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A Day In The Life of an Industrial School Boy - Punishment & Perspective


Andrew49

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Sep 2, 2008
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AndrewSB49
When I was asked about punishments in those places by someone who was never in those places I think she expected an answer like:
"well they used their hands or fists to box us or clatter us, their feet to boot us and they used blackthorn sticks or big leather belts for more formal punishments."
Sounds like an answer that couldn't be denied, that even she could relate to those types of punishments. She was about 40 years old and she was from the era of corporal punishment. But that wasn't the answer I gave her.

In those places EVERYTHING was part of your punishment. Mealtimes were a PUNISHMENT. Our food was vile, it really would have been illegal AND cruel to feed pigs on what we "survived" on. Our main food really was bread and dripping. And the dripping wasn't the nice white strained stuff you'd see on the shelves of Tesco's all nicely wrapped, nope it was a funny yellow colour.

Funny isn't the right word there - it was a kind of OFF-YELLOW/KHAKI colour. Having that spread on your skinner (slice of bread) in the morning at 7:00am was meant to sustain until 12:30 in the afternoon. I remember getting "porridge" too, note the quotes as when I became an adult and was given porridge I hesitated because what I was being served as an adult didn't look or didn't taste anything like what I got as porridge in those places. I firmly believe that this "porridge" we were given was something that the pigs had refused to eat.

Dinners were another PUNISHMENT. Let me describe a STEW in those places. Imagine a gravy, not too thick now, with soft watery lumps, 3 strands of meat - these strands are THINNER than your laces and about the length of your thumb (this is the thumb of a 10 year old child), 2 round slices of carrot and 1 spud (green tinged of course). But wait now, we also got desserts sometimes, really we did. How ever so posh. May I describe the dessert? OK. Well it was a bread pudding. That's not very posh I hear you say - but hold on now - our bread pudding was also green-tinged AND had that OFF-YELLOW/KHAKI colour. Beat that if you can.

Tea/Supper was the old reliable: Bread and Dripping again but THEY did try to vary our Tea/Supper because we'd get "Oxtail Soup" sometimes. Well THEY called it "Oxtail Soup" and I've watched, with something approaching jealousy, my own children having Oxtail Soup and let me tell you my children's Oxtail Soup is nothing like the "Oxtail Soup" dished up to us in those places. We'll never know what kind of dish it was as the Government of the day didn't have the right to demand from these orders the diet that we were fed on. I'm just talking about our diets in those places being used as way to PUNISH us. But really everything about those places was a PUNISHMENT.

From the isolation from society, to the regimentation of little children - being forced to march from one place to another, children being forced to stand to attention in the yard semi-naked while the "nurse" inspected us OR, if the notion took her, have a good few of us scrubbed down with purple or brown iodine. Being forced to say rosaries was a PUNISHMENT, being forced violently to run around the yard with a lighted candle at night in the rain was a PUNISHMENT. Being forced violently to scrub toilets with your own toothbrush was a PUNISHMENT.

Being forced violently to learn how to darn a sock was a PUNISHMENT. Being physically separated from your brother or sister was a PUNISHMENT. Being forced to listen to those black-garbed monsters denigrate you Mum and Dad was a PUNISHMENT. Being violently forced to become right-handed was a PUNISHMENT. And most of these PUNISHMENTS you became inured to, they became part of your everyday existence. You didn't think much of the rights and wrongs of them after a while, you let them lie in your sub-conscious mind until, as an adult, a certain aroma or sound or sight would bring them into focus and you'd rage against those black-garbed monsters. These black-garbed child haters are STILL working with vulnerable communities in this country, they've spread their particular poison around the world.

PERSPECTIVE

As a former detainee from Ferryhouse I'd like to state here that child detainees who wet their beds were punished...... Firstly they were segregated in the Dormitories. Secondly they were given a Special Name: SAILORS. Thirdly they were severely thrashed. Fourthly they were forced to wash their sheets with carbolic soap. Fifth they were separated from the rest of the boys for verbal and psychological humiliation. Sixth they were disallowed from washing themselves forcing them to go around all day smelling of urine - this meant that they received more physical punishments from those who were teachers or workshop managers.

Another this representative said was that punishments were mostly spontaneous and not formal. That is another lie. Punishments were formal and they were entered in a book.


  • You were hit for Belching (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for having a hole in your sock (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for having a button missing from your shirt (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for having a button missing from your trousers (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for having a hole in your jumper (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for basically growing out of your shoes (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for having dirt in your nails and this after spending the whole day picking spuds. (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for having a "tideline" after washing in the morning (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for having soiled underwear - one of their obsessions (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for whispering in the chapel (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for walking when you should have been running (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for running when you should have been walking (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for turning left when you should have turned right (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for turning right when you should have turned left (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for not joining your hands in the chapel (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for getting a spelling wrong (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for not standing to attention when a Brother entered the room (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for not knowing your catechism (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for dropping a stitch in the knitting shop (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for having dirty knees after being digging in the fields (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for being dirty after working in the pigsty (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for refusing to play hurling (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for refusing to play Gaelic football or hurling (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for being insolent - that's when you ask why you are being battered (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for snoring (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for having your hands and arms under the blanket at night (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for having a runny nose (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for having scabies (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for reading the Victor, Valiant, Buster, Bunty or the Judy comic - these were deemed "corrupting" (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for looking sideways at a Brother or priest (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for making noises at night when you went to the toilet (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for not writing what was on the board when you got to write a letter to your mum or dad or a relative (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for scratching your head (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for vomiting during mealtimes (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for vomiting at anytime (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for having nits in your hair (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished if you cried for your mum or dad (this was entered in a book)
You were punished for having a broken heart (this was NOT entered in a book).

......... Many of the witnesses commented on their lack of physical stature, which they believed was attributable to the inadequate diet they received in their formative years .....Over half a century later, the Committee noted that the lack of physical stature was still observable....
......... The physical hardship and deprivation described by the witnesses was observed and reported on in the course of the general and medical inspections carried out by the departmental medical inspector....
......... the method of enforcing discipline employed..., both in the classroom and in the school generally, was the infliction of physical punishment....
......... its frequency and its severity was suggestive of a regime in which infliction of severe physical punishment in the classroom was systemic....
.......... A significant feature of the evidence was the fear which the enforcement of discipline engendered in the pupils. Witnesses testified that in later life, they had nightmares about being beaten....
.......... From their hesitancy to recount their experiences and from their reticence about articulating the details, it was patently obvious that they were not accustomed to discussing such matters,
........... witnesses demonstrated a convincing and clear recollection of the core events. The evidence was characterised by idiosyncratic, unsolicited detail....
 
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selfemployedmar

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Mar 2, 2009
Messages
171
I could not even reply to the above, other than as society we should hang our heads in shame..
Dont stop talking or telling your story....
To add to that I hope it will help us become better Irishman and women, we sure do need to in every respect..
 

blacbloc

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Messages
590
They say that there are none so oppressive as the oppressed. I wonder if there is something of that in what goes on in Ireland. Our collective psychology is forged in the severe oppression of colonialism and it has not made us very nice in some ways. As a society we are mean as sin about state provision and protection for vulnerable people. We love the expansive gesture but any suggestion of organised care and protection brings out the vicious little miser in us. I wonder if there wasn't some degree of sub-conscious self-hatred in what these priests and nuns - and others - were doing.

We've still got a miserably funded health service (sure billions are being wasted on efforts to privatise it but money aint going to front line services); there has just been yet another report of ongoing neglect and abuse in mental institutions; disability services are chronically underfunded; no respite care for exhausted carers - there's a long list of things that we could and should be doing well if we really want to uphold the notion that we are a civilised country. Our politicians are horrible about these things. FF and FG alike.
 

Andrew49

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AndrewSB49
They say that there are none so oppressive as the oppressed. I wonder if there is something of that in what goes on in Ireland. Our collective psychology is forged in the severe oppression of colonialism and it has not made us very nice in some ways. As a society we are mean as sin about state provision and protection for vulnerable people. We love the expansive gesture but any suggestion of organised care and protection brings out the vicious little miser in us. I wonder if there wasn't some degree of sub-conscious self-hatred in what these priests and nuns - and others - were doing.

We've still got a miserably funded health service (sure billions are being wasted on efforts to privatise it but money aint going to front line services); there has just been yet another report of ongoing neglect and abuse in mental institutions; disability services are chronically underfunded; no respite care for exhausted carers - there's a long list of things that we could and should be doing well if we really want to uphold the notion that we are a civilised country. Our politicians are horrible about these things. FF and FG alike.
I believe so ... the Industrial Schools kept us out of sight and so out of mind. There is/was a terrible hatred and fear of the poor in this country [probably a hangover from the Famine(?)] and that includes the working poor. The only enquiries the politicians made into the Industrial Schools was to ask, once every year, how many children were present in those places! Today there are only a handful of politicians seriously concerned about child care in Ireland.
 

Lidl_Shopper

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Jun 13, 2008
Messages
36
Andrew this is heartwrenching stuff. You should write a book on it.
 

L'Chaim

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Messages
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There should be a sound archive founded so that the people who were abused when they were children can give their testimonies which would be preserved for posterity. The stories would most likely haunt and disturb anyone who listens to them in the future, but these stories should upset people. It should upset them so much that they will be used as an example of how children must never be treated. Feelings soften with time and people who can testify to what happened to them in these schools will die. There should be a sound archive
 

Andrew49

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AndrewSB49
Here are figures relating to the detention of children in Ireland in 50s and 60s. The middle column relates to how many children were indicted for some kind of delinquent activity. The third column shows the total number of children who were in those Industrial Schools for each year.

Year —-Indicted ——–Total
1950 —— 56 ———- ----833
1951 —— 73 - ——— ---789
1952 - —–70 - ——— ---732
1953 - —–68 - ——— ---626
1954 - —–55 - ——— ---551
1955 - —–54 - ——— ---553
1956 - —–47 - ——— ---596
1957 - —–57 - ——— ---572
1958 - —–63 - ——— ---592
1959 - —–72 - ——— ---623
1960 - —–50 - ——— ---608
1961 - —–69 - ——— ---664
1962 - —–79 - ——— ---647
1963 - —–68 - ——— ---611
1964 - —–70 - ——— ---446
1965 - —–100 - ——– ---433
1966 - —–93 - ——— ---408
1967 - —–29 - ——— ---226
1968 - —–24 - ——— ---168
1969 - —–15 - ——— ---112

In those places we were treated as criminals and charity case - and the religious orders enriched themselves on our labour and our bodies.

Gravesite of Letterfrack inmate Bernard Kerrigan - a four year old criminal !! - I wonder what his offence was? What kind of crime could a four-year-old child commit to deserve incarceration in Letterfrack?

 

The OD

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Andrew this is heartwrenching stuff. You should write a book on it.
And these books should be required reading in all Schools, irrespective of whether they are run by the state or by religious.

We need it be instilled into people what happens when there is a dangerous relationship between a religion and a state - Iran & Saudi Arabia regularly abuse their citizens for transgressing against religious law - Ireland wasnt far off in many respects.
 

powderfinger

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Joined
Jun 13, 2007
Messages
3,353
Powerful words Andrew49.

You were punished for having a broken heart (this was NOT entered in a book).
You have a gift which illuminates and should provoke even the blackest of cold-hearts.Those twisted phucks could not take that from you,thank God.
Keep using it.


 

cactusflower

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Joined
Oct 1, 2008
Messages
1,285
The attitudes and self interest that underlay what happened are still here. People are too quick to call people scum because they're from low income areas. Society is far too divided into haves and have nots. I think it was Tony Gregory who said the ghetto is a solution not a problem for the authorities.

You can't give someone their stolen childhood back, but you can decide not to tolerate disrespect and neglect of children and to vote out politicians who do.

We were able to guarantee the banks. Is there any party here that will guarantee that they'll put the well-being of children and the old first?
 

blacbloc

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Joined
Nov 11, 2008
Messages
590
There should be a sound archive founded so that the people who were abused when they were children can give their testimonies which would be preserved for posterity. The stories would most likely haunt and disturb anyone who listens to them in the future, but these stories should upset people. It should upset them so much that they will be used as an example of how children must never be treated. Feelings soften with time and people who can testify to what happened to them in these schools will die. There should be a sound archive
That's an excellent idea - a bit like Steven Spielberg's for the victims of the holocaust? But I don't think it should be used to keep anger and bitterness alive. That way the abusers win - they turn you into the thing they are themselves.
 

thecretinhop

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Jan 31, 2009
Messages
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Well done with this, im at a loss as to why the peole who did this are mostly still free, what is wrong with this country!
 

Odyessus

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Messages
12,987
When I was asked about punishments in those places by someone who was never in those places I think she expected an answer like: Sounds like an answer that couldn't be denied, that even she could relate to those types of punishments. She was about 40 years old and she was from the era of corporal punishment. But that wasn't the answer I gave her.

In those places EVERYTHING was part of your punishment. Mealtimes were a PUNISHMENT. Our food was vile, it really would have been illegal AND cruel to feed pigs on what we "survived" on. Our main food really was bread and dripping. And the dripping wasn't the nice white strained stuff you'd see on the shelves of Tesco's all nicely wrapped, nope it was a funny yellow colour.

Funny isn't the right word there - it was a kind of OFF-YELLOW/KHAKI colour. Having that spread on your skinner (slice of bread) in the morning at 7:00am was meant to sustain until 12:30 in the afternoon. I remember getting "porridge" too, note the quotes as when I became an adult and was given porridge I hesitated because what I was being served as an adult didn't look or didn't taste anything like what I got as porridge in those places. I firmly believe that this "porridge" we were given was something that the pigs had refused to eat.

Dinners were another PUNISHMENT. Let me describe a STEW in those places. Imagine a gravy, not too thick now, with soft watery lumps, 3 strands of meat - these strands are THINNER than your laces and about the length of your thumb (this is the thumb of a 10 year old child), 2 round slices of carrot and 1 spud (green tinged of course). But wait now, we also got desserts sometimes, really we did. How ever so posh. May I describe the dessert? OK. Well it was a bread pudding. That's not very posh I hear you say - but hold on now - our bread pudding was also green-tinged AND had that OFF-YELLOW/KHAKI colour. Beat that if you can.

Tea/Supper was the old reliable: Bread and Dripping again but THEY did try to vary our Tea/Supper because we'd get "Oxtail Soup" sometimes. Well THEY called it "Oxtail Soup" and I've watched, with something approaching jealousy, my own children having Oxtail Soup and let me tell you my children's Oxtail Soup is nothing like the "Oxtail Soup" dished up to us in those places. We'll never know what kind of dish it was as the Government of the day didn't have the right to demand from these orders the diet that we were fed on. I'm just talking about our diets in those places being used as way to PUNISH us. But really everything about those places was a PUNISHMENT.

From the isolation from society, to the regimentation of little children - being forced to march from one place to another, children being forced to stand to attention in the yard semi-naked while the "nurse" inspected us OR, if the notion took her, have a good few of us scrubbed down with purple or brown iodine. Being forced to say rosaries was a PUNISHMENT, being forced violently to run around the yard with a lighted candle at night in the rain was a PUNISHMENT. Being forced violently to scrub toilets with your own toothbrush was a PUNISHMENT.

Being forced violently to learn how to darn a sock was a PUNISHMENT. Being physically separated from your brother or sister was a PUNISHMENT. Being forced to listen to those black-garbed monsters denigrate you Mum and Dad was a PUNISHMENT. Being violently forced to become right-handed was a PUNISHMENT. And most of these PUNISHMENTS you became inured to, they became part of your everyday existence. You didn't think much of the rights and wrongs of them after a while, you let them lie in your sub-conscious mind until, as an adult, a certain aroma or sound or sight would bring them into focus and you'd rage against those black-garbed monsters. These black-garbed child haters are STILL working with vulnerable communities in this country, they've spread their particular poison around the world.

PERSPECTIVE

As a former detainee from Ferryhouse I'd like to state here that child detainees who wet their beds were punished...... Firstly they were segregated in the Dormitories. Secondly they were given a Special Name: SAILORS. Thirdly they were severely thrashed. Fourthly they were forced to wash their sheets with carbolic soap. Fifth they were separated from the rest of the boys for verbal and psychological humiliation. Sixth they were disallowed from washing themselves forcing them to go around all day smelling of urine - this meant that they received more physical punishments from those who were teachers or workshop managers.

Another this representative said was that punishments were mostly spontaneous and not formal. That is another lie. Punishments were formal and they were entered in a book.


  • You were hit for Belching (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for having a hole in your sock (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for having a button missing from your shirt (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for having a button missing from your trousers (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for having a hole in your jumper (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for basically growing out of your shoes (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for having dirt in your nails and this after spending the whole day picking spuds. (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for having a "tideline" after washing in the morning (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for having soiled underwear - one of their obsessions (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for whispering in the chapel (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for walking when you should have been running (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for running when you should have been walking (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for turning left when you should have turned right (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for turning right when you should have turned left (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for not joining your hands in the chapel (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for getting a spelling wrong (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for not standing to attention when a Brother entered the room (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for not knowing your catechism (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for dropping a stitch in the knitting shop (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for having dirty knees after being digging in the fields (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for being dirty after working in the pigsty (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for refusing to play hurling (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for refusing to play Gaelic football or hurling (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for being insolent - that's when you ask why you are being battered (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for snoring (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for having your hands and arms under the blanket at night (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for having a runny nose (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for having scabies (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for reading the Victor, Valiant, Buster, Bunty or the Judy comic - these were deemed "corrupting" (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for looking sideways at a Brother or priest (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for making noises at night when you went to the toilet (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for not writing what was on the board when you got to write a letter to your mum or dad or a relative (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for scratching your head (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for vomiting during mealtimes (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for vomiting at anytime (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished for having nits in your hair (this was entered in a book)
  • You were punished if you cried for your mum or dad (this was entered in a book)
You were punished for having a broken heart (this was NOT entered in a book).

A very moving post. It seems to be a sad fact of human nature that when most people are given absolute control over others, it brings out a cruel sadistic streak in them. I have read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and your experience makes the Soviet Prison Camp sound like Butlin's in comparison.

Can you tell us what your alleged crime was to be sent to such a place?
 

dmc444

Active member
Joined
Feb 6, 2009
Messages
193
I have spoken with Andrew privately about this but i think it deserves to be said publically about how much all of us who have never been in that horrific situation should appreciate people like this coming on and sharing their stories with us.

This is not an issue of politics, it is one of morality. The failure in stopping these abuses i fear might be added to, if we fail to bring these people to justice and ensure proper reforms are implented.

I was struck by a lady who said that the best justice for her would be ensuring this never happens again.
 
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FutureTaoiseach

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Mar 20, 2005
Messages
7,992
Website
greatdearleader.blogspot.com
It brings home all the more what an appalling outrage it is that the State is bailing out these evil torturers of defenceless children. The CAB should seize Church assets to force them to bear most of the cost of compensating the survivors of these hellish concentration-camps that are forever a stain on this Republic and even more so of the Church. Absolute power corrupts absolutely - and it did. Listening to Michael Woods - even now - defending the bailout he negotiated with the religious-orders, only a day or two after the release of the horrifying contents of this report serves to make one's blood boil to think that even now - after 17 yrs of revelations of rampant abuse of children by the Church - that influential figures at the heart of our political-system continue to show such servility to a hierarchy that presided for decades over a reign of terror over the most vulnerable members of Irish society.
 

Captain Con O'Sullivan

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Mar 13, 2009
Messages
985
The British and Americans when they found the camps in Germany and saw the cruelty to which people had been subjected gave orders that the local communities should be brought and forced to see what had been going on.

All behaved as if it was news to them- then broke down. At least one of these schools must be set up as a centre to educate people about what happened, who was responsible and where appropriate (according to the victim's representatives) exhibitions and the recording of names of people like the four year old who didn't make it through the vile system.

Every little b*stard priest, nun and CB involved should be forced to go through it.
 

Bean

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Sep 17, 2008
Messages
8
I really believe that the individuals who perpetrated these heinous crimes should be named. They should no longer be protected by their Orders or our Government. To uncover these abuses those who suffered at their hands had to shed their privacy and face not being believed. They had to relive their pain time and time again.
NAME and SHAME ALL- in large print.
They do not deserve to hide.
 

Odyessus

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May 16, 2007
Messages
12,987
I really believe that the individuals who perpetrated these heinous crimes should be named. They should no longer be protected by their Orders or our Government. To uncover these abuses those who suffered at their hands had to shed their privacy and face not being believed. They had to relive their pain time and time again.
NAME and SHAME ALL- in large print.
They do not deserve to hide.
Naming individuals would prejudice any legal proceedings against them. The last thing we want is for guilty people to be able to plead that they cannot get a fair trial because their names were published in a atmosphere of public outrage.

What worries me is that it is not in the interest of the main political parties to see prosecutions, since this would draw attention to the gross negligence of successive governments who failed to protect the rights of children in these institutions for which the state had the ultimate responsibility, but which they abdicated to the Catholic Church, even when they had evidence that the Church was wilfully negligent in allowing such abuses to take place.
 

Captain Con O'Sullivan

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Messages
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Naming individuals would prejudice any legal proceedings against them. The last thing we want is for guilty people to be able to plead that they cannot get a fair trial because their names were published in a atmosphere of public outrage.

What worries me is that it is not in the interest of the main political parties to see prosecutions, since this would draw attention to the gross negligence of successive governments who failed to protect the rights of children in these institutions for which the state had the ultimate responsibility, but which they abdicated to the Catholic Church, even when they had evidence that the Church was wilfully negligent in allowing such abuses to take place.
Loath as I am to speak of political maneouvers on such a sickening issue it does occur to me that the next general election will see a change in government.

There may never be a better chance to get at the little nexus of FF's and catholic church creeps when FF are dumped unceremoniously out of office and shrunk to the size of a political peanut.

Has anybody thought of demanding a Manifesto commitment to trials for both religious abusers and their collaborators from the other parties?

Why should we elect anyone who won't commit to getting everything out in the open and dealing with it in one sharp shock?

Woods needs to be dealt with and I have a creepy feeling that under that rock is a creepy little horse-racing fan we all know as well. How long do you reckon it would take before the names Haughey and Ahern surface when looking at governmental collaboration with the church over the Industrial Schools?

Which politican and senior Garda decided that victims of abuse weren't allowed in at the press conference/launch of the report on Tuesday?

They too are collaborators.
 
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