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.