Ryan Report detailed ‘climate of fear’ at school

Thomas Pollock was one of 29 former residents of St Joseph’s, Ferryhouse, who gave evidence of the abuse they suffered at the industrial school to the Ryan Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.

Thomas Pollock was one of 29 former residents of St Joseph’s, Ferryhouse, who gave evidence of the abuse they suffered at the industrial school to the Ryan Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.

The Ryan Commission published in May, 2009 its shocking report detailing the sexual, physical and emotional abuse of children in the care of Irish institutions and one chapter is devoted to St Joseph’s Ferryhouse.

The Ryan Report concluded that sexual abuse by brothers was a “chronic” and “systemic” problem at St Joseph’s and complainant witnesses from every era from the 1940s onwards testified about the sexual abuse of children there.

In relation to physical abuse, the Report concluded that the use of corporal punishment at Ferryhouse was “pervasive, excessive, unpredictable” and created a climate of fear that was emotionally harmful to the boys.

Thomas received written apologies from the Rosminian Order in September 2009 and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin last year for the physical, sexual and emotional abuses he suffered in St Joseph’s while in the care of the Catholic Church.

“They were appalling acts of abuse which no child should suffer,” said Fr Joseph O’Reilly, Provincial of the Rosminian Order in his letter of apology to Thomas.