Alliance Support Group


October 2013 Archives

'No change' in ministry ban for rebel cleric

 

The Association of Catholic Priests elected three new leading spokesmen yesterday as rebel priest Fr Tony Flannery admitted there had been “no change” on his ban on ministry.

Fr Flannery, an outspoken member of the ACP since its foundation three years ago, has been banned by the Vatican from ministry since spring last year. 

Yesterday he said that while Pope Francis had changed some things since taking over, senior Church personnel instrumental in his ban from ministry had been re-appointed. 

Fr Flannery said he intended to step down as one of the ACP leaders in the coming months, following a period of transition during which the three new members can assume their roles and once another senior member of the ACP, Fr Brendan Hoban, has recovered from a recent illness. 

“My situation has not changed at all,” Fr Flannery said. Asked if the election of Pope Francis had led to any changes in the level of communication between Rome and the ACP, he said: “No is the simple answer to that.” 

He said Pope Francis had introduced a new movement in the church but the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had also been reappointed. 

So far there had been no communication between the Vatican and the ACP and Fr Flannery said: “I am not holding my breath for that to change.” 

It is understood as many as six priests in Ireland have been censured to some degree by the Vatican but that Fr Flannery is the only one prevented from ministry.

At yesterday’s AGM of the ACP in Athlone, Fr Gerry Alwill from Co Cavan; Redemptorist priest in Cherry Orchard, Fr Gerry O’Connor; and Augustinian parish priest in Finglas, Fr Seamus Aherne; were elected to leadership roles. 

The ACP estimates that it has 1,050 members, roughly one-third of all active priests. 

The AGM heard discussion of an ACP review into the Murphy Commission into clerical child sex abuse in Dublin which said it had “veered off the tight rails” and instead concentrated “to an alarming degree on ‘naming and shaming those clerics whom the Commission found wanting in child protection at the time.” 

The ACP review, carried out by barrister Fergal Sweeney, attracted some strong criticism yesterday.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

 

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Priests say inquiry procedures flawed

 

The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, has said children who were abused by priests must be remembered during any criticisms of the Murphy report.

A review of the inquiry has claimed individual priests and bishops would not have been “under investigation” and named and shamed if the Murphy Commission had stayed true to its terms of reference. 

The new study, commissioned by the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), also accused the inquiry’s practices and procedures of falling short of the requirements of natural and constitutional justice. 

However, Archbishop Martin said one should never overlook the context which gave rise to the establishment of the Murphy report, which rocked the Catholic Church in 2009 when it revealed decades of abuse were ignored because clerics were effectively granted garda immunity. 

“A strikingly large number of children were sexually abused by priests within the Church in Jesus Christ,” he said. 

“Anyone who loves the Church must be truly saddened by this fact. 

“The children who were abused and their families and dear ones must be uppermost in our minds.” 

The ACP said some priests of Dublin Archdiocese requested a study of Judge Yvonne Murphy’s Investigation of Clerical Child Abuse in the Archdiocese about 18 months ago. 

The 42-page review by barrister Fergal Sweeney was presented to ACP members at their AGM in Athlone yesterday. 

ACP spokesman outspoken cleric Fr Tony Flannery said priests discussed the report and would not justify any abuse that took place, but believe the procedures used were legally flawed. 

“They were faulty in particular under the terms of reference in naming and shaming individual priests and bishops,” he said. 

“These individuals were not given the basic human right that every citizen is entitled to — to defend their good name.” 

Fr Flannery said that under the terms of reference Judge Murphy was investigating institutions and not individuals. 

Mr Sweeney said the State was entirely justified in deciding to investigate historical child abuse, but found the report dismissed out of hand any reasons, explanations or mitigating circumstances put forward by those clerics whom it names and shames. 

“Individual clerics of the Dublin Archdiocese should not have been ‘under investigation’ if the Murphy Commission had stayed true to its terms of reference,” he said.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

 

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Magdalene group critical of response

 

Justice For Magdalenes (JFM) Research has hit out at the Government’s response to UN criticism’s of the McAleese report as “an outrage” which “beggars belief”.

Rapporteur to the UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) Felice Gaer wrote to the Government in May criticising the McAleese report as “incomplete” and lacking “many elements of a prompt, independent, and thorough investigation”. 

However, in a response from the Department of Justice issued in Aug, the Government said the McAleese report “disproved” many of the assumptions held about the Magdalene Laundries. 

It was critical of the 800 pages of survivor testimony provided by JFM, stating that “many of the general allegations relied on reports unsupported by any direct knowledge and were not supported by the facts uncovered by the McAleese committee”. 

It also pointed out that JFM provided the testimony of 10 women and that this contrasted with the “much larger sample of 118 women available for the McAleese report”. 

The Government also stated that there was an absence of “any credible evidence of systematic torture or criminal abuse in the Magdalen laundries”. 

However, JFM Research said out that it submitted 22 testimonies, not 10, to the McAleese Committee and offered to have all sworn. The group said the committee told them that this was not necessary. 

It also said the committee accepted written testimony from numerous witnesses, but excluded written testimony submitted by JFM, including for example the testimony of a former paid hand in the Galway Magdalene laundry who detailed beatings, returns of ‘escapees’ by the gardaí and the harsh conditions in which the women lived and worked. 

The group also pointed out that of the 118 women interviewed by the McAleese Committee, 58 of these were still in the care of and highly dependent on the religious orders. 

Human rights lawyer and JFM Research member Maeve O’Rourke said the Government’s response to UNCAT contained “several inaccuracies”. 

“One such inaccuracy is that the median duration of stay for known entrants to the Magdalene Laundries was 27.6 weeks. In actual fact, the substantive report, rather than the executive summary, reveals that duration of stay was not recorded for 58% of known entrants to the laundries,” she said. 

JFM also pointed to Mr Justice Quirke, as part of preparing his redress proposals, interviewed a much larger sample of 337 women, 288 of whom provided information about their length of stay which tallied with JFM’s assertions.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

 

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New Book - The Boy From Glin Industrial School

BookPhoto009.jpg
 
The Boy from Glin Industrial School 
 
by Tom Wall
 
This is the amazing story of a three year old boy who was detained in Glin Industrial School, Co Limerick, where he endured cold, hunger and was routinely beaten and worst of all sexually abused.
 
This book takes you inside the walls of the Industrial School and describes in detail the daily routine of the harsh regime which the boys had to submit to on a day to day basis.
 
The cost of the book is €15.00 + postage
 
To buy this book please email tomwallglin@live.com

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Murphy report 'highly critical', 'dismissive', towards clergy

 

Commission concentrated ‘to an alarming degree’ on naming and shaming priests


ASSOCIATION OF CATHOLIC PRIESTS MEETING IN PORTLAOISE.15.9.10Pic shows 
Priests arriving for a meeting of the Association of Catholic Priests. It commisiioned a review of the Murphy commission.

ASSOCIATION OF CATHOLIC PRIESTS MEETING IN PORTLAOISE.15.9.10Pic shows Priests arriving for a meeting of the Association of Catholic Priests. It commisiioned a review of the Murphy commission.

Tue, Oct 29, 2013, 07:21

   

 


The practices and procedures of the Murphy commission “fell far short” of meeting the requirements of natural and constitutional justice where Catholic clergy called before it were concerned, a review has found.

The review, commissioned by the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), says the commission “veered off the tight rails imposed by the 2004 Commissions of Investigation Act and wandered into an adversarial arena that concentrated, to an alarming degree, on ‘naming and shaming’ those clerics whom the Commission found wanting in child protection at that time,” it said.

The Murphy commission was set up in 2006 to investigate the handling of clerical child sexual abuse allegations in Dublin’s Catholic archdiocese by Church and State authorities between 1975 and 2004. Its report was published in November 2009.


Review
The 42-page review by barrister Fergal Sweeney is to be presented to the ACP at its AGM in Athlone today.

His Commissions of Investigation and Procedural Fairness review found that “generally speaking, in its report the commission refers to such arguments/submissions as were made by the clergy and or their lawyers only in order to try to dismantle them.”

Mr Sweeney has concluded that the commission “went well beyond its mandate in respect of one category of witness by building up and making a ‘case’ against individual clerics who testified before the commission, instead of being ‘concerned only with the institutional response to complaints, suspicions and knowledge of child sexual abuse’.”

As a result, “well accepted minimum rights of natural and constitutional justice were not observed and an individual’s constitutional right to his good name was not protected.”


‘Naming and shaming’
He found that in the report the commission “dismisses out of hand any reasons, explanations or mitigating circumstances put forward by those clerics whom it ‘names and shames’.”

He said that “when the report is critical of the handling by State authorities, in only one or two cases is the individual employee named. When it is critical of the handling by Church authorities, in every case is the individual named. No reason or explanation is given for this.”

When asked to respond to the criticisms by The Irish Times yesterday, a source close to the Commission repeated that it has not and does not respond to queries.

 

 


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Department of Justice rejects Magdalene group's criticism of McAleese report

 

 

 

Allegations of systematic abuse not sustained, department tells UN watchdog

A Justice for Magdalenes press conference in Dublin last February: the group accuses the McAleese report of

A Justice for Magdalenes press conference in Dublin last February: the group accuses the McAleese report of “marginalising the women’s lived experiences in these institutions”. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Tue, Oct 29, 2013, 01:00

 


The Department of Justice has sharply criticised a submission by the Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) advocacy group to the McAleese committee on the extent of abuses in the Magdalene laundries.

The group had claimed that the McAleese report, published last February, minimised the physical and psychological abuse suffered by women in the laundries, as reported in its submission.

The McAleese report was also criticised by Felice de Gaer, rapporteur to the UNCommittee Against Torture (Uncat), who wrote to the Government on May 22nd last on the issue.

She said Uncat had received information that the State was presented with extensive survivor testimony by the group “and was aware of the existence of possible criminal wrongdoings, including physical and psychological abuse”.

In its response to Ms de Gaer, the Department of Justice has acknowledged that JFM “did present a great volume of material purporting to point to the existence of possible criminal wrongdoings, including systematic physical and psychological abuse”.

However, it says “many of the general allegations relied on reports unsupported by any direct knowledge and were not supported by the facts uncovered by the McAleese committee.”

It continues: “As regards ‘survivor testimony’, we understand that JFM had to rely on a relatively small number of accounts. The testimony of 10 women was provided [by JFM] to the McAleese committee.

“Seven of these were identified – three were anonymous. This contrasts with the much larger sample of the testimony of 118 women available for the McAleese report.”

It says that “of these 10 accounts provided by JFM, none described systematic physical abuse or torture, although four referred to isolated incidents of physical punishments. The remainder made no reference to physical abuse. None of the testimony has been ‘tested’ in civil, criminal or other proceedings.”

It recalls that “in the JFM submission to Uncat dated May, 2011, there is reference in appendix II to ‘Selected witness testimony’ included in the 2009 Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.”

It says the testimonies“are from women who had transferred to residential laundries from industrial or reformatory schools. The reference by JFM to testimonies given to the commission by these women could be interpreted as meaning that there is evidence regarding the Magdalene laundries that has been subject to cross-examination and whose credibility has been tested and given appropriate weight by a tribunal. That is not the case.”

“There were many residential laundries that were not Magdalene laundries and it could not be assumed that the witness testimony does refer in fact to Magdalene laundries.”

Last June, Claire McGettrick of Justice for Magdalenes said it shared many of the concerns raised by the UN committee.

The group had submitted 796 pages of testimony to the McAleese inquiry team, but “not one syllable” drawn from those documents appeared in the final report, she said.

“The McAleese report should not have gone as far as alleging that there was little abuse in the laundries because that’s simply not true.”

In a follow-up statement on June 18th, the group said it was “deeply troubled that the IDC final report [McAleese report] ignored the 793 (sic) pages of transcribed survivor testimony submitted on behalf of 11 women, four daughters, three family members and four additional witnesses.”

It continued: “In the process, we contend that the IDC final report marginalises the women’s lived experiences in these institutions, minimising the physical and psychological abuse suffered, while evading the human rights violations.”

 

 


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An emotional reunion for Glin Industrial School attendees

 

 

 

 

 

Abuse survivor, Tom Wall has written a book about Glin Industrial School and his life there. The Boy from Glin Industrial School will be launched by Cathaoirleach John Sheahan at the South Court Hotel this weekend as part of the reunion of past pupils. Cathaoirleach John Sheahan  will launch it

Abuse survivor, Tom Wall has written a book about Glin Industrial School and his life there. The Boy from Glin Industrial School will be launched by Cathaoirleach John Sheahan at the South Court Hotel this weekend as part of the reunion of past pupils. Cathaoirleach John Sheahan will launch it

  • by Norma Prendiville

And Br Kevin Mullen, head of the Christian Brothers’ European Province is expected to make a short statement before the Mass.

Tom Hayes, who spent eight years in Glin Industrial School following a childhood in a Kerry orphanage, will reply to Br Mullen’s statement and another past-pupil, John Hogan, will light a candle to remember all those boys who passed through Glin but are now dead.

The former Bishop of Limerick, Dr Donal Murray is also expected to attend Saturday’s ceremony as is Fr Tom Crawford, the current parish priest of Glin.

“We are very grateful to Fr Michael Noonan, the parish priest of Raheen, who has made the church available to us,” Tom Hayes told the Limerick Leader.

Mr Hayes is one of the organisers of this weekend’s reunion which was originally planned for Glin. But organisers felt obliged to switch location after Glin Development Association objected to particular aspects of the memorial stone the past-pupils wanted to erect in the town park as part of the reunion. And other locations, suggested by Glin Development Association, were not acceptable to the past-pupils.

“There are clearly people who have a problem in even acknowledging there was an industrial school in Glin,” Mr Hayes told the Limerick Leader.

But the past-pupils are very determined there will be a memorial stone in Glin eventually. .

As part of the the reunion, Tom Wall, who was sent by the courts to Glin Industrial School when he was just three and a half years old, will launch the book he has written about his life.

The book, The Boy from Glin Industrial School, will recount the story of the school from its beginnings in the 19th century up to when it was demolished. It will also tell Tom’s own story, his experience of the harsh regime there and his abuse as well as his involvement with the campaign for restitution.

“It is an ideal time to launch the book,” Mr Wall told the Limerick Leader this week. “It is nice to launch it among the people who were there. It couldn’t have come at a better time. We are going to be all together for the first time.”

The book, the photographs, the entire reunion, he believes will bring back difficult memories.”It will be an emotional thing for many,” he said. Remembering those who had died, those who had died by suicide, those who had fallen on hard times or become addicted to alcohol or drugs would be particularly difficult, Tom explained.

But, he added, it would also be an opportunity to meet up with friends. Cathaoirleach John Sheahan will launch the book.

 

 

 

 

 

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Abuse of Power?

Quinn orders abuse fund to destroy reports on survivors

 

Ruairi Quinn

EDUCATION Minister Ruairi Quinn has ordered the state body in charge of a €110m fund for victims of institutional abuse to destroy internal reports following an embarrassing gaffe.

The move follows a major row between survivors and the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund (RISF) after officials there breached strict rules governing the use of abuse victims' personal data.

The fund was set up earlier this year to administermoney pledged by religious congregations to support the needs of 15,000 survivors of institutional abuse.

But objections were raised when the RISF used data supplied by the Redress Board, a previous compensation scheme for victims of institutional abuse, to analyse gender, age and geographical patterns of survivors.

The use of the data in this way is not allowed under the legislation setting up the fund and Mr Quinn has confirmed that the material is now being destroyed.

The Survivors of Child Abuse (SOCA) support group said it feared that people in different parts of the country would be treated differently if such data analysis was allowed.

ASSESSMENTS

Spokesman Patrick Walsh said: "It is the deeply held fear of survivors that a scheme is being fashioned based on people's gender, age and geographical location.

"The survivors don't want that. We want a level playing field, where assessments are made on need alone."

The RISF was allowed access to records giving the names, addresses and date of birth of abuse survivors who had previously received compensation from the Redress Board.

Mr Quinn said this information could only be used by the RISF to determine a person's eligibility to make an application to the fund.

He said a RISF board meeting had been supplied with "a very preliminary analysis of the data", but that this was now being destroyed.

"Following discussions with my department, the RISF has confirmed the information received from the Redress Board will only be used for the purpose set out in the Act and that the information is held securely," said Mr Quinn.

The RISF did not respond to requests for comment.

A spokesman for Mr Quinn said the RISF board had his full confidence.

Irish Independent


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Professional and local interests had stake in keeping aslyums, says major study

 

 

 

 

Professional and local interests had stake in keeping aslyums, says major study

Mental institutions ‘can’t be blamed on the church; it was a State-run project’

Dr Damien Brennan:

Dr Damien Brennan: “There was a harshness and dehumanising aspect that was very much like the Magdalene laundry”

Fri, Oct 25, 2013, 13:15

Medical professionals and local communities protecting their economic interests played a major role in the incarceration of tens of thousands of people in asylums, according to a study into what’s depicted as the forgotten scandal of Ireland’s institutional past.

Its author, Dr Damien Brennan, said there were strong parallels between the operation of Ireland’s mental hospitals and the Magdalene laundries but the former “can’t be blamed on the church; it was a State-run project. We did it as communities, as societies”.

In his book Irish Insanity: 1800-2000, the culmination of 10 years of research launched in Dublin last night, he seeks to explain why Ireland in the 1950s had the world’s highest rate of mental hospital residency.

 
graphic

 

Dr Brennan, assistant professor at the school of nursing and midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, argues it “had little to do with the mental state of the admitted individuals”. Rather, it was driven by factors such as law, economics and vested interests, including the creation of a medical treatment hierarchy that “continues today”.

“The staff had a stake in this. The medics and nurses had their professional interests in this. Economically, it became very important, and it became a snowballing institutional development,” said Dr Brennan, whose PhD work on the subject informed the late Mary Raftery’s Behind the Walls documentary series.

“These are the largest institutions of confinement in our State, much bigger than all of the others added together. But they haven’t attracted the same scrutiny or critical review as those institutions which worked as church-State partnerships.”


Harsh ‘dehumanising’
Dr Brennan, who worked as a mental health nurse in St Loman’s, Grangegorman and Portrane, said he had no knowledge of physical beatings or sexual abuse in hospitals but “there was a harshness and dehumanising aspect that was very much like the Magdalene laundry”.

“I think there is a reluctance to take this on,” he continued. “People who spent three months in a laundry are getting redress – and I don’t want to bring it back to money – but why aren’t psychiatric hospitals even of interest post the McAleese report?

“I know patients who spent 30, 40, sometimes 50 years in these places, and we haven’t even conceptualised how they might have been damaged by the institutions.”

He pointed out the McAleese report examined about 10,000 women who went through the laundries, whereas more than double that could be found in asylums on any one night in the 1950s, making this “the biggest story regarding institutional settings” in Irish history.

 

 

 

 


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Anger as another Magdalene survivor dies without receiving compensation

 

 

 

 

Anger as another Magdalene survivor dies without receiving compensation

Over 590 women have applied to scheme to date

Magdalene survivor Mary Smyth: 'The Government are dragging their heels on the issue.' Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Magdalene survivor Mary Smyth: ‘The Government are dragging their heels on the issue.’ Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Wed, Oct 23, 2013, 01:00


The death of another woman who had been in a Magdalene laundry has been met with fury and upset by a representative group who have questioned the ongoing delay in payment of compensation to the women.

Steven O’Riordan of Magdalene Survivors Together has appealed to the Government to begin paying out the compensation “immediately”.

He pointed out that since the State apology to the women last February the group had seen “two of its members pass way without getting their full entitlement”.

‘Frail’
Magdalene survivor Mary Smyth said “the Government are dragging their heels on the issue; they know that most of the women are frail”.

A spokesman for the Department of Justice told The Irish Times yesterday that on June 25th “the Government approved the immediate implementation of a cash lump sum payments scheme based on duration of stay in laundries recommended by Judge (John) Quirke and tasked an Interdepartmental Group with giving further detailed consideration to the steps necessary to implement the other recommendations, some of which are complicated and will require legislation”.

He said “over 590 applications have been received to date and are being processed”.

“It is expected that the first offers of payments of a lump sum will issue within 4-6 weeks of the Government decision.”

 

 

 

 


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Would you trust some rofessionals?

 

 

Professional and local interests had stake in keeping aslyums, says major study

Mental institutions ‘can’t be blamed on the church; it was a State-run project’

Dr Damien Brennan:

Dr Damien Brennan: “There was a harshness and dehumanising aspect that was very much like the Magdalene laundry”

Fri, Oct 25, 2013, 01:01


Medical professionals and local communities protecting their economic interests played a major role in the incarceration of tens of thousands of people in asylums, according to a study into what’s depicted as the forgotten scandal of Ireland’s institutional past.

Its author, Dr Damien Brennan, said there were strong parallels between the operation of Ireland’s mental hospitals and the Magdalene laundries but the former “can’t be blamed on the church; it was a State-run project. We did it as communities, as societies”.

In his book Irish Insanity: 1800-2000, the culmination of 10 years of research launched in Dublin last night, he seeks to explain why Ireland in the 1950s had the world’s highest rate of mental hospital residency.

Dr Brennan, assistant professor at the school of nursing and midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, argues it “had little to do with the mental state of the admitted individuals”. Rather, it was driven by factors such as law, economics and vested interests, including the creation of a medical treatment hierarchy that “continues today”.

“The staff had a stake in this. The medics and nurses had their professional interests in this. Economically, it became very important, and it became a snowballing institutional development,” said Dr Brennan, whose PhD work on the subject informed the late Mary Raftery’s Behind the Walls documentary series.

“These are the largest institutions of confinement in our State, much bigger than all of the others added together. But they haven’t attracted the same scrutiny or critical review as those institutions which worked as church-State partnerships.”


Harsh ‘dehumanising’
Dr Brennan, who worked as a mental health nurse in St Loman’s, Grangegorman and Portrane, said he had no knowledge of physical beatings or sexual abuse in hospitals but “there was a harshness and dehumanising aspect that was very much like the Magdalene laundry”.

“I think there is a reluctance to take this on,” he continued. “People who spent three months in a laundry are getting redress – and I don’t want to bring it back to money – but why aren’t psychiatric hospitals even of interest post the McAleese report?

“I know patients who spent 30, 40, sometimes 50 years in these places, and we haven’t even conceptualised how they might have been damaged by the institutions.”

He pointed out the McAleese report examined about 10,000 women who went through the laundries, whereas more than double that could be found in asylums on any one night in the 1950s, making this “the biggest story regarding institutional settings” in Irish history.

 

 


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Glitch?

 Statutory Fund registration glitch

 

Hello,

Quite a few people have told me they have tried to register on the Statutory Fund’s new website following my recent message. However, there does seem to be a bit of a glitch on their new website. I have told them that the pages are not loading properly and they will check it out. In the meantime if you click on this link

http://www.caranua.ie/receive-updates/    you should be able to go to the contact page and enter your details. If you get a big white space scroll down the page to see where to enter your details. Or you could just wait a few days until they have fixed the problem and try again.

Also just so you know, registering with them is not the same thing as making an application, I think that will come later on.

Good luck – hope that helps. Sorry for the false alarm! 


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Residential Institutions Statutory Fund - Applications

 Statutory Fund registration

 

Please tell people you know that the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund is inviting survivors to register in order to apply.

The RISF has created a new name and website – Caranua – which means “new friend” in Irish and is now inviting people to register.  Registration can be made online at www.caranua.ie  Paper copies of the registration form can also be downloaded from the site and are also available from Caranua.  You can contact Caranua at info@caranua.ie or telephone 00 353 1 8745708.

Frequently Asked Questions added

Residential Institutions Statutory Fund has also added ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ (FAQs) to the new website too.  For more information visit their website http://www.caranua.ie/faq/   or  http://www.risfboard.com/About/FAQ  


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Introduction

 

 

The Residential Institutions Statutory Fund (RISF) Board was established under the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012. The RISF will oversee how the €110 million pledged by religious congregations to support the needs of some 15,000 survivors of residential institutional abuse is spent.

This document will answer a series of frequently asked questions that we receive here at the RISF.

For further information, do not hesitate to visit our website at: http://www.risfboard.com/Home  


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Former Christian Brother jailed for sex attacks

 

 

Robert Doherty: jailed

A MAN who was abused in the notorious Letterfrack Industrial School says justice has been done, after a former Christian Brother was jailed for two years for sexually assaulting him.

Victim Gerard Thomas Carroll was sentenced to four years detention in Letterfrack when he was nine years old, after stealing a bicycle from outside a church, which he later returned to his local garda station.

When he told his mother about the abuse meted out by Robert Doherty, a Christian Brother at the industrial school, "she didn't believe me and beat the s**t out of me with a poker".

"It took 48 years for me to get justice," he said as he thanked the gardai for their work and support.

Doherty (73), with an address at Glenwood Estate, Dundalk, was sentenced yesterday. He was found guilty in March this year, following a trial at Galway Circuit Court, of six counts of indecent assault on the boy at the Connemara school between August 1965 and April 1967.

Speaking outside the court after sentencing, Mr Carroll waived his right to anonymity and said: "Now all my family know the truth. I want my name to come out. I want my family to know I was not telling lies.

"I was telling the truth and I want them to know I wasn't this crazy little brother they thought they had – that I wasn't a little liar all these years.

"I am 60, nearly 61, and I grew up hating this man. Most of that hatred is gone because it only made me sick. I don't want to see an old man like him die in prison. I wanted justice."

In his victim impact statement, which was read at the sentencing hearing in Dundalk Circuit Court yesterday, Garda Michael Mannion told the court that the abuse took place in Brother Doherty's bedroom which was above St Michael's dormitory.

Passing sentence Judge Rory McCabe said the abuse of power and authority by Doherty "was of a despicable and cowardly kind" and there was still no sign of a scintilla of Christian concern for "a young defenceless child" who had been placed in his care.

The judge said it was "almost beyond contemplation" that such "wickedness and perversion" was allowed to happen.

He also said the purpose of sending children there was meant to be a mix of punishment and rehabilitation.

But the victim impact statement indicated that it had instead been an experience of "degradation" and "contributed to a significant degree to a sad and broken life".

Irish Independent 


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