We're Talking about Murder ..We Want to See All These Graves Dug Up; EX-PUPILS CLAIM CHILDREN KILLED BY CHRISTIAN BROTHERS.
The Mirror (UK), 14 November 1998, by Leslie Neil
THE UNMARKED graves of thousands of children who died in the care of the Christian Brothers must be dug up to solve the mystery of their deaths, campaigners claimed last night.
The call was made as a major Garda investigation got under way into a regime of ritual sexual and physical abuse at the order's "flagship" industrial school in Artane, Dublin.
A special detective unit has already taken 60 complaints from former pupils of the infamous school, The Irish Mirror has learned.
But now the Christian Brothers are facing claims that they have covered up the deaths of thousands of children who died while attending their industrial schools.
Their bodies lie in unmarked graves around the country, including one at Artane and another close to Letterfrack, Co Galway.
Officially, the forgotten orphans were killed by whatever disease was prevalent at the time.
But many were buried without any inquests being carried out, according to the Adopted and Fostered People's Association (AFPA).
Spokeswoman Bernadette Joyce last night accused both the government and the Brothers of a cover-up.
The AFPA has heard first-hand accounts from survivors of the brutal regimes in which children were beaten and never seen again.
"We are talking about somebody, somewhere getting away with murder," Mrs Joyce claimed.
"I cannot emphasise that enough. It was murder. We don't know how many there are because the records are being covered up.
"They claim they have been destroyed but we do not believe that. The state must go through all these records now.
"We want to see all those unmarked graves dug up and a proper inquest carried out on each child that died.
"That would be one way of determining if there were broken bones and we would know then that these children died from abuse."
The call for the unearthing of unmarked graves near the 62 former industrial schools is a new blow to the Christian Brothers.
Earlier this year, the order issued a historic apology to an estimated 50,000 victims of psychological, sexual and physical abuse.
But that move only resulted in angering victims into lifting the lid on their years of hell at the hands of the sadistic regimes.
Many who were furious at the "too little, too late" apology contacted the Gardai immediately to file complaints.
Those calls have now led to the setting up of a dedicated team of detectives at Clontarf in Dublin to finally draw back the sordid veil of secrecy which has surrounded the brutes who preyed on children at one of the order's biggest schools.
Already the unit has heard from 60 people who claim they were abused at the institution.
UP to 20 former Brothers have been reported to the detectives, and The Irish Mirror has learned that two men in their 70s have been accused by several callers.
One man who bravely spoke of his abuse hell in Artane during the 1950s told last night how the investigation is set to end years of pain.
Dubliner Andrew Baker said: "I'm so happy to think that soon I may be able to face these men across a courtroom and tell them what they did to me.
"They put me through hell in Artane and in Letterfrack and I've never really got over it."
He added: "Now at last I'll be able to bury those memories by making my statement to the Gardai." Andrew, 54, was sent into the care of the Brothers because he played truant from school.
He was taken from a loving home in Dublin and plunged into the brutal regime of the industrial schools when he was just nine.
Once in the care of the Brothers, he claims he was sexually abused.
Last April, father-of-three Andrew broke a 40-year silence to tell The Irish Mirror of his ordeal.
"The Christian Brothers were monsters, they stole my childhood," he said. "I spent five years with them and I am still dealing with it 40 years later. Their so-called apology meant nothing to me. It just stirred up feelings of hatred and anger.
"What I want is someone to be accountable. Why don't they take responsibility for what happened to me and countless others?"
Andrew, who now lives in London, is backing the call for the graves of the dead to be exhumed to determine if thousands of forgotten youngsters died directly from the abuse they suffered in the schools.
"We were only boys and they beat us like men," he recalled. "I know of cases where boys just disappeared.
"We always suspected that something was up but we were never told what happened. If we were told, it was always that they had died of TB or whooping cough.
"I was leathered so hard over the head that it split me right open. It also split the leather and these coins that were stitched inside fell out on the floor.
THAT was just one example and that was commonplace. Everyone suffered from that except the Brothers' pets.
"They got special attention. They were always young and cherubic looking and were orphans with no family. I wasn't an orphan. You thanked God you weren't an orphan."
Many of the "disappeared" children were orphans.
Bernadette Joyce said bringing orphans to the schools was a "money racket".
"These children were taken from good foster homes when there was no need so the Brothers could seek money to keep the schools open."
She added: "They needed a constant stream of children to justify being there.
"Once children were in, the brothers tried to destroy any links they had to their past.
"We are helping up to 100 people who have come to us to try and find out who they are. Their identities have been stolen.
"This is really something that the state must take on itself. We have to give these people back their identities. Many of them have brothers and sisters who they don't know and are desperate to find."
The AFPA has called on the government to help take on the task and fund the work of tracing people's identities.
Last night, it launched a campaign to have the graves of the disappeared re-opened as the investigation into Artane gathers pace. The nine-man investigation team has already questioned two retired brothers and forwarded one file to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
They initially asked for complaints from 1952 to 1968, but now their inquiries are thought to be going back to the 1930s.
Mirror Comment: Truth Cannot Remain Buried.
The Mirror, 14 November 1998
A HIDDEN scandal of horrific proportions is on the verge of being uncovered.
The fate of thousands of orphans buried in lonely unmarked graves must be settled once and for all.
There are too many suspicions about what may have happened to the tiny inmates of Christian Brothers' schools for them to be allowed to be forgotten.
Years of silence will have to be swept away if the truth is to be forced into the open.
There is no greater campaign driving force than the power of the people.
The Adopted and Fostered People's Association has plunged into the fray with a campaign operating on a shoestring and a thirst for truth.
The media can play its part, but it's the people out there that make things happen.
Between the two, the cover ups and conspiracies of silence can be stripped away.
If ever there was a need for a concentrated effort it is now when the secrets of those dreadful places need to be stripped away.
It's painful to disturb those tiny bodies who died in unmourned mystery.
But the little victims are crying out for justice.