Between 1992 and 1999 I had some occassional correspondence with the late Dr Conor Cruise O'Brien (1917-2008). I had always admired his opposition to the IRA and also his support for Israel. However I did not agree with his attitude towards the Catholic Church and in particular an article he wrote for the Irish Independent on 15 May 1999 in which he lent his support to the claim that children had been murdered in industrial schools run by Irish religious. (Mary Raftery's three-part "States of Fear" series was broadcast by RTE in April/May of that year and was undoubtedly the inspiration for his article.) I considered that allegation was a Blood Libel in line with similar libels against Jews. The corrrespondence ended on a very unfriendly note!
I have lodged the correspondence in the National Archives of Ireland. At present even critics of the Cruiser tend to share his anti-clericalism so I don't expect it to have any impact in the near future. In the long term I hope it will lead to a certain re-assessment of his behaviour - especially as our anti-clerical intellectuals are becoming increasingly anti-Semitic as well.
Amended 26 September 2011