Monday, 17 April 2017


Hidden files reveal plight of the boys ‘made into slaves’

Documents reveal the Christian Brothers placed boys into servitude with Limerick’s merchant princes, writes Wayne O’Connor

HIDDEN FOR DECADES: Tom Wall pictured in his home at Glin in Co Limerick with the documents from Glin Industrial School. Tom, an abuse survivor from the school, said boys from Glin were ‘licensed out’ to farmers as ‘slaves’. Photo: Brian Gavin

‘It reflects a societal collusion in exploitation’
ANOTORIOUS industrial school in Limerick was paid to send boys under the age of 16 to work for traders, merchants and big farmers, according to hundreds of documents that have remained hidden for decades.
Experts say the find demonstrates local communities were involved in the industrialisation and exploitation of marginalised children.
There is no record of the boys receiving money for their work among the files rescued from Glin Industrial School. An abuse survivor from the school called the contracts “slave deals, tying boys to a ‘master’ for up to three years”.
Former Glin boy Tom Wall, who saved the documents from being destroyed, said he believes the commission of inquiry into the abuse of children should be reopened as the records show the practice of “licensing out” children was widespread. “I would never have thought slavery existed in Ireland until I went through these. All these documents need to be gone through now. Someone needs to look at it,” said Tom.
“The congregations that were set up to help the poor children totally strayed from their foundation. They finished up exploiting the children and that is the saddest part of this. They ended up making money out of poverty.”
These records were not included in the 2009 Ryan Report following the inquiry as they only came to light two years ago. They were seen publicly for the first time last week.
The Ryan Report previously found there had been provisions enabling schools to “license out” children to a “trustworthy and respectable person” to help assimilate the child into society. The report states licensing was a rare occurrence. However, it said “a severe, systemic regime of corporal punishment” was evident at Glin with deficiencies in care. Two Christian Brothers were previously transferred there, despite evidence or suspicion of sexually abusing boys in another institution.
Dublin City University deputy president Daire Keogh has studied and written about the Christian Brothers throughout his career. He said the practice of licensing children was a way for locals to avail of cheap labour.
He added the practice was a major bone of contention for many former industrial school residents, who often left the country for England shortly after the school’s contract with local businesses was terminated.
“These farmers seldom kept boys on once they became men and wouldn’t pay an adult wage. The whole thing reflects the level of societal collusion and institutionalisation and exploitation of marginalised kids.”
The indentures, or contracts, between Glin and local businessmen or farmers tied the boys to new masters for three years. The monthly sums paid for the use of the boys increased for every year served, often from £3, to £5 and £8.
Under the terms of the indentures, the boys — referred to as apprentices — were prevented from getting married or working for a competitor. They could not drink, play cards or “absent himself from his said master’s service day or night unlawfully”.
The indentures seen by the Sunday Independent are dated between 1895 and 1914. However, Tom also has more recent documents and ledgers dated up to the 1950s.
Among them are hundreds of committal orders, discharge summaries and personal letters sent to, and by, the boys staying in the school. It appears the personal letters Tom rescued were never delivered.
Tom was born to a single mother in a mother and baby home in Newcastle West and was admitted to Glin Industrial School when he was three years old. His committal form was discovered among the rescued documents and shows he was deemed “illegitimate”.
Letters from to and from his mother were among those that were never delivered.
“I asked about her on numerous occasions and I was told she was dead. I found out she was actually living in Newcastle West. I searched everywhere looking for her but nobody had heard of a Josephine Wall.
“By the time I found her she only had about six weeks to live. She was dying of cancer. I just made it but she was very sick in bed. I met with her a couple of times and asked why she never came to see me. She said: ‘I called three or four times but I wasn’t allowed in. The brothers told me you wanted no more to do with me.’
“I told her I wrote letters. She said she was writing letters as well but I never got a letter. There was no communication, no hope of getting anything through.
“I asked her about my father but she never let me know and I never found out.”
Tom said growing up in Glin was horrific. He was sexually abused and faced regular beatings. He can recall most of them and still bears the scars from one of the beatings on his forehead. He fell while being thrashed and his head was “split open”.
He was also accused of absconding from the school after going through some nearby fields in search of food before returning in time for dinner.
“We were down in the fields looking for a few blackberries on briars because we were starving. We never got much food and you were always hungry.
“Didn’t one of the brothers come looking for us and it was said that we absconded but we hadn’t gone anywhere.
“I got such a beating. That will always stay with me.”
However, he was deemed to be a “very good child”, according to the records, and a “good worker”. He was kept on at the school after his discharge to help with maintenance and the running of the buildings.
In 1973, with the school about to close, he was told by a brother to take record books and ledgers from a pile of documents and place them in the boot of a car. The rest were to be destroyed.
Some were burned but he held on to many of the documents as he wanted to see if they contained information about his past and his mother. Tom kept the liberated files in an attic for more than 40 years.
“All I was interested in was finding something in the documents about myself. I was not into history or anything like that. I wanted to know about myself.
“I put them up in the attic and they remained there undisturbed until the roof tiles started slipping in 2015. Then I went to look for an archivist or someone who could do something with them.”
He offered them to the University of Limerick (UL) but they remained untouched there for two years. He removed them from the university’s Glucksman Library last week following a row over the ownership of the documents that prevented UL from putting them on display.
The Christian Brothers sent archivists and legal representatives to view the files in UL. They then claimed ownership and demanded the documents be returned for storage in their own archives in Dublin. They threatened legal action to obtain them.
After visiting their archives, Tom was not satisfied that the documents would be made publicly available and he was concerned that they would be difficult to access.
Tom’s case was highlighted in the Dail last month by Fianna Fail TD Niall Collins and the European Province of Christian Brothers has since changed its stance, saying it would be happy to receive copies of the documents rather than the originals.
“We advised UL that were we to be provided with appropriate copies of the Glin documents for our archive we would have no objection to the original papers being donated to the university,” said a spokesman.
He conceded there were gaps in the Christian Brothers’ archives but described the suggestion Tom was told to burn records at the school as a “claim” and not in line with the congregation’s policy. He refused to be drawn on the indentures or contracts when questioned by the Sunday Independent.
Tom has now called on the State to intervene and said all the documents must be put on display so people can see what happened.
“The archives are too sealed up and inaccessible. I think these papers can serve a purpose.
“The public and relatives of residents should be able to see them. They must be accessible.”


These horror stories keep coming.

And they will keep coming.

How can any church cover up or try to justify these atrocities?


Are we to judge the RCC by these rotten fruits that keep emerging from the dark, secret dungeons?

In ways we have to.


  1. Another non-story. We're sich of bleating survivors. Funny how cash heals everything.

    1. Boys sold into slavery - a non story???

      People like you justified what Hitler did in the early 1940's.

      Cash does not heal wounds.

      But these victims are entitled to be HEARD, to be COUNSELLED, to be BELIEVED and to be COMPENSATED.

      Furthermore the only way to make the RCC pay for what it did is in their pockets.

      That and exposure is the only thing they fear.

    2. Pat, the christian brothers are an autonomous entity in the church, a tiny pary of a 1.3billion membership. What they did they must answer for but it is unfair to use these scandals to rubbish the whole church.

    3. The church has, and continues to offer counselling and compensation.

    4. True.

      But bishops, priests and laity knew what they were up to and said nothing :-(

    5. The language of 'Boys sold into slavery' is worthy of the SUN front page. Many of these boys did learn a trade and did well for themselves afterwards.

    6. I have long been of the view that when the last shovel of soil is patted down, upon the grave of the last Irish "Christian" brother, it will be a good day.

      The legacy of this "religious" order is sheer ignominy. They are a by-word for sexual, physical, emotional and psychological abuse at its most virulent, evil and prolific.

      Despite some "good" men among them (who, let's face it, did little - if anything - to curtail/stop their "brother" psychopaths), they will go down in history as a gather-up of perverts, sadists, degenerates and child-rapists, who terrorised generations of Irish children, brutalising in unspeakable ways, the most vulnerable of children - mainly boys.

      Filthy, perverted, wicked, sick, twisted, vile scumbags - with their penises and leather straps - insatiably hungry for boy flesh.

      Fucking good riddance to the whole lot of them.

    7. Do apprentices not deserve a wage?

      Do they deserve to work humane hours?

      Do they deserve decent food?

      Do they deserve respect?

      The fact that some of these boys later made good out of their sufferings is no excuse for what happened them.

      Shame on you !

    8. My Father was a Glin resident and while he remembered harsh corporal punishment he was never interfered with (Thank God) Hw as indentured to a local carpenter and learned a skill that saw him through his life. So don't believe all that is written here.

    9. 11:48 You show the anger of someone badly wounded by experience. Do bear in mind that a small percentage of the CB's wer as you describe but some were good and heroic men who gave 100%.

    10. 11:51 and 11:54, the end does not justify the means.

    11. Where were these "good and heroic men" hiding in places like Artane, Letterfrack, etc.??? Why did they do NOTHING??????

    12. Sad people justify this. I have stood face to face with a man raised in Ferry House. He stood there explaining to me that the proudest moment of his life was not getting himself into a drug shelter, rather it was getting his son to come with him.

      Generations of people will pay the price for how the church treated children but one generation ago. Some people coped ok, others not so.

      There is no excuse, and for those who dispute this I urge you to turn to scripture; for the Lord said, harden not your hearts.


    13. Funny isn't it, how when there's new news of church abuse, the apologists come out in force.
      11.37 gives an interesting variant on the 'few bad apples' argument used to minimise abuse.
      The experience of one victim in learning a trade has also been dragged out.
      I'm surprised nobody has said it was a different age in the world of work!
      The point is that a real apprentice would have a choice over what apprenticeship to take and whether to stay in it.
      Did industrial school boys have a choice? Did they fuck.

  2. Following on from yesterday and a comment made at 23:44 concerning "Puck" and "Gorgeous" - "it's time there was a bit of calm where these lads are concerned":

    True, there is no evidence or suggestion they ("Puck" And "Gorgeous") pose a threat to children.

    However, IF what is being alleged about them is true, they MUST NOT be ordained.

    This is no mere matter of "haven't always lived up to their calling". This is about a chosen lifestyle that is in direct contradiction to their "calling".

    In fact, what they are alleged to be engaged in, clearly shows that they do not have a calling from God to be priests.

    There may indeed well be some sort of "calling" taking place - but it is not from God.

    To ordain men who are prowling the internet for promiscuous "unattached" sex is to fly in God's face and to court His Wrath.

    Furthermore, it is alleged that a deacon raped a man at a Church property. This has been reported in the media (Irish Independent) and one of these deacons has been associated with that alleged rape.

    To ordain that man to the priesthood, with that allegation hanging over him and not cleared up, is so shocking that I just cannot believe Diarmuid Martin would that stupid.

    Indeed, if DM were to proceed in these circumstances, it would indicate DM being seriously sexually compromised himself - or mentally ill - either way, unfit for office as Archbishop of Dublin.

    The crowd "baying" on Good Friday were demanding the Blood of the Innocent Saviour. If these deacons are "guilty as charged", they must not be ordained.

    To ordain them will be a gross sacrilege and to make any comparison, between them and the Spotless Lamb of God, is an atrocious blasphemy.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly with you. Guys like this should be sent packing, we already have a surfeit og gays in the ministry.

    2. DM's judgement is certainly clouded by SOMETHING !!!

    3. There are and always have been very good gay priests ???

    4. I don't believe that the comment was making any comparison between Puck & Gorgeous and Jesus Christ, merely the attitude of those who want their pound of flesh where these two young men are concerned. It's time for everyone to leave off and allow them get on with their lives. Enough is enough.

    5. Yes Pat there have been and still are many fine Gay men in the Priesthood, but just as a heterosexual man must embrace celibacy so must these men. If that do that faithfully there is no problem. When Gay saunas and knockin shops enter the picture they merit dismissal.

    6. You're absolutely correct!

    7. Pat, DM is not 'clouded'. There was an investigation done. It turns out the Deacon is the victim. He has been telling the truth all along. The 'Mart' story reported to you is untrue, there is no rape. You were fooled by someone who wants to harm Michael. DM stands firmly behind Michael because he knows the truth...he did not do anything.

      Now can you leave him alone and stop this crusade against him?

    8. @11:56, let me ask you a question - Are "Puck" and "Gorgeous" innocent of the allegations against them?

      If they are innocent, they should launch the Mother and Father of all lawsuits against those responsible for all that has been said about them in the past year!

      In fact, their bishop and archbishop should come to their help in that regard, as dioceses have more legal firepower than individuals.

      Why would someone be seeking a "pound of flesh" from these two deacons? As Christians, we don't "do" "pounds of flesh".

      I don't know either of them from Adam; but let me put it to you, 11:56 poster, since you are a "defender" of "Puck and "Gorgeous":

      If they have been on Grindr, Silver Daddies, etc. - - if they have been sending indecent images of themselves in the search for anonymous gay sex - if "Gorgeous" is, in fact, the deacon mentioned in the Irish Independent's and this bog's report, of a male rape in Bray .... If these things are true, then "Gorgeous" and "King Puck" CANNOT and MUST NOT be ordained.

      The bishop or archbishop who ordains them will be doing a grave injury to the Church, exposing it to further terrible scandal. He will be guilty before God of a most grave sin. Such a bishop/archbishop deserves to be removed from his See and excommunicated.

      If all that is being alleged is true, 11:56, then by all means, let the Kerry deacon and the Dublin deacon "get on with their leaves". But NOT AS PRIESTS!!!

      Furthermore, anonymous at 11:56, if you are one of the Grindr seminarians, if you are not taking seriously your Christian calling to be chaste, never mind celibate, then you too must leave the seminary and get on with your own life.

      Enough, indeed, is enough!!

      Dublin priest.

    9. Michael is seemingly going to be ordained with this enormous cloud hanging over him, Anon at 13:25.

      If what you say is true, why has Michael and DM not striven to publicly restore Michael's shredded reputation?

    10. Why was he in a sex clinic in Maryland then and why has he been shagging around in Barcelona and other places. Please don't come on here 13.25 by insulting our intelligence and lying,

    11. What is the 'Sunday World' sitting on which won't be published until the Dublin Deacon is Ordained a Priest. That will be a real eye opener to everyone and it will cause a resignation at a Senior level. No wonder why the Nuncio got out when he did.

    12. If the Deacon is the "victim", then the person(s) victimising him need to be prosecuted.

      The victimised deacon needs to be publicly and clearly exonerated of all wrongdoing.

      After all, he has been publicly slandered and maligned by most a malicious person or persons.

      The deacon is going to have to work with priests and laity in Dublin for the rest of his life. He deserves to be able to do so as a man of integrity.

      The victimiser(s) are obviously very very dangerous and capable of inflicting massive harm upon innocent people.

      They must be stopped. An example must be made of such an evil person or persons.

      Surely the deacon has some idea who has it in for him to such an extent? He must go to the Guards and Diarmuid Martin should provide every legal assistance from the full might of the archdiocese of Dublin's legal armoury, to vindicate this horribly wronged young innocent man.

    13. There is every bit of evidence to say they pose a risk to children. I am not saying they would abuse them or rape them, but their example is one that promotes promiscuous and dangerous sexual conduct. I would not want my children exposed to such a formative influence.

      Furthermore; the right of ordination is not just about vows; listen to the wording, the wording requires that the candidate live their life to a standard that they remain above suspicion. Neither of these two chaps, innovent or otherwise, have lived to tjst standard.

      They have both failed the Cchurch's own test.

    14. If what you are saying is true at 14:29 - if the Sunday Wurdled have this story - and Dermo is intent upon ordaining Gorgeous anyhow - then the men in the white coats need to get over to Ab House asap, to take charge of the Ab!

  3. "The whole thing reflects the level of societal collusion and institutionalisation and exploitation of marginalised kids."
    This quote from the above post is the key to understanding what went. there was a societal collusion with these awful practices. It's unfair to scapegoat the brothers, though they did behave shamefully.

    1. @11.34 Yes, that quote does about sum up the ingrained attitude of the time. Nowadays thankfully, people would have a more enlightened view to the needs and rights of less advantaged children. At least I hope they would!
      Farming slightly older children out to help farmers etc or learn a trade in exchange for their "bed and board" was not unusual especially when children often left school around the age of 13 to help at home or work wherever they could find an offer. Also, when families were bigger in those times,space in small houses was at a premium and it was very usual to see a few of the older children being sent to live and work with say an aging grandparent or single aunt or uncle who had space to spare and no children to help with all the daily drudgery of life then. It was simply expected of them for no wage apart from the occasional bit of pocket money for clothes. So in the context of the time, the farming out of those boys would have been the norm.

  4. Sadly the church has a sad and vicious underside as it appears does the society we refer to as the island of saints and scholars

    1. I don't hear any young person today using the term, 'Island of saints and scholars'. That's reflective of your own age perhaps and is outdated.

    2. 12.54. It was just a thought. Perhaps I should have said the land of cead mile Failte or land of 100 1000 welcomes. I am taking about the other side of the picture postcard stereotype image of Ireland

    3. You're quite right. That is because not too many of those people are very familiar with the early achievements of Ireland's monks, teachers and others for the six hundred years and more from the 4th - 10th centuries. That was a long illustrious period in Ireland's history and since the Irish were always great travellers, their civilising and educative influence was felt worldwide,particularly on the continent of Europe. (Many of the schools and monasteries which they opened still survive)
      So yes, I agree with you. I doubt if many of today's young people would feel comfortable to compare themselves with that or would be too familiar with the period in question. A pity really..

    4. @14.46 Hear hear!!

  5. Fear and anger are common to all of us. If a child is beaten and humiliated by nuns or clergy day in day out, the brain will be trained for life to respond with fear and anger every time they see a nun, priest or church. The survivors live with this for the rest of their lives. The neural pathway has been made and constantly reinforced. They have no other choice.

  6. Pat + Blessings to you at this Eastertime thank you for your blog yesterday on Easter it really touched me.

  7. Bishop Pat the one of truth, if we are now only 6 weeks away from ordinations of these two men, something needs to be done. We need an answer on the following:

    1. Is Bishop Martin mentally ill
    2. Is he comprisemised in some way by Mr Michael Byrne
    3. If the above are true, the child cannot be ordained and the bishop needs to leave his sea
    4. If Mr Michael Byrne is innocent , his diocese legal team needs to correct the record prior to his ordination and issue legal proceedings against the media and key individuals

    What is going on here totally shocks me, information is known about this person and his diocese is ordaining him in 6 weeks - if he is innocent his diocese would be clearing his name ? surely ???

    I want a statement from the diocese of Dublin to explain where was his for easter?

    1. This is very worrying for the future of the Irish Church. Will Hugh be attending the ordinations , he was away for a year ? it is customary for the president to attend ?

    2. Its clear Archbishop is involved somehow with this. If not sexually then monetary ?

    3. Church solution: head, sand, bury...

  8. It seems to me that the Irish public have given up on the church and anything that is connected with this. In the past there would have been pressure put on bishops, it seems that they can do what they like now. Even last week, report on safeguarding issued on 3 orders, each still now safeguarding correctly. why have the state now closed them down then , why are they still allowed around children? it seems to me we are in a HAZE , car crash heading for the wall.

  9. @14.36.

    The meaning of your last sentence is very unclear. Could you clarify for us?

    1. Easter is the most important masses of the churches year - a deacon who will be ordained in 6 weeks - where was Deacon Byrne for Easter >? missing in action

    2. I see... Thanks.

  10. Someone mentioned Galway diocese yesterday, Fr Alan Burke and Fr Frankie Lee

    What is the story there?

    Alan Burke was the main man in the cathedral and around Dr Drennan since ordination. There are a number of interesting pieces here, Fr Burke resigned from the diocese the evening before Dr Drennan resigned as Bishop of Galway , what is the connection. Also I have heard Fr Burke a native of the clonfert diocese was not accepted at selection for clonfert - why was this? he then moved to Galway but after only a few years left here. What has Fr Connor Cunningham got to do with all this? Pat a good blog about Galway/ West would be required I feel.

  11. Comment at 14:05, alleges the Dublin deacon has been in a "sex clinic" in Maryland! And, it would seem, DM is intent still upon ordaining this deacon.

    Many priests, who presented with very problematic sexual problems, spent time in these USA sex clinics. Were any of them really "cured"? Many of them went on to do more and worse.

    There are many bishops who wish they could turn back the clock when it comes to the ordination of certain men who went on to cause havoc. Yet, Diarmuid is determined to ordain "Gorgeous". Incredible, eh?

    You know, it could be something as simple as sheer stubborn bloody-mindedness, on Diarmuid's part, that he is intent upon this course, along the lines of "I'm damned if I'm going to allow Pat Buckley to have the satisfaction of being right ....", "I'm not giving Buckley the satisfaction of thinking he can dictate what I do or don't do".

    Because, if the deacon is guilty of what he is accused of, then ordaining him a priest - sex clinic or no sex clinic - is an act of sheer and utter madness.

    In any case, DM is in Rome as we speak to ordain 3 deacons (two for Dublin, one for Clogher) in the Redemptorist Church, Via Merulana, in the morning at 10:30am (local time). Will "Gorgeous" be there?

    Given that DM is in Rome, I suggest the Church authorities lure him to a meeting with Cardinal Parolin. Tell him the Pope has him in mind for a big curial job and it carries a red hat. When DM arrives at the office, jab him in the arse with a tranquilliser, have the men in the white coats there with a strait-jacket and cart him off to a secure unit!

    Then appoint a new archbishop of Dublin and laicise "Gorgeous". Simples.

  12. Judging by the post above, somebody needs a visit from the afore mentioned "white coats! (But I'm not sure it's DM...)

    1. LOL - I think you've nailed it, 18:16. "I wouldn't give him the satisfaction!" - Des Bishop is very good on this:

    2. Anon at 18:27, You are talking through your hole.

  13. @18.41..
    The reply above is proof that we're not wrong. Perfect timing!

    1. @18:59, you've lost us.

  14. I never heard such rubbish........Gorgeous was never in a sex addiction clinic. He is still in Rome. He is not being ordained to the priesthood this year.......Puck is not being ordained either. And finally....... why is Pat Buckley so interested in the Roman Catholic Church? The truth is that Pat Buckley is so attracted to Gorgeous that he just can't leave him alone.