The Irish Times – Friday, March 12, 2010 (Letters to the Editor)

Why has clerical abuse has taken such precedence over institutional abuse when many of the reformatories and industrial schools were managed and staffed by members of religious congregations? Over 165,000 children were incarcerated in more than 200 institutions by comparison with small pockets of survivors of clerical abuse throughout the country.

The most vulnerable children of society incarcerated in these hell-holes were not only subjected to sexual abuse, they they endured sadistic and brutal violence, constant starvation, emotional abuse, had to work like slaves from morning till night.

They also faced repeated assaults on self-esteem, evil name-calling, repeated isolation and loneliness?

Many survivors of institutions were deprived of a basic formal education, leaving with minimal skills or no academic knowledge.

It is important to remember that bishops had total control over these religious-run institutions. We have been silenced long enough. It is high time that survivors of institutional abuse were treated with the dignity they justly deserve instead of been kept in the dark all over again while clerical abuse is the topic of debate every single day.

It is very upsetting for survivors of institutional abuse to be put on the back burner again, particularly when they were vindicated in the Ryan report – that seems to have vanished into black abyss never to be seen or acted upon again.

I hope that we strive to understand the psyche of survivors of institutional abuse once and for all before we have a huge catastrophe? I feel if something radical is not done soon to understand our deep pain we will have a huge suicide problem on our hands. – Yours, etc,


(Survivor of Goldenbridge),

Dublin 24.


28 Responses to “Losing sight of industrial school abuse?”

  1. Tricia Johnston says:

    a request for help and information

    My mother, now 89 and in ill health, has only just found the strength to tell me about her childhood. She was put in one of Ireland’s Industrial Schools at the age of just 2 1/2 yrs until she was put into service at 16yrs and has kept this terrible secret until now. How very disturbing for me (one of her two children) to discover the horrendous conditions, treatment and neglect she was forced to endure from such a young age. She was brain washed by the nuns ‘NEVER to tell where she lived or people would judge you as evil’ so she never did until now. Now that I know, and I dont know it all yet as she is still talking, it explains much about her behaviour that until now were often a bafflement to me. I know now that she had NO upbringing and when she said she was working from the age of 2 1/2 I now know what she meant. So much to say, someone has to listen to her, she deserves that much at least.

    I dont know anything about compensation but some sort of acknowledgement at least for the pain and degradation she suffered at the hands of the Catholic Church may help her come to terms with her past. Can somebody please help me to help her?

  2. Rose Gosnell says:


    Hi, I just wondered if it was widespread throughout the industrial schools to detain people for a longer period than the courts deemed they should be.? (2 years in my case).

  3. Rose Gosnell says:

    Thank you for your response Paddy.

  4. Mary says:

    Sean Morrison,In the Arizona Desert I really wish you your wife and family all the luck and good Health in the world ,my heart goes out to you I understand how you are feeling and what horrors you went through as a child like the rest of us survivors we understand and know how Inhuman,Brutal,and shocking it was Its a miracle any of us survived .those of us that did survive should be proud of ourselves and make sure our voice is heard even though we stayed Silent for so long living alone in our minds with the nightmares of our Brutal Childhoods.At Last we can feel free to talk about it.Stay Strong.

  5. Paddy says:

    You would need to address that question to Barry Clifford. From what I can see in my mail box, the numbers are falling off with many people having second thoughts about the march. Paddy.

  6. Rose Gosnell says:

    Hi, My sister and I will be attending the March on the 24th. We are survivors of an Industrial School.(15/16 yrs). Do you know if the turnout will be good?. I sure hope so.

  7. sean morrison says:


    I am honoured to know you.


  8. Mary Ward. says:

    May Cornish Or say who they are May I wish you good health happiness and all the Luck in the world ,You deserve it ,What a strong Lovely Human Being you are ,You are a Real Survivor.

  9. sean morrison says:

    Patrick (AKA) Paddy,

    I am in a small village about 32 miles from Yuma, “Wellton”. I read your letter and could feel your anger and pain, what has been done to you and your wife is criminal, Norco is off my track heading back to Canada’s North where I live for the six month’s of summer and if and when I have the occasion I will express my feelings to whatever website they have in Norco regarding your case, not that they would give a damn an Irish Canadian thinks of their disgraceful legal system, do not give up Patrick.
    I left Ireland in 1951 three month’s after being released from Glin Co Limerick an ignorant kid of sixteen and three months, my crime for being sent in was I borrowed a Priest’s old bike they said I stole it because I went for a spin of thirty five miles and surrendered to the Garda, three miles past Glin Industrial school. I had been flogged with a leather and a leg off a chair by the head master Bro. “Baldy” McGuire,a few days earlier, I went unconcious during the hiding, I was terrified that my mother would also beat me if she found out I had been flogged for mooching, I acted normal standing at the table as my younger brother and sisters sat, we had four chairs and a table, one got up and my mother ordered me to sit in the chair to eat the meal, sheeps head soup and a slice of bread if I recall that day, I’ll stand Mama I told her, she demanded that I sit, I started to cry, I could not sit, she came around the table and lifted my ganzy pulled my pants down as she followed the welts down my back and backside, I heard the breath leave her, who in the name of Jasus did that to you Seanie Morrison, I blurted out the headmaster. Next morning she put on her old coat that was hanging on a nail in the back door and took me by the hand up to Creagh Lane Christian Brothers school and we went up the iron stairs to the headmasters classroom, she knocked, his six foot two frame appeared bending down to ask me what was the matter, turning me around she pulled my ganzy up and asked him, did you do this to my child, he did not have time to answer, the big milk bottle she had in the pocket of the old coat crashed over his stooping head and took me by the hand and we walked back down the stairs and out onto Bridge street and back to the “Island field housing estate” where I was the first child born there in 1935. My mother got three months in jail and this criminal got three years in HELL. I thought I would let you know who I am and a very tiny piece of my memoir which I call “damaged goods” a memoir for my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I said I was ignorant when released and it was difficult to mix with apprentices who had an education in England and I had to fine tune a couple of the lads, one who later became a great friend made the mistake as we played rugby of calling me a little Irish bastard, I was on his shoulders in a flash as I was small for my age (lack of nourishment in Glin I guess} and did not stop pounding on him until he went down on the ground, I later on in life looked at my parents marriage certificate and lo and behold Freddy was right, I was a potential bastard, my parents married in February I was born that August. I married at age 21, 1956 in a register office cost 7/6p, am still with my wife, served in the special forces in the Far East Jungle, before Vietnam on active service, studied as much as I could in any available college back in civvy street and eventually was accepted into Victoria University, Vancouver Island, Canada. I never darkened a Church doorway shortly after to England. Regarding Inmate V Inmate in the Hellhole I had one lad climb into my bed once as the night watchman left the dormitory, he had an erection and I pushed him out of the bed as I awoke with him on top of me, this is the first time I have mentioned that to anyone Paddy, I was ashamed that it happened at all although it was none of my fault, he had a hard time looking me in the face after that, I did not say anything to anyone as they would kill him and maybe myself, mums the word inside. I tell of the time in Glin and life before and after and hope my little family get to know the story of my time here.
    Hope I did not bore you.

    Seanie CII. ACFE
    Patrick if you could send me your book I will pay for it.

  10. Paddy says:

    You’re doing fine Patrick. The best way if you really want to do a spell check, is to do your comment up in WORD or some such work processing and then spell check it there. Having done that, copy and paste your comment in the way you’ve been doing it so far. Hope this helps. Paddy.

  11. Me again, and I was just “spell checking” my second “comment” (with my crew) and was informed how to spell “off”… (as in GET OFF ME) And as long as I’m here… Please tell Sean Morrison (of Arizona fame) to look at as the S.C.D.T. =Southern California Domestic Terrorists.. is next door to him!!

    Patrick a.k.a Paddy.

  12. Me again, and this one is for Paddy Doyle…

    Hey Paddy, is there any way to “spell check” before submitting comments here????

    Sometimes I curse those Nuns at St.Agnes for not beating me enough when I could not spell SHIT….
    Hoping I did not go too far of the range on that first one…..


  13. Hi All.
    As one who one who went through Daingean (58to60) and now going through the “Redress Wringer”, I am quirious re: if any of you readers are aware of any claim(s) being made for “Redress”, because the person had been violated by another ‘Detainee’…
    (By Jim Doyle…. from Wicklow, for example?)

    And since I have been out of Ireland for so long I’ve had little contact with any of the former “residents” (from any one of the Institutions) and with the closed mouth policy of the Redress Bd…. there is zero chance they will tell…. The question then; (and given it’s an and/or?) How do/would you feel if the “violation” was “resident on resident”???
    And don’t go thinking that is my case.. as the S.O.B. who assaulted me was described as “Brother” (The Bull) Cummins; but he was no more a “Brother” than I am a Priest!

    And now, hang onto your drawers there Boys and Girls…. as I have come to realise that the violators (whether they be with open pants or closed fist’s) are not now and never were a Brother, Priest or Nun…. THEY WERE JUST SICK BASTARDS THAT PRACTISED THEIR EVIL WHILE HIDING BEHIND A HABIT OR A COLLAR; IN A VATICAN CULTURE OF SILENCE AND OBEDIENCE…. PERIOD!!! AND IF YOU THINK YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE (as a Br. Pr. or Nun) TO STOP IT??? THINK AGAIN!!
    And/or.. just how many of us have kept dirty secrets about our friends, Buddy’s or residents???? I for one DID; and this is the same one who did two yrs because I would not squeal on a gas meter robbing “buddy”, who never even sent me a card…. and walked to the other side of the (Stannaway, Kimmage) street when I got out! Details are in a book I was writing about Domestic Terrorists, which you can have for free if you email me, just say SEND THE BOOK and send it to you (and you can forward it to your friends; as it’s got a bit of ‘Dublin style’ crack in it too) email or just go to AND MAKE SURE YOU KEEP IN MIND… I AM NOT TRYING TO SELL ANYTHING (as in… I’VE NOTHING FOR SALE!!)

    And for you guys who have suffered at the hands of any of those (call them as you will)institution ‘CAREGIVERS’; and especially if you are still ‘bothered’ by it?? I have found that since I saw “THEM” as criminals rather than Brother, Priest or Nun (and that is only as of Nov/Dec 09) I have now come to see those other “non abusers” in Daingean as victims themselves… AND IN SUPPORT AS TO WHAT I AM SAYING HERE… I’ll TAKE A POLYGRAPH AND STATE “THAT OF THE 30 OR SO BROTHERS AT DAINGEAN, THERE WERE NOT MORE THAN 5 THAT WOULD COME UNDER THE ABUSER CATEGORY”.. Now that does not make things there better; only that I now realize that the “real” Brothers were unable to complain about something that was already known ALL THE WAY UP TO THE VATICAN!!

    Unfortunately, the above facts left the door wide open for those F’ed Up “abusers” to get the perfect mask to practice their sickness under!!

    I’ll let you go for now; but at least think about it….. If you see it as I now do,,,, it can only be better for you!!!


    p.s. Now don’t get the idea that I want the sicko’s to be anywhere except in a box… because you’d be wrong… I just don’t like to see the BABY getting dumped out with the bathwater… And no, I am not a church goer, but does that mean that there should not be a “clean” church in Ireland??
    I’ve sent my idea (on a dvd) to Garry O’Sullivan at the Irish Catholic.. Ask him to tell his readers (or better still, ask him why he did not)!!

  14. Paddy says:

    As Barry keeps an eye on this website and the comments, I think it’s only fair that I should let him answer the question you’ve posed. Keep well and safe is the desert in Arizona. Paddy.

  15. Paddy says:

    While there are many people that would love “Proper compensation” it is my view that we must not reduce this grave matter solely to money. Paddy.

  16. Anne says:

    Paddy and Barry, thank God for your wonderful sense of humour and high spirits!

    Barry..once again, well said!.. you should now be writting books!

    I hope this March will be the end. They have truly abused us over and over. They have abused us for the last 10yrs also with the pathetic, insulting, degrading and cruel dragged out process of the “Redress”.

    Please everybody draw on all the will and strength you have and turn up to march for what we deserve. What is ours!!!!

    Do something!!!!!


  17. Thank you for the information regarding the meeting with Cori. Would love proper compensation for all survivors/victims they so deserve it and rightfully earned. Catherine.

  18. christy says:






  19. christy says:

    It’s not tea and sympathy I want for survivors it’s full compensation, Barry, money is the only thing that hurts the catholic church when they have to part with it,

    And Barry watch what you are doing MARIANNE has a degree in spin do not be taken in by her, she is one of them first and last, ALL the spin pumped out by CORI comes from her brain.

    And by the way I was at the last march and I never saw any woman being threatened or humiliated,

    ‘SHE ALSO FOUND THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE HARROWING ‘bless, Well dear I found the whole experience of the CHILD PRISON BROTHEL I was in WHOLLY harrowing.


  20. sean morrison says:

    Hello Paddy,
    Who is Barry Clifford, what is he doing for us, I know nothing about this gentleman, he writes quite well, seems to have had an education which most of us inmates did not, maybe Barry himself will explain his position to me.
    Best regards from the desert in Arizona.

    Seanie. CII. CFE.

  21. Paddy says:

    Ah now Andrew, didn’t you know that religious orders spend their lives on their knees praying for the like of you and me. You must, like me, learn to be grateful!! Paddy.

  22. Andrew says:

    The Ryan Report has vindicated us all – and its brought these cults to their knees.

  23. Mary Cornish - Henderson says:

    To Carmel- McDonnell Byrne. What Years were you in Goldenbridge . I was there from 1035/1950
    There was a Carmel Byrne and A Carmel McDonnell in Goldenbridge when I was there.
    May Cornish Nee Gleeson

  24. christy says:

    FR Enda Mc Donagh Former professor of theology at Maynooth college said today ‘Those in official leadership in the catholic church BISHOPS,CLERGY,and RELIGIOUS must acknowledge more openly and repent more Convincingly The failure of that leadership over many years in dealing with the crimes of clerical and religious sexual abuse’


  25. christy says:

    Emers post above is spot on, but that is good for him, for me I want a pension I want proper compensation for all victims/survivors of the church/state child prisons of Ireland not the pittance we got for redress
    only then will I come to terms with what was done to us all.
    TONY DUGGAN summed it up when he said’I only wish it hadn’t taken so much suffering among innocent kids to show these nutters for what they are’


  26. jack says:

    Thank you Ms Carmel McDonnell BYRNE. Well written and indeed oh so true, are your thoughts, as I am sure many feel as you do . I do not believe you intended for us to commit suicide, after all, we like you, are SURVIVORS. Those gone are NEVER TO BE FORGOTTEN .JACK

  27. Portia says:

    As each survivor deals with the abuse in their own way, there is no fixed healing method- ONLY LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.

    Emer has clearly been blessed with love and Carmel is awaiting it.

    However, we Irish have forgotten what was written in our ancient book of Love, because the Vatican burned every trace of it.

    In our his story, it was dead who were listened to, so I understand where this writer is coming from.

  28. Emer says:

    I hope that we strive to understand the psyche of survivors of institutional abuse once and for all before we have a huge catastrophe? I feel if something radical is not done soon to understand our deep pain we will have a huge suicide problem on our hands. – Yours, etc,



    i hope Ms.McDonnell-Byrne is not suggesting we all commit Suicide. I’m very happy now with my life. I’ve come to terms with my life and I get on with it. I try and help those who cannot help themselves, without pounding and pounding into them what happened to them when they were children. Just because we were all brough up by a “Cult’ does not mean we have to take the “Jones” or Wako” way out