March 04, 2005

Piling insult upon injury

One in Four

by Mary Raftery of The Irish Times

As a display of hypocrisy in action on an extraordinary scale, certain events in Kilkenny over the past three decades are in a league of their own.

During the 1970s, the town was the centre of a unique experiment. Led by the local Catholic Church, a progressive scheme was developed to provide State-funded social services to those most in need. It was devised as a possible prototype for the delivery of such services to the entire country, and was at the time universally praised.

In the midst of what became probably the most socially conscious part of the country was an institution called St Joseph's. It was run by the same order of nuns spearheading reform across the county - the Irish Sisters of Charity - and catered in the main for the children of the poor.

The change in attitude towards poverty sweeping the rest of Kilkenny passed St Joseph's by. Its old, industrial-school culture remained largely untouched. Behind the high walls, where its small inmates were incarcerated, we now know that the nuns employed at least three paedophiles to look after a group of about 30 boys.

Posted by kshaw at March 4, 2005 08:52 AM