Abuses Detailed At Irish ‘Faith-Based’ Schools

A new report released in May details thousands of crimes committed by members of 18 Catholic religious orders against minors at “faith-based” child care facilities over six decades in Ireland.

The 2,600-page Ryan report describes the physical, sexual and emotional violence committed against thousands of youngsters who lived in 216 residential schools funded by the government but run by the church between 1930 and 1990.

Schools were operated “in a severe, regimented manner that imposed unreasonable and oppressive discipline on children and even staff,” the report stated. Children “lived with the daily terror of not knowing where the next beating was coming from.”

The report’s findings, which prove that abuse was “endemic,” increases pressure on the Irish government to seek higher compensation for the victims. A 2002 deal capped the religious orders’ contribution to a redress fund for these victims at €127 million ($177 million).

Children’s rights campaigners have called the amount “laughable” and “totally unjust.”

Ireland’s Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe told the Irish Times that “the amount of money that they made available is not sufficient and that they will have to make available substantially more money.”

The names of the victims, as well as the perpetrators, have remained confidential in the report due to a 2004 lawsuit filed by one order, the Christian Brothers. The findings will not be used for criminal prosecutions.