Many Christian Brothers and other Religious Orders accused of heinous crimes at the Ryan Report Commission into Child abuses in the Industrial Schools and other Institutions within Ireland. All the Religious Orders of the Irish Catholic Church were granted immunity through the High Court of Ireland. 'The Irish State authorities facilitated that cover-up by not fulfilling their responsibilities to ensure that the law was applied equally to all and allowing the Irish Catholic Church institutions to be beyond the reach of the normal law enforcement processes. Judge Yvonne Murphy, was the first head of The Commission into Child Abuses, said the Irish Catholic Church Hierarchy cannot claim they did not know that child sex abuse was a crime. All the Religious Orders, that ran the Institutions in Ireland had clear knowledge of the most outrageously evil crimes and heinous complaints dating back to the early 1930s. Justice Yvonne Murphy also said that the primary loyalty of Irish Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals is to the Irish Church and the Catholic Church only. The Irish Catholic Hierarchy instigated hundreds of secret canon law trials about clerical sex abuses, which took place over a 50 year period, paid out secret compensation to hundreds of victims, and then gagged and threatened the victims into silence, even among their own families, some of the victims were children as young as five years of age. Some of the victims were young girls as young as nine, who were raped, and subsequently got pregnant by the clerics, were then forced, in some cases to abort their babies in secret in England, while others were detained and shut-up in secret convents to have their babies, never to see the outside world again.
Justice Yvonne Murphy as head of The Commission into Child Abuses said it had uncovered inappropriate contacts between the Irish Police, and the Garda Commissioner (Costigan) and the Archdiocese of Dublin, (McQuaid) the sitting Archbishop of Dublin at the time. One Dublin Priest admitted sexually abusing more than 100 children, from the Dublin Archdiocese and another Dublin Priest accepted he sexually abused hundreds of children on a fortnightly basis during his 25-year ministry. In the Archdiocese of Dublin alone, hundreds of Irish Priests were involved with the sexual abuses of children and the attitude of the Archbishops of Dublin were-“The Archdiocese was pre-occupied until the mid-1990s with maintaining secrecy, avoiding scandal at all cost, protecting the reputation of the Irish Catholic Church and preservation of assets. "All other concerns, including the damage done to young victims, came second," this according to The Commission into Child Abuses, headed by Justice Yvonne Murphy.
Also, The Commission into Child Abuses, said that the Irish Catholic Church was obsessed with secrecy and lying to avoid any scandal, to protected all abusers and their reputations at all costs. Hundreds of crimes against children from the 1960s to the 1990s were not reported while the Irish police treated the Clergy as though they were above the law. In a three-year inquiry, the Commission which was Inquiring into the Dublin Archdioceses, uncovered a sickening tactic of ''don't ask, don't tell'' the burning and destroying of, all official documents, the Commission was looking for. Direct obstruction by the Irish Catholic Church, hiding wanted pedophilic Priests into other parishes both in Ireland and the United States of America, while vilifying and shaming the child victims, both in their communities and throughout Ireland. Finally The Commission into Child Abuse said that - ‘'The structures and rules of the Irish Catholic Church actively facilitated that cover-up.
Archbishop McQuaid was the Catholic Primate of Ireland and Archbishop of Dublin at the time. He was known for his unusual amount of influence he had over successive Irish Governments and the Irish Police. McQuaid was also guilty of "having given the order to his Religious Orders, who behaved like the gestapo, to take children away from their unwed mothers, or what McQuaid called, unsuitable mothers, or parents. The stolen Children to be either sold through adoption for money or the child put into a Catholic State Institutions as work and sex slaves, for the imaginary sins of their Mothers, but really, Archbishop McQuaid should always be regarded no better than a reckless criminal.
The powerful Irish Catholic Church’s response to all such accusations of sexual abuse is and was to issue a blanket denial, admit to nothing was the church’s creed. What is known for certain from many historical sources today is that the powerful Irish Catholic Church had a secret agreement with both the Irish Government and the Irish Police. Éamon de Valera admired the authoritarian tendencies in Archbishop McQuaid. The secret agreement made, was the Irish Government would not interfere in any of the Irish Catholic Church’s businesses, or Catholic doctrine, to include total control of all the schools, and give a free hand and total control of all the state run Institutional Schools, Orphanages, and Magdalene Laundries, throughout Ireland, with the Irish State paying all the Irish Catholic Church’s bills, with both lands and money.
The Commission into Child Abuses was set up in 1999, The Commission's remit was to investigate all forms of child abuse in Irish Institutional Schools used to house children; the majority of allegations it investigated related to the system of sixty residential "Reformatory and Industrial Schools" operated by Irish Catholic Church’s Religious Orders, funded and supervised by the Irish Department of Education. The Commission's report said testimony had demonstrated beyond a doubt that the entire system treated children more like prison inmates and slaves than people with legal rights and human potential, that some religious officials encouraged ritual beatings and consistently shielded their Religious Orders amid a "culture of self-serving secrecy", and that government inspectors failed to stop the abuses. Among the more extreme allegations of abuse were beatings and rapes, children subjected to naked beatings in public, many being forced into oral sex, and subjection to floggings after failed rape attempts by the Christian Brothers and other Religious Orders. The abuse has been described by some as Ireland's Holocaust. The abuse was said to be “endemic” in the institutions that dealt with boys. Many newspapers at the time, described the abuse as "the stuff of nightmares", citing the adjectives used in the report as being particularly chilling: "systemic, pervasive, chronic, excessive, arbitrary, endemic”. Most Survivors as children provided detailed testimony of murders, tortures, floggings, rapes and other cruelties. Most of the boys now men testified to acts of sadism, beatings and arbitrary rapes of both themselves and other boys, savaging of children by out of control Christian Brothers, and some Christian Brothers even selecting boys for personal rape. Many Christian Brothers according to the boys as witnesses, testified before the Commission that the Christian Brothers took pleasure in using physical and psychological methods to torture and rape vulnerable boys in their care. Other boys testified before the Commission, also spoke of other boys they had known were beaten to death, raped and flogged using a cat o nine tails.
The Commission itself was first established on an administrative basis in May 1999, under Judge Mary Laffoy. The first objective set for the Commission was to consider the broad terms of reference then provided to it, determine if these needed refining, and recommend to Government the powers and safeguards it would need to do its work effectively. The Commission reported to the Government in September and October 1999. The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Act, 2000 (the Act) was enacted on 26 April 2000. The 2000 Act followed closely the recommendations in the reports of the non-statutory Commission, and was extended by the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (Amendment) Act, 2005.
The Statutory Commission established under the 2000–2005 Acts had four primary functions:
• to listen to victims of childhood abuse who want to recount their experiences to a sympathetic forum;
• to fully investigate all allegations of abuse made to it, except where the victim does not wish for an investigation;
• to consider whether the way institutions were managed, administered, supervised and regulated contributed to the occurrence of abuse and
• to publish a report on its findings to the general public, with recommendations to address the effects of abuse on those who suffered and to prevent future abuse of children in institutions.
A "child" was defined to be anyone under the age of 18, an "institution" was any place where children were cared for other than as members of their families, and four types of abuse were included in the Commission's mandate:
• Physical Abuse- infliction of, or failure to prevent, physical injury to the child.
• Sexual Abuse – the use of the child for sexual arousal or sexual gratification.
• Neglect- failure to care for the child which risks or causes serious impairment or serious adverse effects.
• Emotional Abuse- any other acts or omissions towards the child which risk or cause serious impairment or serious adverse effects.
Owen Felix O'Neill
Owen Felix O'Neill
Author of Child Laundering Secrets, 2017