Child abuse: The Irish victims still battling the state

John Boland was 45 years old, married with grown up children, when a “dark secret” he had kept for almost four decades was suddenly exposed.

His name had been found on a 1960s attendance register from a school where many young boys were abused on a daily basis by their teenage teacher.

John was among 19 known victims at Creagh Lane school in Limerick.

But he had told no-one of the abuse he suffered, not even his wife, until Gardaí (Irish police) contacted him out of the blue, asking for a statement.

John says his wife was “shocked” by the revelation.

“We went though a terrible time,” he says, recalling how he had to tell his family he was regularly molested between the ages of six and seven.

“It was the same method of operation that you’ve probably heard many times before,” John explains.

“You’d be called up to the front of the class for some reason or another, the teacher would put his cloak around you and start interfering with you.”

They never knew who would be chosen, and John spent a full school year hoping to “get through the day without being molested”.

John and other former Creagh Lane boys eventually took their abuser to court, where he admitted indecently assaulting 19 pupils.

Seán John Drummond, from Ballinteer in Dublin, pleaded guilty to 36 charges and was sentenced to two years in prison in 2009.

More than a decade later, John and his schoolmates are still fighting for state compensation.

Day school pupils lived at home with their families – as such they did not qualify for the same compensation offered to victims abused in residential institutions.

Ireland’s Hidden Survivors

The Irish state has already paid substantial sums to thousands of people abused as children, spending over €1.1bn (£996m) on a Residential Institutions Redress Board.

But unless you lived in the place you were abused, you could not apply.

John asks: “What difference does it make which room you were abused in?

“Yes, we went home every day to our parents, but you knew you had to face it again the following morning.”

Long-term trauma

John is now a member of a group seeking redress and they have taken their campaign to the Irish and European Parliaments.

It is not simply about money he argues – childhood abuse had a traumatic effect on many victims, with some struggling with severe mental health problems.

Two of John’s classmates died by suicide and others have attempted suicide.

John says they were “locked out” from a support service for residential abuse survivors, which included counselling and psychiatric services.

Landmark judgement

Successive Irish governments spent years defending day schools compensation claims, arguing the state was not responsible for what happened in institutions it neither owned nor managed.

Although national schools (Irish primary schools) were state-funded, they were owned by religious denominations, mainly the Catholic Church.

Several day school victims dropped state compensation claims, fearing financial ruin after government warnings it would pursue them for legal costs.

But one woman was prepared to risk it.

Louise O’Keeffe was one of 21 girls abused by Leo Hickey, former principal of Dunderrow National School in County Cork, who was jailed for indecent assault in 1998.

After his conviction, Ms O’Keeffe fought a 15-year battle to hold the state liable for the abuse she suffered when she was eight.

She lost her case at Ireland’s High Court, and the Supreme Court, and at one stage faced losing her home as legal costs reached hundreds of thousands of euros.

But she persevered, taking her case to the European Court of Human Rights.

In 2014, she won a landmark judgement which ruled the state failed in its duty to protect her from the abuse she suffered as a schoolgirl.

The O’Keeffe v Ireland ruling caused major embarrassment and prompted an apology from the then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Enda Kenny.

At the time, broadcaster RTÉ said the ruling had implications for about 350 victims.

The following year, the government launched an ex gratia (out of court) compensation scheme for victims with claims similar to Ms O’Keeffe’s, but who had already dropped legal challenges.

‘Blocking mechanisms’

However, the rules stated there had to be a “prior complaint of sexual abuse” to school authorities.

This meant many victims were immediately excluded, including the Creagh Lane boys.

The teacher who abused them was in his late teens when he began working at Creagh Lane – John Boland asks how could they have produced evidence of a prior complaint against a first-time teacher.

Their abuser confessed and was convicted, but John says even that “wasn’t good enough for the state”.

He believes the rules were “blocking mechanisms” to prevent compensation claims.

Further apology

So few claims succeeded under the scheme that a retired judge was appointed to re-assess rejected cases.

Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill criticised the prior complaint rule, concluding it was “incompatible” with the O’Keeffe judgement.

Following the publication of the ex-judge’s review in July 2019, the then Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Leo Varadkar apologised to all day schools abuse victims.

He said the government would consider the possible re-opening of the ex gratia scheme, but needed “time to get that right”.

The then leader of the opposition Micheál Martin accused the government of “cruelness” towards victims.

‘We’re living in hope’

Since then, there has been a global health emergency; a change of government and Micheál Martin is now taoiseach.

But day schools survivors are still waiting for redress.

The Irish Department of Education confirmed that to date, 16 payment offers have been made under the ex-gratia scheme, 14 of which have been accepted.

But it still has not completed a review, following criticism of its eligibility rules.

Almost seven years after her own victory, Louise O’Keeffe is “extremely frustrated and so disappointed” by the lack of progress for other victims.

“Words mean nothing,” she says, insisting government apologies must be followed by action.

“It is so, so wrong to treat people who have been sexually abused as children like this.”

John Boland is confident the new taoiseach, Mr Martin will help, given his previous support for their campaign.

“We do believe he will sort this out,” John says. “We’re living in hope.”


The RCC and its religious orders got money from the state to run these institutions.

And the state singularly failed to see that things were right in these institutions.

One of the problems was that most of the politicians were devout and obedient Catholics unable and unwilling to challenge the clergy and religious.

All these victims need full recognition and compensation from the government.

And the government and courts should force the church to contribute at least 50%

And if they don’t – then freeze their bank accounts and seize their property.


Isn’t our history of sexual abuse a horrible scar on our society? What shameful behaviour! The state and church institutions colluded together to prevent victims ever getting justice. We focus our anger on the church failures in criminal abuses and lack of accountability, and rightly so, but we must also focus our attention on the many who were abused by “lay” teachers, as I was. I lived and live with the memory. I live too with the memory of a neighbour’s abuse. Perhaps it explains some of my inner discontent and unease about my humanity and sexuality. Thankfully, therapy helped me to cope. As a priest I am very conscious of Church and State failures and recklessness towards victims of abuse. No person who was cruelly abused in any way should have to literally be on death’s door looking for justice. It is a scandal.


And what have you done about the scandal, in your diocese, and elsewhere?
Have you publicly and openly, outside your church building and services, called upon your bishop, and other bishops, to oppose this injustice to the abused? Because it is these men who have the power to end them.
Or are you too afraid of rocking your very comfortable boat as a priest? Of risking such reprisals by your bishop as being suspended from ministry, losing your income and pension, being evicted from your home, etc?
What have you done, priest?


I like your last sentence +Pat: “Freeze their accounts and seize their property .”
Regrettably I can’t see that happening, ……….yet.
But the tide is certainly turning with the younger generation not prepared to acquiesce to the stifling clutches of the RCC.
Perhaps as an interim measure, what might find support would be for the ROI government to seek to pass legislation that half of all property assets disposed of by the RCC should be forfeited to the state to compensate abuse victims. The RCC has plundered the people so it might be considered proper that it should pay up.


What a wonderful MMM. While you are at it. Since you are white and Irish, one of earths vermin species. Can I suggest that you MMM owe reparations to the children of Israel and the children of Africa, not to mention the aboriginal children of Australia and finally the children of the slaves of the world. Can we take the deeds of your home, and share it’s value among those you and your ancestors have hurt, since neither they nor you have bothered your arses to do it so far. What reparations have you made for the crimes of your ancestors. I’m not talking about a few paltry quid you occasionally give to sooth your shame. WE WANT EVERYTHING


9.35: The truth is that people of MMM’s generation knew what happened behind the high walls scattered all over Ireland, North and south and Britian. The profession he once belonged to – social care – has an appalling record of ignoring abuse cases, causing horrendous hurt to thousands. We know of many such cases in Ireland and Britain where the negligence of social care agencies contributed to family fragmentation, suicides and unexplained deaths of children and teenagers in “care”. That despicable record aside, of which MMM will be well informed, his generation knew what went on behind many a high gate and wall but did what almost everyone did – chatter, whisper and gossip – but DID NOT raise a voice of concern or protest. Like the priests and Pharisees in the gospel who came upon a man lying on a roadside, he, MMM and his family and neighbours and relatives passed by. So, perhaos he should take a more honest look into his own response to the past abuses which he would have known about. While doing so, he might also illuminate us about his “undoing” of the hurt, devastation and suffering caused to families by decisions which his profession made and continue to make. He might like to make remuneration out of his large pension to a charity dealing with famlies hurt by his profession. Ask many a man or father around the country about their hell as a result of social workers interventions. Then I’m recalling MMM’s mantra – “good without god” and I’m at a loss to see the legacy of any lasting charitable outreach. Methinks it’s so easy to say “freeze church assets”. maybe it’s time to freeze MMM!!


So Aaron, with that peevish apologia for the RCC, can we take it that you approve its plundering the ‘wealth’ of the Irish poor? Because historically, this is what it did: took their financial wealth, and then went on to take a wealth of innocence and trust from both their children, and the children’s families.


So, like Arron, you have absolutely no comment to make on the exploitation of the Irish poor by RCC priests and religious?
Can we take it that you support this, then? The exploitation?
And can we take it, too, that you are a priest-exploiter of this parasitical institution?
I think we can. 😕


12.16am: Hi Mickser: What a very creative mind you have!!! I jest of course. More of your bar stool wisdom!! Freeze all assets. Lovely. Will you and your generation who ignored the goings on in asylums and Magdalene laundries pay towards the rehabilitation of residents who were placed there by church, state and society (that includes you, Mickser) and who were quite happy to allow our religious and lay staff, improperly trained, or not at all, to care for our rejected ones? Yes, a Mhicileen, MMM, look to your age group who passed by these places of misery….and then ask yourself – what did I do? Not a hard question. Abuse of any kind is morally reprehensible and a crime that deserves punishment by civil law. But let’s, maybe for once, look to our own negligence of past crimes and be vigilant about present day abuses, of which we hear about on a daily basis.. MMM – be honest with yourself and your former profession which didn’t cover itself with honour. I know you belong to that generation who knew what happened in our back gardens but kept very quiet. Hypocrite.


Most people had no idea of the abuse going on in religious run
institutions.People back then trusted clergy and religious. We live and learn.
Corruption is currently taking place in other professions,including
social work, in plain sight. Most people don’t want to know.Those trying to change
things within and outside professions are confronted with all sorts of difficulties.
However, the catholic church teaches that when a man participates in priesthood
after the sacrament of holy orders, he acts in persona Christi Capitis, representing
the person of Christ. The catholic church also claims that catholic bishops were
ordained in an unbroken line of apostolic succession back to the Twelve Apostles.
Secular professionals don’t make such claims.


Lay people particularly professionals working in State agencies also did the dirty work for the church when it was deemed necessary. What are the Knights of Columbanus about?



You’ve got it in one!

Yes, all these agencies ‘did the dirty work’ … of the RCC. Because it was the RCC, through its priests and religious, who had overarching responsibility for the terrible injustices so savagely inflicted on the most vulnerable in Ireland and elsewhere.

This is the price a country, or society, pays for allowing itself to fall under the heel of, arguably, one of the most vile and evil institutions in human history.


‘But I never saw any abuse happening and didn’t know of any.’
Quote from every bishop and priest from 1950 to the present.


If this news about Paisley’s “rampant” being suspended is true then the story must have legs. Pat, please look into this.


So many in the Holy Mother Church were so busy trying to be good Catholics
they forgot to be good Christians.


James123… he has not been suspended and he is not going to Oscott. You not got anything/anybody else to waste your time on?


I think Oscott has enough if its own homegrown ‘rampants’ without any from Scotland. So he won’t be missed. There will still be enough to add sufficient frisson to Oscott daily life.


Derry clerical changes, 2020.

The Bishop of Derry, Dr Donal McKeown, has announced the following clerical changes in the Derry Diocese, effective from September 11, 2020:

Rev. Edward Gallagher, PP Greencastle, to be, in addition, PP Badoney Lower.

Rev. Ciaran Hegarty, on loan from the Diocese of Down & Connor, currently CC Urney & Castlefin, to be Adm Urney & Castlefin.

Rev. Daniel McFaul, CC Creggan, to be, in addition, nominated as Chaplain to the Altnagelvin Group of Hospitals.

Rev. John P Forbes, Adm Badoney Lower, to be Priest-in-Residence Badoney Lower.

Rev. Art O’Reilly, CC Banagher, to retire.

Rev. Patrick McGoldrick, CC Moville, to retire.


Ciaran Hegarty, on loan from D&C (why) is going from CC Urney and Castlefinn to Adm, Urney and Castlefinn. Colm O’Docherty had been Adm, but there’s no sign of a new appointment for him. Is Colm now MIA?


No he is not MIA – the PP of Urney Fr Michael Porter went on a sabbatical last year and Fr Colm was appointed Adm in addition to have been appointed PP Lifford – he remains PP Lifford – question is where is Fr Porter?


Paddy McGoldrick must be a brave age. He was professor of liturgy in Maynooth in the ’80s and had been a peritus at Vatican II.


Fr Colm O’Doherty is PP Lifford is he not – the next parish along – so he was probably ADM as an additional parish


The 2019 Derry changes had this to say about Fr Michael Porter:
“Rev Michael Porter, PP Urney & Castlefin, to have one-year sabbatical before taking up his duties again as PP next year.”
So where is he?


There is not much more to be said It appears to be proven abuse is out there. Stories loose impact with time and left long enough will fade away. What is the next practical step to move the same old record to next level


How many local and national politicians, how many doctors, solicitors, prominent businessmen, educators- pillars of Irish life- how many had relatives priests and religious
The nexus of power is unraveling.
I recently learned, the infamous Jimmy Savile, a catholic, had connections in the catholic establishment in Great Britain. Savile was honoured with a papal knighthood by being made a knight commander of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of Saint Gregory the Great by Pope John Paul II in 1990.


Plasterer Paddy 11.32 I once met a traumatised cameraman. And anyway not everybody gets given a Poncey Equestrial plumed hat and a sword by a Saint you know (or perhaps they all did).


No plasterer is greater!
He could fill in a small crater
And if you’re a smooth operator
Don’t pay him now, just pay him later.


The stupid speech was ghostwritten by moaning ACP heretic and lifelong parasite Tony Flannery and his brother Frank Flannery, a big Fine Gael activist and spoiled priest (the three Flannery brothers joined the Reds, though only Tony was ordained). Tony used Enda Life’s speech to channel his own views.


Even if you are right (which I doubt), the words were incisive and truthful.
The Romanists were given the boot that day; the arrogant bastardos didn’t like it.
Nor, surprisingly, do you. 😅


Because he was slapping down unsubstantiated and scurrilous allegations by the Romanist Church?


Hi Bishop Pat, I know I’m not allowed to talk about the Court case, but just yesterday, I had a white NHS mental health, North West van with a nurse and a Police officer turn up outside my mum’s house.
We spoke to them and and the nurse seemed a nice person and said she was concerned over my wellbeing.
My mum told her she was upset and concerned over the way I had been treated and soforth; but
the nurse said she was not there over that, but that she was concerned over my wellbeing… But was this not a paradoxical statement to make?
Why come out to check if I am alright if she cannot help or talk about what has caused the issues?
The Police officer did not say much at all.
Anyhow, later that evening at around 10:45 pm I was sitting in my car in our local park, where I was chased by 3 men who decanted from a red car; I ended up on the ground. My ribs are hurting and I have cuts and grazes on my hands and arms and I had a panic attack.
They later identified as plain-clothed Police.
After they searched me they just left and did not apologise or anything.
I had to go to the Royal Liverpool Infirmary where my chest and ribs were X-rayed,
I am hoping to get the results today.
I have stayed in my pajmers, today and am in bed.
Yesterday’s experiences really have shaken me up.
My phone will not allow to to make 999 Cal’s, so I don’t know what that means.


Peter, You’ve had a very difficult times in so many ways over the past few years.
You’ve fought a very good battle and have been up against many odds.
I think there comes a time when, for your own health and peace of mind, you need to retreat from the battlefield and concentrate on looking after your health, your wellbeing, your family and your future.
That time may have come for you?
Get the best medical and legal advice you can and begin to move forward with calm and peace.
You have a lot of sought after skills.
It seems to me that the police last night were on a mission to tackle something going on in the park. When you ran they wrongfully suspected you. Rest and get well.


Bishop Pat, thank you for your kind words.
I have already begun that very process and, that which is pertinent to my case has now been handed over to the legals.
I can now see my living room carpet lol.
Those officers, last night, may have been chasing a light! Who knows?
Anyhow, not sure what is for tea this evening, but I think apple crumble and ice cream is for desert.
I think a taxi to my mother’s, later on is a good idea. My ribs are hurting very badly!
My hand is badly scratched.
Just my luck! x
Shinning Light – Annie Lennox


1.46: Thanks Aunty Patsy… Agony aunt supremess!!!🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷😀😆😂🎀🎀🎀🎀🎀🎀🌷🌷🌷🌷👜👜👜👜👜👜👜👜👡👡👡👡👡👠👠👠👠…. 😁😁😁😁😁😁😁😎😎😎😎🤣🤣…Aunty Patsy!!


Oh, these last few days have been so heavy and serious. Can’t we get back to the diverting pleasures of Dean Kennedy, Power Bottom JPL, Littletwit, Lardy Etienne, Underpants Pauly, Masturbation Davy Marsden and the likes ? They give so much joy and diversion from the mundane rigours of everyday life. Or, surely some early day reporting as the seminaries go back to school, and the new boys arrive and are inducted ? I bet there will be lots of glancing and eyes across the chapel going on as the old hands check out the newcomers, not to mention the staff wondering about their proclivities. Ah, such innocent fun….!


Is it possible that the institutions which have opted for an upper-age limit of 35 or thereabouts, can be justly accused of having ulterior motives.

It would be interesting to identify who, or what group within each order was responsible for its introduction – dirty old buggers!


Monks at Downside Abbey have decided to leave their home.
The abbey, in Somerset, was affiliated with Downside School, which was highlighted in an Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).
The review found “appalling abuse” was inflicted on pupils and the institution tried to cover it up.
A spokesman said the 12 Benedictine monks had spent six years “reflecting with sorrow on failures in the care for children”.
In September, the abbey and school formally separated.
The spokesperson said: “They have now unanimously decided to make a new start and to seek a new place to live.
“To lead them in the renewal of their monastic vocation and in their search for a new home, they have elected Dom Nicholas Wetz as their Abbot.
“The last six years have given the Downside Community time to reflect with sorrow on failures in the care for children entrusted to them and to discern the Community’s future.
“With smaller numbers and changing circumstances, the current monastery buildings are no longer suitable.”
The Benedictine Community has been based at Downside Abbey since 1814.
The abbey was criticized by Professor Alexis Jay, who chaired the inquiry into sexual abuse, and who said safeguarding children had been less important than the reputation of the church and the wellbeing of the abusive monks.


Did you get that news by smoke signal, jungle drum or carrier pigeon? That was reported ages ago.


Indeed, the reputation of the church and well-being of the abusive monks came first.
There’s nothing new in that finding.


Though your report is sadly true, it doesn’t even begin to do justice to the significance of Downside in English Catholic life. For much of its history, the community was remarkable by any standards. Not for nothing did one of its monks who became Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge describe the Abbey as “the Athens of English Catholicism”. Dom Philip Jebb went further and described the community as the most distinguished since the 12 Apostles. Though some will delight in nemesis following hubris, you will find that the vast majority of those educated at the school have very positive memories:


Ohh, this brings back memories of the house discernment in the North West.


8.24: We all need a laugh every now and then.. Thanks…We can just imagine Pat with her quill set.. Dear Mary Jane, thank you for your letter…..😅😅😅😘😅😅👜👜😅😅😅…She aint a bad agony aunt though!


Evan McNamara is having all of us on. He has reactivated his Facebook and pretending to be holy as ever. We won’t let you off with this, Evan. Your time is running out.


Dear Pat, I was going through the application process for the Diocese of Paisley last year and was told I would not be progressing to discernment stage. This was following on from an argument with Evan McNamara online. Whilst all this was happening, he was claiming to be having a “breakdown” He needs to be called out for what he is… a liar and blackmailer


All is revealed as to why there has been this psycho campaign about some poor sem in Paisley. I am very glad indeed that the diocese rejected your application. They will know who you are and will warn other dioceses and congregations.


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