Coinciding with a TV documentary cataloguing stories of violence, neglect and sexual abuse, the Christian Brothers have issued a further apology to pupils who were abused in their care.
    Patrick Speight reports in The Tablet that the first episode of States of Fear recounted the experiences since the 1940s of children in the country's 52 industrial schools, which at their peak housed 7,000 boys and girls and which some commentators are calling Ireland's "gulags".
    "The one thing about Christmas Day was that there was no sexual abuse on Christmas Day", said one former inmate. Another said he was "sadistically sexually abused" on the day he made his First Communion. There were many other such stories. Since the documentary was screened on Tuesday last week, Dublin's Rape Crisis Centre and the independent helpline set up by the Catholic Church have received numerous calls from people once in the care of the Christian Brothers, while others have commented in public.
    In an interview with the newspaper Ireland on Sunday Bernard O'Connell, who spent nine years at the Artane Industrial School run by the Christian Brothers, called for the exhumation of the bodies of at least 20 boys he alleges were buried in unmarked graves in the school cemetery. The boys died from injuries sustained during beatings by Christian Brothers, he maintains.
    Fr Kevin Hegarty, the editor of Ceide, an independent Catholic monthly, has called on the Irish Government to establish an independent commission to investigate what happened in the Republic's reformatory schools and orphanages.

10:15am 10/5/99 / The Tablet


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