Explore the Ryan Report

Chapter 7 — Artane

Show Contents

Sexual abuse


The same witness described another occasion when sexual activity was aborted because of the arrival of another person in the dormitory: The other incident with Br Armande was the morning I was expelled from the band ... I was expelled from the band and I was told to report to the dormitory. He told me to go over to the far corner of the dormitory where the Brother’s sleeping room was. He said “lie on the bed there and take your trousers down”. He disappeared and went off down to the long hall, I suppose, to check. There I was in the bed waiting for him to come. I got to admit I was quite excited about it because I had never ejaculated and he was going to show me ... I was just coming up to 16, 15 and a half. I had heard other boys saying they had. Whatever happened, somebody must have came. The next thing I knew the door was open and he hollered “anybody in here, get out now”. I jumped up, put on my trousers, ran down and joined everybody else at the parade. That was the incident.


This witness described how a sympathetic approach by the Manager led to his divulging information about abuse: He put a friendly arm around me, drew me close to him and he said, “Tell me, what’s troubling you?” I started to cry and I blurted out all the things that happened to me and why I hated God, I hated my own parents for being weak and dying, I hated religion. “Tell me”.. So I told him about what Olivier had done and I told him about Br Armande . I told him the specific incident, general as well, but mainly what Br Olivier had done to me. I told him about the Br Armande. I would never have had the courage to go and complain to anybody because I would be terrified I would get another hiding, they wouldn’t believe me. On that occasion he was so kind that he got my confidence, he spoke to me like a father. I blurted out and told him everything.


The witness described another experience that was commonly mentioned by former residents of boys’ industrial schools. When boys were in bed, Brothers sometimes went through the dormitories checking to see whether boys had wet their beds. That was the ostensible reason why Brothers put their hands under the bedclothes but there was unease among boys at the time.


A number of complainants spoke of the requirement to sleep with their arms crossed and above the blanket, which was a rule of the Congregation. Some supervising Brothers were more diligent about enforcing this rule than others, but the object was to ensure that boys were not committing ‘badness’ during the night. One Christian Brother confirmed that he enforced the rule of sleeping with arms above the blankets but claimed that he did not know why he was doing so. He stated that he was not aware that it had any purpose of preventing self-abuse by boys.


A complainant described getting a slap on his private parts by the Brother in charge when he was not lying in the correct position.


Another described how Br Gaspard questioned him about where his hands were: He pulled the covers down slightly and got my hands like that (indicating). That is how they told us to fall asleep in bed. Then he got down on one knee, might have been two knees, and just slid his hand across my lower abdomen. Didn’t touch anything, just straight across. That was it ... There was something odd about it, obviously. It wasn’t the sort of thing you done. It’s always sort of remained with me.


A complainant resident in the 1950s alleged that, when supervising the showers, Br Verrill used to require the boys to bend over, to make sure that they were clean. He said that, on a few occasions while doing this, he used to put his hands on the boys’ testicles and say ‘did you like that?’. The complainant said that he got so used to being humiliated that he accepted it and did not regard it as unusual at the time.


Relationships between Brothers and boys were unlikely to be the subject of complaint in the same way as violent or forced incidents of abuse.


One witness who was in Artane in the 1940s described a sexual relationship with a Brother that he said was different from what happened with other Brothers. This relationship was a sexual affair with affection and reciprocity. It is scarcely necessary to add that it was a case of serious sexual abuse: ... I had sexual relations with him. That is the way I look at it. I will say the others abused me, but with him I would be kinder with the words because the man did look after he me, but I did do things with him that today people would stand up and scream about. But he was kind. He was probably the only person in my life up to that time. Probably the only person in my life up to that time that would give me a hug, look after me. Anyone, nobody could get to me. You know, he kept the others away. Monitors never reported me because they knew I would report them. Simple. He looked after me, I looked after him. As simple as that ... sexual abuse did take place. But at that time that was mine, I now know that it was wrong. But at the time, if he had asked me to eat his head, I would have eaten his head, as simple as that.


When it was suggested to him that this relationship appeared to form a large part of his memories of Artane, he replied: It does, actually, because as I said, he was probably was the one person I loved at that point. I did love the man, you know. I know he done that, but I loved him. I have very fond memories of the man. But now I am 68.


In contrast, he named four other Brothers as having been sexually abusive of him. This complainant said that, at the same time that he was being sexually abused, the Brothers were emphasising the evils of sex: They screamed about the dangers of badness and yet they were practising it on us.


Another complainant spoke about a lay teacher’s behaviour that he saw as coming into a different category from other sexual experiences in Artane: He used have his cloth over him and he kind of took my hand and placed it on top with the cloth covering it in case anybody came in. I touched him like that ... He carried on ... and then sent me back to my place. That’s all [he] ever done, he was a fondler more than anything. He didn’t ask you to undress or anything like that.


He confirmed the statement that he had made to the Commission: All boys liked [him] because he was a gentle kind of man.


He said that the teacher looked after the boys and that they put up with him for that reason. He said: We weren’t idiots. Boys at that age were aware, I was anyway, that some of the teachers and some people were like that.


He continued: he was good to us ... He wasn’t cruel like some of the Brothers. I personally found him very nice and also he always brought a newspaper in every morning. When he was finished the lads would get it. Some of us were avid readers. In that way he was a man’s man, if you like. I know he was a groper but he was a decent man in every other way.

  1. Report on Artane Industrial School for the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse by Ciaran Fahy, Consulting Engineer (see Appendix 1).
  2. Rules and Regulations of Industrial Schools 1885.
  3. Commission of Inquiry into the Reformatory and Industrial School System 1934-1936 chaired by Justice Cussen.
  4. Dr McQuaid and Fr Henry Moore.
  5. This is a pseudonym.
  6. This is a pseudonym. See also the Tralee chapter.
  7. This is a pseudonym.
  8. This is a pseudonym.
  9. Br Beaufort had previously also worked in Carriglea in the early 1930s.
  10. This is a pseudonym.
  11. This is a pseudonym.
  12. This is a pseudonym.
  13. This is a pseudonym.
  14. This is a pseudonym.
  15. This is a pseudonym. See also the Carriglea chapter.
  16. This is a pseudonym.
  17. This is a pseudonym.
  18. This is a pseudonym.
  19. This is a pseudonym.
  20. This is a pseudonym.
  21. This is a pseudonym.
  22. This is a pseudonym.
  23. From the infirmary register it appears that while the boy was not confined in hospital he was due for a check up the day his mother called to see the superior so he may well not have been in the Institution when his mother called.
  24. Dr Anna McCabe was the Department of Education Inspector for most of the relevant period.
  25. It was in fact the Minister for Education who used those words. See paragraph 7.117 .
  26. This is a pseudonym.
  27. This is a pseudonym.
  28. This is a pseudonym.
  29. This is a pseudonym.
  30. This is a pseudonym.
  31. This is a pseudonym.
  32. This is a pseudonym.
  33. This is a pseudonym.
  34. This is a pseudonym.
  35. This is a pseudonym.
  36. The same incident is referred to in the Department’s inspection into the matter as ‘a shaking’.
  37. This is a pseudonym.
  38. This is a pseudonym.
  39. This is a pseudonym.
  40. This is a pseudonym.
  41. This is a pseudonym.
  42. This is a pseudonym.
  43. This is a pseudonym.
  44. This is a pseudonym.
  45. This is a pseudonym.
  46. This is a pseudonym.
  47. This is a pseudonym.
  48. This is a pseudonym.
  49. Dr Anna McCabe (Medical Inspector), Mr Seamus Mac Uaid (Higher Executive Officer) and Mr MacDáibhid (Assistant Principal Officer and Inspector in Charge of Industrial Schools).
  50. This is a pseudonym.
  51. This is a pseudonym.
  52. This is a pseudonym.
  53. This is a pseudonym.
  54. This is a pseudonym.
  55. This is a pseudonym.
  56. This is a pseudonym.
  57. This is a pseudonym.
  58. This is a pseudonym.
  59. This is a pseudonym.
  60. This is a pseudonym.
  61. This is a pseudonym.
  62. This is a pseudonym.
  63. This is a pseudonym.
  64. This is a pseudonym.
  65. This is a pseudonym.
  66. This is a pseudonym.
  67. This is a pseudonym.
  68. This is a pseudonym.
  69. This is a pseudonym.
  70. This is a pseudonym.
  71. This is a pseudonym.
  72. This is a pseudonym.
  73. This is a pseudonym.
  74. This is a pseudonym.
  75. This is a pseudonym.
  76. This is a pseudonym.
  77. This is a pseudonym.
  78. This is a pseudonym.
  79. See General Chapter on the Christian Brothers at para ???.
  80. He went there after many years in Artane.
  81. Dr Charles Lysaght was commissioned by the Department of Education to conduct general and medical inspections of the industrial and reformatory schools in 1966 in the absence of a replacement for Dr McCabe since her retirement the previous year. He inspected Artane on 8th September 1966.
  82. See Department of Education and Science Chapter, One-off Inspections.
  83. The fact that they were tired is noted in many Visitation Reports.
  84. Council for Education, Recruitment and Training.
  85. This is a pseudonym.
  86. This is a pseudonym.
  87. This is a pseudonym.