Evidence continues at abuse commission

Tuesday 23 May 2006 22.44
Evidence continues at abuse commission

A senior member of the Christian Brothers has said the congregation showed extraordinary naivety when dealing with brothers who were known to have abused children in their care.

Giving evidence about Artane Industrial School at the Commission Into Child Abuse in Dublin, Brother Michael Reynolds said leaders of the congregation had shown the naivety when believing a warning would be enough to stop a brother from abusing again.

There was no defense for this course of action, he said.

He was reacting to a series of examples, presented by counsel for the commission, of brothers who were moved from school to school when it was discovered that they were abusing boys.

The commission heard that in 1958, one brother, who admitted some of a series of allegations of abuse made against him, was promoted to superior in another house, because it was felt some of the allegations against him may have been exaggerated.

Compensation allegations

Earlier, a senior member of the Christian Brothers told the commission he had heard of at least two complainants who in private hearings had stated they were making complaints of abuse in order to receive compensation.

Brother Michael Reynolds was also giving evidence about the industrial school in Artane.

When asked about comments made yesterday by Brother David Gibson, he said that in the early stages of the commission, solicitors representing complainants said they had refused to co-operate with the commission until a redress or compensation scheme had been put in place.

Br Reynolds said the congregation did have doubts that all of the 449 claims of abuse made against it were genuine. He said two objections to compensation had been lodged by the Christian Brothers.

When asked why the congregation had apologised to victims of abuse, Br Reynolds said that 'at the time we apologised, we did so for any hurt at our institutions and we stand over that'. He added that the congregation had seen documented evidence of sexual abuse for which it had apologised.

Earlier the Irish Survivors of Child Abuse organisation handed in a letter of protest to the commission.

The organisation expressed concern at the manner in which members of religious orders had been given a public platform to deny and refute allegations of abuse.

It is calling on the commission to allow its members to also address the commission publicly.