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Artane bullies hid behind the Church

Added on August 31, 2007

Joe Giltrap in the Comment & opinion page.
Irish Post

8/29/2007 - 11:44:32 AM

OVER the years I have met and spoken with a number of people who suffered abuse at the hands of the Christian Brothers boys school at Artane in North Dublin.

Some of their stories are heartbreaking and perhaps the recent release of the Father Moore report will help them in some small way by publicly acknowledging their suffering.

The fact that the report was kept secret for 45 years is a scandal and a terrible indictment of the way the Church and the State have failed the victims.

Father Henry Moore was appointed by then Archbishop McQuaid way back in 1962 to investigate the way Artane was being managed.

His confidential report found that Artane needed to be reformed in every way but McQuaid did nothing except bury it.

Moral courage did not seem to be high on the agenda. I suppose Archbishop Diarmuid Martin deserves some credit for releasing the report but even in 2007 I suspect that there are still those within the Church and the government who wish it had stayed well and truly buried.

The Church and successive governments had failed in the most shameful way possible to protect the most vulnerable children in their care.

There was nobody willing or courageous enough to speak up for these victims and even when a confidential report spelled out the abuse ranks were rapidly closed and nothing was done.

The overwhelming concern seemed to be to protect the good name of the Church at all costs and the suffering of children did not really register on the list of priorities.

That is the real shame. Some, and I say some, Christian Brothers were undoubtedly nothing more than vicious, sadistic thugs and bullies hiding behind the power and status of the Church. Would they have been vicious thugs anyway in any walk of life? I don?t really know the answer to that one and your guess is as good as mine.

However the simple fact remains that the Church protected them by doing nothing to stop them and many lives were ruined as a result.

I know that there are down sides to the Celtic Tiger but one of the positive spin-offs from Ireland?s newly-found wealth and confidence is the fact that the Church no longer exerts the same awesome power and control over people?s lives.

People, especially the young, are no longer afraid to challenge something that they find unacceptable and while this may on occasion bring excesses I believe it will eventually settle down to a much more healthy and transparent society which is long overdue.

I don?t believe that the selfserving, pious, two-faced hypocrites hiding within the Church will ever get away again ? at least for very long ? with covering up such scandalous abuse. Some people have a lot to answer for.

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