Friday, May 29, 2009

Irish Institutions Condemned 50 years ago

Which Irishman said

Speaking to a large audience at a public lecture in Cork’s Savoy Cinema he said, "You are the people who permit your children and the children of your communities to go into these institutions of punishment. You can do something about it." He called Ireland’s penal institutions "a disgrace to the nation," and later said "I do not believe that a child can be reformed by lock and key and bars, or that fear can ever develop a child’s character." However, his words fell on stony ground.

He wasn't simply ignored. He was taken to pieces by the Irish establishment. The then-Minister for Justice Gerald Boland said in the Dáil that he was “not disposed to take any notice of what ........... said while he was in this country, because his statements were so exaggerated that I did not think people would attach any importance to them.”

answer here


berenike said...

I read on Pastor Emeritus that Edmund Rice did not permit corporal punishment, and it was introduced into the Christian Brothers' schools at the insistence of the British authorities. Is this true?

PeterHWright said...

No, it's not true, I'm afraid.

Red Maria said...

I read that in the Ryan report too, as well as about Brother Noonan of the Christian Brothers who tried to limit corporal punishment in the Artane industrial school.

Brother Noonan, the superior general of the congregation between 1930-49 "was anxious to reduce the reliance on corporal punishment and admonished those who were intemperate in its use."A visitation report in the early 30s described an extraordinary penalty imposed upon a brother for punishing boys severely.

"Brother Sebastien erred on two occasions in punishing boys severely. The Superior reproved him publicly and ordered him to make a public apology, on his knees in the Refectory ... Br Sebastien was honestly penitent and determined to amend. Indeed he is on the whole a good young Brother."Incidentally, can I draw your attention to this and especially to the paragraphs about Jim Dowson:

The BNP website boasts that money is flooding into its campaign headquarters. Its administration consultant, Jim Dowson, claims the party's call centre alone received just under 12,000 calls in the first 15 minutes following the BNP's first national television broadcast. And in emails to supporters - or "patriots" as the BNP calls them - Griffin claims almost £400,000 has been stumped up by supporters to help fund the party's European election campaign.Dowson, the BNP's senior administrator, who appears on the party's website talking about the success of its call centre's fundraising activities, has also been dogged by allegations that he has enjoyed close relationships with hardline loyalist groups in the past. The 45-year-old has also been the public face of the LifeLeague, the militant anti-abortion group that has hijacked Britain's pro-life debate. He has regularly appeared on television to pronounce terminations a sin and has published the names of abortion clinic staff, placing many in fear for their personal safety.

In November the BNP's membership list was published which revealed that a member of the BNP was also a member of SPUC.

On my blog I have detailed what looks like a BNP letter writing campaign to The Universe in recent months.

We rightly abhor the abuse which took place in the past by priests and religious as inimical to our faith. Attempts by members of parties with racist ideologies and violent records to hijack Pro Life causes are, I submit, equally contrary to our values and aims.

gemoftheocean said...

I know a man who was at Boys' Town in the late 30s and early 40s when Fr. Flannagan was still alive. [He was there when the movie was made and the students were used as extras. He can pick himself out in some of the crowd scenes.]

In his retirement years was an usher at the Padres' Baseball park in San Diego, which is how our family knew him. He spoke glowingly of Fr. Flanagan, and said he was "very tough, but very fair -- you didn't cross him more than once." He spoke glowingly and with great warmth of his time there.He mentioned how when he and a number of other boys came of age, they joined the service and Fr. Flanagan and Boys' Town had a big send off for them.

Anonymous said...

My report was based on the statement of the then Minister for Education Dr. Woods, a week ago on RTE

Ma Tucker said...

Would that there were a million Fr. Flanagans. Presently, in Ireland, three hundred children have gone missing from care this year alone. No one knows where they are. When questioned about it, the minister responsible claimed that children cannot be forced into care. We do not institutionalize children, if they wish to run away we can't stop them he said.

I do think we love children a lot less in today's society. Social services in Grimsby were content to allow underage girls to live with Ian Huntley, then a man in his 30's. We permit children in care to leave their premises, prostitute themselves, take drugs and flunk their education and nobody can do anything about it because, hey, that's their choice. We encourage girls to murder the children in their womb. We give difficult children drugs to sedate them and make them easier to handle.

Fr Flanagan was certainly a blessing. Would that there were more like him but there is not. Like the Saints and individual trail blazers they tend to be stars that we can only imitate poorly. I wonder what his legacy was. How well the children got on under his care. What kind of adults they turned out to be. I would like to compare that to the institutions paraded in the Ryan report. However, I would not be able to find that information in the Ryan report because that was not the intent of the Ryan report. That kind of information might very well point in the wrong direction and we can't have that can we.

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