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Victim Angry as Book on Sex Abuse Launched

Irish Examiner, 7 July 1999 by Evelyn Ring

GERRY Kelly is a victim of child abuse and a very angry man.

He was put into care through the courts when he was just eight months old.

He still has the court order that sealed his fate. As an infant he had been treated like a criminal because his parents were unable to look after him.

He spent the first eight years of his life in a home in Kilkenny, run by the Sisters of Charity. He got love and affection there. “When we were hungry we got bread and milk,” he recalled.

In 1966 the then Bishop of Ossary, Bishop Peter Birch, decided to close down the orphanage because of a demand at the time for residential care for handicapped children.

Gerard was one of 60 orphans transferred to what he described as a hell hole in Dublin the Industrial School in Artane.
“I spent three years in Artane and three years of hell,” Mr Kelly declared when attended the launch in Dublin yesterday of a book on child sexual abuse by the National Conference of Priests in Ireland.

He was nine years old when he went to Artane. He was beaten black and blue by every one of the Christian Brothers there.

During his second year in Artane he was sexually abused. The sexual abuse took place over a six year period.
“I was dragged out of my bed at night time and brought into a room off the main dormitory. There was a crucifix over the brother’s bed and he said to me: ‘I’m doing this in the name of God.’” He was then 10 years of age.

When he went to Mass one morning the brother was sitting behind him. The brother threatened him with more sexual abuse and he fainted. He was brought to the school’s infirmary where he recovered.

He had his medical records that stated that a doctor saw him after he fainted. He never saw a doctor in Artane because he was beaten black and blue.

His godparents lived in Dublin and went to visit him and were told he was suffering from TB. “I hadn’t got TB. I was beaten black and blue and could not even lie on my bed with the beatings I got,” he said.

He left Artane in 1969. The first nun in the history of the State to be convicted of raping a child taught him at school. “She battered me around the place and told me I was no good.”

He told the reverend mother in 1974 about his beatings in Artane but he was not believed. “You don’t make up those things. I know it I went through the system.”

But when he left in 1975 the reverend mother did him a great favour. She gave him his files. “She told me: ‘Some day in the future you might need this.’” In 1979 all the official records were burned in a fire.

Mr Kelly said he was angry with the system. He had told his story three and a half years ago. He had to drive 50 miles from his home to get counselling. “It is not good enough,” he said. “I met a man two weeks ago in Kilkenny who was abused by the Christian Brothers. He committed suicide. Society don’t care. There is no point telling me they care because they don’t care.”

He wanted the priests attending the launch of the book to tell their superiors “to get off their high horse” and live in the real world. He had sought a meeting with the head of the Christian Brothers but had been fobbed off. But would not be fobbed off anymore.

Last month, he had a three hour meeting with Bishop William Lee of Waterford and Lismore.

He described the bishop as a lovely man who had said Mr Kelly was welcome in his house anytime. “It is a start but something has to be done. I have gone three and a half years on this and I am not going back.

“I want justice and to protect other children from abuse. I have a nine year old son and I would do life for him in the morning if I found anyone ever touched him.”