- 07 Mar 23
The news follows RTÉ‘s harrowing Blackrock Boys documentary on sexual abuse in the Dublin school by priests in the Spiritan Congregation.
Norma Foley, the Minister for Education, is expected to announce an investigation into allegations of historical sexual abuse in religious order schools in this country.
Foley is about to present Cabinet with proposals for a survivor-led scoping enquiry. Last month, the Department of Education stated how important it is that survivors know that there will be "a serious response."
The Department said that the Government was considering how this could best be achieved "having regard to the ongoing garda investigation and wishes of survivors".
RTÉ Doc on One aired a report about two brothers who spoke of being sexually assaulted on the Blackrock College campus last November. This is one of the schools run by the Spiritan (formerly Holy Ghost) Congregation.
Mark Ryan, one of the two brothers who detailed sexual abuse as children, said he was relieved to hear about the scoping investigation. Mr. Ryan said he thought it was a good thing and that Minister Foley was sincere.
"You're a chameleon – you're not telling the truth to people."
Mark Ryan spoke to @MiriamOCal about the toll the sexual abuse he suffered as a child in Blackrock College has taken on him. #rtept pic.twitter.com/3MBU7iLd9Q
— RTÉ One (@RTEOne) November 15, 2022
Minister Foley had called him and his brother and informed them of the impending announcement, he said.
In the interview with RTÉ‘s News at One, he said: "I think it's important that my story is heard properly and it's recorded correctly. It's not just historic abuse, I am still going through recall. I am remembering more, there's hurt, there's pain, there's sadness. It's ongoing."
"It touches me every single day. I speak to more people. It‘s the same story with them. It‘s opened up wounds, but I do think that this inquiry will help these wound heal," adding that he believes that the Government is taking the issue "very seriously."
"I am delighted that this is happening. I think the minister and the Department of Education and others are taking this very seriously. They've spoken to lots of individuals up to this point and now they're taking an official scoping exercise from what I can see and that is very good, to get more people involved before an actual inquiry."
Through the documentary, he sees more people coming forward to report the abuse.
"I think it was known in Irish society that there was abuse in schools, but not to the extent that has come out now and there's more to come out."
By mid-February last year, An Garda Síochána had received over 131 contacts through the Garda National Protective Services Bureau's Sexual Crime Management Unit Office and local Garda stations across the country.
According to Garda, the majority of contacts came from victims, but also from witnesses to abuse and those acting on their behalf.
In addition to apologising to victims, the Spiritan Congregation launched a restorative justice programme for abused survivors last November. The programme allows affected pupils to talk about their experiences with independent experts.
- Film & TV
- 16 Aug 22