Victims of abuse meet bishops in Maynooth

On October 8, 2009, in News, by Paddy

Thursday, October 8, 2009

PATSY McGARRY, Religious Affairs Correspondent

AN UNPRECEDENTED meeting yesterday between the Irish Bishops’ Conference and representatives of abuse victims has been described as a “gigantic step forward” by Michael O’Brien of the Right to Peace group.
Catholic primate Cardinal Seán Brady described the meeting in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, as “the first step of many steps”.

The Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, said “it was the most significant meeting I have ever attended in that room. It was extraordinary”.

It was “a very momentous, very historic occasion”, John Kelly of Soca Ireland (Survivors of Child Abuse) said.

The meeting, held at the request of former residents’ groups, began at 10am yesterday and ended at approximately 12.45pm.

Afterwards Mr Kelly, Mr O’Brien, Tom Hayes of the Alliance group and Christy Heaphy of the Cork-based Right of Place, met the media accompanied by Cardinal Brady and Archbishop Martin.

Mr O’Brien said they requested that the bishops set up a subcommittee to begin a dialogue with the groups as they moved towards closure on the issue.

They had also requested the setting up of a benevolent fund by the bishops to help people who may have received redress but who still needed help in areas such as education and counselling.

They had also asked the bishops to make representations to the Taoiseach to speed up dealings with religious congregations towards the setting up of a new trust, he said.

Mr Kelly explained that they had given a full account of their experiences to the bishops, which must have been “very hard to listen to”.

They asked that the Catholic Church as a whole be more responsive to survivors, he said.

They could have done more in the past, he said, as they had influence and a moral responsibility. All groups representing former residents of the institutions would be involved in an ongoing dialogue with the bishops, he said.

Mr Hayes said the four groups at yesterday’s meeting had a mandate to attend as they represented a majority of survivors.

Archbishop Martin said there had been “particularly good” discussions at the meeting about survivors in England, many of whom were old and homeless. They discussed how resources might be made available to them, he said.

However, there had been no discussion about compensation for women who had been in Magdalen institutions he said.

Mr O’Brien said the next step would be a meeting with religious congregations. The groups had already met representatives of Faoiseamh – the helpline set up by the Conference of Religious of Ireland.

Meanwhile, Christine Buckley, Bernadette Fahy and Carmel McDonnell Byrne of the Aislinn group had a separate meeting with Archbishop Martin in Drumcondra, Dublin, last night.

Ms Buckley said she had not known about yesterday’s meeting in Maynooth and asked to meet Archbishop Martin as soon as she heard about it.

Similar matters to those in Maynooth were discussed at last night’s meeting.

Archbishop Martin said yesterday that he had no indication of when the Dublin commission report into clerical sex abuse in the archdiocese might be published.

It emerged later yesterday that, although December 8th is the final date for delivery of a reserved judgment by the High Court on what parts of the report might be published without prejudicing forthcoming criminal trials, the judgment may be delivered sooner and possibly in early November.

It is believed likely that the report may have to redrafted. Many now doubt that it will be published this year.

Meanwhile, it is expected that the investigation element of the Cloyne inquiry will be completed by the end of this year.

The Irish Times.


25 Responses to “Victims of abuse meet bishops in Maynooth”

  1. Hanora Brennan says:

    Robbie, you seem to be dissecting the information I have posted on the 16 August meeting. Let me state for you categorically, I was not invited to that meeting, myself and five others were in attendance because we refused to go away. I had heard of the meeting through Christy Heaphy (PR for ROP) at a meeting in Waterford where I was subsequently voted to represent 250 people that turned up and I had meetings with Messrs. Kelly and Gaskin regarding funding of these groups and the fraud surrounding the groups. I have worked tirelessy for survivors with no funding and flying no political flag so perhaps little less of your paranoia would be appreciated. I answer to nobody but I question everybody and anything that involves me. Being proactive is appreciated by many survivors as is being truthful, honest and consistent. I am not interested in getting into verbal vollies as was the wont on other sites. My time is now more precious. For those, like myself, who have and continue to work on our behalf we should be commended instead of snide comments insinuated. Maturity is supposed to be one of the advantages of the passage of time but it remains to be seen if this is the case.

  2. rob dempsey says:

    Oh, I agree with Mr Kelly’s Call for the courts, the religious and the health boards be ‘made accountable for their abuses also….

  3. Andrew says:

    Perhaps Mr Hayes could pass on the minutes of the secret meeting to ex Christian Brother Rory Connor so US – the excluded survivors – could peruse them! After all ex Brother Rory has a Tom Hayes approved Wiki:

    This account and this account only has been authorized to license text on Wikipedia from the website that was authored by Rory Connor.

    Howsabout it Tom?

    For the uninitiated ex-Christian Brother Rory Connor is a supporter of the notorious Sister Callida.


  4. In reply to Rob’s comment and for clarification

    >>>>WELL>>>….”that’s because both sides essentially had the same dehumanised experience as children”…..

    My comment refers to the process of how once organisations are set up, then the organisation and its own well being (and indeed that of the people who are operating this) will begin to, or most likely, take precedence over the actual reason for having such an organisation in the first place.

    An example would be a political party – I am sure all would agree on who’s interests such organisations appear to serve best – and it is not often my individual needs – and probably not often any other individuals.

    One thing that can be assured is that it will serve the interests of the organisation – and these will most likely be, with a few exceptions, the personal needs of those who control such an organisation.

    The impacts and after effects of the experiences of individual victims cannot be adequately managed by any organisation that operates without full levels of openness and transparency. It would appear therefore form the recent activity and the reaction to this that the organisations who attended the meeting either:

    Did not consult with their members (assuming that they really are membership organisations, and if so their rules may provide an ability for members to challenge these actions)


    They were not adequately in touch with their members and did not take on board all levels of opinion, feelings or provide opportunities for feedback.

    I would therefore propose a question and this is:

    Is there a need for organisations at all in this process?

    From my own experience I can only say that in many cases there is an assumption that an organisation gives or adds credibility to some activities.

    I do not think this is so. I believe that if people do not fully trust the individual, then, are they more likely to trust the organisation that these same individuals control?

    I would think not.

    I note there is also a reference to Fr. Michael Murnagh in the above communications. I had some brief dealings with him some years ago and my belief, arising from this experience was that he was, for me, unable to operate with the appropriate level of transparency, even where these activities we were involved with were funded by the State.

    His recent career apparently has taken him from inner city Dublin to Wexford and now back.

    I am not, from my own experience, too surprised at the lack of documented notes from the meeting or his level of recall.
    To me it just appears that this leopard can never change his spots.

    I can recall that when I first heard of his involvement with the walk to Dublin, I contacted Paddy and suggested that there would be an agenda associated to this activity, and this would surface at some point in the process. I can only suggest that the Meath St. meeting and the timing of this, was an attempt by him, to generate an appropriate agenda and related activities.

    So should I consider, for his (Mernagh’s) purposes, the information shared at the meeting, did not provide him with this and therefore the outcomes (will/are and) have been quickly buried, leaving him unencumbered to explore alternative approaches in this area.


    hmmmmm-well, if such secret deeds/meetings’ were not done…..then we’d have some idea ‘how to answer some of the questions that reman unanswered…before these deeds are done..not…after them!

  5. Hanora Brennan says:

    I attended a meeting on 16 August in Meath Street with Father Mernagh and the Group Leaders regarding the Ryan Report and it was established at that meeting that the survivors were NOT interested in the Phoenix Trust! This meeting was hosted by Father Mernagh and a document was signed by all members sitting at that table. I signed that document and though another representative has asked for a copy of that document, Father Mernagh claims not to know the whereabouts of this document. Minutes have been asked for and we’ve been told there are none though a girl sat there taking the Minutes! We had to be forceful and insist on attending that meeting. It transpired that John Kelly had attacked another survivor on the day of the March in Dublin and Christine Buckley refused to attend any meeting he was at, so I would assume that is why she was not at the Bishops’ Meeting. She got her noggin all over the Magdalene’s all the same in Carlow though I know of no connection she has or has had with the Maggies since its inception. Group Leaders are vipers. When will they stop turning? Heaphy, O’Brien, Kelly and Hayes have all shown their arrogance and ignorance and to what depths they will plumb for the filthy lucre? Get the boots on – it’s time to march. Paddy do not edit this message as I have vocal witnesses who will attest to all I say!! Many thanks for the platform to vent. As always, love and hugs. xx

  6. Paddy says:

    Hi Paddy.

    Enclosed is a copy of my recent comment, in case it does not appear, please ensure it is placed on your page.
    1. How do we know what was discussed.
    2. who was notified?
    3. In order to claim a clear mandate accurate audited membership would need to be supplie.

    If the Group Leaders were to hold regular meetings with their Membership all issues could be discussed.
    Then we would know that the Group Leaders claim were accurate and democratic.
    For Example.

    If there are ten groups and if they each have 500 members, then that is five thousand Survivors.

    Fourteen Thousand went to the Redress Board. Therefore five Thousand would not be a majority. consequentially any Groups claim to a majority would be unfounded.

    Kathleen O’Malley. Auhor.”Childhood Interrupted”.

  7. Clare Foley says:

    To Nora
    The Gang Of Four, Nora, were the only people who were ever abused in Ireland. Do you not see between the covers, it’s all about them, what with “Award Ceremonies” and what nots, it’s all about them, not you, not me, not anyone else. It’s about John Kelly going over and over and over what happened to him in an Industrial School. Guess what Nora, I’m really tired of listening to all this S****, it’s like playing the “Violin” over and over. So JK you spent a few years in an Industrial, well Hello John, there are thousands of us out there who spent their WHOLE CHILDHOODS in the Industrial schools. This is NOT ABOUT YOU “THE BIG FOUR” “THE LADS” Telling and RE-TELLING what happened to you FOUR LADS, in the Industrial School. Get over it and get on with it, and show us your “MANDATE”

  8. Paddy says:

    Nora, all comments posted here will be passed on to relevant people for their consideration. There is a lot to say about the meeting that took place between four people and the Bishops – four people who acted in my view in a manner that excluded so many others who should have been in attendance at that meeting. All is not well.

  9. robbie dempsey says:

    I have spoken to one of the persons who attended the Maynooth Meeting….according to the person I spoke to…it is refered he was stating that ‘people who knew nought about the RIRB are entitled to be redressed’.by the RIRB…….I asked ‘why people werent asked (in their numbers) beforehand, to attend the Maynooth answering…the point being…about the ‘government involvment’ in trying to ‘get the religious orders to pay further monies into the (Redress board) ….this, (contrary to what was put out in the public arena…i,e about monies going into the so called Independent Panel/trust fund) by the religious orders appears to be ‘misleading…result–confusion…..but, ‘who is causing it? why? well…on closer examination….I believe there is a delaying factor here…being used by the state/religious etc…against those determined to GO THE WHOLE WAY INTO THE HIGH COURTS? and, yes, there is a connection…for example… 2003…the RIRB recieved an application from my solicitor….and then they recieved another one–by registered post-in 2005–(which included ‘affixed files’ from the 2003 application, by the solicitor-without my knowledge!) …both applications were ‘lost’ (by the RIRB) sometime between March 2006-and November 2006…I, on the other hand…obtained the original copies….(which is witnessed)…….consequently, one was sent DIRECTLY into the high court..this being (portions) of the (Registered) 2005 application yours truly….’before’ the Ryan report came out……;now there appears to be ‘pandemonium…because…the application (mine) issued to the RIRB/High Court with my reserved right…by right…to add A LOT MORE….than what the RIRB says, i.e, it was entitled to have..(was ot given by me)..clearly, I believe, this left the legal people in a bit of a trussle…(is there such a word); because, the defendants in my case, are now seeking back ‘all documents they gave in 2005’ under court orders! I wish to state here…and I hope there is no objection…what Robbie Dempsey obtained ‘will knock the socks of the defendants…(ref;abuses of a child and so forth)–and the aftermath has rsulted in-the defendants now fighting one another…because, each of them in turn…dont know what the ‘other defendants’ gave under the high court orders! alas to say…a company of solicitors has now disappeared!………a full story on this issue will issue in due course on another site…..and, if permitted…on Paddy’s site as well;

  10. Nora Doran says:


    Would you set up a Petition on your website and then people can sign it and it would be all in the one place. I think it’s time we should do something about this once and for all

  11. robbie dempsey says:

    I forgot to say..that it would appear, that the Ryan report was set up…to do what it set out to do…DIVIDE; that appears to be happening; and i have no doubt the Bishops…the courts…and the depts concerned are now laughing at the victims….not ‘listening to them;

  12. robbie dempsey says:

    in addition to my last overs…(notably the least sentence)….Mr Hayes….even if you have members ‘within Ireland’ (to whom you say ‘you speak for’…they still would be and are voiceless…because, your ‘set up’ (alliance) is outside Ireland…(and is assisted by the Dept Of Education….>>”We thank the Department of Education and Science for supporting this web project”…..which, as you know….the dept is a BIG DEFENDANT in the entire abuse problem-within the Industrial school system…so, you cannot profress to be a voice/acting for victims…whilst supported by that very dept?…being on two sides of the coin isnt exactly the right way to go about this-is it? take my situation (whilst i do not wish to pin down-my case)..but in general, as you well know…I have that dept, and many others to ‘fight with’….it therefore, serves me no end (conclusion-finality) to have people claiming to have ‘a mandate’ yet is funded by one of the defendants in me own case-is it now?…I think it is also the rime, to state…here and now…that the HSE ‘is’ in collusion with the Religious orders…who, together are in collusion with the Dpt of Ed and Health in denying abuses occurred in Industrial schools/mental hospitals etc…I know…because I HAVE EACH OF THESE DEPTS DEFENCS IN THAT REGARD….like I said before…Maynooth aint the place to meet…the Depts aint the people to greet…and meet, and the HSE…aint the people to associate yourself with either…as for counselling services such as the NCS…I have had my ‘fair share’ of their abuses too…likewise…with Faoimsiagh (if thats how yu spell it)…did you know…that one of these services ‘dont belong together-(yet they share info with the religious orders-and the dept of Ed)….as a matter for public record…I know this to be true…you know; may i genoflect to the maynooth meeting…and the ‘apparent concern’ raised by Dairmud Martin about ‘homeless past ex detainees’ in the UK…(there are many like them here in Ireland) but, why the concern now? why not many years ago…(start at ten-and work back)..Does Mr Kelly, Mr O’Brien, Mr Hayes etc know the names of every one of them? how many were before the RIRB? is this how they ‘collected their names? or is Focus Ireland (set up by Sister Stanisluas) who, remember managed an Industrial school….the guilty party to be passing the names to iether of the above?….the mind boggles on that one….(that is not to say..that those who are homeless are not entitled to a home….off course they are…perhaps an apartment in merrion Road might be/could have been a start for them?); but off course…the sisters of charity…claimed they have NO MONEY!….(Q) why not suggest a LARGE MEETING WITH ALL VICTIMS OF INSTITUTIONAL ABUSES…be held..for example…at the RDS…and see ‘how they feel’ want…and so forth? that way, everyone (over a few days of the meeting-taking everyone’s needs to be heard) into account…is ‘being taken into account…not where there is a few (cherry picked) selected individuals speaking without (popular consent) on their behalf? I, for one, am quite capable of speaking for myself….

  13. As an observer of these processes, I must admit that the process that appears to have been adapted and need for discourse and discussion seems both misplaced and strange.

    It sounds inappropriate the victims or those purporting to represent them remain apparently in discussion, rather than demanding progress to a set list of agreed needs.

    I can only consider that the group(s) of representatives for whatever audience or part thereof that they are working for or claim to be representing are falling into the same trap as many other social organisations have in the past.

    This is a position where the organisations need develops:

    – taking precedence over those of the people they claim to represent.

    – to ensure their requirement for staff, resources and funding

    – their ability to generate a position in the apparent decision making process.

    – an ability to generate media attention and other needs as set by their “organisational needs”.

    During this process of “development”, the organisation becomes more important than the individual need as this becomes to be defined as part of and must support the organisations overall needs, which generates a gap between the individual and their erstwhile representatives.

    I am sure that the survivors of abuse should have and could have a better approach with a platform that could express, or allow them to express, should they so wish, their own set of needs and solutions to conclude these matters.

    I am pleased to see that this open forum is helping to attain this end.



  14. Kathy says:

    When have any of these group leaders ask the people that they are supposed to represent for their opinion. Lets see a list of their members, and their accounts of how much money they have been receiving over the last ten years. When is the last time that they had meetings in England

  15. robbie dempsey says:

    it isnt about ‘going to the RIRB’ for is about ‘who gave it in the 1st place? it isnt about going to Maynooth…to ask “Please sir, can we have some more”…it is about Maynooth and the 18 religious orders ‘pretending to be doing something, when nothing had or has been done for eleven years….it isnt about “premises sold’ ot is about ‘the premises that were sold, for a profit, by religious orders’ who claim(ed) the have no monies….(Merrion Rd is a shining exmple of such deeption…it was sold by the sisters of Charity for a whopping 400 Million)–did any victims get an apartment (or an offer of one) from that sale?….it isnt about the four main groups meeting bishops..(on the sly)…it is about ‘how it came about’ and why ‘the majority’ knew nothing about it..until after the deed was done….(Meath St ‘happening all over again)…as Lonnie Gordon sang….and what about the ‘MIB’s’ standing behind-sorry, to the side of Mr kelly…was he impressed, or being impressed (upon) to address victims-he does not represent…same applies to the rest of the (un) holy gang; I say this, here and now….something fishy is going on….but, the good news is…we know now, who the ‘cherry picked’ people were…that Mr Ryan (CICA entity) had chosen to hear? the bad news is…who’s licking who-here? the people are being ‘conned’ into believing that people LIKE J Kelly represents (1-17 yrs of institonalised victims) that he and his co-partners (claim) to represent……this is not so…I am not a ‘service user’ of SOCA…ROP….Right to Peace”…(as if that will ever occur!) while these people continue to ‘attend ‘secret meetings…the last one being held in Meath Street church…(a church!)..there can be no real closure in that regard….lest we forget…Mr Kelly says it was (the church/religious order) that abused him?…..Mr Kelly…I say to you, and anyone else…like you….if you were abused…(sexually) then go to the courts…and say so….not to Maynooth…which, in case you dont know…is the twin towers..of the RIRB. Mr kelly…when ‘the people marched’ you paraded yourself…in like fashion…what has changed your modus operandi? ….perhaps it is because you were previously paid by the RIRB….(you told me so yourself) yet, oronically….recently another person who was awarded by the RIRB…was asked to ‘gather as much info from other victims’ merely because that person was awarded…it is feared the award is a form of blackmail being used to extract info deceptively from other victims..i.e, evidence they have…I for one was happy to come into such informed information…that person has advised…the matter is being ‘investigated in more detail. finally….MrTo the Alliance group….I have to ask….by what authority do you have to ‘represent me-without my consent-AND, what MAN-DATE do you refer to? as ‘we’ see it..a man-date… a date…with P-deo-Files (have I spilt this right!); I might also add…A is claimed by the Alliance…is not exactly legal…since the Alliance (group) operates and is OUTSIDE THE JURISDICTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND…

  16. Martha says:

    When I heard and saw about this latest “Survivors meet the Bishops” meeting, I said to myself “here we go again!”. Same ol Stockholm Syndrome shit being played out on the world’s stage, as it were.

    What I’m saying is, the likes of Christine Buckley and John Kelly, et al, are SO terribly psychologically damaged by their respective personal childhood experiences of HOLY CATHOLIC IRELAND that they will NEVER be able to walk away from those who messed up their minds as children.

    That is why they are so determined to get their “pound of flesh”, i.e., as much MONEY as they can get out of their RC Masters!

    I’ve met Christine Buckley and John Kelly (and a few other survivors) in person, and all I can about them is, I wouldn’t want to form friendships with such people. In my opinion, they are as ruthlessly materialistic as the Irish Catholic Clergy they met with yesterday – and that’s because both sides essentially had the same dehumanised experience as children.

    Keep your money, I’ll print my own! LOL!!!

  17. Charles O'Rourke says:

    The logic of the big four seems to be “Help the starving, send coffins”.

  18. Charles O'Rourke says:

    They asked the Bishops to do this and that and I find the tone from these four to be reverend and subordinate almost worshipfull. These bishops are agents of another jurisdiction and in a healthy society they would be ordered to hand over their ill gotten assets and ordered to leave the country.

  19. Martin Short says:

    And to put my spoke in again Paddy if you don’t mind.

    “WHERE there any MINUTES” taken at the meeting do you know Paddy?

  20. Martin Short says:

    “They had also requested the setting up of a benevolent fund by the bishops to help people who may have received redress but who still needed help in areas such as education and counseling”

    Paddy how many Benevolent Funds does us survivors need. We have the education Finance board and we have counseling at our finger tips. Are we to spend the rest of our lives going back to school and then going to Councelling. Is this all the group leaders can think of to ask the Bishops.

    Where will the Big Four be going next looking for money. Can’t see any money coming to us survivors. Those that was lucky got their Redress money, but the Big four always seem to be looking for more, what I want to know “FOR WHO” I know it’s not me

  21. Andrew says:

    I wish to add also that I have not given my assent for any of these people to speak on my behalf. The Irish Bishops Conference represent an organisation which has been complicit in the cover-up of child abuse by their employees. In fact you could say that the Irish Bishops Conference is a representative body for a group of Rogue Employers.

    Besides is it advisable or sensible to meet these Bishops/Rogue Employers WITHOUT legal representation ?

    Paddy can I authorise you, publicly here, to speak on my behalf as I don’t feel any of the people in the above report have my interests or the interests of any victims at heart like you do.

  22. Mary O' Brien says:

    Mr Hayes said the four groups at yesterday’s meeting had a mandate to attend as they represented a majority of survivors.

  23. Mary O' Brien says:

    This is indeed a complete surprise to myself and my friends I was reared with in an Industrial School. It’s the first I heard of it, who are these people that claim they speak for me and my sister? And my adopted sisters that grew up with me. Those people had no right whatsoever to go and speak to the Bishops without any of us knowing the meeting was to take place. Had I know this was taking place I would have made it my business to be there. Whats that man talking about he has a Mandate? Never heard of no mandate. Who’s that that big man with the Gold chair around his neck, is that a Crucifix? I saw him on the telly, but I couldn’t understand a word he was saying. Who are these people I never heard of them. I’m writing to the Bishop myself Paddy and I’m going to get my friends/sisters to do up a petition, yes that’s what I’m going to do, I’m getting a Petition, getting everyone to sign it and I’m bringing it up to Drumcondra.
    It’s about time someone took this crowd on, even if it has to be an old woman. I’ll do it believe me I will

  24. Catherine says:

    More secret meetings.

    And who decided that the named people be at this meeting and not others.

    The boys in frocks disturbed by what they heard- indeed- these guys get a kick out of it- obviously someone does not know the psyches of these men in frocks very well.

    And why was Paddy Doyle not there- ah well- he calls a spade a spade- so he would touch their souls too deeply- so best keep him out of the way.

    I am disgusted.

    Same old tactics- secret meetings, women treated as dirt on their shoes.

    Oh they make me puke.!!!!

    Sorry Paddy- just had to get that out.

  25. Paddy says:

    I wish to make it absolutely clear that not one of the people mentioned in the article above have any right to speak to bishops, popes or paupers on my behalf. It disappoints me greatly that the Bishops didn’t invite all abuse survivors to attend the meeting. Not only do the persons mentioned above NOT have a right to speak on my behalf but judging by the e-mails and phone calls I’ve received from other ‘survivors’ they have NO right to speak on behalf of anyone. Their high handed attitude smacks of arrogance of the worst kind. Stop it and remember



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