Children used as a cash crop by Sisters of No Mercy…

I find this statement from the sisters of mercy very odd, they say that rosary bead-making began in the early 1950s and ended prior to 1970, I was in Goldenbridge in 1981 and rosary bead making was BOOMING. I will testify to this in a Court of Law. No hearsay statements here.

Children used as a cash crop by schools
Eilish O’Regan Health Correspondent
May 22 2009 04:45 AM.

Children in industrial schools were forced to work on farms, make rosary beads and become involved in trades from carpentry to shoemaking to make money.

The Artane Boys’ Band, a feature of All Ireland Finals in Croke Park for many years, was listed among the school’s sources of income, according to the report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.

The income for the Artane school in 1950 was equivalent to €64,452. The value of produce from its 352-acre farm that year was €12,269. During the period 1950-59 the school achieved a surplus equivalent to €29,214 in today’s money.

The sums emerged in an investigation by the commission which showed that — contrary to the belief schools were under-resourced — they received capitation grants and also ran substantial in-house industries.

There is evidence that Artane Industrial School was vastly overstaffed by 1957, prompting an inspector to remark that almost 45pc of the grant money received went on its wages bill.

In Goldenbridge Convent in Dublin, run by the Sisters of Mercy, bead-making began in the early 1950s and ended prior to 1970. Children made “decades” of beads — stringing beads on to a wire using a pliers.
Quotas were imposed in order to the meet the requirements of their contracts with two companies. Each child had a quota of 60 decades a day.

On occasion the children worked six days a week making the beads. The commission believed the income generated was significant because it contributed to the purchase of a property in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow, in 1952, to be used by the children during holidays.

In St Conleth’s Reformatory School in Daingean, Co Offaly, the Oblate Order sold land to the State and paid for improvements to buildings. Some of the money was used to buy an estate in Piltown, Co Kilkenny, for the purpose of housing the order’s training college.

“Activities in the school included tailoring, shoemaking, woodwork, farmwork, working on bogs,” the report said.
The school generated a surplus over the 1950s.
Some religious orders took issue with some of the conclusions about their finances made in the Mazars report.

The Christian Brothers who ran Artane said the school incurred losses, while the Sisters of Mercy rejected accusations they ran industrial schools to generate a surplus.


The Sisters of Mercy Have a disorder called Pathological Lying….


Thu, May 6, 2004, 01:00

Abuse victims welcome apology by nuns.

Representatives of people abused as children in institutions run by religious orders have reacted positively to a statement by Sisters of Mercy.

Representatives of people abused as children in institutions run by religious orders have reacted positively to a statement by the Sisters of Mercy yesterday. Patsy McGarry, Religious Affairs Correspondent reports
Sisters Breege O’Neill, Mary Reynolds, and Mary Conway, of the congregation’s leadership team, accepted “unreservedly” that many who had spent their childhood in their institutions had been “hurt and damaged while in our care”.

They said that “we believe that you suffered physical and emotional trauma.

“We have in the past publicly apologised to you. We know that you heard our apology then as conditional and less than complete.

“Now, without reservation, we apologise unconditionally to each and every one of you for the suffering we have caused.”

Ms Christine Buckley, whose experiences at Dublin’s Goldenbridge orphanage, run by Mercy nuns, featured in RTÉ’s 1996 programme Dear Daughter, said last night the Sisters of Mercy “should be congratulated” on the apology and for accepting they had caused suffering to former residents. “Most importantly, they have believed us,” she said. The response at the Aislinn victims’ centre in Dublin yesterday had been “phenomenal”, “very, very positive,” she said, while the reaction from people phoning her home had been “fantastic”.

There was “a great sense of pride” that what former residents had been saying all along about what they had suffered in the institutions was being acknowledged.

One woman at the centre said “I don’t drink, but I’m going to buy myself champagne today.”

Another, Ms Mary Lawlor, said she had been telling her story since 1961 and, while she knew her counsellors believed her, “nothing compares to this day. It has to be the best day of my life”.

However, still others at the centre, who were in institutions run by other congregations, were “quite upset”.

Ms Buckley remarked it must have been “extremely hard” for the Mercy nuns to make such an apology and to accept blame. But she called on other congregations to “follow the same path so we can all put closure to this”. For her, personally, the ultimate in her healing process would be to meet her abuser, so she could understand why. She felt it might also be good for the nun concerned.

The One in Four group commended “the courage and vision” of the Mercy Sisters, “and the unambiguous nature” of their apology.

The Let Our Voices Emerge group, which has alleged false allegations on a major scale were being made against religious orders who ran the institutions, said yesterday “the Sisters have not admitted to any allegations of abuse today, nor would they have the right to do so”.

The group expressed concern “that the Sisters we know who have been falsely accused would not be fully protected as part of this initiative.”


On behalf of the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy we, the Central Leadership Team, wish to say to all those who as children lived in our Orphanages/Industrial schools:

We accept unreservedly that many of you who spent your childhoods in Orphanages/Industrial schools run by our Congregation were hurt and damaged while in our care. We believe that you suffered physical and emotional trauma.

We have in the past publicly apologised to you. We know that you heard our apology then as conditional and less than complete. Now without reservation we apologise unconditionally to each one of you for the suffering we have caused.

We express our heartfelt sorrow and ask your forgiveness. We ask forgiveness for our failure to care for you and protect you in the past and for our failure to hear you in the present.
We are distressed by our failures. We have been earnestly searching to find a way to bring about healing. We need your help to do this.

We recognise that this statement may be considered too little too late. We make it in the hope that it will be a further step in the long process of healing the pain that we as a Congregation have caused.

Finally we failed those sisters in our Congregation whom we put in the situation of caring for you without adequate supports or resources. For that too we apologise and take responsibility.

We can be contacted in any of the following ways:
Free phone number 1800 321 123 from May 9th to June 9th – Mon/Tues/Wed from 5-8 p.m.

Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy, 13/14 Moyle Park, Clondalkin, Dublin 22.

The Sisters of Mercy have denied there was “any deliberate, severe injury to anybody” at St Vincent’s industrial school in Goldenbridge…

Sisters of Mercy deny claim of abuse at school
The Sisters of Mercy have denied there was “any deliberate, severe injury to anybody” at St Vincent’s industrial school in Goldenbridge…
Patsy McGarry
Tue, May 16, 2006, 01:00

The Sisters of Mercy have denied there was “any deliberate, severe injury to anybody” at St Vincent’s industrial school in Goldenbridge…

The Sisters of Mercy have denied there was “any deliberate, severe injury to anybody” at St Vincent’s industrial school in Goldenbridge, Dublin which they ran.
They also insisted the food there was always adequate, and progressed from being adequate to being varied and appetising, the investigation committee of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse was told yesterday.
As the committee’s phase III public hearings continued, Sr Helena O’Donoghue, leader of the Sisters of Mercy south central province, said the order denied that any child at Goldenbridge was referred to by number. “Every child was known by their own name,” she said, “numbers were used for laundry purposes only”.

Water was available, though it was curtailed after tea time where bed-wetting children were concerned, she said. After 1944 all the reports on medical care of children were very positive, she added.

She had great difficulty with the way Goldenbridge had been “vilified” and some senior staff there had been “vilified personally” in the media. “I do believe Goldenbridge was a reasonably well-run school,” she said, and that the phrase (well run) had been used 25 times in inspection reports.

Because of media coverage, the Mercy congregation was concerned that an examination of what took place at Goldenbridge be undertaken by a competent body such as the commission inquiry. She said that all five children who died at the school did so from natural causes.

She was satisfied all the deaths can be explained. As regards burn marks on the body of one child, who had been at Goldenbridge for two days, she knew from other sources the burn was accidental. She later agreed this information came to her via the redress board which precludes further disclosure.

She did not accept an observation by Sr Fabian, a former resident manager at Goldenbridge, that the general ethos had been “excessively and generally cruel even by the standards of the time” during the period when a predecessor, Sr Bernadine, ran Goldenbridge up to 1954.

Sr Fabian was quoted in a report into Goldenbridge commissioned by Sr O’Donoghue in 1995 and discovered to the committee.
In that report, Sr Fabian characterised Sr Bernadine as “a hard and rigid woman”, as “a paranoid schizophrenic” who “established a reign of terror”. She (Sr Bernadine) was described in the same report by Sr Xaviera, successor to Sr Fabian, as “a harsh, aggressive, and unpredictable personality”.

Sr O’Donoghue said neither Sr Fabian or Sr Xaviera was happy with how their interviews were reported by Jer Crowley, who conducted the inquiry which led to the report. His report of their interviews remained to be tested, she said.
As to why the Sisters of Mercy had apologised to former residents, she said they accepted that “like anywhere else, children suffered pain and hurt was not averted.”

Abuse commission told nun ‘vilified’ Questions remain unanswered.

Sr Xavieria Lally of the Goldenbridge industrial school in Dublin, had been “demonised and vilified” over the past decade, with this “accepted in the public domain as fact”, Sr Helena O’Donoghue of the Sisters of Mercy told the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse yesterday.

The nuns’ denials that children in the industrial school were “abused in a horrific way” had been “almost completely ignored”, she said.

Sr O’Donoghue, provincial leader of the south central province of the Sisters of Mercy congregation, was giving evidence to the commission’s investigation committee, which held a public hearing on St Vincent’s industrial school, Goldenbridge, yesterday. Proceedings on the school go into private session from Friday, until April 27th.

Sr O’Donoghue noted that,despite Garda investigation of complaints made after the 1996 Dear Daughter programme on Goldenbridge was broadcast, no criminal charges were brought.

The allegations of child abuse there “was a source of deep shock to us”, she said, and led to the congregation’s first apology in February 1996, for pain and hurt suffered. The congregation apologised again in May 2004.

“I reiterate those apologies. There were many aspects of Goldenbridge we deeply regret, but there were some serious, extraordinary allegations, especially as regards Sr Xavieria, which we do not, we cannot accept as correct – allegations of extreme physical punishment, starvation, malnourishment, or any child dead due to mistreatment,” she said.

Sr O’Donoghue was concerned such allegations appeared to have been accepted by the court of public opinion without any apparent examination.

From the 1940s there were 185 children at the school at any one time, with a staff ratio of one to every 30+ children round the clock. There was no training in childcare and the capitation system made it financially difficult. The regimental style with which the school was run emphasised conformity and relied on corporal punishment to maintain discipline. Sr O’Donoghue deeply regretted in particular the use of such punishment on children with bed-wetting problems.

She recalled the “particular bitterness of some former residents” where the practice of making rosary beads was concerned. Between 4pm and 6pm on weekdays, the children had to assemble 60 decades each, a quota which was to be completed after tea if not done before. She was unable to say whether the children were punished if they did not meet their quota.

She recalled there had been a small number of sex-abuse complaints, with just one definite. It concerned a groundsman who was complained of by one of the girls in 1962. The gardaí were informed by Sr Xavieria. The man was prosecuted and dismissed from his job.

Prior to Dear Daughter the congregation employed a childcare expert to look at complaints who, following preliminary investigation, found them “broadly credible”. It had also found that the regime (at Goldenbridge) was inadequate and did not meet the basic needs of the children.

There was no evidence of any complaints in the school archive, which Sr O’Donoghue said was “minimal” and she could not explain why there were no punishment books extant there, despite legislation prescribing these should be kept.

Inspectorate reports from the Department of Education, as discovered from Department files, were “consistently positive” from 1945, she said.

Senior counsel for the former residents John Rogers failed to secure an assurance from Mr Justice Seán Ryan that they would have a guaranteed opportunity to challenge Sr O’Donoghue’s comments on the allegations in the third phase of these proceedings.

Nor was he allowed introduce details from the 1996 report commissioned by the Sisters of Mercy, though it was agreed Sr O’Donoghue might be asked whether she accepted the report. She said she did, within its limitations.

Sister Act

Profile: ‘Formidable’ is a recurring word used to describe the two sisters who drove the religious orders’ compensation deal…

Profile: ‘Formidable’ is a recurring word used to describe the two sisters who drove the religious orders’ compensation deal with the State for child abuse victims, writes Patsy McGarry, Religious Affairs Correspondent
At the end of the Falklands war the then US president Ronald Reagan is reported to have said of Britain’s prime minister Margaret Thatcher that she was “the best man in England”.
When discussing Sister Elizabeth Maxwell and Sister Helena O’Donoghue this week a public service source, who has dealt with both nuns as well as other senior clergy over many years, echoed President Reagan’s sentiments.
Both nuns, accompanied by alternating religious Brothers and alternating lawyers, successfully isolated a Government minister and his secretary-general from the entire panoply of State and secured from them on January 31st, 2002 a deal in principle (later, in fact) that is increasingly seen in “shock and awe” terms.
According to this week’s Comptroller and Auditor General’s report, the 18 religious congregations for whom the nuns negotiated succeeded in contributing just €128 million (in cash and property) to a compensation deal for victims of abuse in residential institutions they ran, a deal which may yet cost the State between €887 million and €1 billion. Not just that, they also secured an indemnity from the State where all relevant future claims are concerned. How did they do it?
Yes, both nuns were advised, and sometimes accompanied, by a strong legal team, including Donal O’Donnell SC and four lawyers from Arthur Cox & Co solicitors. But, all sides agree, the sisters drove the deal.
It is a “nuns’ story” with a difference – and as far from the demure ways of an Audrey Hepburn as the innocence of the days when The Nun’s Story was showing in cinemas around the world.
“Formidable” is a word consistently used when talking to people about the sisters – both by those who admire them and those who do not. And both views centre on the same qualities of character.

The public service source above is an admirer. Witnessing the nuns in negotiations he developed “a high degree of respect” for both. Sister Maxwell played the role of facilitator, he recalled. She charmed, while Sister O’Donoghue did most of the negotiating, alongside their senior counsel.
They were “very strong women with a very strong sense of their mission”. In difficult circumstances, they wanted things to happen and so kept the ball in play. They were “very honest, honourable” and “played a long game”, possibly reflecting that pain today could mean gain tomorrow.
But among their fellow religious the knives are well and truly out for the good sisters. And in that sometimes pious world, so heavily nuanced that character assassination is often by a thousand “buts”, there are few “buts” where the sisters are concerned. Just rage.
Such a rage is heading in their direction. It seems already to have swept aside much of that great Christian bulwark, charity.
The rage is rooted in one very simple statistic. There are 130-plus religious organisations affiliated to the Conference of Religious of Ireland (CORI). Just 18 of them were involved in residential institutions and negotiations with Government. They signed the deal, not as CORI, but as themselves individually. But “CORI” is all over the deal publicly. And it is argued by their critics that CORI, as CORI, need never have been involved at all.
Sister O’Donoghue represented one of those 18 congregations, the Sisters of Mercy. She was also on the executive of CORI. Sister Maxwell was CORI’s secretary- general.
Some congregation members argue that Sister Maxwell had no necessary role in the negotiations. They question whether she had considered the implications, for other uninvolved congregations, of CORI’s secretary-general being one of the negotiators.

This allowed CORI to be perceived in the public arena as an organisation connected with abusers. “It was crazy,” says a source.

“Neither appears to recognise the damage [being done] to CORI. There is huge anger towards her [Sister Maxwell] among quite a number of religious.”
For her part Sister Maxwell has insisted repeatedly that she attended the negotiations as a facilitator, as borne out by the public service source. She also points out that the 18 congregations in the front line are CORI members too and that as secretary general she was obliged to offer them such assistance.
Few queried Sister O’Donoghue’s presence on the negotiating team as she represented the Mercy Order, one of the largest of the 18 congregations involved.

She was described as “very assured of her own convictions” but has been criticised in the past by some congregation members for her response to Christine Buckley, who was abused in Goldenbridge orphanage, which was run by the Mercy Order.
According to Ms Buckley, she had a very emotional meeting with Sister O’Donoghue following a Gay Byrne Show item in December 1992. Later meetings were postponed by the nun several times.
Ms Buckley was contacted again by Sister O’Donoghue prior to the broadcasting of the Dear Daughter documentary on RTÉ in February 1996 and was sent to see another nun in Inchicore, beside Goldenbridge.

That nun offered to counsel 11 former Goldenbridge residents Ms Buckley was representing, across the road from the former orphanage, for 12 sessions each. How could they be expected to go for counselling “in the shadow of that Alcatraz”, asks Ms Buckley. The offer was not accepted and Ms Buckley has had no contact with Sister O’Donoghue since.
Both Sister Maxwell and Sister O’Donoghue completed their full terms of office with CORI this summer.

Sister O’Donoghue, from Co Clare, whose signature was the first congregation leader’s on the deal with the Government, has just returned from Kenya, where she was attending a meeting of Mercy Sisters from around the world. She is head of the Order’s south central province here in Ireland. Before that, she was head of the Mercy Order in Killaloe diocese, before it was reorganised on a national, as opposed to a diocesan, basis. She was also president of CORI for two terms.

Sister Maxwell, from Co Carlow, is the elected leader of the Presentation Sisters’ northern province, a post she assumed recently. In May 2002 she recalled, in this newspaper, how she went to an all-Irish boarding-school for girls, Our Lady of Victories in Mountmellick, Co Laois.

She remembered that teachers there, lay and religious, “didn’t believe in the concept of the glass ceiling. They never thought there was anything preventing women from advancement in their careers, and so they encouraged us to excellence”.
She wasn’t “a goody-goody”. To illustrate this, she recalled that “when I broached the subject of joining the Presentation Sisters I was dismissed by the superior, who said:

‘You’re much more likely to go to college and get married in your first year.’ To this day, I still don’t know why she didn’t encourage me, but I did go to the noviciate after my Leaving Cert and 45 years later I’m here still. So she was either mistaken, or a very good strategist.”

Those who have had dealings with both women in a more neutral capacity down the years can vouch for the infectious charm of Sister Maxwell and the doughty character of Sister O’Donoghue. And indeed for the “formidable” tag appended to both. But generally more in admiration than as a criticism.

The Nuns’ File
Who are they?
The chief negotiators of the €128 million indemnity deal agreed between the Government and 18 religious congregations towards a State compensation scheme for victims of abuse in residential institutions run by the same 18 congregations.

Why are they in the news?
The Comptroller and Auditor General John Purcell reported this week that the compensation scheme could cost the State as much as €1 billion.
Most appealing characteristics
Velvet gloves.
Least appealing characteristics
Steel hands.