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Added to on 24 May 2006

Date: Thu, 25 May 2006 19:29:19 +0100 (BST)
From: Rory Connor
Subject: False Allegations of Child Abuse
To: Editor Sunday Tribune

Letters to Editor
Sunday Tribune

Dear Sir,
I refer to the controversy concerning false allegations of child abuse. Some leaders of "victims" groups seem to find it very difficult to accept the idea that such allegations exist. A spokesperson for "One in Four" claimed that out of thousands of claims to the Redress Board, only one was found to be false.

For some years now I have been looking into accusations of child killing which have been made against the Christian Brothers and other religious. I choose this topic because it is something that can be investigated long after the supposed events. In most cases no boy died at the time in question so it is not even a case of "honest" hysteria but blatant lying. (I call these "Murder of the Undead" allegations!)

If someone accuses you of child abuse 30, 40 or even 50 years ago there is no way you can clear your name. However if the same person claims you killed a child and no child died at the time, then this says a great deal about your accuser's credibility.

The following is an extract from a letter I wrote to the Irish Human Rights Commission in March 2004 regarding this issue. I list some of the more prominent "Murder of the Undead" allegations.

1. Patsy McGarry's article in the Irish Times on 25 September 1999 quoting Patrick Walsh of SOCA who claimed to have attended the funerals of boys killed by the Brothers. No boy died while Patrick Walsh was in Artane so his claim is not even "honest" hysteria. Mick Waters of SOCA UK wrote to the Irish Times on 17 October 1999 to express his support for Patsy McGarry. This gentleman still retains his position in SOCA UK, as indeed does Patrick Walsh in SOCA. (I have seen the latter quoted as a spokesman for SOCA on several occasions).

2. Louis Lentin's programme "Our Boys" on TV3 in October 1999 that was repeated in November 2000, quoting Gerry Kelly (then head of the "Alliance for the Healing of Institutional Abuse") who also claimed to have attended funerals of murdered boys. Again no boy died while Gerry Kelly was at Artane.

Gerry Kelly also slandered Nora Wall (see articles in Ireland on Sunday dated 25 July and 1st August 1999). Moreover, a few weeks before they first broadcast Our Boys, TV3 were forced to apologise to the Bishop of Cloyne for libelling him. (This apology was buried by the media - I found out about it myself when I rang the Bishop's office to ask how his legal case was going!).

3. John Kelly of SOCA who told me on the steps of the Pro Cathedral and in front of several journalists, that there were mass graves in Artane and other  institutions (quoted in the Irish Independent on 25 November 2002)

4. Brighid McLaughlin quoting Mannix Flynn in the Sunday Independent on 22 December 2002, that there had been a "holocaust" at Letterfrack with boys buried all over the place and also that the Gardai at Clifden had uncovered a "massive paedophile ring" which ran "from the low minions right up to the top". In January 2003, a few weeks after he made those allegations, Mr. Flynn was elected a member of Aosdana, the association of creative artists and he has recently been made Director of the Irish Museum of Modern Art Is this in spite of, or because of, his vicious lies?

5. Mary Raftery who claimed in the TV programme "States of Fear" and in her book "Suffer the Little Children" that there were "deaths in mysterious and unexplained circumstances" in Artane. She failed to mention that the one case which she quoted had been the subject of a coroner's report and when her "witness" gave three separate and contradictory accounts, she tried to resolve the contradictions by claiming - on Today With Pat Kenny 22/11/99 - that there was more than one such death (i.e. due to a fall from a staircase). See letter from Brother M. Reynolds in the Irish Times on 22 December 1999.

In a letter to the Irish Times on 13 January 2000 Mary Raftery claimed that the death of the boy was the subject of an ongoing Garda investigation. When the Garda Press Office confirmed that this was not the case, Mary Raftery's response (on Eamon Dunphy's The Last Word) was "This is complete rubbish. This is rubbish. This is rubbish" (see Letters page on 26 January 2000). It is clear that she wants the Christian Brothers to have murdered a boy in order to justify her own hatred.

6. Mary Raftery also made thuggish allegations against Sister Stanislaus Kennedy, accusing her of failing to act when a social worker told her a boy was being sexually abused. (She also accused Sister Stanislaus of berating civil servants at a meeting because they failed to give sufficient credit to the Church for its social work). Sister Stan was subjected to sustained and vicious attack in the media until the social worker wrote to the Irish Times to confirm that, at the time he spoke to her, he himself had no idea that sex abuse was involved and that he felt that Sister Stan had done everything possible for the children. Edward Murphy's letter is in the Irish Times Letters Page on 22 December 1999. It did not make the news pages. Of course Mary Raftery made no attempt to apologise. (Nor did she apologise when the three civil servants involved in the meeting told Breda O'Brien that no such episode had taken place).

7. Mary Raftery also claimed that a boy who said he had been sexually abused by Brother Joseph O’Connor, waited around the Mater Hospital when Brother O’Connor was dying and then went in to take a look at the body to make sure he was dead. Brother Joseph O'Connor did not die in the Mater Hospital. Again there was no apology from Ms. Raftery. (Brother Joseph O'Connor was the Brother responsible for the Artane Boys Band. Sister Stanislaus helped to set up the first childcare course for lay people in Ireland. I assume this is why Mary Raftery attacked them.)

8. Liam Reid’s article in the Irish Times on 27 November 2003, which deliberately repeats the blood libel about the death of William Delaney in 1970. Following a disgusting media campaign in 2001 the Evening Herald was forced to admit that the post mortem on the exhumed body of William Delaney had found that he died of natural causes (Evening Herald, 27 April 2001). However, having howled obscenities at the Christian Brothers, the media dropped the issue like a shot. Liam Reid is depending on people having short memories.

In December 2003 the Royal College of Surgeon’s published a study on clerical sexual abuse. This pointed out that the Irish Times used the term "paedophile priest" 322 times between August 1993 and August 2000. Apart from the term "paedophile farmer" which was used 5 times, no other occupation was linked to paedophilia in reports. (I understand that the references to "paedophile farmer" occurred when a social worker wrote to the Irish Times to enquire why it never used such terms and a farmer then wrote in to protest!). The Irish Times is anti-clerical in the same way other publications are anti-Semitic or racist.

9. Bruce Arnold’s article about Letterfrack in the Irish Independent on 18 June 2003 which claimed that "boys are buried in the woods as well". Garda Superintendent Tony O’Dowd told the Irish Catholic (9 and 16 January 2003) "there was no evidence available that would suggest that foul play led to the deaths of anyone buried inside or outside of the cemetery at the old industrial school of Letterfrack". Mr. Arnold should be asked to produce his evidence.

10. Finally though it did not involve a murder allegation I would request the Commission to question Paul Williams of the Sunday World about his repulsive allegations against Nora Wall on 11 July 1999 i.e. that she had procured children for Fr. Brendan Smyth. Former residents and a "counselor" - all un-named- are quoted in support of the allegations. Who are these people and whom else have they made allegations against?

Nora Wall won damages against the Sunday World. However the story of her "victory" was buried by the media. I myself saw it by accident, in a short article in Phoenix on 8 November 2002, which failed to mention the nature of the libel or the name of the journalist responsible. Paul Williams is now Crime Editor for the Sunday World. I think he was Crime Correspondent in July 1999, which suggests that he has been promoted since the libel!

Reaction of the Irish Human Rights Commission
They said these allegations were a matter for the Director of Public Prosecutions. I already told them he had refused to prosecute two sets of "Murder of the Undead" allegations - by Patrick Walsh and Gerry Kelly - under the Incitement to Hatred Act. (See nos 1 and 2 above).  However he prosecuted a bus driver for telling a black passenger to "go back where you came from" and the driver was convicted of incitement!

They also said that this issue was not in their 3 year Plan. However one of the Commissioners is taking a case to the Supreme Court to have her lesbian marriage recognised in this country.  She is being supported by the IHRC so presumably THAT is in their Plan!

And my own motivation? I once had a teacher, a De La Salle Brother called Maurice Kirk who became one of the main influences on my life. He died in a car crash on 10 April 1974 but I remember him still. A bit like "Tom Brown's Schooldays" really!

Rory Connor