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Favourites Religion

Christian Brothers and Sex Education

We had a teacher years ago, a Christian Brother called Kelly.  He was a little rat-faced fellow with buck teeth, very intense, very serious, a good teacher of Latin and mathematics.  He was the year head which meant he was responsible for keeping us reasonably well behaved and I have to admit his job wasn’t easy.   There’s no getting around it.  We were a bunch of jerks.   Fourteen-year-old pricks.

I’d say he couldn’t have been more than about 27 or 28, but there was something in his over-controlled demeanour that suggested he was battling demons.  You could see by his eyes that he wasn’t a man to cross, and we didn’t.  We might have been jerks but we weren’t fools.

He  wasn’t one of those teachers who try to make friends with the kids.  Most of the time he was fair, but you were in no doubt who the boss was.  He used his leather sparingly but with great effect.

Kelly turned up one morning even more tense than usual.  His face was tight and his eyes bulged.  He looked like someone who had been awake all night staring at the ceiling and now that I have the benefit of many years hindsight, I think he probably had no sleep.  Yesterday’s chalk-dust still coated his soutane and his frizzy hair.

Today, he hissed, we’re going to talk about sssexsssss!!

Oh shit, we all thought.

His ratty little eyes darted around the classroom, daring any of us to snigger.  This man was boiling with rage.

The time comes when a boy starts to hanker after sssexxxssss,  he spat.

Jesus Christ, everyone was thinking.  This sounds like evil shit.

And for a full three-quarters of an hour, Kelly went on to spell out the mechanics of sexual intercourse in graphic detail, his voice filled with rage and disgust as he did his best to indoctrinate us with the belief that sex was shameful.

I now realise that he had no idea what he was talking about.

Poor Kelly had learned all the nonsense he was spouting from some Christian Brothers pamphlet produced by another equally-inadequate celibate.  His rage and disgust were directed inwards at himself, having probably been recruited as a young lad like us, whisked away to a monastery, with no affection, no family around him, no intimacy, no outlet for his emotions.  I now realise that Kelly was fizzing and popping because, intelligent man that he was, something inside him knew what he had missed out on.  But the Christian Brothers machine that controlled him was running at full throttle, and the misfortunate Kelly was in many ways no more than a glove puppet.

I can still see him, the poor rat-faced, buck-toothed little fellow, pacing around the classroom, hissing Sssexxxssss! with the contained rage that only a 28-year-old virgin might possess.

Any questionsss?

You must be kidding.  Any questions?  We all stared at our desks, hoping against hope that the torture would end soon.

In a parallel universe, I might be sitting there as an adult he’d be afraid to hit, and I sometimes think I’d like to ask a question.

Brother, did you ever have sex?

But you know, that might be an extreme cruelty to inflict on a man who was clearly tottering on the edge of the abyss.

I often wonder what became of him afterwards.

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Previously

Memories of a Violent Teacher

Letterfrack

Confronting the Past

Categories
Favourites Society

Elocution Lessons and The Loss of Local Irish Accents

When I was a kid, the Christian Brothers decided they should improve us.

And so they employed an appalling old snob as an elocution teacher for the brutal spawn of the hoi-polloi: namely, us.

I suspect the good brothers were a little envious of the nuns, who had for years had been imposing a bizarre and unnatural manner of speaking on the  girls  passing through their care.  Indeed, if you listen carefully, you can detect a distinct nun-accent in a certain slice of Irish society.  I notice it in one or two of the weather forecasters on telly, victims of the nunochanical speech tyranny, invented years before Stephen Hawking made it funny.

Nunelocution will have no truck with natural rhythms of speech, nor with the accent your parents grew up using.  What’s more, if your parents are the wrong sort, they don’t want you speaking like they did either.

Sad, but I digress.

The Christian Brothers — a grim cadre of sexually-frustrated zealots — decided that we inner-city urchins should adopt the manner and speech of our betters, and so they employed the depressing old snob to drill sophistication into us.

Unfortunately, the miserable old snob had the sophistication and education of  a toilet brush, but had one single rigid conviction: our accent was bad.

Why was our accent bad?  This was never explained.

If the miserable old snob worked on our diction and delivery, we would probably all have benefited, but the boring old snob had other things in mind, and drilled into us an insane elocutionary mantra that still makes me laugh to this day.  And to this day, I speak with the accent of my childhood, though with overlays from all the places I have lived.

Why would it be otherwise?  There’s nothing wrong with my accent, and I’m proud of it, and I can speak as well — in public or private — as anyone else.  Better than some.  Certainly better  than self-conscious old snobs or robotic convent girls.

In a broader sense, I think the miserable old snob was Ireland in microcosm, imposing outdated rules from Victorian reprints of etiquette books on the working-class youth of a working-class town.  And I think the dreadful old snob was incapable of understanding that our working-class parents were well-read, cultured people in their own right.

That didn’t fit the profile.

Ireland of the insecurities.

The late John O Donoghue — and I do not refer to our former Ceann Comhairle — often cited the Irish penchant for denying anything that  would identify us culturally.  First we abandoned our language, and then, systematically over the last fifty or so years, we have actively dismantled our regional accents.

Probably the most ear-grinding example of this, to my mind, is the Roadwatch accent, a clear example of cultural insecurity.  This accent, which is only about twenty years old,  has its origins in Dublin, and more particularly in the children of skilled working class Dubliners.  I was present in Dublin during the transition when this accent emerged and it represents an entire generation’s attempt to disguise the nice accent they got from their parents, by turning it into a gruesome melange of English and American vowels, but without success.

It hurts my brain to hear these people force their jaw into the shape that says rangd-abangt instead of roundabout, but it hurts my brain even more to realise that people all over the country speak like this even if they have never been near Dublin.

Why do kids in Kerry and Donegal speak with newly-created, and fake, accents from Dublin?

By the way, the Roadwatch rangd-abangt accent isn’t the same as the Dort accent, which has its origins in the heavily British-accented suburbs of south Dublin, and  which evolved into something entirely new by its interaction with both UCD and nearby RTE.

How do you persuade an entire country to be ashamed of their accent?

I think you do it the same way that you persuade them to associate their language with poverty, lack of opportunity and outmoded ways.  This is how the Irish language withered away, and how Irish missionaries persuaded their African converts to speak English.

And  this was the mechanism by which we came to believe that we must speak the same as certain people who lived in certain suburbs in a certain city.

The vector was RTE, which, in a spectacular act of cronyism and corruption,  employed its friends and neighbours and friends’ children and neighbours’ children.  It adopted a determined policy only to employ as presenters those people who spoke in the same way as its friends and neighbours in South Dublin, until eventually, by a process of osmosis, the entire population was persuaded that a certain arbitrarily-chosen accent was preferable to all others in Ireland.

There was no rational basis for this belief, but it was self-sustaining.  You didn’t get a job in the national broadcasting company unless you spoke in a certain way, and the broadcasting company was in a position to dictate to the people what was modern, exciting, glamorous, prosperous and sexy, even though Ireland in the early days of RTE didn’t know its arse from its elbow, and everyone’s idea of sophistication was a glass of sherry with your cabbage.

Why is all this?

I don’t know, but I’ll tell you what I think.

I think we never got over the shame of being us.  I think we’re just as insecure and lacking in confidence as we were a hundred years ago, and perhaps we’re even worse.  At least people a hundred years ago had the confidence to speak with the accents they grew up in, and communicate from the heart, unlike today, when everyone is sporting some sort of faux American-British confection that communicates nothing but embarrassment.

Categories
Education

Brother Kent

I’ve been approached by some former Christian Brothers pupils who would like to renew their acquaintance with a certain Brother Kent.

This Christian Brother, it seems, made a deep impression on them as children, and now that they’re grown men, they’d like to meet up with him and re-establish a relationship  as equals.

It seems Brother Kent has returned to Limerick after a long absence, so if you happen to know of his location, or anything about him, please leave a comment.  Who knows — maybe you too have abiding memories of your time with him.

If you’re shy about commenting, for whatever reason, you can always send an email to this special address: brotherkent@bocktherobber.com.

It’s not completely beyond the bounds of possibility that Brother Kent himself is reading this in which case, of course, he can make contact directly.

I’m sure he’d love to meet these former pupils now that they’re not children anymore, and I know that they would dearly love to meet him and talk over old times.

Categories
Crime

Christian Brother Convicted of Sexually Abusing 19 Schoolboys

A former Christian Brother spoke recently on the radio of  how, at 14, he was put in charge of much older boys in an industrial school.  They dressed him up in a miniature Christian Brothers soutane and armed him with their universal instrument of pain — a leather.

This child was sent out to patrol the school grounds accompanied by an adult  Christian Brother for protection, and he was expected to beat the older boys in the yard to teach them manners.  This 14-year-old boy was instructed to terrorise other boys in the name of Christianity but he didn’t.  For four years, he resisted the pressure, until he could take no more, and finally laid into one of the young prisoners with his leather, venting all his rage and frustration on the hapless boy who could never dare fight back.

When he came into the common-room in the monastery, all the waiting Brothers rose and gave him a standing ovation.

He left the order soon afterwards.

This is how the Christian Brothers formed the characters of the children they induced to join their dysfunctional band of sexually disturbed men.  They passed on to the boys the same furtive feelings of shame about their sexuality that they felt themselves.  They taught them to become drunken brutes.  They taught them violence in the name of religion.  These young boys who entered a monastery were deprived of normal human affection and normal adolescent development.  Instead, they learned fear and guilt.  They learned a warped and stunted understanding of sexuality and, once fully formed, they went out to abuse the children of this land.

It didn’t happen in a vacuum. The entire country under the malign influence of an authoritarian and puritanical Catholic church was gripped in a century-long spasm of self-loathing and hatred of the natural flesh.  It was a backlash from the catastrophic famine and a conscious decision by the church authorities to stamp out the carefree, pagan, bacchanalian tendencies of the Irish.  The joy of sex would be replaced by the self-hating misery of the Irish clergy and no organisation bought into this warped and impoverished view of life more enthusiastically than the Christian Brothers.

I remember a Christian Brother instructing us in school about sexual matters.  Kelly was his name and he was clearly demented.  He was a youngish man, possibly no more than thirty, but he had obviously never been laid in his life and it was driving him crazy.  His understanding of sex was more primitive than our 13-year-old bicycle-shed knowledge and it showed in his rage, his quiet, hissing anger.

Today we’re going to talk about SEX he spat, and you could see he’d been up all night worrying about the big speech.  He made sex seem dirty, shameful,  ugly.  He worked himself up into a rage and it was apparent to anyone with eyes — even to children like us — that he struggled with monstrous emotional demons.

Other guys of his age were out having fun while this unfortunate jerk was barking life-hating nonsense at children.  The poor guy was not stable.  His entire life was concerned with controlling his boiling frustration towards himself,  towards the family that had shoved him into the Brothers and towards the cult itself,  an organisation he plainly hated.

He was neither an abusive nor a violent man.  Nor was he ignorant.  Brother Kelly taught us mathematics and Latin with equal proficiency, but he was very, very angry, and even then, as children, we knew why.

He was fizzing.

Seán Drummond was 14  when the Christian Brothers recruited him.  Fourteen.  A child.  He went through the same brutal, ignorant, emotionally-stunted induction process as all the others and when he emerged, he knew nothing of human emotions, normal friendships or the warmth of family. Like all the Christian Brothers, his only experience of sex was with other youths in the monastery, or  at the hands of the older men.

And when Drummond emerged at the age of 18, he was both a fully-formed Christian Brother and a fully-formed sexual abuser.

When he was 18, he taught in a Limerick primary school at Creagh Lane for a year and in that year he inappropriately touched 19 boys.

Drummond  left the order when he was 21 and went on to marry and have five children.

The indecent assaults came to light when two former pupils met in 1999 and compared notes after which Gardai brought a prosecution.  Drummond, now 61, pleaded guilty to 36 charges of indecent assault in Limerick Circuit Court.   He now must wait while a judge considers what sentence to impose.

If you’ve been a regular reader of this site, you’ll know what I think of child abusers, and my reaction when I read the first few paragraphs of the report was to dismiss Drummond out of hand as just another evil pervert.  But as I read on, I began to realise that he was, as an 18-year-old, acting out the behaviours imprinted on him by the heartless, warped and amoral Christian Brothers machine, a system that introduced him, at the age of 16, to self flagellation, and that suppressed all normal adolescent sexual impulses.

In my opinion, Seán Drummond believed at the time that the kind of touching for which he has been convicted was perfectly normal.  None of the Christian Brothers boys his age knew anything else.  Coming from such a vile system as the one that abducted him at 14 years of age, is it any surprise that he behaved as he did?

He didn’t last long in the system, and he soon did what many others lacked the strength to do.  He walked away from the all-controlling criminal organisation of which he had been a part.  He formed a relationship and had a family, all of whom attended the court.  For forty years he lived with the knowledge of what he had done between the ages of 18 and 19.  Now, as a 61-year-old father, he faces the possibility of imprisonment for crimes comitted by a brainwashed and emotionally damaged teenager.

There’s another aspect of this case that I find distasteful and disturbing.

The judge heard that some of the victims experienced problems with alcohol, drugs, and relationship troubles as well as learning difficulties  resulting from the assaults.

Look. These kids were groped, as were many others in the schools I attended.  We all had creepy teachers.  It was horrible, and as a parent I would have wanted to kill someone who did that to a child of mine, but to say that it caused drug addiction is pushing it a bit.  In my opinion, this devalues the experience of the children who really were raped and beaten, and not just groped.

Call me suspicious-minded if you want, but I don’t like it.

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Update: 10th December.

Seán Drummond was yesterday sentenced to two years in prison based on vidctim impact statements in which people said that they had suffered marital difficulties, alcoholism, learning difficulties and drug abuse as a result of his touching them.

Without wishing to justify what he did, I have to say  I find this evidence difficult to accept and I think nothing is served by imprisoning a man for wrongs committed by a damaged youth.

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Previously on Bock:

Ryan Report – Artane, The Christian Brothers’ Gulag

Questions and Answers – Clerical Rape Victim Confronts Minister

Taxpayers’ Money Protects Clerical Child Abusers

Clerical Abuse Victims in Their Own Words

Child Abuse – PR Guidance for Bishops

Commission on Child Abuse Report Published

Categories
Crime

Religious Orders Fail to Meet Responsibilities to Abuse Survivors

Who could have guessed that the people who ran our industrial schools would go back on their word?

Who for one second could have imagined that the religious orders who operated a system of slavery, torture, sexual abuse and financial rapacity would also turn out to be two-faced liars?

I’m stunned.

You remember the uproar six months ago when the Ryan report was published.  The entire country was outraged that Ahern’s government had given €1.28 billion of public money to pay for the redress board while the priests and brothers and nuns had given almost nothing, even though they were responsible for the rapes and beatings and the destruction of children’s lives.

You remember how, after fighting the inquiry in the courts and denying everything for years, the religious congregations finally prostrated themselves in shame and remorse, and promised to contribute to a fund for the survivors of their abuse.  You recall how this sincere promise was made to our splendid leader after he was forced to threaten them with sequestration of their assets.

Well guess what. It looks like business as usual. It looks like they’ve fallen back on a tried and tested method of bamboozling the government and the Irish people: lie low until the heat dies down.

According to this report, some of the 18 abusing orders have failed to respond to three separate queries from the government about their proposed contributions to a fund for their victims.

Now let me ask you this. Why is the government inviting these peple to make suggestions?  Why isn’t it kicking their doors down and taking everything they possess?

Plus ca change.

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One in Four statement.

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Previously on Bock:

Commission on Child Abuse Report

Confronting the Past

Christian Brothers Deny Child Abuse

Letterfrack — A Christian Brother’s Prayer

Ryan Report — Artane, The Christian Brothers’ Gulag

Categories
Crime

Confronting the Past

The passageway is narrow in front of the bar and on a busy night it can be uncomfortable squeezing past. That’s why I found it strange that nobody had picked up a high stool lying across it, blocking the way. This is not normal, but neither is it normal that everybody would be staring in the same direction, saying nothing.

I picked up the stool, put it back where it should be, looked up, and only then did I notice a man in his late forties gripping a much older man by the throat. This is another thing not normal in the places I inhabit.

Such moments always have an underwater quality about them, where sounds and words and movements become blurred, and so I couldn’t hear what the younger man was saying, but I could see that the older man was in serious trouble. His attacker was wiry, hard, made of rope. A tough man who would have no difficulty doing away with this elderly person.

I’ve never been brave, and I’ve never been a fool, but as the younger man lunged at the older, I jumped between them just as the barman was vaulting the counter, and I put my hand on the younger man’s chest.

Stop. What are you doing? Don’t let yourself down.

He looked into my eyes and I was relieved see that he was no danger to me, but he tried to push me aside as he aimed a punch at the older man. You fucking paedophile!

Stop, I said again. Stop. Don’t do this. Calm yourself.

Other customers led the old man outside, and I said to his assailant, Come on. Let’s go out the back and talk.

He was calmer now and he he reached for my hand.

I’m Pat.

Bock.

Out the back, he lit a roll-up and offered me one.

No thanks. I don’t smoke anymore. What’s the story?

Christian Brother, he said. In the fuckin pub smiling at me, the cunt. He paused to drag on his cigarette. Thanks for that by the way.

It’s nothing, I said. We all look out for each other. What’s his name?

Brother K.

Fuck, I said. He taught me when I was 10 or 11. Manipulating little bastard. He used to fuck with our heads.

I didn’t tell him that the same man was well known for molesting the children he taught, including my classmates, though Brother K didn’t do it to me because he knew my relations. He was afraid, but he did play mind-games with me, which I remember to this day.

We stood around for a few minutes chatting before going back inside. The barman didn’t want to serve Pat but I had a quiet word in his ear. Christian Brother.

Oh that’s all right, he said.

As I left by the front door, the old man was standing outside smoking a cigarette. The Brother K I remembered used to smoke cigarettes with the same name as his own.

I hadn’t enough information to confront him but I walked up to him as close as my disgust would let me and I pointed my finger at him without saying anything.

You.

The old man looked back at me without a word, and he recoiled.

We both knew why.

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Previously on Bock

Christian Brothers Deny Child Abuse

Letterfrack -A Christian Brother’s Prayer

Ryan Report  Artane, The Christian Brothers’ Gulag

Commission on Child Abuse Report Published

Categories
Crime Religion

Christian Brothers Deny Child Abuse

On the 15th May, five days before the Ryan Report was published, this is what the Christian Brothers were saying.  Five days!

Brother Kevin Mullan sent the following letter to the redress Board five days before the Ryan Report exposed the Christian Brothers as an organisation that beat, raped and starved thousands of little boys.

According to Kevin Mullan,

The only form of corporal punishment allowed by the Congregation was moderate slapping on the palms of the hand with the approved leather strap (some 12 ins long approx — including shaped “handle” — and without metal inclusions).  No other form of corporal punishment could be condoned by the School authorities, nor could such punishment be administered without sufficient reason.

Now.  There you have it.  They did nothing to the children in their control.

This is the same standard statement that Brother Kevin Mullan sent to the Redress Board countless times in order to dismiss the claims of people who were raped, beaten and starved by his colleagues.

He sent this five days before his brotherhood was exposed for sexually abusing and beating hundreds of small children.  He wrote this letter on behalf of his organisation.

Tell me please why this organisation should not immediately be dissolved by the State and why all its assets should not iimmediately be sequestered.

Oh wait.  Perhaps the problem is that we don’t live in a modern democracy.  That would probably account for the fact that all of these people are not in jail.

Categories
Religion

Why Do Clergy Control Schools and Hospitals in Ireland?

If you were building a power station would you give it to the Franciscans?

Of course not.  Why would you?  The Franciscans know nothing about running a power station.  They’re priests.

If you were setting up an oil refinery, would you give it to the Dominicans?  You certainly would not.  These guys only know how to run Inquisitions.  They’d kill us all.

Would you put Augustinians in charge of the space shuttle?  The Poor Clares in charge of water supplies?  The Capuchins in charge of airports?

If you were constructing a motorway, would you entrust its design to the  Presentation Sisters?  If you were setting up a railway, would you give control of it to the Christian Brothers?

No, no, no and no.  No, you would not.

And yet bishops still have control over most of our primary schools, and many of our secondary schools, though the State pays the entire cost of operating those schools.

Here we are, building a new national children’s hospital, entirely funded with tax money, and the plan of this government is to hand control of it to the Sisters of Mercy.

This has to be stopped. If the Catholic church are once more to gain control of our State resources, after all that has been revealed about them, we might as well shut the country down and emigrate.

Categories
Favourites Images

Letterfrack — A Christian Brother’s Prayer

Dear Lord, I thank Thee for all of Thy bounty.

I thank Thee for the beauty of this land.

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I thank Thee for the comfort of our splendid home.

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I give thanks that in Thine infinite wisdom, Thou has seen fit to provide me with all that I need, though I am not worthy.

Thou hast provided warmth in this fine house, and sustenance from the land.

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For the devils that beset me as I walk these corridors at night-time, Thou hast provided succour and comfort.

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Thou hast sent me the serpents that I might chastise them.

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In Thine infinite wisdom, Thou hast stayed Thine hand in The Holy Scripture and hast not forbidden the comfort of the flesh, save with womankind. Though the serpents’ hearts be black, yet their limbs are warm and their cries sweet unto the ear.

I gaze now from this window, and behold the cornucopia Thou hast provided for my delight, and for the easing of my rage.

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It is with true humility and gratitude that I descend these stairs to the garden and make my way to the house of the serpents, where, with Thy divine blessing, I may continue the great work entrusted unto me by Thee.

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Dear Lord, grant me the strength, I beg of Thee, to persevere until every last one of the serpents hath been cast from this place, and destroyed.

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Then, Lord, let me rest, content in Thine bosom.

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Note

Pictures taken in former Christian Brothers monastery and industrial school at Letterfrack

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Ryan Commission report

Also on Bock:

The Sisters of Mercy – Would You Want These People in Charge of a Children’s Hospital?

CORI Statement on Child-Abuse Report

Religious Orders Have No Loyalty To Ireland

Ryan Report – Artane, The Christian Brothers’ Gulag

Questions and Answers – Clerical Rape Victim Confronts Minister

Taxpayers’ Money Protects Clerical Child Abusers

Clerical Abuse Victims in Their Own Words

Child Abuse – PR Guidance for Bishops

Commission on Child Abuse Report Published

Categories
Crime Favourites

Ryan Report — Artane, The Christian Brothers’ Gulag

These are extracts from the Ryan Commission report on St Joseph’s Industrial School, Artane.

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  • Although the initial proposal was that £1,600 would be spent building dormitories and classrooms, an Annual published by the Brothers in 1905 recorded that buildings costing over £60,000 had been erected at Artane by that time.
  • Artane was conceived on a grand scale. Dormitories accommodated up to 150 boys, sleeping in ordered rows of beds with no personal space. The dining area or refectory accommodated all 825 boys at one sitting.
  • The undertaking comprised the School, the trade shops and the farm, in addition to the Community house. The trade shops and the farm constituted a substantial business enterprise, of which the farm brought in a large yearly income.
  • The number of children detained in Artane from 1937 to 1969 was as follows:
1936 n/a 1944 820 1952 732 1960 421 1968 230
1937 679 1945 820 1953 696 1961 395 1969 211
1938 737 1946 811 1954 739 1962 367
1939 772 1947 797 1955 650 1963 341
1940 820 1948 830 1956 566 1964 319
1941 817 1949 803 1957 496 1965 314
1942 817 1950 776 1958 426 1966 307
1943 810 1951 749 1959 446 1967 230
  • These boys were ordered to be detained in Artane by the courts for reasons of inadequate parental care, destitution, neglect, truancy or the commission of minor offences. It is clear, however, that poverty was the underlying reason why children were sent to Artane, whatever the statutory category grounding the detention.
  • The reasons for committals during the period from 1940 to 1969 were as follows:
Improper guardianship School Attendance Act Destitution Homelessness Larceny Other crime
1374 1045 720 227 229 9

(*Bock Comment: An examination of the figures shows that 3366 of these children had committed no crime at all. 319 were incarcerated for larceny or some other crime, but the larceny might have included the theft of food due to starvation.)

  • In 1936, the Cussen report concluded that in Artane Industrial School, with over 700 pupils, only the minimum standard of literary education required by the regulations is provided, and pupils, however promising, cannot, as a rule, proceed beyond sixth standard.
  • The Institution was not adequately staffed. The report goes on to say that some Brothers did not participate at all in the running of the School due to age, ill-health or even, according to one Brother, because of disinclination. These Brothers were supported by the School, but did not participate in its work.

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The Christian Brothers made similar submissions regarding Artane as they did in relation to other institutions. In particular, they submitted that:

the welfare and best interests of the boys was the paramount concern of the Congregation and of its members who worked in Artane. The evidence would also suggest that the quality of care which was thus provided to the boys was, in all the circumstances, of a particularly high standard

(* Bock comment. This statement was not made in the 1950s. The Christian Brothers made this statement two years ago in relation to an institution wehere children were routinely beaten and raped by their members. This represents what they still believe).

The spokesman for the Christian Brothers at Phases I and III of the hearings was Br Michael Reynolds, who conceded that:

There are three and possibly four cases there where I would say yes, there was certainly very severe punishment administered. I am not saying that is the totality of it, I am saying that is what I can work out of on record.

According to Ryan, the Congregation’s concessions stopped far short of what the complainants alleged and did not even match the admissions of individual respondents.

Br Olivier was also involved in a shocking incident that began when a 12-year-old boy accidentally defecated on the floor in the sports dressing room. The Brother came on the scene and some of the excrement ended up on his shoes. The Garda statements made by the witnesses differ as to how this happened, and the precise sequence of events, but what is admitted in statements made by Br Olivier is that he told the boy to lick the excrement from his shoes and he did so. The Brother, in his statement to the Gardaí, said that he was shocked when the boy did this and told him to stop: €˜I only said it out of frustration. I didn’t mean him to do it’.

In the 1990s, Br Olivier wrote an apology to the former resident. A copy was furnished to the Committee by the Congregation. Br Gibson had asked him about a statement made by the former resident. Br Olivier’s letter to the man was as follows:

Br Gibson … brought to my attention a statement you made to him some time ago.

I am deeply saddened to learn of your pain and hurt and I sincerely offer you my humble apology for my part in causing any of the above pain and hurt.

I hope you find in the goodness of your heart the courage to forgive me and I promise to remember you always in my prayers.

I pray and hope that you will find peace of mind and happiness in your life.

May God bless and protect you always.

(*Bock comment : he was deeply saddened to learn of the pain and hurt caused by forcing a child to lick shit off his shoes. What is most interesting is the Christian Brothers’ interpretation of the letter: While this letter acknowledges [the complainant’s] alleged pain, the letter is not intended to be an admission of the allegations made against Brother Olivier).

As the Commission remarks: there is a marked contrast between the apologetic position taken by Br Olivier and that of the Congregation.

Suddenly I find myself completely sick of this. I was going to write more about this vile organisation, and I will do so, but not today. I find their attitude so negative, so destructive and so life-destroying that I’m beginning to feel soiled by association with them.

For now, why not look at these photos of their gulag in Artane, and remind yourself why we need to shake off forever these vampires and their kind.

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