Posts Tagged ‘abuse’

A True Reckoning

The Irish religious orders humiliations on little children and their Mums in the Institutions, is a long and sordid history. It has gone on since the birth of the nation. Their presumed moral authority has been a solid foundation for these kinds of abuses. And these Religious Orders thought they had the right to commit these abuses against the children. Because they were poor and their parent(s) had little education, some people in the government of this country – and that includes the Catholic Church – have justified the most heinous acts against children.

Look at how nonchalantly the TDs in parliament took the incident of the boy who had his arm broken when he was savagely beaten by the Christian Brothers in Artane. And at least one boy had already been beaten to death in that Institution before!

Being tied by vows to a religious order like the christian brothers or the sisters of mercy does something to people. It can intoxicate them, poison their spirits, their resolve; it can mutate their values, their life-long innocence even, it can make probably rather passive and fun-loving people into beasts. Abusing poor children to build a christian brother/sisters of mercy empire, does this even worse. Is anyone surprised?

We need a true reckoning, a true accounting. These acts committed against children and families will always be part of Ireland’s historical legacy. Any history of this “Island of Saints and Scholars” that excludes the appalling abuses committed by the religious orders against children will be a history of lies.


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Undertakers exhuming the bodies of 133 women at a notorious Sisters of Our Lady of Charity convent found 22 other remains. And almost 60 of the deaths at one of the infamous Magdalene Laundries in Dublin were never registered. The shocking revelations did prompt calls for a Garda probe into who these women were, and how they died.

The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity sold off land at their High Park convent in Drumcondra, Dublin, to developers in 1993.. Part of the land included a graveyard containing the remains of 133 women, many of whom had been locked away for years without pay in the laundry hellhole.  The Department of the Environment granted a licence for the removal and cremation of the bodies at nearby Glasnevin cemetery. But undertakers who began removing the coffins found an extra 22 remains.  Many of the bodies were buried with their broken bones still in plaster-casts on their ankles, elbows, wrists, and hands when they were taken out of the ground. One of the bodies was headless. Why these bodies had casts on them is no mystery as these women were serving penal servitude for life because they were found to have had sexual relations without the express permission of the Catholic Church.

It is claimed that when they were discovered, the department simply issued an extra licence covering the other remains and did not launch an investigation into who they were. Failing to register a death is a criminal offence. But of the 133 original bodies, just 75 death certificates existed. All 155 bodies were removed and all but one of them cremated. They can now NEVER be identified in the event of a investigation into their deaths.

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The then Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell was asked to initiate a criminal investigation into the unregistered and unexplained deaths. A spokeswoman said: “That’s a matter for the Gardai.”  A Garda spokesman said: “There is no investigation into these unexplained deaths at the moment.”

The Department of the Environment was reported as saying that “no trace” forms were issued for 34 of the dead women and it could not search for the identities of 24 others because of “insufficient details” .  In the case of the 34 women, the department added: “It appears that the statutory registration procedures were not complied with at the time of their deaths.”  Of the 22 extra bodies, it said it only had details of 14 of them. The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity yesterday defended its actions.  Spokeswoman Sister Ann Marie Ryan that the exhumation and re-interring of all 155 women was “approved by all relevant authorities”. She added: “We have had no queries from families about our decision in the intervening time. One family took the remains of a deceased relative to a family plot at the time. The remaining 154 were respectfully cremated and laid to rest at a public ceremony.”

The secret of the unidentified women, and many others whose dignity was ignored both in life and death, lies in a double grave in Glasnevin. It may never be known who they were. A grey headstone marked “St Mary’s High Park, In Loving Memory Of” features 175 names and dates of death, the first in 1858, the last December 1994.  But the names on the headstone bear little resemblance to the list supplied to the Department of the Environment by the nuns to secure the exhumation licence.

Only 27 of the names and dates correctly match up.

The nuns’ willingness to opt for cremation has also been questioned. They had been told it would be massively expensive to bury them. The Catholic Church has always frowned upon the practice of cremation preferring burial instead. Canon law banning cremation was only lifted in the mid-1980s.

The nuns did not even appear to know the names of many of the women, listing them as Magdalene of St Cecilia, Magdalene of Lourdes, and so on and on. The final number so callously disturbed from their resting place was 155. All had died in the service of the nuns, working long hours in their large commercial laundry for no pay, locked away by a patriarchal church and society ruthlessly determined to control women’s sexuality.

These are the names of the women & children who were buried within the grounds of High Park, Drumcondra & later exhumed when the nun’s sold the land to developers as they had lost a large amount of money in G.P.A shares. Of 133 bodies only 75 death certificates were found to exist. It was and remains a criminal offence in the state of Ireland to fail to register a birth that occurs in one’s premises. All but one of the bodies was cremated and re-interred in Glasnevin cemetery.


Thomas A O Neill    7/01/1943
James McCormack        24/01/1945
James Christopher Doran    2/06/1944
Brigid walsh        4/09/1943
Margareth Mary Caffrey    5/07/1943
Thomas Matthews        3/02/1947
John Haslam        7/05/1947(3 years old)
Teresa Haslam        7/05/1947(19 months old)
John Malachy Boyle    23/10/1944
Philomena Frances Byrne    13/11/1943
Michael Corry        4/11/1942
Noel Peter Brown    26/09/1941
Patrick Lyons        27/03/1947, DIED 11/05/1947
Margareth Venables    14/11/1942
Margareth Mary Conway    5/05/1936, died 8/08/1936
Anthony Keating        13/03/1947 age 3 weeks
James McCormack        22/04/1947
Laurence & Mary Waters (who both died on)    6/05/1942
Damien John Sullivan    14/03/1944
Lilian and Kathleen Watters    6/06/1936
Rosaleen Donnelly    20/12/1943 age 2 years
John Augustine Kearns    17/03/1931
Anna Bernadette Kearns    26/04/1932
Thomas Anthony Kavanagh    12/11/1940, Died on 14/12/1940
Teresa Christina O Connor twin of Peter    29/04/1941 aged 8 months
Joan Margareth Duignan    27/05/1944 died 7/06/1944
Rita Mary Duignan    27/05/1944 died 3/06/1944 twin sisters
Mary Bishop        18/07/1934
Christina Bishop    5/05/1939
Martin Bishop        24/08/1952


Anne Fisher…27/6/1897
Kate Delmore…14/12/1897
Esther Reilly….28/5/1898
Mary Hayden…20/11/1898
Mary Quinn….22/10/1899
Maria Walsh….12/01/1877
Margareth Callaghan…15/03/1877
Margareth Farrell…11/06/1877
Emma Buckley….29/09/1880
Mary Leonard…..7/04/1881
Margareth Keogh…..7/04/1884
Mary Kelly….27/11/1884
Catherine Coyle….7/7/1887
Eliza Cafferty….10/03/1888
Julia Clarke…..5/11/1888
Margareth Lewis…..30/1/1889
Teresa Finn…..1/04/1858
Henrietta Hussey 7/03/1860
Mary Anne Kavanagh….29/10/1860
Rose Cavanagh….16/04/1862
Brigid Brady…20/04/1863
Eliza Collins….5/03/1863
Mary Connor….1/05/1863
Elizabeth Dunne….25/11/1863
Marie Byrne…13/05/1866
Mary Burnett….29/04/1867
Sarah Connor….26/08/1870
Mary Mc’mahon…..3/07/1889
Margareth Diamond…18/10/1889
Sarah Bennett…..14/04/1890
Ann Carroll….7/06/1890
Sarah Hanlon…29/06/1890
Elizabeth Byrne….18/10/1890
Mary Scully…29/11/1890
Mary Anne Lawlor…21/02/1892
Catherine Grehan…..23/07/1893
Margareth Myars….6/09/1894
Teresa O Neill….19/10/1894
Mary Ayland….1/01/1895
Bridget Bates….2/05/1896

Anne Grady…20/05/1900
Margareth Brady…..16/10/1900
Sarah Grey….24/05/1901
Johanna Prendergast…..14/06/1902
Eliza Kelly….20/10/1902
Frances Hackey….20/12/1902
Anne Reilly…..6/02/1903
Alison Brady…..8/03/1903
Elizabeth Fagan….28/04/1903
Brigid Donovan…27/07/1903
Martha May….15/11/1903
Lizzie Mockley….28/12/1903
Mary Ann Quinn….14/02/1904
Alice M’cauley….8/10/1904
Esther Keenan…30/11/1904
Brigid Mcnally….6/06/1905
Margareth Dunne….10/08/1905
Ellen O Hanlon…..10/01/1906
Eliza Mc’nully…..10/01/1906
Anne Giblin…..6/02/1907
Catherine Odea…..6/04/1907
Mary Doyle….4/03/1908
Cecila ann Brady….17/04/1908
Elizabeth Caufield….28/01/1909
Margareth Savage….7/08/1909
Anne Dunne…..16/11/1910
Brigid Ward….12/12/1910
Kate Tierney….5/11/1911
Anne Barlow….20/03/1912
Anne Burton….30/03/1912
Sarah Davidson….8/04/1912
Belinda Leonard…..4/05/1912
Anne Morrissey…..27/06/1912
Mary Connell……13/12/1912

Fanny Buckley…..27/01/1914
Catherine Mulhall……3/02/1914
Sophia Barnes…..14/11/1914
Elizabeth Mckinley……3/04/1915
Mary Kavanagh…..13/02/1916
Mary Maher……26/12/1916
Kate Murphy…..19/02/1917
Mary F Smith…..4/08/1917
Charlotte Foster……5/01/1919
Johanna Dunphy…….28/02/1919
Ellen Ryan….3/03/1919
Mary Jane Grey……5/05/1919
Kate Quigley……26/12/1919
Elizabeth Culliton…….18/02/1920
Alican Ennis…….21/02/1920
Mary Dunne……23/05/1920
Elizabeth Duffy……21/06/1920
Eliza Mcnally……30/06/1921

Jane Leadon…..20/03/1923
Julia O Brian…..29/09/1923
Elizabeth Cogan…..18/10/1924
Kate Kiernan……5/09/1925
Mary Kelly…..8/12/1925

Emily Collins….18/08/1926
Isabelle Clarke….8/10/1926
Margareth Hayden….15/08/1927
Julia Byrne….22/11/1927
Margareth Mc’cormack 6/05/1930
Mary Ball…..18/06/1930
Joan Maguire……7/06/1933
Jane Kenna….9/06/1933
Margareth Martin…..10/06/1936
Mary Kinsella…..9/05/1937
Mary Margareth Nally…..13/06/1937
Margie Plunkett……15/06/1937
Julia Holmes….4/10/1938
Brigid Masterson…..19/10/1938
Lizzie Quinn…..30/08/1940
Ellen Murphy….28/03/1943
Martha Murray…..28/10/1943
Julia Somers……2/03/1944
Mary Clare Farrell…..27/04/1944
Mary Ann Morgan…..25/06/1947
Alice Bolger…….31/04/1948 THERE IS NO SUCH DATE AS APRIL ONLY HAS 30 DAYS!
Katie O Loughnane…….16/10/1951
Ann Teresa Hickey….29/05/1952
Wilma Mary Hertzburg…..27/07/1952
Bella Kemp……14/05/1955
Annie Brooks……2/10/1955
Catherine McConnell…..10/04/1956
Molly Moore….17/11/1960
Anne Hallinan…..2/01/1961
Brigid Howe…..30/09/1962
Mary Mahan…..10/04/1963
Susan Bateman…….6/05/1963
Mary Mooney…..30/05/1963
Helena Tropey……21/09/1964
Esther Byrne……6/01/1966
Bella Smith …..8/04/1966
Margareth Corcoran……..21/05/1967
Agnes Dunne…..4/08/1967
Annie Lutton…..5/08/1967
Elizabeth Mooney……22/12/1967
Brigid Supple…..13/10/1968
Rose ann Maguire…..15/04/1969
Ellen M Mc’kearney…..10/05/1969
Ellie Guest….19/05/1969
Christina Butler……4/09/1969
Louise Grayson…..11/01/1970
Catherine Tighe……12/01/1970
Josephine Kavanagh…..3/10/1970
Lizzie Kiernan….5/01/1971
Mary Brehany…..28/01/1972
Edith Haverty…..16/03/1972

Mary Wilkinson……22/09/1974

Alice Igoe……14/03/1975
Mary Mulhall….16/03/1975
Ellen Mc’kenna….17/09/1979
Christina Harrison….21/03/1982
Jane Murphy…..22/08/1986
Peggy Cummins……14/09/1987
Julia Treacy……5/11/1987
Eileen Mc’girr…..15/01/1988
Kathleen Floyd……27/01/1988
Rose Kavanagh……6/03/1989
Una Mc’Donald…….12/05/1989
Teresa Murray…..15/07/1989
Sally Bridge…..25/02/1990
Mary White…..26/02/1990
Annie Pollard…….29/03/1990
Kitty Govan……4/05/1990
Nora Gregan……17/02/1991
Nancy Gilbert……1/05/1991
Tessie Fallon…….8/11/1991
Nellie Harrison…..29/12/1991
Brigid Kelly…….6/04/1992
Mary Anne Scott…….10/10/1992
Elizabeth Power……i/08/1993

Mary Quinn……21/11/1994
Brigid Doody…..28/12/1994
Julia Kelly…….3/10/1995
Christina O Brien…..28/03/1997
Philomena Doyle……3/04/1998

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Truth beheads. For years this country believed that the religious lived blameless lives, that nuns/brothers/priests sacrificed membership of ordinary society to care for children in “Industrial Schools & Reformatories”. But we know now that this belief was wrong. The religious were well-paid for this “sacrifice”.

In these Child Detention Centres the religious received one-third of the average industrial wage for EACH child in their “care”. The religious in this country grew more powerful and influential while the task they were well paid for: The Care of You and I was forgotten about. These institutions were well-named as they were industries that had a stranglehold on a major part of the economy of this country. While the children in them worked long hours under brutalising conditions the religious sat in splendid favour at the tables of the political and social elite, indeed it can be said that these religious orders created and nurtured this elite.

They controlled the schools, the hospitals, the civil service, the press & media and it must be said, the minds of people through the churches and the confessional boxes. Society was stagnating under this choking hold that the religious orders had on society, mass emigration was the order of the day. For some people in society the choices were stark:> a convent or the boat to England. For a woman to be single AND pregnant was an unforgivable crime and the woman could end up incarcerated for life in a Magdalene Laundry and her child either sold on to America or “placed” into one of the many Child Detention Centres. To be poor was another crime. Despite Ireland signing many documents in the United Nations, and before that the League of Nations, affirming the rights of the individual and the imprescriptible rights of the child, and despite the blood sacrifice made by the fighters at the GPO during the Easter Rising to CHERISH ALL THE CHILDREN OF THE NATION EQUALLY, Ireland incarcerated more innocents, more helpless and more children, in their detentions centres than 800 years of “British Imperialism”.

Ireland embarked on a mission after Independence to take from public view the failures of their “brave” new Catholic Ireland. Whatever changes have come in this society since Independence have not come from the goodness of the Roman Catholic church, NO, the changes, the improvements have come through the sacrifice and the suffering of people like us. We no longer fear this Monolith. It has SHOT ITS LOAD. It SHALL NOT rise again.

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Murdered Drowned Echoes


Murdered Drowned Echoes

The men of black pain turn
in the uncomfortable earth,

as hints from our minds store
breathe in the unforgotten [and unforgiving] dirt,
and find no embrace amongst the shadows,

Twisting figures leave their tears in the water
where dragonflies whisper,
just small waves,
just small ripples
harmonies than vanish in the mass of water

drowned echoes

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Anger written on a page
Enchantment shattered,
sense scattered

Ink ravenous with rage hacks and scratches
Till hearts, scythed and asunder,
deaden, stiffen, nerves shriven.

Imagine that! As a child to feel
and breathe such cancer
Tear your insides inside out,
Bone to bat, bat to back and back again.

A grotesque dancer
On a stage where you have no part
except to simply suffer and wait

In hope that all this woe will soon abate
And curtain falls and violence exasperate.

Leaving me alone but lonely
– alive but dead inside – to wait
….and wait for scar blackened heart to revive

And adult squirmers to squirm in hate
To feel what I had felt

Black-strap leather of a belt
Brass-cankered bat across their bones
Meeting the meaning of madness in their moans

And exult at their discomfort
Stare in my face – my face of mirth
Carved and coloured from their owed-dirt
Fashion now their very fruitful hurt

But for what is this hurt worth
If payment is revengeful spurt

And anger boils – still boils inside
My loves and hopes away…. They died.

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The disgraced Bishop of Cloyne, John Magee, will bring at least two dark secrets to his grave with him. The Newry-born Magee was Secretary to three Popes, Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II, the only cleric in history to achieve such an incredible honour. John Cooney, an Irish journalist covering religious affairs, wrote how Magee proudly boasted that Pope Paul VI treated him like a son, and that John Paul II treated him like a brother. According to Cooney, he was considered the “most handsome man” in the Vatican and had incredible access to the Popes. He lived in a wonderful villa on the Vatican grounds.

It even had a private chapel, and he loved to entertain friends from Ireland and arrange meetings with the Pope for a chosen few. He was widely expected to return to Ireland in triumph as Archbishop of Armagh, his home diocese, and be the future Primate of All Ireland. But John Paul 11 banished him to a lonely Cork diocese in 1987, when Magee was at the height of his power. The job of Bishop of Cloyne was intended for someone else, but John Paul insisted that Magee go. He was never liked by the priests there, who considered him a Vatican outsider who was dumped on them. The Bishop’s house was a sad, drafty old building in need of repair, totally unlike his Vatican villa.

The reasons why he was exiled to Cloyne have never been explained. Rumors ran rampant, including involvement in a cover-up of the death of John Paul I and unspecified personal behavior charges, but nothing ever came to light. What is known is that in 1978, on the death of John Paul I after only 33 days as Pope, Magee covered up the fact that a nun found him, and a statement was issued that he was the person who discovered the body.

Why this was so has never been explained. Nor was the fact that he was briefly brought back to Rome immediately when Pope John Paul II died for unspecified duties. By all accounts, he went into a deep funk when posted to Cloyne, a minor diocese in Ireland far from his beloved Armagh. His lack of oversight of the child abuse problems in his parish were seen as a sign of his total disinterest in his new duties. Now he is gone, and the mystery of how he ever ended up in Cloyne, or why he tried to mask the truth of who found the body of John Paul I, may never be known.

In “Angels and Demons,” Dan Brown’s prequel to “The Da Vinci Code,” an ambitious Irish priest close to the Pope almost becomes Pope himself by plotting and eliminating enemies during a papal conclave. The book’s Rev. Patrick McKenna may well have been loosely based on Magee. Whatever lofty ambitions Magee had,  they have long since ended, and he resigned in disgrace. It was surely not the script he had written for himself.

From Irish Central Niall O’Dowd

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The whereabouts of two living credibly accused priests in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport now is public in light of the diocese’s recent filing of its last required annual report to its bankruptcy court. Both priests each are “leading a life of prayer and penance” and are given no assignments in their communities, diocese spokesman Deacon David Montgomery said.  Gerald Stouvenal lives at the diocese’s chancery at 780 W. Central Park Ave., Davenport, and Francis Bass lives in a nursing home in Iowa City.

But whether any discipline action ever was brought against ‘now-retired‘ Bishop Lawrence Soens, who’s also accused of abuse, or his whereabouts are still being kept secret.  “Any discipline against (Soens) has been kept secret,” attorney Craig Levien, who has represented local victims of clergy abuse, said Monday. “The scandal wasn’t just the abuse of children by priests, it was the coverup.”  Soens has not been defrocked.  “There’s a double standard that’s applied to priests versus a bishop,” Levien said.

Previously, Levien had requested the release of “all communications from Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, about the decision not to defrock credibly accused perpetrators.”  Montgomery responded to that request Monday, saying a decision made by the Vatican “is final, cannot be changed” and that communication that goes on at the Vatican is “confidential.”    [SOURCE]

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