Systematic Abuse of our Young People

The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse under the chairmanship of Mr. Justice Sean Ryan published a five –volume report on Wednesday last. The report reveals startling brutality that young people of the time suffered. The legacy of that systematic abuse remains deeply embedded in the hearts and minds of those that suffered from this mindless abuse. It was the most atrocious betrayal of the trust from a group that were the very the essence of faith and hope for the youth and indeed their parents. It is a very impressionable time for young people who need at that time of their lives good guidance and encouragement to both live their lives to the fullest while following a successful path.

The publication of the report has brought back many memories for a large number of men that passed through Lanesboro Boys National School. There was a reference in the report to a school principal that taught in Lanesboro Boys National School. The story of his time and that of his successor – who was not mentioned in the report, both former Christian Brothers, has left an ineradicable mark on the many young people that passed through the school at the time. The best days of your life are supposed to be your school days. These are the days that are most fondly remembered as youth grows to adulthood and maturity but unfortunately for the pupils of our school this definitely is not the case.

The lives of many young students have been deeply affected by the times and the memories. The continuing mental and physical trauma still being suffered by these men at the hands of these lunatics has followed them through their lives right to this very day. The effect of this systemic abuse has left a scar that time will not heal. Unfortunately, for those affected there was no offering of help in terms of counselling or even support from authorities that were fully aware of what happened in our school.

The question must be asked! Why did the cries of the young people go unanswered? Why was there no back up service to inquire into the stories that were openly discussed in the area? Why were questions not raised when every school day young people went to say prayers in the church for a safe day in school? Why were the stories of young impressionable boys who prayed their way to school that the master would not bear down on them that day, even though they had their homework done?

Everybody that went to the school during the time of those two parasites will have horrific memories that they will take with them to their grave. The lifestyles and tragedies (deaths) of some young men that felt the brunt of this abuse would lead one to believe that if their schooling days under the these two men was different they would still be enjoying life. The physical marks may disappear easily but believe me the mental torture remains.

One can only be heartened to see the school now. While the exterior basically remains the same, its interior is practically unrecognisable from the hell-hole it was for so many young people. It is now the Lanesboro Ballyleague Pre School. It is brightly coloured and vibrant with so many young boys and girls learning and playing gleefully under the tuition of loving and caring teachers. For these young people it will be a cherished memory in years to come. What a shame it hides a dreadful and haunting past that has scarred so many.

3 comments for “Systematic Abuse of our Young People

  1. Anonymous
    December 29, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    I was one of the victims you have written about..a victim of both the head masters you you do not mention the names of fail to mention a certain Canon parish priest i was also a victim of his abuse. I guess it is old news now..For me it did not stop there because of what happened to me back then i was a disruptive child ..My mother did not sit me down and talk to ask me why i behaved the way i did. Instead beat me ..sometimes i was black and blue from her blows with the poker or handle of the brush. Cried myself to sleep many nights.
    This made me a very vulnerable child then sexually abused by three members of my family and another person who i think got exposed.. Your right the physical scars fade but not the memories. For many years i hated Lanesoro until i grew up and realized it was not Lanesboro that hurt me. It affected my life for many years.. I had a lot of help to make sense of it all and get back some self esteem which had been lost. I had no one to turn to i tried once and was told i was a liar. I am an old man now i he last years of my life. I did return to Lanesboro a few times over however i have not been in about 20 years.
    Anonymous I do not want to hurt the children of those living.

    • Joe
      December 29, 2019 at 9:33 pm

      Many thanks for your email.
      Firstly, I would like to hear that you recovered your self esteem – that should never have been taken away from you by those demons.
      The hurt you feel is still being deeply felt by the many that talk with me from time to time. While I was only the victim of one of the men – not a proper title for any of them. I did not suffer at the hands of the clergy man and only heard stories later in life hence I could not comment directly.
      While the memories of Lanesboro are not what they should be I hope you gained friendships from locals that you can still feel a warmth for Lanesboro and some of its people. As we are going through generations the names of these men are fading into the darkness, a place they deserve to be.
      Lanesboro has changed in terms of the number of people that would be able to chat on that subject and it will continue to change greatly with the demise of Bord na Mona and ESB and the arrival of new people.
      I wish you the very best and I sincerely thank you for your email. I hope in some small way it may have helped you to write it down and share.

  2. Dermot Carty
    February 2, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    I was fortunate enough to have never encountered physical or mental abuse from my National school teacher Tommy Patterson or Father Gaffney. In fact they were kind people who instilled in me a sense of courage and respect. However the same cannot be said for Maureen Madden who humiliated my sister following a scare with bone cancer that left a horrible mark on her leg. Her punishment was to kneel below the crib but this stopped abruptly when my pal Michael peed on the floor on more than one occasion
    However my youthful life (age 12)all came tumbling down when I went to the Christian Brothers in Roscommon. I was deemed not to be smart enough because I was innocent and naïve so I was a candidate for the beatings as was Joe Kerrigan. I was beaten to a pulp on a regular basis and the old clown Dominic o Doul (Sp) attempted to teach us Irish by beating it in to us. I think the clown married and moved to Ballyleague…….A no good piece of dog turd
    One of the sadistic brothers was named Kilkenny(“the leather” and I still have the scars on my left hand) and the other lay teacher was the nuttier Tom Hagerty who was a so called Republican. He laid off me when I informed him about my grandfather Dominic Fallon who then had a meeting with him and who promptly gave him a good reprimand from the book of knuckles. The brothers then advised my parents that I should be sent to a boarding school and by the time that I reached Saint Nathy’s at Balladhdreen I was broken (mentally and physically) and again the beatings kept coming until I just plain quit. The final beating left me unconscious and the cane marks were all over my body I was lucky that I did not loose my eye and to this day I have the reminder and all.” because I blessed my self incorrectly” My poor mother was devastated by what she saw and begged my Aunt Nancy to take me to Canada. If I had stayed I may not have been alive today.
    I have not forgotten and I can assure you there is no forgiveness in my heart for the sadistic bastards.
    I am sad to say others were not that fortunate and I still recall one of the young men drowning himself in the Shannon that was a pupil at the Lanesborough school and now it all makes sense.
    I am one of the fortunate one but as I will clearly state no child deserved what these people have done. Life has been good to me and I became educated but not by force and or abuse. I have made my comments because I know there are others out there that were not that lucky.

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