THE Children's Referendum is a grave mistake, confused in its language, absurd in its presumptions, and back to front in that it sets the problems in theory when historically constitutional referendums have generally been the product of court judgments on wrongly-drafted laws.
Rewriting the Constitution for the vast and amorphous "common good" with views about "some children possibly at risk" is part of a new absurdity.
The chairperson of the Referendum Commission, Mary Finlay Geoghegan, is apparently explaining how this will help children. Her father, Mr Justice Tom Finlay, Chief Justice and president of the Supreme Court, had different views. In a judgment in a family law case in the 1980s, he wisely said: "The presumption should be that a child is best cared for within the family."
This view is in the preamble to the present constitutional protection of the family under "inalienable and imprescriptible rights".
The family can no longer be comprehended solely within marriage. A revised view of this is overdue in our Constitution, which should not only recognise marriage as a civil partnership but eliminate the concept of marriage as a "moral institution" or permanent.
Family, marriage and children no longer justify the presence of "inalienable and imprescriptible rights" . . . "antecedent and superior to all positive law". Dr Ken Whitaker rightly recommended the removal of such vaporous terms. He has been ignored and we are going backwards.
We have unscrambled some outdated laws. We need to unscramble high-sounding phrases we do not understand. Marriage is a civil contract mediated by divorce. It is no longer a lifelong commitment.
The referendum should be abandoned because it has been ineptly worded and is ridiculous and confused. This is also the view of Hugh O'Flaherty, former Supreme Court judge, who sees the law as adequate enough.
What is meant by the many dubious phrases used in the critical subsection of the proposed constitutional change, namely the new Article 42A.2.i?
"In exceptional cases, where the parents, regardless of their marital status, fail in their duty towards their children to such an extent that the safety or welfare of any of their children is likely to be prejudicially affected, the State as guardian of the common good shall, by proportionate means as provided by law, endeavour to supply the place of the parents, but always with due regard for the natural and imprescriptible rights of the child."
What are "exceptional cases" and how are they defined? How can parents with children be treated "regardless of their marital status"? All parents with children are in a marriage and they constitute a family. It may have broken up, but it remains part of them all.
What do we mean by "supply"? What do we mean by "the place of the parents"? What is "proportionate"? How will the law measure it?
When we voted to introduce divorce, we made marriage open-ended. We introduced to our Constitution broad states of instability and uncertainty that could not and cannot be focused on children alone. But we did nothing to make the Constitution fit in with the changes.
In the second part of Article 42A.2.ii we invent imagined needs. This raises the spectre of virtually unlimited uncertainty for which no laws have yet been passed or tested. And having said all this, the section concludes that this amorphous task will be done "always with due regard for the natural and imprescriptible rights of the child". What has already been done to marriage and the family has demolished the need for such phrases.
WE ARE attempting to second-guess the futures of a million and more partnerships, including same-sex partnerships, and a couple of million children whose parents have "failed in their duty".
The theoretical remedy will not be comprehensible. We will have instead a bit of ad hoc-ery. Loose thinking and looser use of language litter the text.
In the next section, adoption is provided for "where the parents have failed for such a period of time as may be prescribed by law". This time is three years. Why not say so in the material sent out? Parents who are having trouble should know what the clock will tell them and should also know how "the best interests of the child" will be gauged.
Mr Justice Tom Finlay was correct in saying: "The presumption should be that a child is best cared for within the family." The shape and definition of the married family has changed. Marriage is not what it was. Family is not what it was. The terms are not exactly in keeping with the laws of the country. They still approximate in some instances but not all, and this has the effect of making a mockery of the wording used in the referendum, turning it into outdated jargon.
The men and women of Ireland should firmly reject it and demand something a good deal better.
“DERMOT” IS an Irishman who has had a distinguished international career. He attended the Spiritan/Holy Ghost novitiate at Rockwell from 1954 to 1956/7, in preparation for priesthood in that congregation.
While there he “formed the opinion that a number of seminarians there were being sexually abused” by novitiate director Fr Christopher Meagher. Further into his conversation with The Irish Times he acknowledged that he too had been abused by the priest, physically and sexually. He recalled Meagher as “violent, predatory and dangerous”.
He was “a damaged individual who in moments of clarity wasn’t a bad priest. My anger is at the congregation. Other priests knew but priests don’t rat on priests,” Dermot said. Victims had “very difficult lives and were very damaged” and he was convinced the congregation “knew very well what had happened at Rockwell”.
In 1996 Dermot confronted the Irish provincial leadership of the Spiritans/Holy Ghost Fathers about all of this.
He was already aware of three or four victims of Meagher and he told the leadership team “they had a moral obligation to track down the victims”, he recalled.
There were three meetings. He got nowhere. All he was given was “psychobabble, convoluted deviousness, circumlocution. I was completely flim-flammed.”
A letter he received from the leadership “did not speak to the subject”.
Then he discovered that Meagher, whom he found out later was alive when all this began, had died. He believed all “the prevarication and evasions were because he was alive. I gave up.” But he was “exceedingly angry”. He remains so.
He said that even during a career which took him to some of the biggest trouble spots in the world, he had never come across a leadership team such as he met at the Spiritans/Holy Ghosts.
Theirs was a “masterful performance in circumlocution and obfuscation”.
In 1996 the Spiritan/Holy Ghost Irish provincial was Fr Martin Keane. He is now superior of the congregation’s Foundation of Kenya.
His two assistant provincials in 1996 were Fr Colum Cunningham and Fr John Fogarty. Fr Cunningham is based at Rockwell College while Fr Fogarty was elected worldwide Spiritan/Holy Ghost superior general in Rome last June. Dermot’s allegations were put to the Spiritan/Holy Ghost Fathers. A spokesman responded that “whilst we cannot comment on the specifics of the allegations, we can say, with profound regret, that the form of abuse described is consistent with complaints that we have received about the priests mentioned”, including Fr Meagher.
Henry Maloney’s activities caused a crisis in the elite school in which he taught, writes PATSY McGARRY
CHRIST THE KING COLLEGE, BO
In March 2009, Spiritan/Holy Ghost priest Fr Henry Maloney pleaded guilty in the Circuit Criminal Court to abusing Mark Vincent Healy and the late Paul Daly when both were pupils at St Marys College in Dublins Rathmines between 1969 and 1973. He was given a suspended sentence due to ill health and as he was already under strict supervision at Kimmage Manor in Dublin, where he has been since.
In 2000 he had been sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment for sexually assaulting two other boys at St Mary’s in the early 1970s. He served 15 months. Maloney had been dean of discipline and junior form tutor at St Mary’s, where he also coached boys in rugby.
He has been out of ministry and under supervision since 1996.
Maloney was ordained in 1967 and taught at St Mary’s between 1968 and 1973, following which he was transferred to the Spiritan/Holy Ghost Christ the King College in Bo, Sierra Leone.
It is an elite school attended by the sons of leaders in that society, many of whose fathers had also attended the college. Among its best-known past pupils are Solomon Berewa, vice-president of Sierra Leone from May 2002 to September 2007; lawyer Charles Margai, leader of the country’s third-largest political party, the People’s Movement for Democratic Change; and Kandeh Yumkella, director-general of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation.
Almost immediately following Maloney’s arrival at Christ the King College in 1973 there were problems. He had been appointed boarding school master and taught history and English.
“John” was admitted as a boarder there in 1973, at the age of 11. Speaking from Sierra Leone, he recalled that his family was “very Catholic . . . very committed to the church”.
In those early years at Christ the King he was an altar boy and served Masses said by Maloney. The priest would fondle him, sometimes in public, even in class. John had no idea what was going on and, though no other priest did these things to him, he thought Maloney was “being playful”. It was “quite subtle” he said.
It also happened when John was ill and alone in the dormitory. Maloney removed his trousers and fondled him. He found the abuse “bizarre” at the time but really did not understand what was going on. He recalled how in the dormitory Maloney “at night, very late, he would pick on boys in bed”.
As he got a bit older John realised what was happening “wasn’t correct”. He began to dodge Maloney. The priest complained to John’s father that he was not a good boy.
John’s close friend and former classmate at the school, Sahid, is in California. Speaking to The Irish Times from there, Sahid recalled that Maloney liked to refer to himself as “Hawkeye”, “because he said he could see everything”. Sahid said the boys had soon changed this to “F***eye”, because of “his tampering with boys” there. Soon it was known among the students that Maloney was abusing as many as 10 junior boys but “in those situations it didn’t matter what the boys said,” he said.
But this was to provoke a major crisis at the college. Senior student boarders took action one night. Graffiti and lewd drawings referring to Maloney and his activities began to appear on walls and buildings around the college campus. It caused a scandal.
John recalled how juniors at the college were “protected by seniors, the senior prefects. They were a bit more mature.” He also remembered not knowing what the graffiti meant. “I didn’t know the meaning of the words. I wasn’t familiar with the language.” The seniors, he said, “were highly respected by the younger boys”.
In the investigation by school authorities he recalled that about 12 senior boys admitted responsibility. All were expelled. Some were sons of major figures in Sierra Leone society. The parents were scandalised by their sons’ behaviour.
Bishop Joseph Henry Ganda of the local diocese, Kenema, was contacted by some parents to mediate and it was agreed the 12 senior boys would be allowed attend the college as day pupils to finish their exams.
John recalled that after that crisis Maloney “stopped for a short time” but soon resumed his old ways at the college.
“Ed” has been in the UK for many years but remembers the 1977 June day when Maloney sat him “inappropriately” on his lap at Christ the King College. He recalled it was an admissions interview and he, then 11, was with his father. The priest noticed that both he and Ed were left-handed so he invited the boy to sit on his lap and write “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”. When he began as a boarder at the college the following September, Maloney was Ed’s religion and maths teacher.
There was a maths exam at the end of November and Ed had to go to Maloney’s residence to get his results. There the priest undressed, fondled and kissed him. The same thing happened Ed when he got his religion results.
Ed never went to Maloney’s residence again. He recalled that the priest was “very resentful” about this. “He didn’t like me very much.” He said Maloney’s activities were “quite rife . . . and well known in the school.” He didn’t know whether other teachers there knew about Maloney’s activities “but it was not a secret among the students”.
“John” recalls how, the year before Maloney left the college in 1978 he was removed from the post as boarding house master – the only contact thereafter he had with students was in the classroom. “With hindsight now I think he was cut off from contact with the students,” John said.
In 1979, Maloney was appointed to Blackrock College in Dublin, where he remained until he took up an appointment at Rockwell College, Co Tipperary, in 1980. He was there until 1996, when he was removed from ministry and placed under strict supervision.
When the details of these allegations were put to the Spiritan/Holy Ghost Fathers congregation, a spokesman said that “whilst we cannot comment on the specifics of the allegations, we can say, with profound regret, that the form of abuse described is consistent with complaints that we have received about the individual priests mentioned” (including Maloney).
The spokesman continued that “with regard to a ‘major crisis’, as described by ‘John’ at Christ the King College, Bo in 1973/1974, we are endeavouring to gather as much information as we can to enable us clarify events which occurred at that time”.
CONVICTED PRIEST: ONLINE COMMENTS
FR HENRY Moloney used internet access in October 2010 to point out that there are MANY [his emphasis] ways in which to abuse a child, and all of them are practiced by some parents and caretakers.
His access to the internet was stopped in July 2011 when one of his victims, Mark Vincent Healy, brought it to the attention of Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin. He recalled Dr Martin being “very shocked” at the time.
In 2010 Moloney was, as he continues to be, under his congregations supervision at Kimmage Manor in Dublin. In 2000 he was sentenced to 18 months in prison for sexually assaulting two boys at St Mary’s in the early 1970s. He served 15 months.
On March 19th, 2009, he pleaded guilty to abusing two other boys, including Mr Healy, in the late 1960s/early 1970s at St Mary’s and was sentenced to 18 months, which was suspended for three years. He was ordered to continue to live with the Holy Ghost Fathers and not have any supervisory role with children under 13.
On September 22nd, 2010, just over 18 months after he received that last sentence, he joined the Catholic Answers Forum blog as an observing member.
In his first posting, on October 2nd, 2010, under a heading “Response to the sex abuse situation” he signed himself as “Henry Moloney and began: Hello! My name is known to you . . . so this limits what I can say.
He accepted all the comments about the paedophile priests as betraying Christ, church, family friends, but especially the innocent victims. However, he found it unacceptable to find we name such priests as ’Judases.
He warned: The only Judge is Christ – so beware of taking up such a position on any failings by any Christian be he priest or lay person. We do so at our peril.
In a second posting, dated October 6th, 2010, Moloney said: The vast majority of child sexual abusers can not be rehabilitated, and they are and will remain a danger to children as long as they live. But, we should not limit those that we condemn to just those who abuse children sexually. We should modify our laws so that those who abuse children physically, mentally or in any other way are also subject to harsh legal punishment.
A posting dated February 19th, 2011, asks Is this the Rev Fr Henry F Moloney, CSSp who was our boarding home master at Christ the King College in Bo, Sierra Leone. Can someone help out please. It was signed “Stipose”, whose identity is known to The Irish Times.
A second entry from Stipose, dated February 23rd, 2011, reproduced an Irish Times report of March 20th 2009 dealing with Moloneys sentence hearing at the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin the previous day.
Stipose continued: “It is proving to be very disturbing: of course he was a prime suspect when we were in school for sexually molesting and abusing boys; that it is now proven, I am finding [it] very hard to deal with this . . .”
NEW ALLEGATIONS have emerged of abuse carried out by members of the Spiritans religious congregation, including while they were in ministry at schools in Africa.
The order has said the accounts of several victims contained in today’s coverage are consistent with reports they have received about named priests.
The leading religious congregations in Ireland expressed “profound regret”, saying the content of the reports “is consistent with complaints that we have received about the individual priests mentioned”.
The congregation runs some of the best-known schools in Ireland, including Blackrock College, St Mary’s, Templeogue College and St Michael’s in Dublin, as well as Rockwell College in Co Tipperary.
While it could not “comment on the specifics of the allegations” put to it, a spokesman said they “deeply regret not only the abuse that has been inflicted by any member of the province on individual victims, whether in Ireland or overseas, but also the failings on the part of the province in the way we received or dealt with some complaints”. It was “particularly conscious that some incidents of abuse by members of our province outside of Ireland may not have been brought to our attention”.
The congregation spokesman said: “We will be moving to address this issue in the next phase of our safeguarding work.”
Reports in today’s Irish Times detail child abuse allegations against Fr Henry Moloney arising from his time at Christ the King College (CKC), Bo, Sierra Leone, between 1973 and 1979. Fr Moloney, who resides at the congregation’s Kimmage Manor in Dublin, was sentenced in 2000 and 2009 for abusing four boys at St Mary’s College between 1968 and 1973, the years immediately before his appointment to CKC in Sierra Leone.
In 1979 he returned from Sierra Leone to Blackrock College and was appointed to Rockwell College in 1980. He was there until 1996, when he was removed from ministry.
It has also emerged that, though under supervision at Kimmage Manor, Fr Moloney had access to the internet and in October 2010 posted entries on a blog.
Further allegations reported today are against Fr Patrick Hannan when he was at St Teresa’s secondary school for boys in Nairobi, Kenya, and Fr Christopher Meagher at Rockwell College.
Concerns have also been reported about the record of Fr Arthur Carragher in Nigeria, where he served for 17 years before joining the teaching staff at St Marys College in 1969. He transferred to Toronto in 1971 but was accused by four men of abusing them during his brief time in Dublin. In 2002 he admitted to abusing two of the men, and they were paid compensation. However, he remained in ministry and died in Canada in 2011.
The review of the congregation’s child protection practices was published on September 5th last. Conducted by the Catholic Church’s child protection watchdog, the National Board for Safeguarding Children, it found that 142 abuse allegations had been made against 47 Spiritan/Holy Ghost priests since January 1st, 1975.
Former residents of Irish institutions want to know what the €110m statutory fund will offer them, writes MARK HENNESSY in Birmingham
SURVIVORS OF abuse suffered in religious institutions in Ireland who are now based in Britain live in fear that they will end their days in care homes, it was claimed yesterday.
Eight former residents of the homes who are now living in London, and who are in touch with the Irish Survivors’ Advise and Support Network, have had strokes in the past year, according to its founder, Phyllis Morgan.
Researcher Mary Higgins, who interviewed survivors for a report for the St Stephen’s Green Trust, said many of those who were incarcerated in religious-run institutions were ageing.
Care homes are “different institutions, but they are often housed in renovated religious institutions, such as convents. They will resonate for people who have had bad experiences,” she said.
Dozens of survivors gathered in Birmingham yesterday for an update on the services to be supplied by a statutory fund paid for by €110 million in compensation offered by the institutions. A new website, irishsurvivorsinbritain.org– supported by the Federation of Irish Societies and the St Stephen’s Green Trust – offers information on services available to British-based abuse survivors.
Morgan said the Government should work with British-based organisations representing survivors to ensure that help from the fund was best directed. “Many of the people are now in their 80s,” she said.
Every effort must be made to keep elderly former inmates in their homes, but cutbacks in local authority spending in Britain were making that job more difficult by the day, she added.
Efforts were being made to form a British-based community group to vet care homes for former residential inmates “and to ensure that they are not forgotten once they are there”.
Department of Education and Skills official Mary McGarry gave a briefing on the operation of the statutory fund to be run by a nine-strong independent board.
Once up and running, survivors will be able to apply for funds to pay for medical, psychiatric and hospital treatment, along with, for example, assistance to keep them in their homes.
The Government was criticised by survivors at the gathering, who complained about the lack of information on offer and expressed doubts about British-based survivors’ ability to qualify for assistance.
McGarry said Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn was anxious to get the body – which was established by legislation approved by the Houses of the Oireachtas in July – into action “as soon as possible”.
However, she said it would not be able to write directly to the 15,000 people who dealt with the Residential Institutions Redress Board because their files were confidential.
Victims would have to apply for help, she said, but they would not have to submit evidence because the redress board would be able to confirm their names once they come forward.
Survivors, meeting at the Irish Centre in Birmingham, expressed anger that the nine-strong board would have four survivors’ representatives, rather than a majority: “They’ll be out-voted every time,” said one.
However, McGarry replied: “We don’t envisage a situation where they will be a ‘them and us’. The whole point is to provide services. There should be common cause.”
Some British-based survivors believe they will not qualify for help if they own their own home, several told the meeting. But McGarry said there would not be a general means test.
Survivor Jim Kelly, now living in Leicester, said he had never told his family that he had been abused: “I was too ashamed.”
Mary Abbott, who was held in homes in Sligo and Athlone, said: “Every night it is in my head, I can’t get rid of it. It never leaves my mind.”
This fund is not another amount of money for those who were in the various Institutions. This Fund is NOT extra “Compo” or extra compensation.
This Fund will NOT be split between all those who have previous been given an award at the Residential Institutions Redress Board.
What the Fund will do is make money available to those who apply for help and support. Many people doing so will be those who did not approach the Board previously, or who did but were rejected for whatever reason.
Group Leaders cannot decide how this fund is to be used. We have no part to play in its set up or how it will act. Currently the Minister is getting a Committee Together so as to be able to have the Fund up and running as soon as is possible.
Any other information you hear-or are given is incorrect. For clarification you are welcome to call me and I will confirm:
Tom Hayes- Direct from you is:-04838 871708 Mobile: 0044 7974002336 If I am not there please leave a message and I will call you back.
I wish you all well at your meeting in the Railway Bar in Limerick this weekend- and at further meetings in Kerry.
Sentence is due to be passed next month on a former priest who has pleaded guilty to 11 charges of indecent assault on boys at various locations in Co Meath, including at two parochial houses. Raymond Brady (77), Baltrasna, Oldcastle, admitted the offences when he appeared before Trim Circuit Court earlier this year.
The crimes were committed at parochial houses in Drumconrath and Kilbeg as well as locations in the Bettystown, Kilmainhamwood and Enfield areas and at a number of unknown locations. Brady assaulted his victims on dates between April 1st, 1968, and June 30th, 1976.
Prosecuting counsel Carl Hanahoe told Trim Circuit Court yesterday that the sentence hearing, which will also hear impact statements from the victims, would take about half a day. Judge Michael O’Shea adjourned the case for sentencing on November 9th.
A MAN has sued the State alleging that, when a nine-year-old orphan, he was wrongfully “boarded out” to work in a position “of quasi-servitude” as a farm boy.
The now 50-year-old man is also suing a religious order that ran the orphanage where he had lived from when he was a baby until he was boarded out.
He alleges he was sexually abused by other children in the orphanage.
The HSE, the Minister for Health and the religious order deny his claim and have asked the court to strike out his case on grounds of “inordinate and inexcusable” delay. The case was begun 12 years ago.
Mr Justice Gerard Hogan yesterday adjourned their application for five weeks after being told the Residential Institutions Redress Board is dealing with his claim for compensation and it may not be necessary for the court to address the matter.
Suzanne Boylan, counsel for the man, said he initiated the High Court proceedings before the redress board claim. While the board had recently sanctioned an interim payment of €10,000 for him, it had reserved its position on compensation for his period of “boarding out” as a farm boy, she said.
The man is unwell and not in a position to give immediate instructions, counsel added.
Ms Boylan said she wanted an adjournment to take instructions but hoped the matter could be resolved through the redress board. If that happened, all that she expected to seek from the court were legal costs.
Gerard Clarke SC, for the Minister, Ireland and the Attorney General, said his side wanted the court to hear its application for the matter to be struck out on grounds of delay.
Mr Clarke said the man’s claim against the State authorities related to a period from 1971 to 1981 when he was boarded out to a brother and sister in the west of Ireland. He had attended a respected secondary school in Sligo and University College Galway and went on to obtain a professional qualification.
The brother and sister to whom he was boarded out had since died and there was no one else to give evidence as to his treatment, counsel said. The State’s ability to defend the case was therefore completely and totally prejudiced.
Mr Justice Hogan noted the man’s claim appeared to be that he was held in a position of quasi-servitude while boarded out.
If the redress board resolved the matter in his favour, legal costs would be the only outstanding matter, the judge said. He “earnestly hoped” a decision could be made by the board before the case returned before him in five weeks, he added.
CARDINAL SEÁN Brady should make a full apology to a priest who was removed from his parish in Co Louth after an allegation of abuse made against him was subsequently found to be false.
That’s according to Labour Senator Mary Moran who is part of the parish of Blackrock, Co Louth, which Fr Oliver Brennan was attached to at the time of the allegation in August 2010.
Yesterday Fr Brennan told LMFM radio that being accused of child abuse “is every priest’s nightmare”. The allegation dates back to the early 1970s and was investigated by the PSNI and later by Cardinal Brady. Both enquiries cleared him of any wrongdoing.
He said he had no idea an allegation was being made and the last two years have been “very difficult, quite horrendous really”.
“I’ve always felt the worst thing a person could do would be to hurt a child in any way or an underage person,” he said. “Suddenly, on the 14th August, 2010, I had an allegation against me saying that I did do that. Therefore when one believes the worst thing that could be done was what one was accused of doing – I was in such a state of shock I think for a few months.”
Fr Brennan said it is only right that investigations into such allegations are “very thorough and that every iota reported is investigated”. However, he said that, “it is unfortunate that because of the incorrect activity of church leaders in the past”, that priests are now “very vulnerable”.
He said the PSNI and the Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland both exonerated him. “At a very early stage a police woman said to me, off the record, ‘We know you are an innocent man,’” said Fr Brennan. “They concluded, after interviewing this person and interviewing me, her words were, ‘You are a gentleman, I feel very sorry for you, this is all fabricated but we must proceed.’”
Cardinal Brady celebrated Mass in Blackrock on Saturday evening and read a statement that, “the allegations against Fr Oliver Brennan have not been substantiated and Fr Oliver Brennan remains a priest in good standing and is to be restored to active ministry forthwith”.
However, a church spokesman confirmed that Fr Brennan would not be returning to Blackrock parish.
EDMUND IGNATIUS Rice, founder of the Christian Brothers, had “big ambitions for a Catholic in the Ireland of the 18th century”. The country was “still subject to penal laws that impacted harshly enough on education at a time when it was the policy of those in charge to keep people poor and ignorant”, former president Mary McAleese recalled.
He “simply wanted to help” to give children “that polish that only education can give you”.
She was speaking at an event in the Convention Centre Dublin on Saturday night held to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Edmund Rice. An estimated 1,000 people attended included Christian Brothers, their past pupils and men who had been in institutions run by the congregation as children.
Mrs McAleese said that “in this room tonight there are people for whom the journey here was very easy. They remember their school days with a fair degree of happiness . . . sure it could be tough . . . depending on the generation. But in the round you got a good start in life.”
For others, however, it “was a very hard journey. It took a lot of soul searching to come tonight . . . because for them school was just a misery. And unfortunately it was a misery over and against the Gospel . . . the commandment to love one another. Over and against that it was even more injurious, more harmful, because the physical damage could never, ever match the emotional damage.”
Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly and abuse survivor John Allen were physically barred from attending the event. Clearly stressed, and as he grappled with two bouncers, Mr Daly said he wasn’t being admitted because he and Mr Allen wanted to distribute a leaflet.
It said that on August 1st this year an offer of compensation to Mr Allen by the Christian Brothers had been withdrawn and that “the leadership of the Christian Brothers are hoping that I will die soon, so the problem I pose will go away”. Mr Allen (50) said he was suffering from degenerative joint disease and was in chronic pain.
He has been supported by Senator Daly and Senator Jillian Van Turnhout in his efforts to have the situation resolved.
Among abuse survivors at the event were Michael O’Brien of the Right to Peace group; John Barrett of Touched by Suicide; Christopher Heaphy of Voices of Existing Survivors and Owen Felix O’Neill who had been in St Joseph’s in Tralee.
Mr O’Brien said he was there because Mrs McAleese had hosted a function for survivors at Áras an Uachtaráin. In a statement Mr Heaphy said “closure for the Christian Brothers will not come to them until they err on the side of generosity in their dealings with us”. Mr O’Neill said: “We accept the great and good intentions of Blessed Edmund Rice” but that “many of the leaders of the Christian Brothers and the Roman Catholic Church lost their way”.
This evening, in Dublin's Convention Centre, former pupils of Christian Brothers schools will come together to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Edmund Rice.
Advertised as "an evening with former President Mary McAleese and guests", its theme is "to reunite, reconcile, give thanks and look to the future".
For many, though, it's impossible to forget the past.
Few names evoke such opposing reactions in Ireland as that of Edmund Rice.
Mention his name to grown men who attended a CBS, founded by the Kilkenny-born educator, and often a shadow will cloud their ageing faces.
Many recall the discipline, the fear, the corporal punishment and the physical and sexual abuse dished out to them and/or others.
In sharp contrast, devout Catholics may bless themselves and think of a man who brought knowledge and religion to the marginalised in Irish society.
They point to the poorest regions of the world where Christian Brother schools cater for those who have nowhere else to turn.
You'll have no trouble finding professionals from Dublin to Dingle who believe the education they received at a CBS was intrinsic in elevating them to heady positions.
Born on June 1, 1762, in a modest bothán, or roadside shed, in Callan, Co Kilkenny, Rice was the fourth of seven sons.
Despite growing up in penal times, when the educational opportunities for Irish Catholics were severely limited, the Rice children were fortunate. A local Augustinian friar would visit their home daily to educate Edmund and his brothers.
Bright and ambitious, a young Edmund inherited his Uncle Michael's merchant business in Waterford in 1785. Trading livestock and other supplies to the British colonies, life was good and, aged 23 Edmund wed Mary Elliott, the daughter of a Waterford tanner.
The marriage ended tragically though, following a horse-riding accident in which his wife was killed and his daughter left handicapped.
A devastated Edmund changed his priorities following the tragedy and abandoned the ambitions of his class.
In 1794 he founded an orphan society to care for the poor children of Waterford and he devoted his time to the plight of prisoners.
In 1802 he established a makeshift school on New Street, Waterford, to cater for the poor. Soon afterwards, with the help of two young fellow Callan men, Thomas Grosvenor and Patrick Finn, the Christian and Presentation Brothers were formed.
News of the new Catholic schools, which embraced the Irish Republican cause, spread across Ireland.
IBy 1838, the brothers were in 17 locations with 7,500 students, including a number in England.
Their motto became 'The Lord has given, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord forever' -- in later years many would see the irony in those words as innocence was lost for young students at the hands of some of the Brothers.
The Ryan report of 2009 found that molestation and rape were "endemic" in boys' facilities (in Ireland), chiefly run by the Christian Brothers order.
"A climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment, permeated most of the institutions and all those run for boys. Children lived with the daily terror of not knowing where the next beating was coming from," it said.
The oasis of learning aimed at the vulnerable and disenfranchised created by Rice had mutated into something very different. The founder actually banned the physical punishment of children -- a radical idea at the time but a fact that's often overlooked.
In 1996, Rice was beatified, becoming the 'Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice' and his feast day is on May 5 each year. To be considered for the honour, a miracle carried out by, or in the name of, Rice had to be found.
In 1976, a young Newry man named Kevin Ellison had his appendix removed but complications of gangrene followed. Further surgery was performed but the doctors believed there was no hope of survival. Death would take place within 24 to 48 hours. A relic of Rice was given to the 19-year-old's distraught parents.
Amazingly, the young man survived the next day and after a further operation, he was able to return home after several weeks. Kevin Ellison is still alive and well, and married with a young family.
To mark the 250th anniversary of Rice's birth a series of events are taking place across the country as part of the 'Beyond 250 Appeal', including this evening's reception.
The Beyond 250 Appeal aims to raise funds for "the vital international work being carried out around the world in the spirit of Edmund Rice".
Noble and all as the cause may be, many still find it's impossible to separate Rice from the school system he developed.
"The orders which were responsible ... for the rape and brutalisation of children ... should be disbanded. Those who continue to celebrate the contribution of these orders should examine their consciences carefully," says journalist Malachi O'Doherty.
Irish snooker legend and former World Champion Ken Doherty disagrees. He told the Irish Independent: "I went to the CBS in Westland Row and, honestly, I couldn't say enough good things about the education we received there. It definitely was strict and corporal punishment was allowed.
"Of course abuse went on and your heart would go out to those who suffered. I would have seen some of it in my time but, in the main, the school was excellent and very supportive of me in my career. Inevitably, good Christian Brothers, many who are still doing great work in the community, became tarnished with the same brush as those who abused -- and that's not right."
Former Republic of Ireland striker Niall Quinn believes his schooldays had a lasting positive effect on him.
"I'm very proud to be a Drimnagh Castle CBS boy and during my time there found decency and an ethos which helped me long after I left at the age of 16.
"Of course, I have huge sympathy for those boys who had a hard time but I also feel sorry for the good, decent Christian Brothers whose lifetime of work was diminished because of the recent revelations."
EAMON Gilmore just couldn't help himself. During the launch on Wednesday of the Labour campaign in support of the children's rights' referendum, he couldn't resist taking a pop at the churches.
Deploring the attitudes of the past, he attacked "the way in which the State over those decades (following Independence) kowtowed to churches in respect of the care of children, to the detriment of children."
This was an obvious reference to the industrial schools but he said it on the same day that a report was published detailing the abuse of children as recently as last year in St Patrick's Institution for Young Offenders. Was the church responsible for that?
He said it even though the Irish State hasn't kowtowed to the church in decades. And he said it as the representative of a party that regularly kowtows to the unions.
Thus, the Tanaiste managed to sound like a nationalist politician of old, still fulminating about the effects of British rule in Ireland, decades after it had come to an end.
This was simply Gilmore pandering to his base, showing his true colours and linking the proposed change to the Constitution to the continuing campaign to eradicate every trace of Old Ireland that is not to their tastes.
I have still not fully decided which way I will vote on November 10. I'm not convinced by the arguments of the No side that the amendment will decisively shift the balance of power in respect of who makes decisions about children away from parents and towards the State.
However, if anything would convince me to vote No it is the blatant linking of the referendum by people like Eamon Gilmore to the ongoing Kulturkampf ('culture struggle') that has been raging here for decades.
As mentioned, the Tanaiste on Wednesday was referring indirectly to the treatment of children in industrial schools. In respect of those schools, however, the real problem had much less to do with the Constitution and much more to do with the nature of institutionalisation itself.
Sometimes placing people in institutions is unavoidable, but we can see once again from the report into St Patrick's that once you put people, especially minors, into an institution and give another group power over them, abuses are almost inevitable.
It certainly didn't help that we trusted the Catholic Church so much in the past. We trusted that it would look after the children in its institutions well -- and now we know it often did the complete opposite, even leaving aside the intrinsically awful nature of most institutions.
However, children's institutions in whatever part of the world were, and are, dreadful places as a rule. They were dreadful in Britain, Germany, Sweden, Holland, everywhere. And they were dreadful no matter who ran them.
The main reason we were able to get rid of the industrial schools is because the money became available to look after troubled children in better and more humane ways. More and better trained staff were available for a start.
Yes campaigners complain that the Constitution currently makes it too hard to remove children from their families in certain circumstances. But ironically they fail to notice that this same Constitution did not stop children from being removed from their homes and placed wholesale into institutions in the past.
So clearly the Constitution doesn't make it so hard to take children away from their families. In fact, with respect to children and their rights, a caricature of the Constitution is constantly being put before the public.
For example, it is said that it does not mention the rights of children, even though Article 42.5 explicitly mentions the "natural and imprescriptible rights of the child". Read it for yourself.
Read it and you will also find that the Constitution gives children rights adults do not have -- for example, the right to a free primary education.
READ it and you will find that children, by virtue of their citizenship, enjoy almost all of the rights adults enjoy, although certain rights do not exist until a child reaches a certain age, such as the right to vote.
Supreme Court Justice Adrian Hardiman has attacked the notion that the Constitution prefers parents over children. He says it prefers parents over third parties, such as priests or social workers. Hopefully, that will remain the case if and when this amendment is passed.
Professor Gerard Hogan, now a High Court judge, referring to what the Constitution currently has to say about children, told RTE in 2010 that he disagreed with "the suggestion that the present provisions haven't worked well, or that they don't strike the right balance, or are in some way responsible for lots of modern ills -- because I think that is just, with respect, a grotesque mis-statement and misunderstanding of the present constitutional provision."
There may well be good arguments in favour of the proposed amendment but Eamon Gilmore isn't making them. Instead what we got from him was a "grotesque" caricature of exactly the sort described by Justice Hogan.
Survivors of abuse at Christian Brother schools have accused organisers of a Christian Brothers commemoration event this weekend of attempting to muzzle them by not allowing them to speak.
Former President Mary McAleese and Sen Martin McAleese are set to join past pupils of Christian Brothers schools at an event at Dublin’s Convention Centre today to commemorate the anniversary of the birth of Edmund Rice, founder of the Christian Brothers and Presentation Brothers.
Survivors of child abuse at Christian Brother schools were invited.
Tonight’s event is part of a year-long initiative to raise funds for international work being carried out in the spirit of Edmund Rice.
Keynote speakers on the night will be Mrs McAleese, president of St Patrick’s College and John Hope prize-winning academic Dr Dáire Keogh, and social affairs activist and author Fr Peter McVerry.
Despite requests, Christopher Heaphy, the chairman of Voices of The Existing Survivors, will not be permitted to speak at the event.
"Unless Irish society is prepared to listen to us there never will be closure," said Mr Heaphy.
"We can be preached to from the pulpits and talked down to by the ‘great and good’ but we need to be invited to speak for ourselves."
"After over 50 years of silence we are quite capable of speaking about our own personal experiences. A ‘wall of silence’ built by Church and religious to hide behind, will founder. Maybe then God’s light and love will find a place in their hearts and we will be listened to.
"Our only sin was pov-erty, needing alleviation not exploitation. But exploitation is what we got in the schools delivered under a tsunami of brutality designed to dehumanise and traumatise, and which shell-shocked us into a condition where many were incapable of developing into loving, talented, and caring people we were meant to be".
Mr Heaphy and his two brothers were kept at Greenmount Industrial School in Cork, which was run by the Presentation Brothers.
Eight chapters of the Ryan Report are devoted to the Christian Brothers as it was the largest provider of residential care for boys in the State. The order was found guilty of "excessive and pervasive" physical punishment of boys and at Artane in Dublin, there was a "chronic" problem of sexual abuse.
Re: Christian Brothers Celebratory event in Dublin 20 OCT 2012
The victims of Christian Brother childhood abuse are appalled at the grotesque celebratory event designed to rehabilitate that organisation on Saturday 20th October 2012.
Whilst there are many in this society who did benefit from “the gift of education” through the Christian Brothers and are entitled to yahoo their excellent good fortune - that was not the case for tens of thousands of Irish children locked up from 1922 onwards in Industrial Schools. For these children there was a vigorous policy of educational denial which replicated the notorious apartheid era Bantu Education Act - in an Ireland that purported to “Cherish all the children of the Nation equally”
Because of this criminal policy, supported throughout by a cowardly political elite, the lives of those who suffered years of sexual and other abuses were made substantially more difficult than they might have been.
The friends and supporters of the Christian Brothers say, “ ah, but be reasonable, look at all the good work they are doing down in Africa, that must surely count for something” to which we say that 10 pounds of alleged do-Gooding in Africa doesn’t expunge 5 pounds of evil doings in Ireland - that is not the way of the World.
We are appalled at the behaviour of the management committee of the current Artane Band and its use of the young people in the Band at next Saturday’s event given that the Artane Band owes its historical existence to those who were economically exploited and abused by the Christian Brothers in Dublin 5 over many decades. For these reasons this is a particularly insensitive engagement to have accepted.
We are also shocked at the about-face of former State President Mary McAleese who, in June 2009 following the Ryan Report, rightly condemned the abusers at a gathering of Survivors at Áras an Uachtaráin (Official Residence of the President) but now appears happy to frolic to her heart’s content with the Christian Brothers and their supporters at Saturday’s bizarre event. There is a bewildering inconsistency to this approach unless you view the abusers as morally equivalent to those who suffered years of abuse in which case an explanation is urgently needed.
John Kelly – coordinator of Irish Survivors of Child Abuse
WHILE THE new report is the strongest to date on St Patrick’s Institution for Young Offenders, it is by no means the first time the prison facility for children and young men has been criticised.
Indeed, since the 1980s its regime and facilities have been exposed as completely unsuitable, with many experts and groups recommending its closure.
Successive reports from the visiting committee at the prison have described a regime and facility dating back to the 1800s that is completely unsuitable to house young offenders.
The Whitaker report 30 years ago recommended its closure and while successive governments have promised to reform the facility in north Dublin, Reilly’s report reflects another reality.
In their annual report published in 2010, prison chaplains singled out St Patricks Institution for particular mention, describing it as a “warehouse for young people many of whom were broken by childhood experiences”.
They spoke at the time of a “harsh, punitive system” where young people had a “demoralising, destructive and dehumanising experience; [a system] with few redeeming features characterised by idleness and boredom for young people who are full of energy.”
Situated on the North Circular Road, Dublin 7, it has a bed capacity of 220 and is a closed prison on the same campus as three adult prisons: Mountjoy, the Training Unit and the Dóchas Centre for women prisoners. It opened in the 1950s when boys and young men were transferred there from a reform school in Clonmel, Co Tipperary.
RITE & REASON: The Christian Brothers made a valuable contribution to Irish education
ON THIS, the 250th anniversary of the birth of the great Irishman, Blessed Edmund Rice, we, the past pupils and friends of Christian Brothers and Edmund Rice schools, mark a significant moment in history. The history of a man who has left such a lasting impression on his country; and his legacy that has transformed the prospects of hundreds of thousands of young people on all five continents through education in schools, such as my own, CBS Westland Row.
Past students of the Christian Brothers have a shared history, one that is woven into the fabric of our daily lives. This is why as a group, we felt, in this anniversary year, that it was our duty to acknowledge the ideals of Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice and of the tireless and selfless efforts of the many great men who followed in his footsteps to improve the welfare and prospects of the communities into which they themselves were born.
An education is something that, quite rightly, has come to be expected as a basic human right. It was not always thus. For so many years education in Ireland was seen as the preserve of the well-off, perpetuating disadvantage and the gap between rich and poor.
Despite significant and often justified criticism of the Christian Brothers, the fact remains that the presence of a Christian Brothers school in a locality resulted in education and self-improvement that would not otherwise have occurred. And the Brothers continue to work with the world’s poor.
Ireland today is different from the Ireland of the last century. Society and local communities have evolved and the Edmund Rice tradition has had to evolve to remain relevant. In 2007, the 100-plus schools on the island of Ireland transferred to an independent trust under the stewardship of committed lay men and women.
The respective Edmund Rice Schools Trusts North and South, have taken on the challenge of educating tomorrow’s Pádraig Pearses, Niall Quinns, Martin Storeys and JP McManuses – Ireland’s future generations of game-changers.
The Brothers themselves have put themselves back with the poor of the world, working with those that are the most disadvantaged and far off from opportunity – whether it be in Africa, India, Latin America or Oceania. We send our very best wishes to them for this work in continuing on the vision and legacy of Edmund Rice.
Just as there can be no denial that some who purported to follow the teachings of Edmund Rice lost their way and besmirched his legacy, others, the silent majority, upheld his philosophy in a true Christian tradition and their legacy should not be forgotten. It must be acknowledged, however, that there are past pupils who did not have the same good experience that most of us did. We are all brought together, however, by our common bond of being past pupils. They have a very special and equal place in the Edmund Rice community.
Next Saturday evening, former president Mary McAleese and Senator Martin McAleese will join past pupils and friends of the Edmund Rice/Christian Brothers schools in the Convention Centre Dublin for an evening of music, film and keynote addresses, marking this anniversary year. Past pupils from all over Ireland are invited to this event to reunite with old friends and colleagues from Ireland and England, and to acknowledge their shared experience.
The evening’s programme will feature choral performances, music from the Artane Band, presentations and videos of education in Ireland and in the missions, and keynote speeches by Mrs McAleese; president of St Patrick’s College and John Hope prize-winning academic Dr Dáire Keogh; and activist and author Fr Peter McVerry.
Taxpayers foot bill as Shatter firm earns €700,000
The cost of compensation, legal fees and of running the Redress Board arising from the sexual and other abuse of children in the care of Catholic institutions has so far cost the taxpayer well over €1bn -- with €160m of it going to lawyers, it can be revealed.
Since the Fianna Fail-led coalition indemnified the Catholic Church so its compensation contribution was capped (reputedly at €120m, but in reality far less than this), the State has paid victims €875,446,608 up to the end of last year, along with €160,414,187 in fees for their solicitors and barristers.
The deal signed in June 2002, shortly before the Dail's summer recess, restricted the church's liability to a cash sum of just €40m and a property handover said to be valued at €76m.
The average compensation payment for victims works out at just under €70,000, the figures suggest.
The cost of the Redress Board itself was €44,874,732 from 2002 to 2011. Twelve board members who sat for years were paid daily fees of €825, though this was reduced in line with State cuts to €668 a day from January last year.
Three judges also sat on the board, though their fees are not detailed in figures released to independent TD for Dun Laoghaire Richard Boyd Barrett last week by Minister for Education Ruari Quinn.
Costs for the board, lawyers and compensation paid out over nine years reached €1,070,735,527, but this excludes the legal costs paid for State-employed lawyers and civil servants, which, legal sources say, added tens of millions of euro on top of this.
At least 20 of the dozens of firms of solicitors representing the 12,000 victims were paid more than €1m in fees. The top-earning company was Michael Hanahoe and Co of Dublin, which received €17.75m, followed by Lavelle Coleman, which was paid €13.4m, and Peter McDonnell and Co on €12.4m.
The Minister for Justice Alan Shatter's firm, Gallagher Shatter, was one of the medium earners at €713,259, according to the list of payments released by Mr Quinn.
In the first year that compensation was paid by the board, 2003, the total payment amount was €424,172, but at its high point in 2007 some €31.35m was paid out to victims.
The payments fell to €7.7m last year. In 2007, legal fees were paid out to 260 firms of solicitors. The very top-earning firms were probably representing around 200 clients.
The documents released to Mr Boyd Barrett also contain the contract entitled 'Indemnity' which the then Minister for Education Michael Woods agreed with religious orders. This has never been publicly revealed before.
The key Part 7 of this document reveals the details of the highly controversial deal under which the parties agreed "a cash payment to the State party amounting to the sum of €41.14m" and the "transfers of real property", "in aggregate to the sum of €40.32m" in a first instalment then a further instalment of property to the value of €36.54m.
The contract stipulates that €12.7m "shall be used by the State for educational programmes for former residents of institutions and their families" and that the church contribute a further €10m in "support services" for victims.
The "contributing congregations" include the Sisters of Mercy; Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul; Christian Brothers; Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd; Presentation Brothers; Rosminians; Oblates of Mary Immaculate; Hospitaller Order of St John of God; Sisters of Charity and several others.
Meanwhile, victims of child abuse in Protestant-run institutions have hit out at Catholic groups who they say have dominated the "abuse agenda" at their expense.
Derek Leinster, chairman of the Bethany Homes Survivors Group, has said while €1bn has been given to victims of child abuse, not one cent has been given to his group or other Protestant victims.
However, he said his main focus is on his fight to have the plight of those who suffered and died in Bethany Homes, a Church of Ireland run institution for children, recognised.
Mr Leinster has accused the Government of ignoring their calls for justice and compensation, as well as funding for a proper memorial for those in the unmarked graves in Mount Jerome.
In response, Mr Quinn said he considered the case of the Bethany Homes survivors but it was found they were not suitable for inclusion in the redress scheme.
HAD it not been for his part in a 1975 canonical process that essentially resulted in child abuser Fr Brendan Smyth going on to abuse more children, Cardinal Brady could have been basking in the knowledge of a job well done.
He had maintained that as a canon lawyer he was only doing his job when he passed on details to his superiors, but failed to inform the police.
His position was that it was up to his bishop and the head of the Norbertine Order to take action against Fr Smyth.
But Smyth victim Brendan Butler laid ruin to this excuse when he told the BBC last May that he gave the names and addresses of other victims to the then Fr Brady. Hauntingly, at the end of that documentary, Mr Butler turned to one of the other victims, whom Smyth continued to abuse and, now 40 years on, said: "I thought I saved you."
Not even dinner with the Pope on Thursday night can have assuaged the conscience of Cardinal Brady, who must ask himself if he could have saved those children.
Whoever his replacement is has a tough job ahead.
The Catholic Church in Ireland needs a strong leader who, with Archbishop Diarmuid Martin in Dublin, can lead a campaign to breathe some life back into a wounded church grown too used to wounded leaders.
Garry O'Sullivan is the former editor of 'The Irish Catholic'
Sir, – Senator Martin McAleese says of the Christian Brothers Past Pupils reunion that “it would not happen without the abused” (Home News, October 9th). This may be so. Those of us who spent all of our earlier lives with the Christian Brothers do not see this gathering in the same way as Senator McAleese and others mentioned in the article.
The Christian Brothers have still not accepted their part in the very serious abuses and failures perpetrated on weak and very vulnerable children, many who were orphans and so suffered mostly in these industrial schools.
They commissioned reports into these schools without engaging those of us who were there. They have whitewashed us out of their histories and turned their faces to the “new worlds” of Eastern Europe, India and elsewhere.
The continuing abuses of former pupils in the Residential Institutions Redress Board and the courts is disgraceful and, encouraged by the structures that allow secrecy and pseudonyms to be used, silences, deflects and hides the truth and the meaning of the truth from full exposure.
We wish Senator McAleese and others every success at their gathering.
Sadly, the majority of us who went through the industrial schools still suffer its effects. We are all getting old now, many living in England in L-shaped rooms for over 40 years while some in Canada and the US are suffering ill health and are unable to pay for medical insurance.
We see no reason to celebrate until the Christian Brothers meet and engage fully with those of us in support of these sad but proud individuals. – Yours, etc,
NOVEMBER 3rd, 2006, the then taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, announced that the time was right to place children’s rights at the heart of the Constitution.
There is no doubt that his announcement was influenced, and rightly so, by a series of reports that had revealed the horrifying scale of physical and sexual abuse inflicted on children in institutions supported by the State and by clergy and others in the general population.
In 2010 the all-party Oireachtas committee on the rights of the child, chaired by Mary O’Rourke, reached consensus on a recommended amendment of Article 42. Much of this consensus is reflected in the present wording. Throughout this entire period all of the major non-governmental organisations and charities who had actual experience of working with children joined in seeking similar constitutional change.
The Government’s proposal for constitutional change and the wording brought forward by Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald have been widely welcomed. To date no concerted opposition has emerged either to the basic need for constitutional change or to the wording proposed by the Minister. Individual commentators and letter writers have made criticisms and the Christian Solidarity Party has voiced its opposition through a letter from Richard Greene in this newspaper.
My former colleague Hugh O’Flaherty, in a column in the Irish Independent, expressed the view that there was no need for a referendum as sufficient rights for children were already recognised in constitutional law.
Not unexpectedly the main critics divide between those who think that the proposed amendment goes too far and those who think it does not go far enough. Those who think it goes too far include the Christian Solidarity Party, Kathy Sinnott, writing in the Catholic monthly Alive, and columnist John Waters.
Their main criticism is that the assertion of the child’s rights will threaten the established rights of parents and the married family. Others fear that the amendment, if passed, will too readily enable State authorities to remove children from the care of their natural families.
It must be remembered that the article 41 recognition of the family and guarantee of its protection remain in place, as do the sub-articles of article 42 on education. The proposed amendment is careful to refer to “exceptional cases” where the safety and welfare of the child are likely to be prejudicially affected, as the reason for any intervention by the State.
Any such intervention must be “by proportionate means” and in accordance with law. I find this difficult to see as a threat to the average family. It is even less a threat to the parents who, in the words of Richard Greene, have been champions of their children’s rights.
One cannot fail to see that in the vast majority of families the interests of parents and children coincide. The fact that most children are safe and happy with their parents does not mean, however, that we can forget that there are a considerable number of families where children’s welfare and even on occasion their lives are under threat through abuse or neglect.
The Minister for Children has made it very clear that the intent and wording of the amendment is to allow for early intervention to assist families and children in difficulties and if at all possible to enable children to remain in the care of their parents.
Vincent Browne, in his opinion piece in this newspaper on September 26th, takes the opposite stance to that of other critics, arguing that the proposed amendment is “deficient in many ways” and that it does not address a significant decision of the Supreme Court in 2006. His criticism is clearly directed at the present constitutionally based difference in treatment of the children of married parents and that of children of unmarried parents.
The repeated assertion of the additional rights of married parents under the Constitution forms the substance of the three Supreme Court decisions which he analyses. He is making an incorrect distinction between the 2006 decision and the two earlier cases. The law set out in all three is basically the same. The intent and wording of the present proposed amendment is to deal with the very problem which he is highlighting in his column.
That is why phrases like “rights of all children” (my emphasis) and “parents regardless of their marital status” are used, and why in the proposed Article 42A.4 the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration in all relevant proceedings.
The third criticism is that made by former Supreme Court judge Hugh O’Flaherty that the proposed amendment is unnecessary because children’s rights are already well established in the Constitution by means of various earlier decisions of the courts.
It is of course true that in cases such as the 1980 case of G v An Bord Uchtála there are clear judicial statements that children have rights. This, however, does not deal with the very problem highlighted by Vincent Browne – the position of the children of the married “constitutional” family. Nor does it deal with the difficulties apparent in the present law of adoption, which also stem from the Constitution.
A very practical effect of the amendment will be to permit the adoption of a large number of children now in the long-term care of foster parents but where the exceptionally high criteria of the 1988 Adoption Act cannot be met.
For me, the best recommendation for this amendment is that it has attracted the support of those who work among children, organisations such as Barnardos, the ISPCC, the Children’s Rights Alliance and Campaign for Children, of which I am chair. These four respected organisations have formed a joint campaign, Yes for Children.
Campaign for Children is just one organisation that has received support from the Atlantic Philanthropies and the One Foundation. These funds were provided to support a number of research and advocacy projects. We have now allocated a significant portion of our available funds to advocate for a Yes vote in the referendum as it addresses fundamental issues relating to the rights and protection of vulnerable children.
The Constitution is a legal document, but it is not just a document for lawyers. It is now, as it always has been, a statement of the values we hold as a people. The clear statement of the rights of children is surely a value worth stating.
Catherine McGuinness is a former senator and Supreme Court Judge. She is also chairwoman of Campaign for Children, a member of the Yes for Children campaign.
In your letters page, Michael Walsh, of Right of Place, in Cork, talks about the 50/50 contribution from the religious congregations towards the settlement of the redress board.
Mr Walsh says the articles and arguments about the failure of the congregations to "pay up" are demeaning to those of us who were in the institutions.
This sum was not mentioned in the Ryan Report. This was asked for by the Government once the report was published, and it was realised that the congregations had more of a responsibility than previously thought. It was the Alliance Victim Support Group, giving evidence at the public hearings in 2004, that asked that a benevolent fund be set up for the many who simply could not face the trauma of having their cases heard.
A FORMER priest who indecently assaulted five schoolboys 30 years ago has been given an 18-month sentence.
The 76-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to five counts of indecent assault on the boys on dates between 1979 and 1981.
The boys were aged between 11 and 13 years at the time of the offences, which took place in the then priest’s home and at a nearby school. The man has no previous convictions. The court heard two 11-year-old boys were invited into the accused’s house on the premise of delivering leaflets, and were abused there. Another boy, also 11, was told by the accused he had been selected for a trip abroad, and was abused when he went to meet the man to find out about the trip.
A 13-year-old boy was indecently assaulted after being invited into the house to be photographed for a parish magazine. The fifth victim, aged about 12, was abused at school when the accused came across him in the corridor after he had been put out of class.
Judge Margaret Heneghan noted the man was now elderly and suffered health difficulties but also that the offences involved multiple victims and a breach of trust.
She noted that the maximum penalty for these offences was two years’ imprisonment, and that she must decide where the incidents lay in the range of indecent assaults.
Judge Heneghan noted that the guilty pleas had been entered following legal argument in his trial and before the victims had to give evidence, but said the guilty pleas did not have the same weight as if they had been entered at an earlier date. She said she did not think the circumstances of the case warranted consecutive sentencing and imposed 18 months on each count to run concurrently. She backdated the sentences to June 2011 to reflect part of the time he has spent in custody.
The complainants had made statements to gardaí between 2002 and 2009.
Garda Michelle Carey told Mary Rose Gearty SC, prosecuting, that when gardaí interviewed the accused in 2010, he denied the offences but made “quasi-admissions” about being aroused by young boys. He denied any inappropriate touching.
David Keane SC, defending, said the accused had instructed him to offer a sincere apology to each complainant. The man had been laicised in the 1980s and had settled abroad.
Past pupils of Christian Brothers schools and institutions in Ireland are being invited to attend an event at the national convention centre in Dublin on October 20th. It is being held to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Edmund Ignatius Rice, founder of the order.
Billed as “an evening with former president Mary McAleese and guests”, the theme is “to reuinite, reconcile, give thanks and look to the future . . .” Central to the event will be pupils abused in institutions run by Brothers and their representatives. It will look to the Brothers’ future and to setting up a network of past pupil unions.
Fr Peter McVerry, Dr Daire Keogh, Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh and the Artane band will take part. Senator Martin McAleese said it “would not happen without the abused. We all have to stand together. It would be wrong to do otherwise.”
BISHOP OF Clonfert John Kirby has been aware since the mid-1990s that a priest he moved following allegations of child sex abuse continued to abuse children in his new parish, contrary to statements by the bishop last month.
Twice last month Bishop Kirby asserted that the priest in question did not abuse children in the parish to which he moved him.
However, the priest, sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment in 1994 for the sexual abuse of one child in Co Galway, told Bishop Kirby in the mid-1990s he had abused 17 children in the diocese.
This emerged when Bishop Kirby visited the priest while he was serving his jail sentence at Arbour Hill between 1994 and 1998.
In 1990, when the priest, referred to as “Priest A” in a recent report by the Catholic Church’s child protection watchdog, admitted to Bishop Kirby he had abused the boy concerned, he was moved to another parish where he abused more children.
Bishop Kirby declined to respond to questions from The Irish Times on whether this priest abused children in his new parish after he was moved in 1990.
However, The Irish Times has independently verified that Bishop Kirby was aware of this information.
This newspaper also asked whether the number of child abuse complaints he came to be aware of in the diocese overall was considerably higher than disclosed to a recent review or in recent statements.
A review of child protection practices in Clonfert by the Catholic Church’s child protection watchdog, its National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC), was published on September 5th last. It found nine child abuse allegations had been made against three priests in the diocese of Clonfert and another priest who provided holiday cover.
Just one of the four priests has been convicted in the courts. He has since been laicised. The review also found that Bishop Kirby had dealt “inappropriately” with abuse allegations. At a press conference in Loughrea, Co Galway, on September 5th, he acknowledged that he had moved to other parishes two priests whom he knew had abused children. He said he “hadn’t a clue” 20 years ago about how paedophiles operated, and thought it was a case of “a friendship that crossed a boundary line”.
He said: “I profoundly regret and apologise for moving the priests concerned to different parishes thereby placing others at serious risk . . . Whilst no further abuse has been reported, this act was a grave mistake on my part.”
In a “special message” read at all Masses in Clonfert on the weekend of September 15th/16th, he repeated: “I am not aware of any abuse allegations from the parishes to which they [the two priests] were moved.”
The Irish Times has learned that the man referred to as Priest A in the NBSC review of Clonfert abused a total of 17 victims in the diocese.
Nine of these were in Kiltormer parish, from where he was removed by Bishop Kirby when it emerged in 1990 he had abused a child there. He was then moved to Creagh parish where, it is believed, he claimed to have abused five more children.
Priest A also said he abused a further two children in Portumna and one other in the diocese.
It is understood that Priest A disclosed all these details to Bishop Kirby, as well as to statutory authorities, while serving his prison sentence in Arbour Hill.
In 1994 Priest A was sentenced to 10 years, with five suspended as he pleaded guilty. He was in prison until 1998.
Priest A gave the 17 names to Bishop Kirby after the bishop had been approached by a mother in the diocese who was anxious to know whether her son had been abused by Priest A. Bishop Kirby visited Priest A at Arbour Hill to secure the list of victims.
Let me begin by congratulating Conor Ryan for his excellent piece (Oct 1) on highlighting the difficulties between the Government and the religious orders over the payment of a 50/50 share of redress to people abused in industrial institutions.
However, there are some very important points to be made, and these highlight some misconceptions around this unseemly row.
* There is no further monetary redress for people who were abused in institutional care.
* This row is about the Government and the religious orders sharing the cost of redress, which has already been paid out!
* A very small part of this row concerns the additional Statutory Institutions Fund (€110m).
It frustrates me a great deal at the rumbling on of this row, because it is demeaning to those of us who were so horrendously abused in these institutions.
In our frontline work on behalf of over five and a half thousand people who made contact with our offices last year, and who now live in considerable difficulty, (as adults,) the reality of that abuse, and its consequences on families, is lost in this continuing row over who should pay what.
The people who seek our help are sidelined, and left to suffer in abject poverty, social isolation, and are marginalised by all of the States agencies dealing in housing, health, welfare and statutory care.
We say to the religious orders — for God’s sake, pay up.
And, to Minister Quinn, we say — stop trying to shift the problem of years of State and religious abuse to one of good guy/bad guy.
Engage in a meaningful dialogue at managing and finding solutions to the many difficulties now being experienced by those of us whose lives as children, and now as adults, have been blighted by the acts of abuse.
Chairman Right of Place Second Chance
Lower Glanmire Road
If the children’s referendum is passed, parents will no longer have any say in the upbringing of their children.
I have read the ‘new rights’ that the ISPCC and Childline want children to have. The ISPCC has campaigned for years against parents disciplining children. Parents will, according to the convention, have a duty to inform their children of their new rights.
I have been shown first hand the so-called ‘rights’ included in the "United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child". That’s the real reason we are having a referendum. Children will be able to associate with whom they want, watch what they want and do what they want.
This referendum will create an entire new list of child abuses. Parents will be the new abusers for denying the child their right to this, that or the other. In the UK state agents are taking children into care and having them adopted against the will of the parents, on any charge they decide. A most recent case was that of a child who was a stone and a half overweight. Terrible stories are now emerging of wrongful accusations of abuse. It was too late for the innocent parents to then get their children back as the children had already been adopted. One entire family were lost to forced adoption after a bruising, wrongly attributed to abuse, was found on one sibling.
This referendum will give the courts in Ireland the power to take your child against your will and adopt him or her to others. All your parental rights will be abolished forever. I would advise any parent to read up before they agree to legally giving these new rights to children and to the State.
Research what is happening in England under "forced adoption". These new rights for children will bring fighting and destruction to homes because it sets children against parents.
It’s no wonder those pushing for State control of children are trying every trick in the book, to keep the no campaigners off radio and TV debates.
THE national audit and review of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit is to be broadly welcomed. The report's findings are an appalling litany of failures to victims and their families and to those who are no longer with us to see the report publicised.
The management of some allegations raised after 1996, when clear guidelines were established in the Catholic Church, makes for harrowing reading. It is particularly appalling that some allegations were not reported to the civil authorities for up to four years after the congregation was informed.
Consider the implications of a victim coming forward who has been horrendously damaged by sexual abuse from childhood by a member of the Spiritans (Holy Ghost Fathers) and who received no support for more than four years from the HSE or the Garda.
It is a sentence of appalling distress and longer than any served by any convicted member of the Spiritans.
Of the 47 members of the congregation against whom allegations of child sexual abuse were raised, only three were convicted. On page 11 there is only a three to 1 ratio of abuser to victim identified which is noted throughout the report and is something that suggests many victims never came forward.
I have advocated "rescue services" and "safe space provisioning" for survivors. One cannot understate the importance in providing such services. The absence of any rescue services flies in the face of all "dignity, justice and compassion" for victims and families.
It is hard to read how little was done for victims in response to survivors on page 14 of the report and that: "There are, without doubt, victims whose abuse should have been preventable. If the Provincial at the time of receiving information . . . and in some cases direct allegations, had taken action to remove the offending priest/brother, then it is entirely reasonable to believe that some children could have been spared. This was unacceptable, and the current leadership has to carry the responsibility for the past failures of others."
The international dimension and capacity for the sexual abuse of children by members of the congregation is only briefly mentioned: "It is reasonable to believe that there are other victims of Spiritans who . . . may be located in Ireland, Canada, USA, Sierra Leone and any other country where the offenders have worked."
The impact of such a leadership failure in the Irish Province has had not only a national but an international impact.
What is glaringly absent is a clear manifesto of what actions will be taken to redress the damage inflicted on so many victims not found or even sought. It is important for the congregation to give a detailed description of its intent, how it hopes to achieve this and when it hopes to initiate such endeavours to ensure all child victims are treated with "dignity, justice and compassion".
Mark Vincent Healy was abused while he was a student at St. Mary’s College, a Dublin school run by the Congregation of Spiritans (formerly the Holy Ghost Fathers). He has been campaigning for years for the Catholic Church to actively seek out more victims of abuse so the correct rescue response can be administered.
IT MAY SEEM obvious that in the aftermath of a serious accident or natural disaster, the necessary emergency and rescue services should respond. But strangely, that is not what has happened in the case of clerical child sexual abuse in Ireland.
Clerical child sex abuse can be compared to a crash – except there are thousands upon thousands of victims at the scene. Already, the Ryan Report published in May 2009 showed that 15,000 children came forward out of the estimated 120,000 to 130,000 children sent to the various Irish institutions examined by Justice Ryan.
The only figures on the numerous organisations of the Irish Missionary Union have now been published, representing even more victims. The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church have completed their audits on child protection for the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC), the Congregation of Dominicans and the Congregation of Spiritans.
There were 91 members in the three missionary congregations against whom allegations have been made between 1 January 1975 and the date of the review. The total number of abuse allegations raised was found to be 255. These figures only represent what is included in the files kept by the orders.
The figures of the numbers abused cited in those audits are, if anything, understated. It would be wholly unreasonable to assume that there were only, on average, three victims abused per religious member against whom allegations have been raised. It is reasonable to assume the figures are significantly higher.
What we need now
Reaching out to victims and their families with a ‘rescue service’ to seek and find the survivors and bring them into ‘safe space provisioning’ across a number of interrelated dedicated support services is what is called for.
If ever there was an urgency to scramble rescue services with safe space provisioning, this is the time. Actually, it’s the second time. The first time was the revelations of the Ryan Report into institutional abuse of wards of state. And now it seems children in private education have also fared very badly with regards sexual abuse. Though I, as a survivor of missionary congregational abuse, would not liken it to the physical brutality suffered by those in Irish institutions. Nonetheless children from whatever background never deserved to suffer these indignities and damaging effects to their lives.
In the national audit conducted by Ian Elliot into the Spiritans/Holy Ghost Fathers, the recommendations state that the “Provincial Leadership Team must extend an invitation to people to come forward who have not yet disclosed their abuse”. This is an extraordinary recommendation and the first time a direction has been issued to seek those who were abused by members of the religious orders, so that “these complainants should be offered counselling and support”.
Premature deaths and suicide among victims
I would go much further and have already advocated rescue services and safe space provisioning as all too often, abuse victims have not made it. During the second tranche it was reported that one victim who had been abused by a member of the MSC committed suicide – a death attributed to his childhood experience of sex abuse. Another survivor of abuse by a member of the Spiritans, Fr Henry Moloney, saw his abuser successfully prosecuted in 2009 but he died prematurely during the national audit.
There is clear evidence emerging to show survivors of child sexual abuse are more likely to die prematurely or from suicide. In Australia, some 40 victims of clerical abuse in Victoria died by suicide and that prompted a parliamentary inquiry which has recently confirmed 620 cases of abuse.
I began my call for rescue services and safe space provisioning with Archbishop Diarmuid Martin back in December 2009, under appeals for the moral extension of ‘pastoral care’ missing in the response by the Catholic Church towards victims. The moral imperative for a humanitarian response was completely lacking in a frightened Church leadership which was hiding behind legal defence rather than engaging in honest and open dialogue with survivors, their families and the wider Church.
“Statistics are too often offender-focused,” he said. “We have to set out from the standpoint that the person who was at the epicentre of abuse was not the priest, but the victim, a child. A restorative justice approach would have to reorient the way we draw up not just our statistics but our pastoral care.
One victim constantly reminds me that the stern words of Jesus in Saint Matthew’s Gospel (Mt 18:6) about the “great millstone” to be fastened around the neck of anyone who becomes a stumbling block for the “little ones”, are quickly followed (Mt 18:12) by the teaching on the Shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine sheep to find the one who has been lost.
“This victim reminds me that it is the lost child, the molested child who should be at the centre of our attention. The Church should be actively seeking out victims to embrace them with the healing power of Jesus Christ. Certainly, so many victims are left with the impression that they are being ‘dealt with’ rather than being sought after and reached out to.”
I have reiterated this message repeatedly in opportunities I have had in meetings with Cardinal Sean O’Malley from Boston (as Apostolic Visitator to Dublin) and with the Papal Legate to the International Eucharistic Congress, Cardinal Marc Ouellet. In Cardinal Ouellet’s letter follwoing his return to Rome I received the following encouragement:
I want to thank you in a particular way for telling me about the work you are doing to seek out and assist others who have been abused, and I agree with your thoughtful proposal that there be some special outreach and ministry offered to them so that they know of the Church’s pastoral care for them. They are indeed God’s children and our brothers and sisters in the Lord who, along with their families, deserve to be treated with dignity, justice and compassion.
Following the release of the audit reports on the diocesan and congregational websites, I have sought a response from the Irish government – specifically the Minister for Children, Education, Justice and Foreign Affairs – but I have received no response to date on this urgent matter. I have issued my own observations and recommendations in a separate report.
I was invited to meet with the Irish Provincial for the Spiritans (formerly the Holy Ghost Fathers) on Wednesday 19 September, and initial discussions show promise, as the issues of rescue services and safe space provisioning are firmly on the agenda. Talk is not about if they will be dealt with – instead, their delivery is being dealt with under the headings what, how and when.
I also expressed a hope that such leadership in taking up this call could be of great benefit to other missionary congregations with whom I would also like to engage. There is not only a national issue to address, but an international one also. I very much hope that the lessons learnt in the Irish context will be extended rapidly to those who were abused on overseas missions.
In the course of my quest for truth, I came across something that showed me the truth’s power to heal. It was a father who disbelieved his son’s claims of abuse when he was a boy some 40 years ago. The father was only recently presented with the proof of that boy’s story. A father in bitter tears asked his son to forgive him – which he did – and a sacred bond between father and son was restored. The proof provided was from my own case, successfully prosecuted by the DPP in the Irish criminal courts. The father and son are from Sierra Leone in West Africa thousands of miles away. I have never met them.
Mark Vincent Healy is a campaigning abuse survivor. Read his full report and response to the NSBCCCI audit into the Holy Ghost Fathers here.
Sir, – It is amazing how all the Irish media have reported the fact that the Catholic Church and its religious orders have mostly reneged on the deal agreed with Dr Michael Woods, the then minister of education, regarding compensation to victims of abuse suffered in Catholic institutions. As survivors of abuse in Protestant institutions, we are unable to understand why the Protestant churches have not been held to comparable account; when it comes to putting up property and money as compensation for victims who they are responsible for, why should Protestant victims be treated any differently?
We can understand that those Catholic religious orders that have contributed financially (even though a long way short) cannot be very happy when they realise that other religious orders have failed to come up with as much a penny of compensation, as the Protestant churches have equally failed to do.
Why should Protestant victims be treated any differently by the State, and its civil servants? Why does the Irish media not seek to get the same justice for the Protestant minority: are we not people too? – Yours, etc,
It is over three years since it was revealed that an Irish Catholic priest had abused several children in Japan. His victims here are probably still unaware their tormentor was a serial offender.
Position of trust: Father Patrick Maguire's 13-year stay in Japan ended when the Columban Fathers spirited him back to Ireland in 1974 following a "problem" with "young male children." He went on to abuse dozens more minors in the U.K. and Ireland. AP
Father Patrick Maguire worked in Japan between 1961 and 1974, during which time he has admitted to abusing at least 13 boys, 10 of them in 1973. The priest subsequently went on to abuse dozens more children in Britain and Ireland, and has been convicted (and imprisoned) on separate counts of indecent assault in both jurisdictions. He has never been held to account for his actions in this country.
"Bishop Hirata was most understanding but said that it would be best that Pat slip out of Japan quietly." So wrote a fellow priest in Maguire's Columban Fathers to the society's head in Ireland in 1974. The reason for Maguire's hasty exit was a "problem" involving "young male children" and "a danger that the weekly magazines would latch onto a thing like that and blow it up out of all proportions." So, fearing adverse publicity, the Church spirited him back to Ireland. For his Japanese victims, that was probably the last they heard of Father Maguire.
Throughout his 40-year career, Maguire consistently exploited his position as a priest to create opportunities for abuse. He once told a therapist: "I thought of ways of meeting boys, engaging (them) in conversation. . . . I planned ways of seeing them with other boys, and eventually ways of being alone with them in places where they felt safe . I planned ways of getting them alone where no one else could observe and where undressing would not be thought out of place, like bathing together, changing at the pool, showering after a swim, and eventually ways of getting them to spend the night, and sleep with me in bed."
A 2009 investigation into clerical sex abuse in Ireland, the Murphy Report, concluded that Maguire probably "abused hundreds of children in all parts of Ireland as well as in the U.K. and Japan." He worked in three separate dioceses here: Tokyo, Yokohama and Fukuoka. According to his own testimony, much of the abuse happened in a parish in Kumamoto in 1973. The Murphy Report, which was released in a blaze of publicity in July 2009, led to enormous criticism of the Catholic Church in Ireland. Despite this, it seems Maguire's Japanese victims have still not been made aware of his awful record.
"One of the huge impacts of Murphy (and other reports into clerical sex abuse) is that it helped victims in Ireland realize they were not the only people this happened to, and this helped to reduce the sense of shame and isolation that they felt," says Maeve Lewis, the Director of One in Four, an Irish charity set up to help the survivors of sexual violence. She says that each of Maguire's Japanese victims "may well believe he is the only person this happened to." If they realized the truth, she adds, some of them would probably begin to speak out.
So far, the society to which Maguire belonged has not tried to identify any of his Japanese victims. Father Donal Hogan, the regional director of the Columbans in Ireland, said, "We only contact victims where they make themselves known to us." None of Maguire's Japanese victims has so far done so.
"The principle objective in not approaching victims is to ensure that no stress or further pain is caused by our actions," Hohan said. "We deeply regret the trauma, suffering and irreparable damage Patrick Maguire inflicted on his many victims."
The Missionary Society of St. Columban (commonly abbreviated to the "Columban Fathers" or simply "the Columbans") was established in Ireland in around 1916 with the aim of sending priests to China to convert the country. After World War II, the society began providing missionaries to Japan, at the request of local bishops. For a number of decades the Columbans, rather than the Japanese bishops, ran the parishes where their members worked. The situation has since changed and all parishes in Japan are now administered directly by the bishops (although foreign Columban Fathers continue to work in this country).
While the Columbans in Ireland have not contacted Maguire's victims, it is possible that the Japanese bishops may have done so. Years before the publication of the Murphy Report, the bishops of the three dioceses where Maguire had worked were informed of his convictions in Britain (1998) and Ireland (2000 and 2007). However, Father Leo Schumacher, the director of the Columbans in Japan, said "the presumption is that there has been no outreach" by the bishops. He added that it is hard to be definitive about this because "there have so many people in positions of authority over the last 40 years." Bishop Hirata, who oversaw Maguire's shameful departure from Japan in the early 1970s, died in 2007.
The current bishop of Fukuoka declined to answer any questions on this matter.
Maeve Lewis thinks it would be helpful if Maguire's former congregations were made aware of his record, either through the media "or through information disseminated through church structures or networks — even things like notices displayed in church porches."
Schumacher, who was only appointed Japan director earlier this year (and who had no knowledge of Maguire's abuse here prior to my contacting him), says he intends to "speak to the communities where Patrick Maguire was assigned." "My priority is to reach out to any victims who may need help," he said.
Father Hogan, meanwhile, "invites anyone who has been damaged as a result of child sexual abuse by a Columban to contact us and/or the appropriate local authorities."
The Columbans say Maguire, now in his mid-70s, has been laicized — removed from the priesthood — but continues to live with the society in Ireland "under strict conditions."
Moving a priest in the face of allegations of sexual abuse was not unique to Japan. (Indeed after leaving Japan, Maguire was summarily transferred from his first parish in Ireland, following more allegations of abuse.) In the U.S., the practice resulted in a major scandal in the Archdiocese of Boston. In 2002 Archbishop Bernard Law had to resign, and the church was forced to pay out $85 million, after it emerged that six serial abusers (among them, Father John Geoghan , whose victims numbered more than 500) had been systematically transferred from parish to parish to avoid exposure.
Coverups of a similar magnitude then emerged in dioceses right across the country, including Dallas, Seattle, Denver and Los Angeles. This same pattern — one or two high-profile cases precipitating an avalanche of complaints, many going back decades — has been repeated in Catholic congregations around the world, from Latin America to Australia to Ireland.
In 1994 the president of Ireland's main seminary resigned after allegations of sexual abuse against him were made public. Around the same time, another high-profile case emerged against Father Brendan Smyth, who over a 40-year period indecently assaulted over 100 children on both sides of the Irish border. These cases opened the floodgates as thousands of victims began to speak out, forcing the authorities to launch a number of judicial investigations.
The 2009 Murphy Report, which dealt with just one archdiocese, Dublin, found that bishops had effectively turned a blind eye to 46 abusing priests, including Maguire, over a 30-year period. In the same year, another government-commissioned report detailed a horrific catalogue of rapes and abuse at children's homes and borstals run by religious orders nationwide.
Maguire's is one of the first cases of clerical sex abuse to come to light in Japan. There have been a couple of other publicized cases over the past decade, but neither involved Catholic clergy. In 2006 Tamotsu Kin, 62, the founder of the Central Church of Holy God in Kyoto, was sentenced to 20 years for sexually abusing seven girls aged between 12 and 16 over a four-year period. The previous year, also in Kyoto, an Epicopalian priest, Fumio Harada, was convicted in a civil court of abusing a young girl and forced to pay damages. He was subsequently defrocked.
The relatively small Catholic community here — there are just half a million members, less than 0.5 percent of the population — will be hoping that Patrick Maguire was an isolated rogue priest. Unfortunately, given the experience of other countries, that's unlikely to be the case.
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Financial officers for religious orders were coached on how they could keep property assets secret because their members typically had different names before their ordination.
At the height of the boom the Association of Bursars of Religious Institutes was told it was preferable to have property vested in names of some individual members rather than in charitable trusts or companies.
The advice said if these members used their baptismal name rather than the one they took when taking their vows, it would help keep the holding from scrutiny.
This approach was the preferred option of a solicitor from the Arthur O’Hagan firm who gave a speech to the association’s annual conference in 2007.
Keeping properties away from the Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests by using otherwise unconnected names made it an uncomplicated option, the speech stated. The association with the parent congregation would not be obvious, it said.
"On the face of it the religious named will appear as absolute or beneficial owners," the speech stated.
The bursars were told if this option was pursued the order could protect itself by getting individual members to sign separate declarations on who ultimately owned the asset.
To avoid scrutiny, the advice was not to draw attention to this agreement.
"This declaration, which of course should not be registered in the Registry of Deeds or Land Registry... so that the declaration will be kept off the title, will be valid nonetheless as evidence of the contents of the declaration.
"If such a declaration was registered then it would become known to a purchaser’s lawyer... and resort would have to be made to the Charity Commissioners for consent to sale," it said.
This approach also gave orders the autonomy to dispose of assets at will.
Two other options were discussed that involved putting the asset in a company structure or a trust, but the disadvantages of these were highlighted rather than the advantages.
The advice was one of a small number of conference papers and speeches available to religious orders through the website of L&P Investment Services.
L&P did not prepare the advice but has a portal carrying a handful of instructional documents from conferences in which it played a part.
The company specialises in managing financial assets for religious orders and charities both in Ireland and overseas. Its clients include many of the religious orders currently engaged with the Government on the renegotiation of the €1.47bn bill for redress of child abuse.
Its managing director Shane Cowley acts as a consultant for the orders and has attended a number of meetings as part of delegations for individual delegations.
The Department of Education will not be able to handle a glut of extra property transfers from religious orders within its current resources.
A note to Education Minister Ruairi Quinn said the task of getting proper ownership established was likely to cause staffing headaches and would be a slow process.
"There will be a detailed and lengthy legal processes required to transfer properties identified and it is likely that this process would take a number of years.
"Depending on the number of properties to be transferred, there could be significant staffing resource requirements, both for the department and for the Chief State Solicitors Office," it said.
The note said while it had managed the response to the Ryan Report with the staff already available to it, more support would be required if it was to follow through on the negotiations on the extra sites.
"It will not be possible to deal with the proposed property transfers within the existing resources," it said.
Religious properties are typically very difficult to trade as they involve generations of competing trusts, ownership rights, and unregistered land.
The problems facing the department in getting control of the sites is well known because of the difficulties that came with the sites suggested under the 2002 indemnity deal.
There is still €22.61m worth of properties pledged in 2002 that have yet to be fully transferred.
In July, the department provided a list of the 20 outstanding properties to the Public Accounts Committee. The transactions have yet to be completed on these — half of the sites are in Cork
Every report on child sexual abuse by Catholic clerics is followed by seemingly sincere apologies from the successors of the Church leaders who presided over this terrible episode.
Though we all must accept society’s role in this active evil, the primary responsibility still rests with the organisation that administered the institutions where this abuse took place, the organisation that did so much to protect the abusive criminals in its ranks.
It is utterly disheartening, so, to report today that the Catholic Church in Ireland is not meeting its obligations in regard to compensating victims.
The organisation seems to have a death wish and a desire to squander whatever little credibility it had left.
Major divisions have appeared between the religious orders regarding the share of costs each is carrying towards redressing victims for the abuse that occurred in their institutions.
Communications with the Department of Education have indicated a number of orders believe they have already covered their liabilities and the extra bills do not relate to their institutions.
Individual orders have asked for the redress awards to be examined on an institution-by-institution basis to help proportion costs. But this has not been possible. Legal advice has been sought by the Government about the confidentiality clauses attached to the Residential Institutions Redress Board. This was to see can the costs be broken down by institution.
The objective had been to divide up the costs relative to the level of awards linked to each order.
In a brief prepared for Education Minister Ruairi Quinn ahead of his meeting with the orders in Jul 2011, he was warned the unity that existed when the 18 orders signed the indemnity deal in 2002 was no longer in place. "The congregations will face a challenge in agreeing to any apportionment of the contributions being sought. They may argue that the costs of the redress scheme do not all relate to the institutions they managed," it said.
At the meeting, a number of speakers from the congregations registered unease at the way the total bill was split and the expectation placed on all to meet the 50% redress target.
Sr Patricia Rogers, of the Sisters of St Clare, said the 50:50 approach was a "bridge too far" because it could not be expected to pay for other orders.
She also put focus on the bodies who remained outside the indemnity deal but who managed more than a quarter of institutions covered in the Ryan Report.
Eighteen ways to say no
1. "Not in a position at this time to make any further commitments." — Brothers of Charity
2. "It is not possible to increase this contribution."
— Christian Brothers
3. "It was not intended to enhance that contribution." — Daughters of the Heart of Mary
4. "Council of Trustees has further reflected... the outcome of the reflection is its decision not to make a further contribution." — De la Salle
5. "Have advanced a real and substantive offer... and we will not be making further contributions." — Dominicans
6. No offer of a contribution — advised that based on financial advice it wasn’t in a position to contribute.
— Good Shepherd Sisters
7. "Order would make a final contribution of €20m. That remains the position. The Order regards that amount, when taken in conjunction with the contributions it has already made and its decision to pay its own legal costs of the Inquiry, as fair and reasonable." — Oblates of Mary Immaculate
8. "It is unlikely we will have anything further to contribute, as we explained at the meeting." — Hospitaller Order of St John of God
9. Will give €1m towards Children’s Hospital when built and will refund some or all of legal costs — awaiting details of costs. — Presentation Brothers
10. "We expressed the view that we have already contributed 100% of the costs that might have been incurred by the claims made against our congregation." — Presentation Sisters
11. "Regret that we are unable to offer any further contributions towards the cost of the response."
— Sisters of Charity
12. "[We] believe offer is just, generous, and adequate." — Sisters of Mercy
13. "Not in a position to offer any further contributions." — Sisters of Nazareth
14. The congregation is simply not in a position to offer anything by way of a contribution even if it wanted to. — Rosminians
15. "Unable to make any further contribution than already outlined." — Sisters of Our Lady of Charity
16. "Contribution is full and final." — Sisters of St Louis
17. "[We] do not anticipate making any further cash payments but await hearing from you in relation to the property at Ballyjamesduff." — Sisters of St Clare
18. "[We] do not envisage that this congregation will be in a position in the foreseeable future to offer further sums to the State".
THE State’s exposure to the child abuse redress bill is growing but efforts to coax religious orders to accept half the costs have failed.
One by one, the 18 congregations have told the Government its desire to split the bill on a 50:50 basis was too much; they would not allow the redress process to bankrupt them.
Negotiations are ongoing on an alternative plan, to sign over school sites, but there has been no resolution and the process has staggered.
The immediate effect is that the State will now have to find at least €1.1bn to fund its portion of a compensation and inquiry scheme that was expected to cost €240m when the indemnity deal was signed in 2002.
Departmental memos show that the overall redress bill is expected to reach €1.47bn — this rose €100m in the last year. It is not known if it will be the final figure.
The Government has resolved, in an explicit resolution, to ensure the 18 orders under the indemnity deal cover half of the amount.
The resolution, voted on in Jun 2011, rejected some of the gestures tabled by orders and asked for school sites to be made available.
Following the publication of the Ryan Report in 2009 the orders, according to their own valuations, committed to give €476m in money and property to the State. This included the assets that were slowly transferred under the 2002 deal.
Crucially, €235m of this increased offer was made up of land and buildings, mostly schools and health facilities. When the department assessed them, they were found to be worth €60m.
This has left a €434m gap between the value of what has been offered (€301m) and what the department wants (€735m).
There is an associated package under discussion with the Christian Brothers to put its playing pitches, worth €127m, into a joint entity of the State and its trust.
In 2010, the orders were written to asking for more but the responses back, according to departmental memos, have used various forms of language to arrive at the word "no".
Since assuming responsibility for the education portfolio in Mar 2011, Ruairi Quinn has met with the orders on numerous occasions.
So far, only the Presentation Brothers has made a tangible promise to add €1m to the sum it offered and separately an additional site — a former primary school — was added to the property schedule.
The papers relating to Mr Quinn’s, and his department’s, engagement were released under the Freedom of Information Act.
They reveal that, at different times, there were polite requests to "explore with the congregations" the possibility of transferring school sites. At other stages, there were efforts to entice them by confirming they will be publicly recognised for their support. More recently, Mr Quinn expressed his frustration at the progress.
At all times, he has noted, and the orders have reminded him, that they are under no legal obligation to up their commitments because they are insulated by the €128m cap built into the 2002 indemnity deal. But even under this deal, the intended contribution has yet to be realised.
So far, €105m worth of assets have been received of the €128m that was promised 10 years ago.
The sites are clearly identifiable but, as with many religious properties, it has proved extraordinarily difficult to secure legal title and finalise a transfer.
The problem is so great the department has been reluctant to accept properties where the orders could sell the sites themselves.
It particular, the Government refused an offer by the Sisters of Mercy to donate properties directly to the Statutory Fund. The order was told to sell the land and sign the cash back to the fund.
The lack of cash for the fund is another problem that emerged before its establishment by the Dáil before the summer recess.
In 2009, the orders offered an extra €91m in cash to the Statutory Fund. At least €24m is still dependant on the congregations selling property, which is estimated to take at least 10 years.
The Sisters of Charity, which has ambitions to commercially develop a number of strategic sites in Dublin City, told Mr Quinn it cannot meet the additional promise made in 2009. It said €3m outstanding will not be paid but it has offered to waive its claim to legal expenses.
The stalemate between the religious bodies and the State has undermined the potential of the Fund for victims.
The strategy in the Programme for Government, to secure the transfer of school sites in lieu of money, has been met with a cold response.
The correspondence and briefing notes to Mr Quinn show that the majority of the orders have declared themselves either unable or unwilling to give any more. Some, in particular the Rosminians, claim they are in financial distress irrespective of any additional bills for redress.
The Christian Brothers said while it has financial assets of about €50m, it will not be able to release €20m of its extra commitment for up to 15 years because of the downturn in the property market. Three sites it put on the market last year could not find a buyer.
The Christian Brothers said it would bankrupt the order to act quicker and it was expecting bills to come from legal cases relating to its management of day schools.
The Sisters of Mercy said it would engage with the department on the possible transfer of schools but it did not want this to have anything to do with the redress process.
It said that to accept the 50:50 approach would effectively tarnish all its members as having been guilty of abuse. This same point was raised by the Sisters of Charity.
In the 12 years since the indemnity deal, the orders sold at least €468m worth of property. They retained assets worth over €3bn.
But three years since the publication of the Ryan Report, the State is still holding out the collection plate, hoping to limit its exposure to the swelling cost of redress.
The responses of a selection of religious orders to the Government’s request for them to contribute 50% towards the cost of redress and the message they delivered to Education Minister Ruairi Quinn at meetings:
* The Presentation Brothers The only body to respond positively to the Government’s request, it put an additional €1m on the table to help fund the building of the new children’s hospital. It said it wanted to advance the process and was happy to cooperate with negotiations.
* The Dominicans
The order said it would not volunteer additional resources but it would cover 50% of its legal costs arising from the redress process. It was one of six orders to deliver its additional cash offer in full.
* The Oblates
Having made a substantial cash offer following the publication of the Ryan Report, it said it was not in a position to do more. But it said it would waive its claim to legal bills and said its overall contribution was fair and reasonable. It also queried whether redress could be expanded to cover all former students.
* Sisters of St Clare
The order said while it was shocked at the Ryan Report findings, the 18 congregations under the indemnity deal only managed about 100 of the 139 institutions investigated and other management bodies should contribute. It said its members were taxpayers and paid PAYE and Vat on building projects. It delivered its additional cash offer in full and said it could give a school site in Ballyjamesduff, worth €275,000, to the VEC, but a 50:50 split was a bridge too far.
* De la Salle
It said it had a mission to carry out and if it was prevented from doing so, it would have no reason to exist. It has offered €1m but this is subject to the terms of the statutory fund being acceptable to the order and trust law.
* Brothers of Charity
The order said it was trying to deliver services to people despite cutbacks in the health budget but those services were suffering.
* Presentation Sisters
It asked why the Government wanted orders to sign over school sites if they could not be sold for cash. They said its property was key to its mission and suggested Mr Quinn was trying to take ownership of schools from congregations. It was worried the Government was implying if the orders did not increase their offers, the education budget would be cut.
* Sisters of Nazareth
It said it was happy to meet with Mr Quinn and offered €2m in a rent waiver to the HSE for the use of its nursing home in Sligo. The offer was refused.
* Daughters of Charity
It looked for the issue of proportionality between the various orders to be addressed, but said its assets were being used to serve clients with intellectual disabilities and it could not offer more. In lieu of cash, it said it would give land beside Phoenix Park to the OPW. This was declined by the Cabinet.
* Good Shepherd Sisters
The order said it had given a full report on its assets and had no more funds with which to offer.
* Hospitaller Order of St John of God
The order paid the money it committed in 2010. It told Mr Quinn it was not mentioned specifically in the Ryan Report and all of its assets were used to support services it offered. It said any attempt to find a 50:50 split "required creativity".
Sisters of charity
Offer from 2009: It offered to give €5m but recently told the Government it cannot afford to sign over the last €3m.
Position on meeting the 50:50 target: It cannot meet its commitment.
When it met Education Minister Ruairi Quinn in Jul 2011 it expressed concern congregations were being portrayed as being 100% responsible for the abuse.
It had offered to give an extra €5m towards the Statutory Fund but was concerned that the costs of redress appeared to be rising. Since then, the order has won a High Court challenge to the Dublin City Development plan that would have killed off plans to redevelop some strategic sites at Sandymount, Walkinstown and Harold’s Cross.
It wrote to the Department in June and said the €5m it offered initially was beyond its means and would be reduced to €2m.
It was the first order to reduce its offer and blamed the decision on the property market collapse. "The Sisters paid €1m to the Government in 2010, expecting the trust fund to be set up immediately. They have the second payment of €1m ready to pay since 2011 but they cannot release it until the Government puts the trust fund… in place.
"Since the value of their properties has depreciated hugely and the ability to sell property is still severely affected by market conditions — so the nature of their offer has changed," said a statement in June.
* Offer from 2009: €30m plus the transfer of €127m worth of playing pitches to a joint trust.
* Position on meeting the 50:50 target: It has told the department it will not be able to increase its offer.
The Christian Brothers rejected Education Minister Ruairi Quinn’s request to give more sooner. It claimed if it acted as he desired the order would be bankrupt.
Instead it said the property market had handicapped its effort to sweat its assets and find the money it needed to contribute to the Statutory Fund in the short term.
The order said it has already given substantially to the cost of redress and had to keep money aside because it predicts significant claims to arise from its role in the management of day schools. These were not covered under redress.
The first installment of its cash offer, worth €10m, is to be paid in a staggered fashion over the first five years of the Statutory Fund.
The order had offered an additional €20m in cash. But it has informed the department this will not be handed over quickly as it depends on property sales.
Three sites it put on the market in 2011, which were expected to raise €3m, could not be sold.
A sum of €4m towards counselling services was included with its offer, but the department discounted this when it realised the money would be paid to Faoiseamh and not to the Statutory Fund.
The Christian Brothers had already transferred its schools infrastructure to a linked trust, the Edmund Rice Schools Trust, prior to the publication of the Ryan Report.
It said these were worth €480m and this should be included in the calculation of its contribution.
The department indicated, in meetings with the order, that it believed it could do more and sign over money sooner. It said Christian Brothers had financial assets of €63m. The order said by the end of 2011 this had fallen to €50m.
"The minister noted that €50m was still a significant sum and suggested an early payment of a cash contribution. Br [Edmund] Garvey responded by stating that such an early payment could bankrupt the congregation," the record of the meeting said.
Mr Quinn told the order he did not want to put it out of business, but asked for a gesture.
The order said the "congregation is now at the pin of its collar to meet even the current requirements of its charitable and other commitments".
* Offer from 2009: It was not able to make any offer due its financial circumstances.
* Position on meeting the 50:50 target: It cannot give any more.
The order has told the department it is badly in debt after its attempt to commercially develop a Drumcondra site and build a school for the blind with the proceeds.
Before the publication of the Ryan Report, it submitted plans to build 359 houses on its campus in Drumcondra. But this has not progressed.
Instead, it told Department of Education officials at a meeting in February it had substantial debts.
It owed €5m relating to the redevelopment of the St Joseph’s complex in Drumcondra. It said the State should be liable for some of this because it was party to the preparations for the new school.
A property in Gracepark Gardens was sold for €630,000 and the proceeds are being used to pay down the interest.
Its provincial, Fr David Myers, said it had offered land which had been collateral for the loan back to the bank to cancel the debt but this was refused.
Preparing the planning application cost it €1.5m and €1.5m was spent building alternative accommodation for priests in anticipation of the redevelopment.
The Department asked it to consider signing over some playing fields beside its former residential home at Upton, Cork.
Sisters of Our Lady of charity
* Offer from 2009: €1.5m plus one creche
* Position on meeting the 50:50 target: It said it is unable to offer more.
When the Ryan Report was published in 2009, the order offered an extra €1.5m towards the cost of redress. It also said it would sign over its childcare facility at Gracepark to the HSE.
However, when the Government set its 50:50 target and asked orders for more, the answer from the order was straightforward.
A quote from correspondence said "it was unable to make any further cash contribution".
According to its valuations, the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity had property assets worth €17.1m.
It enjoyed a significant windfall during the boom, when it sold land beside its former Magdalene Laundry in Drumcondra for €62m in two tranches.
But when it met Mr Quinn and department officials on Dec 16, 2011, the order said it was caring for 29 sisters and 38 former residents, and groups were ageing. Financial advisor John Kidney said it had shelved plans to sell more property because of the state of the market.
Mr Quinn said he appreciated the complexity of its position but wanted a beefed-up offer. In the minutes, regional leader Sr Sheila Murphy put it on record that "the congregation had no liability to additional contributions as there was no agreement in place regarding the matter".
Sisters of Mercy
* Offer from 2009: €107m in property to the State and voluntary sector and €20m in cash to be paid in installments over five years.
* Position on meeting the 50:50 target: It was a flawed idea and unacceptable to the order.
The Sisters of Mercy told Education Minister Ruairi Quinn if it accepted the principal that orders should cover half the cost of redress, it would effectively be declaring all of its members were guilty of abuse. It said the concept of a 50:50 share of the €1.47bn bill was flawed.
Congregation leader Sister Coirle McCarthy said the order had begun to deal with abuse victims in 1995 and co-operated fully with the 2002 deal. But the increase in the bill was the State’s problem.
The order said its contribution to the State, through the provision of service, could be worth as much as €1bn. "[Sr McCarthy] noted that he 2002 indemnity agreement was to a voluntary contribution to the State and that the congregation had met its obligations under that agreement. The congregation did not believe it owed 50%: if that position was to be agreed to it would amount to saying that all of the congregations members were guilty of abuse," the records said.
The order also said its additional offer from 2009 was "just, generous, and adequate".
Problems have surfaced regarding the properties it offered to the State. The Cabinet voted to reject its proposal to donate 16 properties directly to the statutory fund as it would only accept cash.
The order said it would sell two sites but there has been no resolution to the remaining 14. The order also wanted 16 plots it committed to the voluntary sector to count towards its contribution. But the Cabinet said no. Only one €200,000 building, available for Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann in Tulla, Co Clare, was considered reckonable after it got the support of the Department of the Arts.
The order met with Mr Quinn separately at its own request. He paid particular attention to the decision of the Government to ask all the orders to shelve plans to transfer education infrastructure into dedicated trusts. However, the order said many of its schools were being transferred to local patrons and its second level sites were placed in the Ceist/Educena trust.
While it was willing to discuss the schools issue, it wanted this done separately to redress negotiations.
Daughters of the heart of Mary
* Offer from 2009: €1.5m in cash.
* Position on meeting the 50:50 target: It would not enhance its offer.
The congregation met with the Department in Dec 2011 and stood firm.
It said it would not give any more towards the cost of redress.
The order told Education Minister Ruairi Quinn it had "serious reservations" about the principal of a 50:50 burden sharebetween the State and religious orders. It said it paid its legal costs during the redress process.
The order said it wasnot referred to specifically in the Ryan Report and the amount it contributed was more than it would have expected to pay out in court awards if the indemnity deal had not been agreed.
It told officials its members had made a significant contribution to the care of children and this was not paid for.
Its delegation said it was not under any obligation to provide funding towards the new national children’s hospital.
Mr Quinn asked the order to reassess its position and warned it that failure to do so may attract negative publicity.
"[The minister said] any cash contribution or any property transfer by the congregation would be publicly acknowledged.
"By the same token the refusal of the congregation to enhance its contribution would have to be noted in a report to Government," the minutes said.