23 survivors need the States assistance to come home to Ireland

Hundreds pay respect to Irish Survivor who died in London.

Hundreds of people have attended the funeral in Dublin of an Irish survivor of institutional abuse who died in England without any known family.

Joseph Tuohy, who was originally from Toomevara, Co Tipperary, died on 11 July aged 83 in London.

His friend of many years, homeless hostel worker Brian Boylan, whom he met in the 1970s in London, in a homeless hostel, and local Glasthule parishioner Margaret Browne, founder of Friends of the Forgotten Irish, led the mourners.

A lone piper led people into St Joseph’s Church in the south Dublin suburb.

Inside the church there was standing room only at the Requiem Mass.

It appears that Joseph’s mother’s family may have cut off contact with her as she had a baby when she was not married.

Joseph spent the first five years of his life living with his mother (who was working outside the home). But in 1942 he was taken away and put in the Ferrybank Orphanage after he was burned in an accident.

He trained as a tailor in the orphanage and stayed there until he was 16. His mother spent the rest of her life in the Good Shepherd Magdalene Laundry in Limerick city.

At 16, Joseph moved to London and married an Irish woman but the couple later separated. Joseph lost a leg and ended up being homeless and and living in a hostel.

Joseph died on 11 July. 

Mr Boylan was the only person who was at Mr Tuohy’s funeral in London.

Each St Patrick’s Day in Glasthule’s Parish Centre, the Friends of the Forgotten Irish group raise money to support Irish emigrants in London.

Mr Boylan, who is a native of Kilnaleck in Co Cavan asked the group to organise a funeral for his friend. Today, that funeral was held in Glasthule.

The funeral mass heard that both the Catholic Church and the Irish State treated Joseph and his mother brutally.

Inside the packed church in Glasthule, chief celebrant Father Denis Kennedy described Joseph’s life in an orphanage in Clonmel and his mother’s in the Good Shepherd Magdalene Laundry in Limerick as brutal institutional abuse.

After the mass, survivors’ representatives called on the Government to help repatriate dozens of people in similar circumstances.

A number of survivors of childhood institutional abuse said they knew of 23 survivors who needed the State’s assistance to come home.

President Michael D Higgins was represented at the mass by his aide-de-camp. Minister of State Mary Mitchell O’Connor represented the Government.

Pressed by abuse victims to support isolated survivors overseas, Ms Mitchell O’Connor promised to bring the matter before next Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.

Brian Boylan spoke to RTÉ’s Marian Finucane recently about his friend and told the story of Mr Tuohy’s life.


The Runner!

What a brilliant documentary about Ireland’s Industrial Schools. I can relate to so much in this documentary. I love it, it brought me back to my own childhood of running away from Ireland’s Industrial schools.

The buzz of getting away from the scum authorities who were willfully abusing us was so amazing, it’s a feeling I’ll never forget and probably never experience again! A belonging feeling from escape to freedom and then to see my family I felt belonged and home.

When people listen to this documentary it will become very clear why the Irish Government want to keep Survivors witness statements locked up for 75 years!

The public may not be able to handle the grievous harm done to innocent vulnerable Children. So to try avoid all hell breaking loose the State are hiding our witness statements until all Survivors are dead and our horror witness statements will become a bit of forgotten history! The Catholic Church also don’t want our witness statements made available because more people will be boycotting the Church.

The Catholic Church should be abolished this would put a final end to the brainwashing of the Catholic Church!

If there is a God id love to meet him and ask him this opinion on all the suffering and violence perpetrated on innocent vulnerable Children by the Catholic Church and other Religious congregations.

The Runner


The system of inspection by the Department of Education was fundamentally flawed and incapable of being effective.

Extra notes re: Justice Mary Laffoy: who presided over the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse from 1999–2003, an inquiry into child abuse.

Her decision to resign as chair before the commission completed its report was controversial.

In her letter of resignation from the commission of 2 September 2003, Laffoy outlined her belief that the actions of the Government and the Department of Education had frustrated her efforts and had slowed the commission’s work.[4] She felt that: “…the cumulative effect of those factors effectively negated the guarantee of independence conferred on the Commission and militated against it being able to perform its statutory functions.”

The commission was chaired from 2003–09 by judge Seán Ryan.

Conclusions of Judge Sean Ryan included:

Overall. Physical and emotional abuse and neglect were features of the institutions. Sexual abuse occurred in many of them, particularly boys’ institutions. Schools were run in a severe, regimented manner that imposed unreasonable and oppressive discipline on children and even on staff.

Physical abuse.

The Reformatory and Industrial Schools depended on rigid control by means of severe corporal punishment and the fear of such punishment. A climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment, permeated most of the institutions and all those run for boys. Children lived with the daily terror of not knowing where the next beating was coming from.

Sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse was endemic in boys’ institutions. The schools investigated revealed a substantial level of sexual abuse of boys in care that extended over a range from improper touching and fondling to rape with violence. Perpetrators of abuse were able to operate undetected for long periods at the core of institutions. When confronted with evidence of sexual abuse, the response of the religious authorities was to transfer the offender to another location where, in many instances, he was free to abuse again. The safety of children in general was not a consideration. The situation in girls’ institutions was different. Although girls were subjected to predatory sexual abuse by male employees or visitors or in outside placements, sexual abuse was not systemic in girls’ schools.


Poor standards of physical care were reported by most male and female complainants. Children were frequently hungry and food was inadequate, inedible and badly prepared in many schools. Accommodation was cold, spartan and bleak. Sanitary provision was primitive in most boys’ schools and general hygiene facilities were poor.

Emotional abuse.

Witnesses spoke of being belittled and ridiculed on a daily basis. Private matters such as bodily functions and personal hygiene were used as opportunities for degradation and humiliation. Personal and family denigration was widespread. There was constant criticism and verbal abuse and children were told they were worthless.

Supervision by the Department of Education.

The system of inspection by the Department was fundamentally flawed and incapable of being effective. Complaints by parents and others made to the Department were not properly investigated. The Department did not apply the standards in the rules and their own guidelines when investigating complaints, but sought to protect and defend the religious Congregations and the schools. The Department dealt inadequately with complaints about sexual abuse, which were generally dismissed or ignored.

Laffoy commission controversy: timeline …

May 11th, 1999:

Taoiseach apologises on behalf of the State to victims of institutional child abuse. He announces a major package to address their needs, including a commission to head an independent inquiry.

May 22nd, 1999: Government appoints High Court judge Mary Laffoy to chair child abuse commission. Other members are: Dr Imelda Ryan, a psychiatrist and childcare expert, and Mr Bob Lewis, an expert from the UK.

Sept/Oct 1999:

Commission makes two reports to Government. It recommends a therapeutic “confidential committee”, to bear witness, and an investigation committee, to hear specific allegations and make findings.

February 5th, 2000: Government publishes legislation on the Laffoy Commission.

May 2000:

Laffoy begins to encounter problems with co-operation from victims groups. The issue of legal representation and fees, and the lack of a compensation tribunal are raised. Laffoy refers both matters, with recommendations, to Government.

July 2000:

Mr Bob Lewis resigns citing unfair media coverage about an investigation into abuse at a home in which he once worked.

September 2000:

Still no resolution to the two issues. Judge Laffoy blames State for delay.

Oct/Nov 2000:

Government announces a compensation scheme for victims of residential abuse. Religious orders commit to make a “meaningful contribution”.

February 2001:

Becomes apparent orders are not willing to accede to State’s request for at least a contribution of at least 127 million in cash contribution.

May 2001:

Commission publishes first interim report. More than 1,200 people have sought to give evidence. Legal fees issue unresolved. Vaccine trials in some children’s homes in the 1960s referred by the Government to Laffoy for investigation.

October 2001:

Negotiations with the religious re-open, led by then minister for education, Mr Michael Woods.

November 2001:

Laffoy Commission issues second interim report. Total number of cases before it reached 3,000 and it will be at least May 2005 before the commission will be able to conclude its work – three years later than expected. Only five cases have gone before the investigation committee. Laffoy makes recommendations for speeding process.

January 2002:

State reaches agreement in principle with religious orders on a €128 million contribution, most in land transfers.

April 2002:

Legislation on residential redress board enacted,solving the two issues on legal fees and compensation. But only 15 cases have been heard at the investigation committee.

October 2002:

Commission makes a legal determination against a challenge by the Christian Brothers against its ability to publish the names of the dead religious it makes findings against.

November 2002:

Laffoy publishes a framework document proposing a major reorganisation of the commission and seeks extra funding.

December 2002: Government announces major review of commission, stating it could cost up to €200 million and take 10 years. Agrees to interim funding requested by Laffoy, but this is not paid.

January 2003:

Noel Dempsey begins consultation process.

March 2003:

Victims’ groups told by Department of “sampling” proposals. These are rejected. Justice Laffoy holds a public hearing into delays by Department of Education in handing over files. Christian Brothers start High Court challenge on issue of dead members names being made public.

April 2003:

Review proposals rejected by Cabinet as insufficient, and proposals for a second review.

September 2003:

Mr Dempsey announces second review. Judge Laffoy resigns.