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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 alleged abuse.

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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