Christian Brothers dispute abuse evidence

Monday 22 May 2006 22.02
Mr Justice Sean Ryan - Abuse commission hears Christian Brothers evidence
Mr Justice Sean Ryan - Abuse commission hears Christian Brothers evidence

The Christian Brothers have disputed evidence in relation to abuse at some of their institutions, including the Letterfrack Industrial School in Galway that featured in several television reports on the subject.

The order's provincial told the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse that it was the order’s impression that there had been what he termed very big contamination of evidence, adding that complaints against one institution were applied to others. 

Brother David Gibson said evidence has come to the order’s attention that some complaints against the Christian Brothers may have been motivated by the offer of redress.

Br Gibson said the order had evidence showing that a lot of meetings were organised by solicitors around the country where former residents of industrial schools were brought together.

He said there was evidence that groups of solicitors had copied over 1,000 copies of RTÉ programmes and had given them to former residents.

He also said that at these meetings lists of former brothers who worked at the industrial schools were given to former residents. 

Br Gibson said that prior to 1998 there were just three complaints against the Christian Bothers for alleged abuse. This rose to 12 when advertisements called for former residents of industrial schools to come forward. 

But the figure reached 449 after the Taoiseach apologised to victims of abuse in 1998 and announced the setting up of a redress committee.

Brother Gibson said the Christian Brothers were alarmed at the possibility that some brothers who taught for only a year in industrial schools like Letterfrack and later went on to important jobs were now being accused of child abuse.

However, he also reiterated an earlier apology to anybody who was physically or sexually abuse in Christian Brother institutions.