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Paedophile Ring 'Abused Children in State Homes'

Added to on 31 May 2009

Members of Gardai, Clergy and Civil Service infiltrated childcare system

Sunday Independent May 31 2009 by Jim Cusack

A well-organised paedophile ring involving civil servants, ex-clergy, members of political parties and even gardai infiltrated the child-care system in Ireland.

Now campaigners believe that there were links between the Dublin-based ring and members of a well-organised paedophile ring which infiltrated the child-care system in north Wales, and which was finally exposed and broken up in the mid-1990s.

While the Catholic Church has been vilified in the Ryan Report there are now calls for an inquiry into the role of non-clerical abusers in state-run institutions

The Government has been taking a more severe legal attitude to victims of abuse in State-run schools and other institutions than the Catholic Church has to victims of clerical abuse, they say. The Department of Education has "taken on" one such victim, Louise O'Keeffe, who was raped by the headmaster of her school in west Cork when she was eight years old in 1973. Although former primary school headmaster Leo Hickey was convicted of multiple rape and abuse of children, Ms O'Keeffe was left with a legal bill of €500,000 after the State successfully fought her claim for compensation.

Hundreds of victims of rape and abuse by non-clerical teachers or care workers in the State's employ have received letters from the Dept of Education threatening that their cases will be fought.

Ms O'Keeffe, the High Court heard, suffered "catastrophic injuries" at the hands of the paedophile rapist Hickey -- who nevertheless continues to be paid his State pension of €26,000 a year.

Among the figures identified but never exposed because of insufficient evidence is a retired senior civil servant who would have the power to suppress indictments and reports on sex offenders.

Another is a retired former senior garda in Dublin who had well-known links to senior clergy and who was accused of raping a 13-year-old boy. The garda was transferred from a city station after the allegation but was never questioned or charged.

And at least one senior care worker remained in public employ until the mid-1990s, despite repeated claims by boys that he was an abuser and brought paedophiles from Britain and Northern Ireland to care homes to abuse boys.

Many boys who passed through the state-run homes later became teenage prostitutes. Several have made allegations about a ring of apparently rich and well-connected paedophiles with access to the homes in the 1980s.

In an ironic twist, an Irish woman who has been raising the issue of abuse of children in State-run institutions in Dublin, Loretta Byrne, was effectively forced from her job in the Department of Education in 1988 after she persisted in seeking action about allegations of abuse of boys in care.

Among the boys who claimed to have been raped in the late 1980s was Brendan O'Donnell, who went on to murder Imelda Riney, her three-year-old son Liam, and Fr Joe Walsh in 1994.

One home where Loretta Byrne says there was strong evidence of abuse was Trudder House in Wicklow, which was opened and run directly by the State in the 1970s specifically for Traveller children.

One of the first directors of Trudder House in Newtownmountkennedy was Duncan McInnes from Scotland, who raped and abused dozens of children in the home. He fled the country after complaints were made in 1981. He later died in Canada.

Paedophile David Murray was forced to leave the Sisters of Charity in Kilkenny in the mid-1970s after a boy said Murray had raped him. Rather than report this to the gardai, the Sisters helped Murray find a new job at Scoil Ard Mhuire at Oberstown, Co Dublin, where he worked for several years. Murray is believed to have had links with Welsh paedophiles who travelled between here and north Wales and even found jobs for some in State care homes here. He was eventually convicted of buggery and gross indecency and sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment in 1997.

By the time he was arrested and questioned in the mid-1990s, Murray had raped and abused boys in a succession of homes here and, it is believed, Wales and possibly Northern Ireland. Details of all this were excluded from the report which concentrated almost exclusively on the abuses in Church-run institutions.

Ms Byrne said: "The Government has been aware of the abuse that went on in state institutions for a very long time. [Judge] Mary Laffoy resigned because the Department of Education would not give her papers. They must release these papers if the victims in these places are to get the kind of closure that the clerical abuse victims have had in the redress process."


'Why were the vast majority of the citizens of this state prepared to allow the Catholic Church to work as a huge paedophile ring?'

Irish Independent May 22 2009 by Ian O'Doherty

So, here's the deal. It's the 1970s. You lie awake at night, afraid to go to sleep in case they come and get you.

Not the bogey man, because you'd like to believe you're too old for such things (although that doesn't stop you staring at that strange shadow on the ceiling and fervently wishing it would go away) but rather the people from the Madonna House.

They come at night, you're told, and take away bold boys and bring them to the orphanage where they don't treat bold boys very well...

So, here's the deal. It's the 1980s. Your coach warns you and your team mates not to allow yourself to be left alone in the dressing room with a particular member of staff. Why? "You don't want to find out" is the not very enigmatic answer before the conversation is quickly changed ...

As Ireland and, indeed Britain, Europe and America reads some of the details of the Ryan Report and tries its best not to vomit with disgust, we should ask ourselves this question -- why were the vast majority of the citizens of this state prepared to allow the Catholic Church to work as a huge paedophile ring? Were people so cowed by their fear of a belt of the crozier that they were prepared to allow our children become beaten, battered catamites?

There are times when we all feel proud to be Irish. This happened perhaps most recently when England received such a warm reception in Croke Park, proving to the world, but most importantly to ourselves, that we had indeed grown up, even if only ever so slightly.

But the converse to that is that there are times when it is appropriate to feel a collective sense of shame; a feeling of gross and nauseating self-loathing.

Because the Ryan Report only articulates in gruesome, graphic detail what we all knew -- these bastards were allowed to get away with what they did because nobody, or at least not enough people, stepped in to call a halt.

Forget about the sickening, mealy mouthed apologies from politicians, forget about the deranged, defensive rantings of Catholic fundamentalists -- most of whom seem to spend their time banging off angry, paranoid screeds to journalists claiming that there was never any abuse and it's all an anti-Catholic plot -- forget about the rest of the talking heads talking rubbish.

Let's get one thing straight -- everyone knew what was going on.

And how can such a sweeping statement be made with confidence? Well, ask yourself this -- why were places like the Madonna House, Artane, Letterfrack and so many others used as an alternative to the bogey man to put manners on kids?

The fact that such dire warnings could ever be given, even though they weren't meant with malice, shows just how widespread awareness of these places was. After all, you don't threaten kids by warning them that if they don't behave you're going to bring them to the circus.

As a people, we lied to ourselves then and if we don't confront the collective responsibility we bear towards the victims then we're lying to ourselves now.

Journalism, for example, should hold its head in shame for its complicity in these crimes.

Stories of suppressed articles, veiled threats and outright censorship abound in every newsroom -- how disgraceful it is that the one industry which is meant to dedicate itself to lifting the lid on society's wrongs should effectively help to nail that lid even tighter shut.

That the Fourth Estate should be so in thrall to the Church is particularly nauseating.

For instance, when one journalist was threatened with rape by the then powerful Bishop Comiskey, she sat on that rather pertinent piece of information for more than a decade, then wrote about it when Comiskey was a disgraced, shambling alcoholic and the Church had become irrelevant. It was a classically cowardly case of too little, too late.

If that incident had been reported when it happened, it would have shaken the Church to its core. Instead, when it was published, it was just another story of clerical depravity delivered to a public which had grown weary of such revelations. We let down thousands of victims back then and we're still letting them down.

There are 800 people who are now categorically guilty of rape, violence, buggery and torture, yet not one of these degenerates has been named.

That means there are an awful lot of people who like to rape and terrorise small children. And it means they are free to walk the streets with their good name intact, while the people whose lives they have ruined stand impotently by, with the full knowledge that the State has as much contempt for them now as they did back then.

Generations of disposable, broken children have now become generations of disposable, broken adults who know that their worst childhood fears have been confirmed -- they really are, in the eyes of the Church that abused them and the system that allowed it to happen, devoid of value.

Surely, if we are to try and properly apologise and however belatedly make amends to these people who must, every day for the rest of their lives, re-live the torment they endured, then we need to start seeing prosecutions.

And we need to start making the Church hurt for what it did.

While there is undoubtedly a wider, collective burden of responsibility in our complicity to these crimes, they were carried out on Church-run premises by Church employees. And, when exposed, they were protected by the Church.

If any other organisation in the world had been guilty of such protracted and systemic abuse then heads would have rolled. A lot of them.

Instead, we can look forward to more mealy mouthed bullshit: "profound regret", "deep sadness" and all the usual meaningless, smug platitudes which pour from the mouths of senior clergy, here and in Rome, like so much sewage from a pipe.

Truly, this a time to be ashamed to be Irish.