-- THE ARCHIVE --
Reformatory CP - January 2006
Corpun file 17243
Irish Examiner, Cork, 10 January 2006
Four industrial school pupils made sex abuse claims
Four people who attended an industrial school in Galway have
complained of suffering sexual abuse, it emerged tonight.
St Joseph’s Industrial School in Clifden was run by the
Sisters of Mercy until 1983 but no nun was involved in the
The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse heard that two sisters
who attended the school had complained that they had been taken
from their beds and forces to engage in inappropriate touching by
an unknown woman.
Sister Margaret Casey said there was a sharp divergence in
views of St Joseph’s, which was responsible for up to 100
children at its peak in the 1950s.
The complainants saw it as a cruel place where children were
abused on an almost daily basis, while her order saw it as a
place where a small number of well intentioned adults had tried
to cope with a large number of vulnerable children without
intending to cause any deliberate harm.
Sister Casey, who is the leader of the order’s Western
Province, said that the nuns and staff at the school had lacked
resources and training.
The sisters used corporal punishment at
the school to maintain discipline and this involved slapping
pupils with the hand, cane, flat stick or ruler.
In 1980, a social worker was alerted to a girl at the school who
had marks on her buttocks from a beating with a wooden spoon.
The Western Health Board carried out an investigation and the
girl was moved to another school, but the fate of the staff
member was not revealed.
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