Last week Judge Sean Ryan released a report on child abuse in Irish industrial schools and other institutes that was 10 years in the making. Former industrial school children were at the launch in the Conrad hotel near St Stephen's Green but were barred from hearing the judge read a short statement. Considering the judge and the rest of the commission wouldn't answer questions it was a strange decision to have the press conference where no questions were allowed but the victims could be further upset.
The full report is online here. Whatever about the many criticisms victims have about the commission, its final report is a devastating account of the abuse carried out by members of Catholic orders over the last century.
A natural question is "why didn't someone say stop earlier?" From the report it's clear that many did but they were ignored. We focused on Letterfrack last week as even among the other institutes it stands out for the scale of abuse forced on its children.
One of the most incredible stories revealed in the report is that of Noah Kitterick. This man was abused by Christian Brothers from 1924 to 1932 in Letterfrack in Galway. After fighting in World War 2 he began to campaign in Ireland for abusers in industrial schools to be brought to justice. He was convinced that the abuse he suffered was still going on and he wrote letters of warning to Eamon DeVelera, leading Catholic church members and the press but to no avail. The Christian Brothers dismissed him as being on a "blackmail ticket".
Suffering from depression Kitterick killed himself by setting himself on fire in Hampstead Heath in 1967.
Diarmuid Whelan, a historian with UCC, wrote a letter on Friday to the Irish Times (third one down) revealing that Kitterick's real name is Peter Tyrrell. Whelan uncovered Tyrrell's memoir a few years ago and has published them in a book called Founded on Fear. You can only imagine the pain Tyrrell must have suffered by being dismissed as a crank or blackmailer that eventually drove him to such a horrible suicide.
At least now Tyrrell and others have finally been validated by Ryan's report.
Michael O'Brien, on last night's Questions and Answers gave a powerful account of what the abused have been put through by the orders, both while in their schools and when under questioning by their lawyers at the commission.
Testimony like that is likely to force the hand of the congregations to offer more compensation than was agreed in that 2002 deal with Michael Woods.