Sunday, 16 July, 2006 9:38 PM
From: Rory Connor
To: "Professor Vincent Comerford", "Ronan Fanning", "Dr. Diarmaid Ferriter", "Dr. Colum Kenny", "Daire Keogh", "Dermot Keogh", "Dr. Eoin O'Sullivan", "Professor Irene Whelan", "Editor History Ireland", "John Horgan"
Cc: "Mary Raftery" "Vincent Browne"
Ladies, Gentlemen and Scholars
The current issue of Village Magazine (13 July) contains a long and thuggish attack by Mary Raftery on Sister Stanislaus Kennedy and Sister Conception. I hope that the following articles concerning Sister Stanislaus will help to show the other side of the story and that in particular they will indicate how much credibility should be accorded to Mary Raftery.
The articles were attached to my letter to the editor of the Irish Times dated 17 April 2005. They have also appeared in whole or in part on www.alliancesupport.org and www.voicesemerge.org (formerly www.voicesemerge.com).
My correspondence with the Irish Times can be summed up in the sentence with which I ended: "Every word [Mary Raftery] writes is a lie including 'and' and 'the' ".
11 Lohunda Grove
16 July 2006
Irish Times 22 December 1999 - SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN
Sir - In relation to the recent controversy regarding whether or not Sister Stan knew about sexual abuse in Kilkenny in the late 1970s I would like to put the record straight.
I was the childcare worker referred to in the States of Fear programme and in the book Suffer the Little Children, who resigned from St. Joseph's Kilkenny in 1977.
I did not tell Sr Stan at any stage that children were being sexually abused in St. Joseph's because I myself was unaware that sexual abuse was occurring.
It was in 1995/1996 that I got my first inkling that children had been sexually abused in 1977, almost 20 years after it is alleged that I told Sr Stan.
It is my belief today, as it was then, that Sister Stan did everything she could in 1977 regarding the children in St. Joseph's.
On several occasions Mary Raftery has claimed that Sister Stanislaus failed to take action on a complaint of sexual abuse made to her concerning St. Joseph's, Kilkenny in the 1970s. When faced with the evidence of Edward Murphy, Mary Raftery said that her claim is based on a statement made by Sister Stanislaus to the Garda in 1995. Sister Stan has repeatedly explained that, in her statement she was she was speaking about sexual abuse with the wisdom of hindsight, but that she had so such suspicions at the time. Mary Raftery appears to believe that Sister Stan told the truth in her statement to the Gardai but subsequently told lies about it. Does she believe that social worker Edward Murphy is also lying? Or maybe she think that he did not know about sexual abuse in 1977 but Sister Stan did?
In the case of Raymond Noctor -v.-The Attorney General and Others, the President of the High Court accepted that the nuns did not know about sexual abuse in the 1970s. Raymond Noctor claimed that he told Sister Conception about sexual abuse at a meeting which was also attended by Bishop Birch and by two Garda Sergeants who were working in a voluntary capacity in St. Josephs. The judge did not accept that such a meeting took place. Among other things, he pointed out that in 1995 one of these Sergeants took the initial statement from Raymond Proctor in relation to sexual abuse and this statement makes no reference to the alleged meeting 20 years before.
The judgement of Justice Finnegan is dated 1st March 2005. Two days later Mary Raftery repeated her allegations against Sister Stanislaus and Sister Conception. She did not take issue with the judgement of Justice Finnegan. She simply ignored it!
Does Mary Raftery believe that Sergeant Tuohy and Sergeant Geraghty were also lying when they denied that the meeting had taken place? She does not say this in her article. Is she afraid of a libel suit or could it be that her hatred is directly SOLELY against the Catholic Church?
".While the publication of the Kennedy Report was greeted with considerable publicity and wide approval, it was clear that neither the State nor the Catholic Church shared that enthusiasm for change....... A year after the report had been published, one of the civil servants on the Kennedy Committee was to receive the full brunt of criticism from the Catholic Church. At the Church's major seminar on child care in Killarney in 1971, he was called into a room and held to account by the Bishop of Kerry, Eamon Casey, and by Sister Stanislaus Kennedy, even at that stage a major force in the history of child care. They wanted to know how it was that the Department of Education could have presided over a report which gave the religious orders so little credit for their great work on behalf of children for so many decades"
Mary Raftery gives the source of the above account as an article by Fintan O'Toole "Not Asking Questions Cold Again Fail Children" Irish Times 21/5/99. When journalist Breda O'Brien questioned this story she came under attack by Fintan O'Toole. The following is an extract from Breda O'Brien's response in the Irish Times on 10 January 2000. Her article is entitled "A Search for the Truth Does Not Question Reality of Child Abuse".
"On December 10th, 1999, Fintan O'Toole declares that "Breda O'Brien, a sincere and committed journalist, has made extravagant claims about her own alleged ability to uncover flawed research in SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN.." (One shudders to think what an insincere and uncommitted journalist might be capable of)..........................
O'Toole claims that in the 1970s, Sister Stan, along with Bishop Casey, in a private room berated the two civil servants from the Department of Justice and Education who sat on the Kennedy Committee. O'Toole claims sources who say that this incident happened.
My sources who say it did not happen are; Sister Stan: Risteard MacConcradha, the representative of the Department of Justice; Antoin O'Gormain, the representative of the Department of Education; and Richard O'Donovan, of the Department of Education, secretary to the Kennedy Committee. Who are O'Toole's "sources"? Bishop Casey perhaps?"
This is not the worst of the thuggish attacks directed at Sister Stanislaus Kennedy. However it has its own significance. Suppose someone claims that 30 YEARS AGO a child told you that he was being sexually abused and that you did nothing about it. How do you refute that accusation? You cannot prove a negative. However suppose that your accusers make ANOTHER allegation against you which is blatantly false and you have witnesses to prove it! Obviously this says a great deal about your accusers' credibility.
Sister Stanislaus was subjected to prolonged and thuggish abuse because of the allegations made against her in STATES OF FEAR and in SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN. Mary Raftery and Fintan O'Toole owe her a very big apology. Instead Mary Raftery repeats the falsehood.
11 Lohunda Grove