Columnistas  |  11 julio de 2019  |  12:00 AM |  Escrito por: James McCarthy

English Corner No.58

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James McCarthy

In the past, I have told you about Ireland's murky (dirty) past, when it comes to Mother and Baby Units, The Magdalene Laundries also known as Magdalene asylums, and their abuse of young mothers. Today it's about the abuse of young boys at the hands of the Christian Brothers.

St Joseph's Industrial School (1888-1974) was an industrial school for young boys in Letterfrack, County Galway, Ireland. In total 2,819 boys went through Letterfrack between 1887 and 1974. The school was run by the Congregation of Christian Brothers. In Ireland, the Industrial Schools Act of 1868 established industrial schools to care for "neglected, orphaned and abandoned or troublesome children". By 1884 there were 5,049 children (2-16 years old) in such institutions; St Joseph's is known for its revelations of physical and sexual abuse of the boys by some of the Brothers there, with evidence of sexual abuse and extreme physical punishments going back to the 1930s. 147 boys died there while in the care of the Christian Brothers mainly from chronic abuse and neglect. Christian Brothers were basically teachers like nuns- equally as evil.

Peter Tyrrell, a former resident of Letterfrack industrial school (1924-32), committed suicide by setting fire to himself on Hampstead Heath, London, in 1967. His body was so badly charred it would take a year before he was successfully identified. Ten years earlier, Tyrrell had launched a campaign which he hoped would draw attention to institutional abuse, but his letters to government ministers, the media, bishops, and Brothers were largely ignored. He like so many young boys suffered torture and severe beatings on a daily basis. Before his death, Tyrell said, "children were beaten and tortured for no other reason but for lustful pleasure". Tyrell described how he was raped by a Christian Brother. He also spoke of seeing other boys being beaten naked for long periods. When he told of the rape in confession, though, the priest's response was to ask him how dared he tell such lies about the Brothers, without whom he would not have a roof over his head.

Another wicked and sad chapter in Ireland's Catholic past. Boys at Letterfrack were unprotected in a hostile environment isolated from their families; they left Letterfrack with little education and no adequate training. Many who attended and suffered this abuse refer to it as" Ireland's equivalent to Auschwitz".

Christian Brothers of Ireland: The Congregation of Christian Brothers is a Roman Catholic lay congregation founded in Waterford, Ireland in 1802 for the purpose of educating poor Catholic boys in the area. This was just one of their 52 schools which were in Ireland at the time. Who knows how many of those schools also abused young boys? More allegations were made against the Christian Brothers than the other male orders combined. (Allegations were not confined to Ireland, with reports of abuse occurring in orders in Australia, the US and Canada.) The Christian Brothers accepted the findings were correct and in November 2009 the organisation announced they would be paying £145 million in compensation. His memoir was published in 2006: Founded on Fear: The Sad Story of Peter Tyrrell. “The tragic and deeply moving account of one man’s experience of institutional abuse at the hands of the Christian Brothers. Tyrrell never recovered from the abuse that he suffered, yet was determined that his story should be heard. This book is available to buy online”. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the Catholic Church, but I hate what it stands for! (Thoroughly dislike; be unable to put up with something that it represents).

They say we learn from our mistakes, I don't think the Catholic Church/Organisation ever will.


Until next Tuesday-Be good.

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E-mail: jbrackloon@gmail.com


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