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Defending the Christian Brothers

The Irish Times - Thursday, November 6, 2003


As one, most of whose first- and second-level education was provided by Christian Brothers, I write in their defence.

As a public servant, my father was obliged to transfer periodically from one major town or city to another. Hence, I attended five schools run by Brothers, from De la Salle Brothers initially to four Irish Christian Brothers' schools.

In none of these did I observe any pupil being subjected either to abuse or violence by teachers. Of course, there was limited corporal punishment, but was not this the norm in those days?

I believe the Brothers' ambition was for those whom they taught to succeed in life. And what success they achieved! One only has to look at the number of Christian Brothers' boys who play leading roles in the professions, business and public life in Ireland to appreciate the contribution that the Irish Christian Brothers have made to this State.

Indeed, whether they will admit it or or not, many men owe their success to the opportunity provided to them by the Christian Brothers. For my part I am proud to have been one of their protégés. Instead of vilifying them, Irish people should be forever grateful. -

Yours, etc.,

Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 
Lower Taylor's Hill,