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Blackrock college abuse revelations

According to the Holy Ghost Order, which runs Blackrock College in Dublin, 57 people have reported being abused on the campus.

It also stated that it had paid more than €5 million in abuse compensation claims and assistance services since 2004. The Order, formally known as the Spiritans, stated that 233 persons had submitted complaints of abuse against 77 Irish Spiritans in ministries across Ireland and abroad.

In connection with Blackrock College, it was said that 57 persons claimed to have been abused on the campus, and the Order has reached settlements with 12 people relating to abuse there, with all settlements being financed by Spiritan congregation resources.

After two siblings talked about the abuse they endured at Blackrock College in the 1970s and early 1980s, the Spiritans in Ireland disclosed the settlement number to RTÉ Radio 1’s Documentary on One programme.

Their story will be carried on RTÉ Radio 1 during the last hour of the Drivetime programme.

Fr. Martin Kelly, the current provincial of the Spiritans, confirmed to RTE that the order had made “multiple monetary contributions” to people who alleged abuse at the hands of Spiritan community members, and that the total amount paid by the Spiritans in settlement of abuse claims and towards support services since 2004 amounted to more than €5 million. Fr. Kelly further stated that the Spiritan congregation has a policy of covering legal bills paid by its members in connection with their legal representation in criminal matters where they do not have the personal funds to do so.

According to RTE, the brothers featured in the show are the first to talk freely about the child sexual abuse they experienced at Blackrock College, when the oldest sibling began his secondary studies in September 1973.

During his first year, one of his professors took a special interest in him and gradually began to sexually abuse him, according to the documentary. He was abused by a Holy Ghost/Spiritual father priest. 

The abuse occurred during private swimming lessons in the school’s pool. Another priest from Blackrock College began to abuse the youngster, who did not report it to anybody.
The documentary will also disclose how this boy’s younger brother was 12 when he was first invited to swimming lessons by the first priest who raped his elder sister on the grounds of Blackrock College, and how he was sexually abused frequently over the following few years.
Until early 2002, when clerical child sex abuse dominated the headlines, neither brother talked of their victimisation. As a result, the brothers revealed their abuse to their parents first and then to one another. They then made statements to An Garda Sochána, which resulted in the filing of various charges against their abuser.

The documentary will also disclose that the Spiritan priest was 82 years old at the time the accusations were filed and still lived on the grounds of Blackrock College. However, he disputed the allegations and filed a court action to halt the criminal proceedings. The criminal prosecution against the brothers’ abusers was discontinued in 2007, and the Holy Ghost priest died in 2010 without ever having faced a trial.

The Spiritans made a general apology in 2012 after being strongly criticised in an audit of child protection practises. This audit also highlighted how serial abusers inside the Spiritans/Holy Ghost Order went unnoticed and unregulated during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, providing them unsupervised access to minors.

Alan MacGinty, principal of Blackrock College, wrote to parents of current students on Monday, noting that the substance of the RTÉ Radio documentary that will air contains “profoundly upsetting” information.

“I am writing to you in conjunction with the RTÉ Radio documentary on One that will air on November 7 about the mistreatment of former students in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.” The issues highlighted in the documentary are profoundly upsetting. My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected.

“It is really regrettable for all of us that such abuse occurred,” Mr. MacGinty remarked.

“Our major concern is the safety and well-being of our kids; be assured that we work diligently, in collaboration throughout the Blackrock/Willow Park Campus, to provide the highest levels of care for our students and staff.” “Our pastoral care team, counsellors, deans, and teaching staff are all accessible to each of our students if they need to talk,” added the principal.

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