Christian Brothers drop threat of legal action against Limerick abuse survivor

Threat arose over the legal ownership of documents from the Industrial School in Glin

Norma Prendiville


Norma Prendiville


Christian Brothers drop threat of legal action against Limerick abuse survivor

Abusive survivor Tom Wall lodged the documents with UL two years ago

THE Christian Brothers have dropped the threat of legal action against abuse survivor Tom Wall of Glin, Fianna Fail TD Niall Collins confirmed this Thursday.

The threat arose over the legal ownership of documents saved from a fire by Tom Wall at the Industrial School in Glin in 1973 and lodged with UL two years ago.

Now, Deputy Collins said, the Christian Brothers had confirmed to him that they would be “satisfied with copies of the documents” and had “no interest in engaging in legal action”.

Deputy Collins raised the issue of the documents in the Dail on Wednesday where he claimed the documents “effectively sold into slavery” some of the boys sent to Glin.

Holding up a document, he said it was “effectively a contract for sale under which boys were sold out of the industrial school into the labour market”.

The documents, he explained, included health reports, referral  letters from the Courts Service, education referral letters from the Department of Education and letters written by the boys but not posted. And he asked Education Minister Richard Bruton to take possession of the documents and to meet Mr Wall.

Mr Wall revealed in the Limerick Leader last week that no agreement could be reached with the Christian Brothers over the documents. He had no problem with giving copies of the original documents to the Christian Brothers for their archive, he explained, but he made clear he did not want the originals to be lodged with them as he feared they would be destroyed.

In his statement released last night, Deputy Collins said that after he had raised the matter in the Dail he had received an email from the Christian Brothers “outlining and clarifying their latest position”. He subsequently spoke to the head of the European Province of the Congregation of Christian Brothers, Br Edmund Garvey who “ confirmed to me that he will be satisfied with copies of the documents and further stated that he has no interest in engaging in legal action.”

“This being the case its is a welcome change in their position and hopefully the matter will soon he settled to the satisfaction of all,” Deputy Collins said.

He now understood that these points would be conveyed to Mr Wall.

In his email to Deputy Collins, which was seen by the Limerick Leader, Br Garvey claimed that their position on the matter of the documents was “substantially different from what you have have read in media coverage.”

"The European Province of Christian Brothers neither had nor has any vested interest in seeking the return of the Glin documentation for any reason save to ensure that our archives are as complete as possible as the documentation contains important family history which we believe would be helpful in assisting any inquiries from former residents.”

The Limerick Leader contacted Br Garvey about Mr Wall’s statements  last week but was told they did not wish to comment.