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Brothers criticise Archbishop

Added on August 26, 2007

The Christian Brothers say they have been "left hanging" by the release by the Archbishop of Dublin of a 45-year-old report that is highly critical of its operation of Artane industrial school.

Paul Cullen reports.

The decision by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to release the report to a former resident of Artane "prejudices our position in the public eye", said Br Edmund Garvey, communications director of the Christian Brothers.

The brothers say they are "shocked and dismayed" by Archbishop Martin's decision to release the 1962 report written by Fr Henry Moore, a chaplain at Artane. "The Christian Brothers consider it unconscionable that any body, other than the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse and prior to its findings being made public, would release a single document, which is currently under the consideration to the commission.

"We would have expected the Archbishop might have contacted us with advance notice if he was going to take such a step," said Br Garvey. Archbishop Martin released the document last month in response to a request from Jim Beresford, a leading member of Survivors of Child Abuse.

He first gave a commitment to release the document three years ago but waited until the commission had finished its public hearings. Br Garvey told The Irish Times that the criticisms of Artane in Fr Moore's report (see panel) were "comprehensively refuted" by a subsequent investigation by Department of Education inspectors.

He denied claims that the brothers knew in advance about the inspectors' visit to Artane. However, Mr Beresford said the inspectors' report was a "whitewash" designed to exonerate the brothers. "They were caught on the hop by Moore and were determined to discredit everything he said."

He described the release of Fr Moore's report as "a start" and said he has asked for 16 more documents dating back as far as the 1870s. "There's a huge archive on Artane in the Archbishop's Palace and I intend to get my hands on it."

Br Garvey said the Christian Brothers had asked the commission for permission to publish the inspectors' report but had been told it could not do this for legal reasons. There was a danger of injustice being done through one document coming into the public domain when there were many more before the commission.

He questioned Fr Moore's level of information on Artane: "What was the extent of his knowledge of Artane at the time and what was it based on?" The commission is expected to issue a report early next year.

? 2007 The Irish Times 25 August 2007..

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