PATSY McGARRY, Religious Affairs Correspondent
THE CHRISTIAN Brothers continued to deny as recently as May 15th last, five days prior to publication of the Ryan report, that there was any abuse in institutions run by them. In letters to the Residential Institutions Redress Board, the Brothers repeatedly insisted that no abuse took place.
This is confirmed in letters seen by The Irish Times : dated May 15th last, concerning the O’Brien Institute in Dublin; November 20th, 2008, concerning Artane industrial school in Dublin; November 7th, 2008, concerning Glin industrial school in Limerick; and July 18th, 2008, concerning St Joseph’s industrial school in Tralee.
All the letters were signed by the Christian Brothers’ province leader Br Kevin Mullan, who was also a member of the Cori team which negotiated the 2002 redress agreement with the State.
A similar letter was sent to the Redress Board by the Oblates on February 14th last. Fr Michael Hughes denied “the applicant suffered injuries of the kind described” at the Oblate-run reformatory in Daingean, Co Offaly.
In his letters, including that dated May 15th last, Br Mullan repeats that the only form of corporal punishment allowed by the Christian Brothers in the institutions (for boys) which they ran, was “moderate slapping on the palms of the hands with the approved leather strap . . .”
He also rejects allegations of systemic abuse, inadequate feeding and clothing of the boys, the withholding of proper medical care; and “unsubstantiated allegations of sexual abuse there of pupils by staff members …”