Lots of news this week on TV, radio, and in the papers about the Ryan Report on Child Abuse in religious institutions. I have not read the report - nor do I intend to. The media have adequately conveyed the horror of what went on - I can hardly believe that all this was taking place in my time. I have chosen my words carefully here - this is a difficult subject to talk about, but it is impossible to be silent. These are my own thoughts - you the reader can make up your own mind.
Thankfully, I was reared in a safe and loving home - I was lucky. I was an altar boy in Tomacork Church where nothing untoward happened. In school I can safely say that I do not know of a single incidence of sexual abuse that occured during my time in the four schools I attended:
- Carnew National School (1964-1971)
- Scoil na nÓg, Trabolgan (1971-1972)
- Cistercian College Roscrea (1972-1977)
- FCJ Bunclody (1977-1978)
But I often wondered what might have been. Within weeks of first arriving in CCR in 1972 as a 12 year old I was asked to come to the bedroom of one of the priests after lights out - which I did in my pyjamas. He never laid a hand on me, nor did anything that could in any way be regarded as sexual or physical abuse. In fact all he did was talk and there wasn't even the suspicion of abusive activity that night as far as I can tell 37 years later. I thought nothing of it at the time, though never forgot it - it never happened again. Today of course this would be regarded as highly inappropriate - what was he thinking of? I'll not name him here, though I'm sure if any CCR boys from the 1970s ever read this they will figure out who it was very quickly.
I was as innocent a boy that you could get in 1972 and I'm sure I would have been an easy target for any of the monsters that the Ryan Report pulls no punches in exposing - fuck them all.
I feel very sorry for the many wonderful brothers, priests, and nuns who were kind and gentle with children in their care - what must they be feeling? Many of course are guilty of standing idly by while their peers abused children, and must surely feel that they could have done more to prevent what went on. With the exception of yer man above - all that I had any dealings with were wonderful teachers and carers who helped mould me into the person I am today. I am very grateful to them all.
As part of my job I have to be Garda vetted and have had to attend a compulsory course on Child Protection as a few of NCI's students may be under the age of 18. I feel dirty that I have to go through this - guilty until proven innocent. Of course it is right that all involved in education and the care of children should be vetted - though I'm certain that evil monsters (eg Ian Huntley in Soham, UK) will find ways to get into the education system and evade restrictions that are implemented to protect children.
There is only one place for the Ryan Report monsters and that is in jail - fuck them all, no mercy.