2...Government alarm at possible redress for mother and baby home victims…

Report recommends extending compensation scheme for residential child abuse

The existing redress scheme for victims of residential child abuse could be reopened to cover those abused as children in mother and baby homes, an unpublished report to the Government has recommended.


The proposal is contained in the second interim report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, The Irish Times has learned. It has caused alarm in Government circles, due to the cost of the existing scheme.

It says the redress scheme established in 2002 could be used again to provide compensation for those who were abused as children in mother and baby homes.

The redress board was set up under the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002 to make “fair and reasonable awards” to those who were abused as children “while resident in industrial schools, reformatories and other institutions subject to State regulation or inspection” from the mid-1930s to the 1970s.

It stopped taking applications in 2011, but the second interim report from Judge Yvonne Murphy raises the prospect of reopening or extending it to cover those abused in mother and baby homes.

It is understood, however, that the new proposal has caused alarm across Government because of the cost of the first scheme, which totalled €1.5 billion up to the end of 2015.

ANON Mar 23rd, 2017 @ 12:11 PM

2/2...Religious congregations

An indemnity agreement was also signed in 2002 between the State and 18 religious congregations, which meant the State became liable for any claims made against them.

It was agreed by the religious orders to contribute cash, property and other resources totalling €128 million. At the end of 2015, €21 million of this remained to be transferred to the State.

The latest report is understood to say, in effect, that those who were abused in mother and baby homes are in the same position as those who were in industrial schools, but that they have not received redress.

It is understood that the second interim report does not get into specific details of any compensation plans, but does cite the 2002 redress scheme.

It is not clear if the Government will take up the latest suggestion outlined by Ms Murphy, the chairwoman of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes. One senior Government figure said: “Nobody wants to go down that road again.”

The commission comes under the remit of Minister for Children Katherine Zappone.
Sources said the Department of Education, which administers the 2002 scheme, has strong reservations about Judge Murphy’s suggestions. The Department of Public

Expenditure is also worried about the cost implications.

Ms Zappone has been repeatedly pressed in the Dáil for the reason for the delay in publishing the second interim report, which she received last autumn.

A briefing on it was given to Cabinet in the autumn, but a number of Ministers could not remember a redress scheme being discussed.

Well-informed sources said the delay in its publication was due to the controversial nature of the proposed form of redress.

ANON Mar 23rd, 2017 @ 12:07 PM

Child sex offence recorded by police every 10 minutes, NSPCC says…

A child sex offence is recorded by police every 10 minutes in the UK, according to the NSPCC.

The charity says a record 55,507 suspected sexual crimes against under-18s were logged in 2015/16, which is almost a 20% increase on the previous 12 months.
Campaigners are calling for more funding to be made available to train the police in catching online abusers, and helping the victims.

The NSPCC used figures provided by the 43 police forces in England and Wales to estimate the current extent of the problem, with an average of 152 offences being reported on a daily basis.

Its estimates suggest a total of 13,565 crimes were recorded against children aged 10 and under, with 2,799 of these crimes perpetrated against children aged four and under.

In reality, the real number of victims will never be known, as many children do not come forward because of fear, embarrassment or simply because they do not realise they are being abused.

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: "This steep rise lays bare just how extensive this appalling crime against children has become.

"Sexual abuse can shatter a child's life and leave them feeling ashamed, depressed, or even suicidal. Now, more than ever, victims need help as soon as possible to help them recover from their ordeals and go on to lead full and happy lives.

"Government must commit funds to early intervention that better help these children who through no fault of their own are enduring so much pain."

To cope with the numbers of children coming forward, the NSPCC is calling for specialist training for police investigating online child abuse, effective rehabilitation for child sex offenders, and investment in early intervention services to help children recover.

ANON Mar 23rd, 2017 @ 12:05 PM

Six child sex offences reported every day, figures show…

There are six child sex offence allegations reported to police every day on average, NSPCC Cymru has said.

Welsh forces revealed there were 2,238 complaints made in 2015-16 - a 33% rise on the year before.

In the Dyfed-Powys area, allegations rose by 107% from 328 to 679 but in Gwent they dropped from 706 to 389.

NSPCC Cymru gained the figures through Freedom of Information Act requests and called for investment in early recovery services for abused children.

Head of the charity, Des Mannion, said: "Sexual abuse can shatter a child's life and without help have lifelong impacts.

"Victims need help to speak out and support to help them recover from their ordeals and go on to lead full and happy lives."

The figures represent a 33% increase on 2014-15 when 1,752 were recorded, with the figure rising from 398 to 584 in north Wales and from 637 to 753 in south Wales.
Of those reported in the past year, 643 were relating to children under ten and at least 185 were aged four and under.

Mr Mannion also pointed to the "increasing prevalence of online offending" and called on public sector bodies to help formulate an action plan against it.

South Wales Police has highlighted the challenges faced with chat rooms and different apps - pointing to how children at home in their bedrooms are at risk of being targeted.

It launched Operation Net Safe in November 2016, with police and crime commissioner Alun Michael saying it is to "protect the most vulnerable in our communities".

ANON Mar 23rd, 2017 @ 12:02 PM

Sunday school teacher jailed for sex abuse of boy…

A Sunday school teacher who was described by his victim as “a monster” has been jailed for 4½ years for sexually abusing the boy more than 20 years ago.

Thomas Garvan (64), who has a previous conviction for a sexual offence, was a trusted family friend of the then 11-year old boy.

Garvan of of Corbally Glade, Westbrook Glen, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to seven sample charges of sexually abusing the boy on dates between December 1996 and October 1999. The victim was aged between 11 and 14 at the time.

The now 32-year-old man stated in his victim impact report: “How could a monster like that ruin kids’ lives. He has destroyed my life entirely and I can never get it back.

My chance of getting a job, my chance of having a normal relationship with my children and partner are all destroyed.”

He said he started taking cocaine as it helped him to block out the abuse but it sent him “off the rails”. He said he had had several jobs but could not hold any of them down.

“I didn’t care about anything. I never had a meaningful relationship. I had an excessive interest in sex trying to show myself I was a real man.” He said he got two women pregnant in the same year. He had tried to commit suicide three times and he felt he never had the chance to grow into a man.

Garda Tom O’Riordan told Maddie Grant, prosecuting, that he was contacted in November 2014 by the mother of the victim. She said her son was not ready to speak to gardaí yet but she was looking for advice on how to deal with the situation.

Two months later the victim made a formal complaint to gardaí stating he had been abused many times in Garvan’s home when he was a young boy.

Garvan was given a two-year suspended sentence in June 2015 after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a different 11-year-old boy in May 2013.

This sentence was partly reactivated after Garvan failed to co-operate with the Probation Service.

Benson Mar 23rd, 2017 @ 12:01 PM

Documents, including contracts that showed children being “effectively sold into slavery”, are at the centre of a dispute between the Christian Brothers and a former industrial school resident who retained the papers for more than 40 years.

Tom Wall, a former resident of St Joseph’s industrial school in Glin, Co Limerick, obtained the documents in 1973, when the Christian Brothers who were leaving Glin asked him to burn files on every resident.

Mr Wall held onto his own file as well as a significant number of files on other residents. In 2015, he donated them to the University of Limerick so they could be maintained and catalogued.

Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins told the Dáil that the Christian Brothers were now threatening legal action and seeking to recover all the documents from the university. He called on the State to intervene to secure the documents.

The Limerick TD said Mr Wall believed the Brothers could have a copy of the documents but not the originals because he felt they “cannot be trusted” with exclusive possession of the original documents. A number of the documents “are incriminating”, he said.

Holding up one document in the Dáil, Mr Collins said it was “effectively a contract for sale under which boys were sold out of the industrial school into the labour market”.

He said boys worked for a number of years on farms, but the Christian Brothers were paid by the farmers. “The boys were effectively sold into slavery.”
Letters home

The documents included health reports, referral letters from the courts service, education referral letters from the Department of Education, and “letters the boys in the schools wrote to their parents and families, which were never sent by the Christian Brothers”.

Mr Collins said many of them were State papers, and he asked Minister for Education Richard Bruton to take possession of the documents and to meet Mr Wall to hear his account.

The TD said he had also written to the chief executive of Tusla but had not yet received a reply.

Mr Bruton said, however, that as far as he could establish his department had no power to seize or “essentially put a freeze on what are private records in this context. I cannot be decisive on that issue because I do not know whether powers reside in another department”.

The Minister said he would get back to Mr Collins.

He also said it would be inappropriate for him to get involved in meetings sides in the dispute when it was potentially being

ANON Mar 23rd, 2017 @ 11:51 AM

Reports of child sex abuse in Northern Ireland at highest level ever…

Five child sex offences are recorded every day in Northern Ireland, shocking figures have revealed.

Police said 1,809 sex crimes against children were reported here last year - the highest ever level and up 5% on the previous year. The offences included rape and sexual assault.

A total of 777 crimes were recorded against children aged 11 and under - 230 of these were perpetrated against those aged five and under.

But it is feared this could be the tip of the iceberg, as campaigners say many young people may not have come forward because they are afraid, embarrassed or do not realise they have been abused.

Across the UK the figure rose to a record 55,507 last year - an average of one child every 10 minutes.

The figures were released after Freedom of Information requests by the NSPCC.
The charity believes the increase may be partly down to improvements in police recording methods.

It said more people may have been encouraged to come forward by high-profile cases in the news.

Online grooming is also thought to have made it easier for predators to target multiple children.

Colin Reid from NSPCC NI said: "These figures speak for themselves regarding the extent of this problem and the urgent need to protect children against these appalling crimes.

"Sexual abuse can shatter a child's life and leave them feeling ashamed, depressed or even suicidal.

"Now, more than ever, victims need support as soon as possible to help them recover from their ordeals and go on to lead full and happy lives.

"Government here must commit funds to early intervention programmes that better help these children who, through no fault of their own, are enduring so much pain.

"Given the increasing prevalence of online offending, we need to ensure children and young people are enabled to protect themselves and we urge the new Executive to take forward the e-safety strategy."

The charity is calling for the Executive and Government departments to prioritise putting in a place a public health approach for the prevention of child sex abuse.
It has also called for effective resources to be made available for the police to tackle online offending.

ANON Mar 22nd, 2017 @ 03:54 PM

Mother and baby home truth probe set to be rejected…

The Government is set to oppose an opposition motion this week advocating a truth commission to investigate mother and baby homes.

TDs will this evening debate Sinn Féin proposals for a truth commission, modelled on those of other countries, that would hear from survivors groups.

The motion proposes allowing such an inquiry “unfettered” access to documentation. It would also examine how people were treated in Magdalene laundries and industrial schools and allow for public or private hearings.

All mother and baby home sites would come under its remit and the inquiry would consider the State’s role in placing people there and in other institutions.

The motion, led by Cork TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, is expected to be opposed by Government.

Sources close to Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone said the proposals were “not as nuanced” as her own ambitions for a truth commission.

She has initiated a scoping exercise around such a commission, but is awaiting contributions from historians, academics, and journalists, among others, before committing.

Elsewhere, a scheme to relocate flood victims will be discussed at Cabinet today. Families living in flood-prone areas could get large sums to help relocate under proposals from Sean Canney, the junior minister with responsibility for the Office of Public Works.

It is thought €2m may initially go towards the scheme, but Cabinet may expand it at a later stage.

The voluntary relocation scheme would apply to owners who cannot get insurance and whose home is badly damaged.

Meanwhile, Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar will update colleagues on proposals to extend free dental and optician benefits to the self employed.

He will also suggest the Government not oppose a Labour bill in the Seanad, which proposes allowing same-sex partners to benefit from occupational pension schemes.

ANON Mar 22nd, 2017 @ 03:51 PM

1/2...The happiest end - Mother and Baby from Clare home reunited….

"Her adoptive parents had been magnificently caring and she had a lovely childhood with them but, always, had the wish to make contact with her birth mother in West Clare."Caty Bartholomew

Here is a heartwarming true story from about 20 years ago which began on the pages of the Irish Voice.

I am deliberately recalling it now in an effort to slightly balance that dreadful discovery in Galway recently of the bodies of scores of infants secretly buried in septic tanks on the grounds of a home for unmarried mothers and their babies run by an order of nuns for decades up until the late fifties.

That horror from our immediate past will now be fully investigated but, in the meantime, here is the story of a lovely woman called Mary Kowalski from New Jersey as far as I can remember, whom I met because I read in the Irish Voice that she was coming over from the U.S. to Co. Clare to try and contact her birth mother.

I will never forget Mary, and if perchance she reads this I hope she is as happy today as she was the last time I saw her.

Mary's mother became pregnant outside marriage, you see, and in the priest-ridden Ireland of the time there was a great stigma and shame attached to that.

The homes run by orders of nuns were about the only refuge there was apart from flight to England forever.

It is now known clearly that both the state and the religious orders failed to live up to their responsibilities on that front. There were many abuses at every level, and this was reflected in a mortality rate for the poor babies which was thrice the level of other infants.

It is also now known that many of the babies born in the homes were effectively sold by the religious orders to adoptive parents in the U.S. Mary Kowalski was one of the lucky ones as it transpires.

From some home in the Midlands she was taken away from her mother for an American adoption.

Her memory as a child was of her weeping mother running after the car as she departed.

ANON Mar 22nd, 2017 @ 03:48 PM

2/2...Having read she was coming to Clare to try and contact her birth mother, the official channels having failed her, I contacted her at her Clare base and invited her to come on my radio show on Clare FM and tell her story.

She came in to me very stressed and emotional, clutching a soft toy her birth mother had given her all those years before. She was accompanied by her supportive Scandinavian husband, and she needed him by her side because her story was not easy to tell on air.

In synopsis, this elegant middle-aged lady told me that her adoptive parents had been magnificently caring and she had a lovely childhood with them but, always, had the wish to make contact with her birth mother in West Clare.

She had attempted this as an adult for years through the official channels but had always failed. It is now also known that both the state and the religious orders always made it difficult for such contacts to be made.

Mary did not weep during her interview, the soft toy twirling in her hands as she spoke, but she clearly needed the silent support of her husband and any help I could give during our chat. It was powerfully poignant stuff which had the switchboard muted all the time as Clare listened to it all.

When the interview ended I wished her warmly well and the couple departed.

And I went on to the next item on the show and thought that was probably it.
So was I not delighted altogether when Mary called me inside 10 days, just before St. Patrick's Day that year, to say that she had good news for me.

She came back into the radio station, gloriously happy, and it was an uplifting story altogether because her birth mother had heard the show, had contacted her, and they had met.

It got even more heartwarming when she revealed that her mother and her biological father had married after her departure from the scene, and not alone had she met both of them, and loved them, but she had also met brothers and sisters who had welcomed her into her newly discovered family with open arms.

I have never in my life seen anyone happier than Mary Kowalski that day and, as I said, I will never forget her.

There are good stories too in this cruel world and this one began on one of these pages.

ANON Mar 22nd, 2017 @ 03:35 PM

The three people who were “directly responsible” for leaving ‘Grace’ in a foster home in 1996 have retired and are in receipt of full HSE pensions despite their failure to protect her, it has emerged....

Fresh correspondence from Tony O’Brien, director general of the HSE, to the chairman of the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee, Sean Fleming, reveals how the three people were part of a wider five-person panel