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(1) Pierce Brosnan and the Christian Brothers

Added to on February 24, 2008

[ This is another case where a "celebrity" tells lies about the Catholic Church - once again the Christian Brothers even though Pierce Brosnan never attended a school run by the Christian Brothers! I don't think Brosnan himself has ever explained the discrepancy but it has been suggested that he meant the De La Salle Brothers.

Let's leave the religious orders out of it for a minute. Suppose that Pierce Brosnan had claimed that, while at school, he had been physically abused by pervert teacher Paddy Smith. It is pointed out to him that Mr. Paddy Smith never taught at his school. He replies: "Oh I meant pervert teacher Paddy Jones". What sort of credibility would attach to that allegation?

Reckless and/or lying allegations by "celebrities" have affected all school teachers (and indeed all authority figures). Everyone has to take special precautions against false accusers and this has devastated relationships between adults and children in this country.

Rory Connor
24 February 2008 ]

(A) Angry Brothers Reject Brosnan's Story of Cruelty
by John Walshe, Irish Independent, 12 June 2006

Irish film star Pierce Brosnan has angered the Christian Brothers over claims of cruelty by them during his time in school.

The comments were reported in 'The Times' [UK], which devoted a full page on Saturday to the decision by the Brothers to end their direct involvement in primary and secondary schools in Ireland.

The decision was first reported in the Irish Independent on Friday and the coverage in 'The Times' was largely negative.

It carried two articles, the second of which used comments attributed to the film star and other personalities.

'The Times' quoted a recent interview in which Brosnan remembered his "unhappy days" as a pupil under the Brothers before moving with his family to London.

"You'd stand there saying the 'Our Father' and some little boy would come in late, and just because he was late, you could see the veins pop out of (the Brother's) skull and you'd see the kid's head crack against the door. You'd see him being kicked.

"You'd see a little boy up at the blackboard trying to get the sums right and he couldn't, and he would be intimidated.

And he would be whacked, 'Get the sum right!' - Whack! 'Get the sum right!' Whack! Until the s**t ran down his legs.

"But the Brothers in both Ireland and England have expressed anger and dismay at the claims.

They said they never had a school in Navan, Co Meath, the hometown of Mr Brosnan.

"All allegations made by him concerning the Christian Brothers are without foundation," said a statement. It added that news of the Brothers establishing a new educational Trust for their schools provided the most recent context for reporting on blatantly false accusations against their members.

"The inaccurate information referred to concerning Mr Brosnan has been offered in biographical details in other contexts and in many places on the web," said a statement.

The Brothers have requested 'The Times' to acknowledge the inaccuracy and to publish an apology.

It is understood that there is also anger of very strong remarks made by Labour TD Emmet Stagg who called the Brothers "the greatest shower of savages and sadistic bastards I've met".

Many of the other comments former pupils are much more positive.

(B) Shaken and Stirred Maybe, But Not by CBS
by John Walshe, Irish Independent,13 June 2006

IT'S an international mystery that super spy 007 should be able to solve - why have so many sites on the world wide web got it wrong about where Pierce Brosnan went to school.

Either the James Bond star has a poor memory or he has been misquoted time and time again.

He has been widely quoted in different articles and websites talking about being frightened by the "dreadful" Christian Brothers whom he accused of cruelty.

But it was confirmed yesterday that he had never attended a Christian Brothers school in Navan where he lived, nor in England where he moved when he was 11 years old.

The Christian Brothers never had a school in Navan - it was run by the De la Salle Brothers.

However, the error is listed in hundreds of websites. It was repeated in an article in the 'London Times' on Saturday.

Mr Brosnan was unavailable for contact last night to explain the error - he is thought to be in Canada.

The official director of communications for the Christian Brothers, Bro Edmund Garvey in a letter to 'The Times' said that "Pierce Brosnan was never a pupil of one of our schools, in Ireland or anywhere else."

"The Christian Brothers referred to in the article never had a school in Mr Brosnan's hometown."

Meanwhile parents' groups have reacted strongly to comments made by Labour TD Emmet Stagg who described the Brothers as "the greatest shower of savages and sadistic bastards I've met".

The president of the National Parents Council (post-primary) Jim Jackman said "I feel Emmet Stagg's comments are over the top. Maybe he is coming from a personal place. There is no doubt but that being educated in the sixties and seventies was far from a picnic. I didn't enjoy the experience myself, but the majority of the brothers that taught me were "decent individuals".

Comment: Pierce Brosnan's behaviour has much in commom with that of Amanda Brunker [1] and Brian McFadden [2] in relation to Bishop Comiskey and the Christian Brothers respectively. Unlike them he cannot be described as a Z-list celebrity who was just looking for publicity. It's probable that he has real issues in his private life and is looking for someone to blame. The fact that he attacked the "wrong" people - and then failed to apologise - indicates that he is not dealing with his problems, whatever they are. He blamed the Christian Brothers because they are the main male religious order that is being savaged by the media!

[1] See "Cathal O'Searcaigh and His Critics" on on 14 February 2008

[2] See "Brian McFadden and the Christian Brothers" on on 20 February 2008


(2) Brian McFadden and the Christian Brothers

Added to on February 22, 2008

[ Like Amanda Brunker **, Brian McFadden is a Z-list celebrity who tries to raise his profile by making false sex allegations against the Catholic Church. The false allegations witch-hunt has long since broadened its focus from the Church to society at large. Nowadays if you fall out with a neighbour you are likely to be accused of abusing the neighbour's child. (I know of a few cases of this type). However at least you need to QUARREL with your neighbour before this happens. McFadden and Brunker have plunged deeper into the cess-pit. They tell lies about innocent people for the sole purpose of getting media attention!

Many people will think: "I'm not well known so this couldn't happen to me." Actually if someone accuses you of assaulting a child, you'll become famous soon enough - and your accusers also, which is what they want!! ANYBODY can become a target of this kind of allegation.

Rory Connor
20 February 2008 ]

** See "Cathal O'Searcaigh and His Critics" on on 14 February 2008

(A) CBS Order Probe into McFadden's 'Beatings'
Sunday Independent, 31 October 2004 by Lara Bradley

THE Christian Brothers are to launch an investigation into pop singer Brian McFadden's claims in a new song Irish Son which suggested he was "warped" and beaten while at school.

Critics have dismissed as ridiculous McFadden's new single in which he recalls a grim childhood of beatings and oppressive Catholic dogma.

The 24-year-old singer was just a toddler when corporal punishment was abolished in schools in 1982 - yet his song focuses on alleged physical abuses at the hands of the Christian Brothers.

Last night a spokesman for the religious order told the Sunday Independent: "We were going to let it go but he came out in a very self-piteous way and we thought 'okay, we're going to check you out'.

"We are specifically interested in the facts about his direct contact with Christian Brothers. We are going to find out how many he had actual contact with in primary school and in the secondary school which he attended for just one year.

"It is our belief the number was infinitesimally low and the vast majority of his contact was with lay teachers."

The singer has been accused by others of "jumping on a bandwagon of pain" after suggesting he was abused by the much-maligned order during his school years in Artane, Dublin.

In the single, due for release later this month, McFadden says: "We were warped by the Christian Brothers in the cellblocks at our schools, get a handprint on your skin before you break their rules . . . Go on, hit me now that I'm twice your size, we brushed off the accusations and bowed before your lies."

McFadden has admitted blowing nearly all the ?6m he earned with Westlife on gambling and wild living. On Friday, he blamed the media for his woes - and then revealed the most intimate details of his marriage to Kerry Katona on RTE's Late Late Show.

McFadden's publicist Max Clifford insisted the 24-year-old stood over the controversial lyrics. Mr Clifford said: "What he's written about is his own experience and is something he feels very strongly about. His memories of the Christian Brothers are not happy or positive, quite the opposite, in fact."

McFadden was educated at Ardlea Road Pre-School and St David's National School in Artane. He then spent just a year at St David's CBS before moving to Rosmini secondary community college.

McFadden has previously spoken about child bullies who tormented him for being a fat schoolboy, and commentators say this may the real reason that he was unhappy at school.

Author Greg Daly said he believes that Brian is "just belatedly jumping onto a cool bandwagon of pain . . . It just seems a shame he should have opted to cash in on the sufferings of previous generations rather than talk about what his real problems were."

(B) School Fury Over Beatings 'Slur' Forces Video Recall
Irish Independent, 23 November 2004, by John Unger

A ROW over Brian McFadden's latest single took a new turn yesterday when the former Westlife singer's record company withdrew the song's promotional video.

The lyrics of the song, 'Irish Son', refer to Brian being beaten at school and the video featured St Fintan's High School in Sutton, Co Dublin.

But the former Westlife star did not attend St Fintan's and its angry headmaster secured the withdrawal after complaining to McFadden's record company, Sony BMG.

The song had already caused controversy because of its claims that Brian was beaten at school by Christian Brothers.

Corporal punishment was banned in schools in 1982 - some years before 24-year-old McFadden entered any educational establishment.

This led to accusations from the Christian Brothers that the singer was a naughty boy who might indeed deserve six of the best for his poor understanding of history.

Yesterday, Sony BMG confirmed it had to pull the promotional shoot after St Fintan's complained that McFadden had attended another school.

Richard Fogarty, headmaster of St Fintan's High School, claimed the school was clearly identified in the video even though McFadden was never a pupil there.

Solicitors acting on behalf of the school contacted Sony BMG to have the video pulled from television screens and the record company agreed to the move.

Mr Fogarty claimed the video suggested McFadden attended the school and was abused by teachers. "'Irish Son' suggests that he attended our school as a boy, and that he was regularly beaten and kept in 'cell block' conditions at the school, so much so that his mind was warped," a statement by Mr Fogarty said.

"The school has always treated its pupils with respect."

Sony BMG has sent replacement videos to television stations. The record label claimed it understood the school name was fictitious until it received the objection.

Sony BMG also said the reference to the school was unintentional and coincidental.
Max Clifford, the singer's publicist, said McFadden had discussed allegations of abuse with him.

"I can only tell you this is what Brian experienced. I have talked to Brian on the subject and this is something that he has very vivid memories of," Mr Clifford said.

"Hence his words and descriptions of what happened to him. He's talking about what the Christian Brothers did to him. The message that I would have thought is important is about the Christian Brothers."

(C) Shame on Brian
Letter to Irish Independent, 26 November 2004

It's an absolute disgrace that Brian McFadden has so callously used the misfortunes suffered by others to sell his records. Corporal punishment was outlawed in Irish schools in the mid-1970s; Mr McFadden wasn't even a twinkle in his Mammy's eye at that stage.

To suggest that he never knew there was a school called St Fintan's is ludicrous. Are there no researchers employed by Sony? All that was needed was a quick look in a phone book (under St and F for future reference). It's appalling that Mr McFadden was willing to imply that he was abused by Christian Brothers in order to make a few euro; this belittles the real humiliation and abuses suffered by children in some industrial schools in Ireland.

In my opinion, his album should be pulled, along with the video, and at the very least he should donate any monies gained by him through the CD sales of this song to an appropriate children's charity.

Nell Marrinan, Kiltalown Heights, Dublin 24

(D) McFadden and the Brothers
Letter to Irish Times, 1st December, 2004

In his recent single and in various media interviews, Mr Brian McFadden, formerly of the group Westlife, has said he was physically assaulted by a member of the Christian Brothers order, while a pupil at one of its schools.

Let us apply logic to this claim. Mr McFadden is not yet 25 years old; so this alleged assault is relatively recent. He obviously knows the school he attended and must know who assaulted him. If this alleged event happened in the past ten years, we could presume that the teacher in question is still alive and that any of Mr McFadden's fellow past pupils who may have been present could verify Mr McFadden's claim.

To rescue his credibility, Mr McFadden must now either follow through the claim or make peace with his alleged assailant and his former school. Unless he does more than simply sing about his experience, the merits of his claim my be judged by his inaction.

Yet the school, his former teachers, the Christian Brothers and all who owe their success in life to their launching hand will be done an injustice.

Yours, etc.,

Ken Fennelly,
College Green, Maynooth,
Co Kildare.