Monday, July 3, 2023

Brother Maurice Kirk and I [Part 3] - The Novitiate Years



The following extracts are taken from the booklet 

Brother Maurice Kirk F.S.C. (1928-1974) 

written by 

Brother Lawrence O'Toole F.S.C., the then world-wide head of the De La Salle Brothers, shortly after the death of  Brother Maurice in 1974





Among the many tributes which were paid to Brother Maurice after his death, one in particular, it seems to me, fitted him very aptly: "He was a man in a hurry. I do not know if he had any premonition that his allotted time was short, but he packed into a few years what many of us would regard as the work of a lifetime. He never seemed to cease and lived at a frenetic pace". The service which Brother Maurice rendered the Province will continue to bear fruit for years to come. One thing alone mattered for him - the promotion of God's kingdom. This was his driving force in his direction of the Province, in his work for education and in his dealings with others. Everything else took second place.  And how he worked for that end! Innumerable hours of discussion and consultation, long tiring journeys for meetings and late hours at his desk were all accepted with a cheerful smile. He was a most selfless man.  But while his great service to Christian education will long be remembered, those who knew him really well will remember him especially as a religious of deep Christian faith. Whether as confreres or friends we thank God for the example of his life. This booklet will serve to keep his memory fresh.


- Brother Columba, f.s.c., Provincial.


On his return from the Second Novitiate Br. Maurice found himself appointed sub-Director of the novitiate in Castletown. Two years later [in 1965] he assumed the succession on the retirement of Brother Oswin and was Director of Novices for three years. As was to be expected he took his onerous position very seriously. The old Rule of Government was still in force and its twenty-five pages of minute instructions on the role, the importance and the duties of the master of novices left nothing to caprice or whim. When St. de La Salle decided that, if the apostolate of the Christian education of the children of the poor and the working-class was to have any permanence, the schoolmasters should become a religious congregation, he would have no half-measures, but planked down his new foundation in the full mid--stream of monastic tradition, with all the customary trappings  of religious life. The Common Rules and the Meditations for Sundays and Festivals leave no doubt as to the seriousness with which the Founder treated the religious character of his Brothers. Thus, in his meditation for the feast of St.  Peter Celestine he says “Though you are required by Almighty God to devote your attention to exterior things, and you can find therein the means of sanctifying yourself, you must be careful not to lose the desire and love of retirement. So arrange things, therefore, that when you are no longer required outside, you may retire at once to your community, as to your chosen dwelling, and find your consolation in the assiduous performance of your spiritual exercises." And for the feast of St. Paulinus he tells the Brothers "You, too have renounced exteriorly the world and all that men most prize. Make sure that this renunciation is also interior and leads you to complete detachment." And for the Feast of St. Benedict "By the Holy Rule and his own well-regulated and saintly life he drew a great many souls to God by separating them from the world and from conversation with seculars in order that they might converse with God alone. This, indeed, is one of the greatest benefits we can enjoy in this world and the most effectual means by which we can give ourselves to God.  The  greater your  regularity, the closer you will approach the perfection of your state and the less you converse with men, the more will .  communicate Himself to you."

Some ten years ago it became the fashion to blame St. John Baptist de La Salle [1651 - 1719] for imposing the monastic pattern on his Institute of schoolteachers; good Catholic schoolmasters is what they were intended to be, not monks. It was even hinted that the imposition of the religious character on the first Brothers was little more than a trick on the part of the founder, to ensure that they would stay on the job and work without pay! But for three hundred years the Brothers have always thought of themselves as primarily religious, "monks" even. The whole framework of their life was monastic and the main purpose of the novitiate was to train the young aspirants in all the traditional disciplines of the religious life: prayer, asceticism, silence, recollection, the following of Christ. Into this pattern the apostolate of the schoolroom was incorporated and indeed so impregnated was the activity in the classroom with prayer, pauses to recall the presence of God, reflections and instructions on the Christian life, that it reinforced rather than hindered the distinctly religious life of the Brothers.

It was against this traditional background that Br. Maurice saw his function as Director of Novices. "The ideal he set before us" says one of his novices "was based very much on the old Rule. He expected us to live up to the spirit and letter of that Rule. In his conferences he outlined, explained and discussed the vocation of the De La Salle Brother. His own standards were high and he showed the way.  He was always available,  always  conscious of his responsibilities,  always  there to help. He treated us as individuals, knew each one of us, our weaknesses and our good points. He never demanded confessions or manifestations of conscience; one was always free to express or withhold one's private thoughts and feelings, but he always listened when one confided in him.

"He was hard to make out at times. There seemed to be two sides to him. To some he seemed severe, demanding, annoying. Yet he swam with us in the Nore, played soccer with us on the 'new pitch' and hurling and Gaelic football in the High Field. He could laugh, joke, enjoy music or a good book. He brought the novices to Dublin to see the film ‘The Sound of Music', something unheard of in those days! For my part I liked him and felt close to him".

Others of his novices concur with the views expressed above. He was, they say, very serious and gave the impression of an austere and perfect religious, a model in every way. His habitual attitude inspired respect but not everybody was attracted by it. He insisted on an exact observance of the Rule, even in minutiae, - not crossing one's feet, custody of the eyes, silence, proper decorum, and in his conferences he frequently castigated and carelessness or laissez-aller in these matters. It was while he was in charge of the novitiate that the momentous Chapter of 1966 scrapped the Holy Founder's Rule and substituted one that was considered more relevant to actual conditions today. Brother Maurice accepted loyally the decisions of the General Chapter, but pointed out that in the interpretation of the new Rule the centuries old traditions of the Institute had to be taken into account and that there had to be some continuity between the old and the new.

He was strong on 'professionalism', insisting that both as religious and Christian educators, the Brothers had to be at the top of their profession and that fourth of fifth-rate performance was not good enough. One felt this professional conscience in his own dedicated approach to his work. He was never slovenly, never gave the impression of making up as he went along or playing merely 'by ear; all instructions were carefully prepared. He insisted on clear elocution and intelligent reading. Manual labour had to be done thoroughly and intelligently. The novitiate grounds and flower-garden were 'kept in such a way that the novices could always be proud to show them off.

After Brother Oswin, phlegmatic in character, unflappable and unexcitable, Br. Maurice sometimes gave the impression of tenseness. He was definitely a perfectionist and suffered accordingly from any form of slipshodness or slovenliness. This did not make life easy for the easy-going and inevitably there was some grumbling.

In his conferences Br. Maurice was uncompromising but in reddition he was prepared to make the necessary allowances in the application of general principles to individual cases. He was very kind and understanding in these intimate talks with his novices.

When the Director perceived that a novice was not responding to the opportunities and graces of the novitiate, he prayed, considered and studied the situation and then came to  a  firm  decision.  He declared that he never regretted the dismissal of a novice since it was never something precipitate but the fruit of prayer and reflection.

Br. Maurice attached great importance to a thorough grounding in Christian Doctrine, not to say 'theology'. Every morning, both as Sub-Director and as Director, he gave a lesson on the subjects a lesson that was always thoroughly prepared. Then he would divide the novices into groups to discuss a particular aspect of the subject being treated and very now and again the fruits of these discussions were edited, polycopied and sent round to the communities. When the Council documents began to appear, each novice was given copies of them and was asked to make a particular study of one or other of them.

On free days and holidays no one could be more cheerful than the Director of Novices. At Christmas time the novices were given two weeks ‘vacation’, during which duties were reduced to a minimum and there was plenty of time for recreation and healthy relaxation. Picnic days were really enjoyable and on these occasions the novices were permitted to wander where they pleased. He particularly loved the traditional outing to Glandine, 'the mountains', and never failed to climb Arderin. On one such outing, when, like the novices he was in his shirt-sleeves, a novice, mistaking him for one of his chums, playfully tweaked his braces, only to find that it was no novice, but the Director himself, who turned round with a look that said very clearly "We are not amused!"

For the postulants Br. Maurice showed special consideration. He eased them gradually into the full novitiate programme. Every afternoon they were allowed to play a game and they were given extra time for recreation. A special series of instructions prepared them for the reception of the habit and novitiate proper.

The testimony of Br. Maurice's sub-Director during those years can fittingly close these considerations on him as Master of Novices. "When Br. Maurice became Director of the Novitiate in 1965”, he writes "I took his place as sub-Director. He took his work very seriously and tolerated no nonsense. Like so many people from North of the Boyne he was straight in his dealings with people and expected them to Act in like manner. His view was that a good, solid formation during the novitiate was essential for a novice's future life. He spent any free time he could dispose of preparing his conferences or reading up-to-date spiritual books and magazines.  He purchased for the novitiate libraries quite a number of modern spiritual books.

"He was very kind and considerate towards the Brothers of the novitiate staff as indeed also towards the novices. If a novice seemed to be off colour, he would be told to go to the refectory at eleven o'clock where he would find a jug of milk from which to drink. He believed a lot in games as a means of keeping young people fit."

PROVINCIAL VISITOR: [Head of Irish Province]

In 1968 Brother Maurice found himself suddenly lifted from the pleasant if arduous environment of the novitiate in Castletown and faced with a formidable responsibility through his election by the District Chapter as Provincial Visitor, to succeed Br.  Aloysius, the Brother who had brought him to Castletown in 1942. It was the first time the District was allowed, following the decisions of the General Chapter of 1966, to choose its Visitor. Br. Maurice's election was an extraordinary sign of confidence. At the age of forty he represented, it is true, the younger element of the Province, but considering how comparatively short a time he had spent in communities in Ireland, and the fact that he had never been a Director in an ordinary community, his election came as a surprise to many. His predecessor as Provincial had filled that office for a record twenty-one years and had built up a District that was amongst the most prosperous in the Institute, with over five hundred Brothers and forty-seven communities. The succession was made all the more difficult by reason of the particular circumstances of the moment of time in which Br. Maurice assumed office.

Br. Maurice took the government of the District in hand at a time of profound change and even disarray.  For multiple reasons the period since the end of the Second Vatican Council has been one of almost catastrophic decline in religious congregations all over the world. In the heady euphoria of liberation that followed the Council and the General Chapters of the various religious orders subsequent to it, there was a general tendency to throw out the baby with the bath-water and the ‘Fais-ce que veux’ of Rabelais’s abbey of Theleme became the general slogan. The results were disastrous: massive defections, the drying up of vocations and a loss of a sense of direction.

Ireland, it is true, reacted more slowly to the Conciliar emancipation than most other countries and the Irish District of the De La Salle Brothers escaped in the Main the polarisations that occurred in so many other provinces of the Institute. Nevertheless, the uncertainty of the whole situation, the universal questioning of so many traditionally accepted truths and practices, the disarray of the Church at large and   permissiveness and moral latitudinarianism characteristic of our time, led to numerous defections and to an alarming falling off in the numbers of vocations to the Brotherhood. The relevance of the Brother's vocation was increasingly called into question; even Brothers long in the Institute suffered an ‘identity crisis'.  All this presented the new Visitor with a formidable challenge. For the first year of his 'reign' he had at least the experience and wisdom of the Auxiliary Visitor, Br. Oliver, to fall back on, but with the sudden death of the latter on October 4, 1969, he was left entirely on his own, at least until a successor to Br. Oliver was eventually chosen. Moreover, in addition to the problems concerning religious life he had to cope with new trends in education and startling new initiatives on the part of the Department of Education, out to rationalise and modernise a rather chaotic school situation. Quite quickly he got caught up in a battle with the Department, not only in defence of his own De La Salle schools, but all the schools run by religious congregations. In 1971 he was chosen as spokesman on educational matters by the educational sub-committee of the Commission of Major Religious Superiors of Ireland. He spoke particularly for the many convent schools, not all well qualified to deal with new demands and novel situations. In his last couple of years as Provincial the constant vigilance called for by the situation and the frequent confrontations with the Department, took up so much of his time that his specific duties as Visitor of his own congregation, in the opinion of many Brothers, suffered somewhat.


In the retreat of 1972 he begins by noting that our District, like all the other Provinces of the Institute and indeed all the Religious Orders in the church, is in the throes of an agonising reappraisal of what the religious life means to-day and in a crisis of faith in the Church in general and the Institute in particular.

"In a world of vast change and upheaval" he says "there must be in religious life also change, experimentation, mistakes, anxiety, fear and doubt, misunderstanding, speculation, as we strive to adapt our life and our apostolate to the times, we live in. "But", he adds "We must understand and accept the basic principles of our religious life.  Amidst all the flux and change are some unalterables which we disregard to our own cost and that of religion. We need to ask ourselves not so much 'What is the religious life?'  but  'Where  is  the  religious life?'. Religious life is a gift of God to His Church, calling individuals to a state of life which witnesses to the Church, and so to the world, the powers of the Kingdom of Christ that are already at work in the world and that challenge every Christian from the moment of baptism". For religious orders and the Church, he says "The great problem of the present time is perhaps less one of relevance as of a closely related problem:  identity.  To survive, the Church must make itself relevant to the world without losing its identity and without abandoning its stance of prophecy. Christians who begin by seeing secular involvement as the true meaning of their Christianity often end by finding their religion irrelevant.  If the Church does not represent something unique it has no justification for existing."

 He then goes on to consider what makes the religious life a special or particular way of living the Christian life and sees it as (1) The special public setting apart or consecration of the person with a view to seeking God (St. Benedict) (2) a special following of Christ and a special share in the sacrificial life of Christ; (3) the power, the freedom of action that results from celibacy; (4) a special insertion into the Christian community, into the Church, in and for the Church (here he stresses the importance of community, especially of the praying community). (5) A special kind of service to be a sign of the reality of God and the credibility of the Church (6) An eschatological sign: the future life projected into the present time.

From here he goes on to consider the basic constituents of the religious life as encapsulated in three vows; Celibacy (non-sensual, non-exclusive love) Poverty (non-possessive sharing of goods) Obedience (God's will all in all). It is faith that gives meaning to the religious life for it would be inexplicable if God did not exist. In this connection consecrated chastity is the most striking witness to God in a world of sensual permissiveness. Poverty is also a witness to the Kingdom of Christ but in order to be this there must be a reality about it. "Our District" he says "has yet to take this truth to heart. God does not abandon us; we desert Him, alienate ourselves, shut Him out. We profess poverty, then we must live poverty, live poor lives, consciously and deliberately, make personal and community decisions in favour of a poor life. This means sacrifice and death and our District has to die, now, by free choice, before it can take on new life (of parable of the grain of wheat). Such personal, community and District poverty will be the surest sign of faith and vitality. Decisions must therefore be generous, willing and radical and extended to every corner of our lives"

The Brothers' specialised apostolate, the Christian education of youth, naturally- comes up for consideration in the course of the retreat. In this connection he asks a series of questions 'What is it that made and makes our schools distinctive, unique? How does that fit in with present mood and educational planning? What are we fighting for? Are we still living in the past, with its security, its predictability and its assurance? What kind of service Midst we provide?' He then points out that as. a District we have to face the present actuality and think, plan and work together so as to make the necessary readjustments. He lays down the principles that must govern our thinking and planning in the field of education (a) the primacy of the spiritual over the secular. - First things first - the eternal truths which we live and which we preach for the sake of the Kingdom (b) The primacy of the sacrificial over the aggressive, the rebellious; (c) the primacy of the apostolate over social involvement or the promotion of humanitarian reform.

A subject that preoccupied Br. Maurice considerably was that of prayer. He read widely on this topic. He mentions a number of authors:  Father Basset, Archbishop Bloom, Fr. John Sheet, Fr. Six, Von Balthasar, J.B. Metz. Prayer, he says, must be based on and spring from faith. He castigates those who “measure their  service,  have  a parsimonious and niggardly approach, whose only ambition is to get by and never come to realise what life and prayer are all about". On the other hand, he praises those "who open themselves up to God, realise their true position, their need, and go to God for help, in season and out, at the times prescribed by the Rule and in between, when reading and walking and travelling". We speak" he says "of witness, of relevance, of service, but it is impossible for us religious to begin to realise the meaning of these words, to begin to plumb their depths, to come to understand the world and the needs and expectations and hopes of people, unless we steep ourselves daily in prayer."

Referring to the phenomenal success of Michel Quoist's "Prayer of Life" he insists that "real prayer arises and grows from real living; otherwise we merely go through the gestures. Prayer is for and about life and will involve us in events, in people and their emotions, doubts and anxieties. Prayer should become spontaneous, appropriate, sincere, humble, constructive, direct, simple." "The type of religious I want to become" he continues "is the one that is deeply religious, wise, experienced, prudent and patient, and this is impossible without prayer, regular, sincere and open-minded".

In this connection of prayer he laments also that "in our communities there is too much evidence that change and renewal have not resulted in greater intimacy and friendship with Christ, if we are to judge from appearances: Gone in many cases, are visits to the Blessed Sacrament, Stations of the Cross, Rosary, Monthly Retreats."

The Brothers have to live in community, and it is as a community, primarily, that they exercise an influence in a school. The importance of the "community" as a cell of the Mystical Body, as the Mystical Body in microcosm, as providing the individual with the opportunity of seeing Christ in others and being Christ to others, is a topic that is' greatly stressed in our time, and Br. Maurice deals at length with it. Community, he says, has always been important. So much depended for us as young Brothers on the particular community we were assigned to, on the people we met there, on the attitude that obtained in it, on how we were treated. He defines a community as "a group of people, living together in charity, in response to an inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in faith, for a specific goal." A community, he says, is not a static thing, formed once for all "it must be created and worked for, and for a multitude of reasons it is not easily achieved or easily maintained. A person becomes a real member of the Order through deep inter-personal relationships in community. Each member communicates the special sacrament of Christ's presence, which is in himself, and shares in the sacrament of the others".

He appeals then for maturity, corporate responsibility, mutual support and understanding, self-sacrificing decisions, availability, in the Brothers' community relations. He points out that the post-Conciliar and post-Chapter gener

Looming large in the preoccupations of the members of the convention was the “crisis of identity". Had the Brothers' vocation become irrelevant? Was there any real need any longer for the Institute? What was a Brother doing, anyhow, that a good Catholic lay-master could not do equally well, if not better? The different language groups attempted to grapple with this problem, and we find the echoes of the debates in the pages of Br. Maurice's diary. "Why be a Brother"?  he asks on one page and replies summarily:

(a)  Ours is a unique way of living the Christian life;

(b) The world needs God and dedicated persons to show them God

(c) The Brothers' community forms community in the school,

(d)  He has a special mission to the poor.

The debates at the convention ranged over many topics - community, authority, prayer, recruitment, formation, missions, finance. There was even a discussion as to whether the Brothers Assistants should travel round the Institute in teams.  This proposition was rejected on various scores, among others that they would be regarded as a "travelling circus".!

A number of Br. Maurice's "personal" applications are interesting as showing his desire to improve his own performance as Visitor and raise the standards of his District. Thus on community prayers "Perhaps we could make an attempt to vary our community prayers, to introduce more meaning into them, to make them living prayers for the Brothers. Dialogue together is necessary to get us to think better on the subject. The effect this would have on the community. Perhaps some samples carefully prepared and distributed would help introduce the idea."

On the canonical visits “Visiting the communities, especially on the official visit, to be prepared to open up any and every question for discussion with the Brothers. To call as often as possible and to have the subjects prepared - read them up, have notes taken, to be familiar with them.. .


The funeral in Castletown on Holy Saturday [1974] was a massive demonstration  of  the  high  place  Br.  Maurice had attained in public opinion and of the deep sympathy for the Order that his tragic end inspired.

"Brother Maurice" writes a Brother "was taken from us just when he was coming to the summit of his powers, when he was, perhaps, beginning to see a glimmer of light from the end of the tunnel, when he was beginning to apprehend the shape of things to come and to be able to offer us the vision and the inspiration that would enable us to emerge from our present impasse and discover what God wants from us in the future. His sudden and tragic death at this critical juncture was indeed a heavy loss to the Irish District and we hope that from a better world he is still concerned for us, still helping us along the road."


Sunday, September 4, 2022

The Future Will Condemn Us For Pandering to Trans Agenda

The Cass Report on Gender Identity Services for Children

(1) The Trans Agenda and Anti-Catholic Bigotry

The title of this article reflects the headline to an article by Eilis O'Hanlon in the Sunday Independent on 7 August 2022. The Trans Agenda is not a subject I have dwelt on (or even mentioned) on this Blog over the years. One reason I write about it now is that the year 2022 is the 25th anniversary of the first occurrence of a topic that has frequently hit the headlines since 1997  and constitutes my central concern i.e. false claims of child abuse against the Catholic Church - especially false allegations of child murder.  

I summarised my quarter century Crusade in Part E 'My Conclusion - Blood Libel Forever?' of article "Deaths of Children in Mother and Baby Care Homes". The following is an extract from that Summary where I recall an optimistic piece I wrote years ago: 
  • "[the hysteria] began in 1997 with an allegation that related to the death of a REAL baby - because Blood Libel  was new in Ireland and needed the appearance of credibility
  • it  came to an end in 2010 with reference to the unsolved murder of a REAL child - because several claims had been refuted and credibility was again a factor BUT
  • between these two dates, anti-clerical Hysteria reigned supreme and journalists thought they could get away with anything including "Murder of the Undead" allegations!
Even THAT cynical analysis now looks too hopeful with allegations that nuns starved babies in the Mother and Baby Homes. The fact that the Report of the Commission on Mother and Baby Homes refuted those claims, won't put a stop to our anti-clerical hysteria, if the history of the last quarter-century is anything to go by."

On a few occasions over the decades, I thought that our Blood Libel hysteria was at an end (and even that I had contributed to its demise!) [NOTE (i)] but it always re-ignited, albeit in slightly different form on each occasion. Today I note that Eilis O'Hanlon, Brenda Power and Gender  Critical Feminists (and others) in Ireland and the UK are on the offensive against the Trans Lobby - and doing well for now! My own experience has taught me to be deeply pessimistic and never to anticipate victory in the struggle against fanaticism and fantasy in our society!

(2) Ireland: Gender Recognition Act, Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) and the HSE

(2.1) In an article in the Sunday Times (Irish edition) on 12 June 2022 "Why Women are Right to Defend Their Terf", Brenda Power wrote:

Under the Gender Recognition Act (2015) all a man needs to do is to make a statutory declaration in front of a solicitor and he's a woman! He can participate in women's sport including boxing. He can use women's toilets and changing rooms. He can be admitted to a woman's prison and and indeed there are two violent biological men in Limerick prison at present, one convicted of rape threats and who must be addressed as she. [(ii)]

The employers' representative group IBEC recently circulated guidance that trans employees must be allowed to use the toilets of their gender identity, not their biological sex, and any objectors should receive "training". It has become "standard practice", IBEC says for staff to include their preferred pronouns - he/him, she/her - in email signatures. ...

The extent to which the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) is now directing public policy is alarming. It collaborated on IBEC's document, and Niall Muldoon, the Ombudsman for Children, [(iii)] has admitted that his article demanding more access to medical treatment for transgender children was also composed with TENI's guidance. 

According to the HSE, meanwhile, it's "people with cervixes" who get cervical cancer but men get prostate cancer. The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022 amends maternity legislation by replacing "woman" with "person". Sara Phillips who chairs TENI, fathered three children before transitioning and sits on the board of the National Women's Council, has admitted to resuming her male identity for a job interview as "I don't believe I'd get a fair shake if I presented myself as female".!


(2.2) The Tavistock Clinic - "Unquestioned, Unproven, Unsafe"

The Tavistock Clinic, in London named the Gender and Identity Development Service, was launched in the UK in 1989 to help people aged 17 and under struggling with their gender identity. But in 2020, questions about the service were raised after it was rated "inadequate" by inspectors, following concerns raised by whistleblowers. The number of people seeking the clinic's help is 20 times higher than it was a decade ago, jumping from 250 to 5,000 referrals in 2021. [(iv)] 

In 2009 the HSE began referring Irish children to the clinic. The numbers were small but growing and in the decade up to 2021, 234 Irish children, two as young as five, were referred to the clinic for treatment. From 2014, Tavistock began holding satellite clinics in Crumlin Children's Hospital, Dublin. However, the standard of care given to patients by Tavistock was soon called into question by doctors working in the National Gender Service (NGS) in Loughlinstown in south Dublin where adults and teenagers over 16 are treated.

In early 2019, senior clinicians in the NGS warned the HSE and Crumlin that Tavistock’s Irish operation was “unsafe” and should be immediately shut down. Despite this, the HSE continued to use Tavistock even as alarm about its practices grew in the UK.

The Cass Report
According to an article by Mark Tighe in the Sunday Independent on 7 August 2022 "Unquestioned, Unproven, Unsafe"
An interim report in March 2022 by Dr Hillary Cass, a consultant paediatrician commissioned by the UK government to examine Tavistock, found serious failings in how it assessed children and decided which were placed on puberty blockers.

The Cass Report found children attending Tavistock faced a “clinician lottery”. They either would be assessed for a range of psychological and social issues or instead would get a doctor who would see gender incongruence as “immutable”, with the prescription of puberty blockers and hormones the only solution.

Staff felt pressurised to adopt an “unquestioning affirmative approach to gender — at odds with standard clinical assessment requirements. A lack of documented assessments meant there was missing evidence justifying transition regimes that children were placed on.

This was all flagged in writing in 2019 by Dr Paul Moran, a consultant psychiatrist with the NGS in St Colmcille’s hospital, who along with Donal O’Shea, a consultant endocrinologist, tried to shout “stop”. Dr Moran fears there is an ideological desire in the HSE to continue the Tavistock-type model of care. ..

Having treated former child patients of the Tavistock Irish satellite in the NGS, Dr Moran is predicting significant numbers of patients will regret transitioning or have other adverse outcomes because they were “rushed” onto puberty blockers and hormones.

We have good evidence from the patients we have seen that it is the wrong approach for most likely the majority,” Dr Moran said. “There are some children who seem to do well, but at the moment there is no way of predicting at the start of treatment who will do well or badly. In cases where we’ve seen them and they’ve been left in a heap we’ve put resources in to try and fix their mental health, their social problems, try and get them back into college, et cetera.”...

Dr Moran and Dr O’Shea attended a meeting with Crumlin hospital management on March 20, 2019, to discuss how patients would graduate from the Tavistock service to the NGS. “We asked basic questions about the service, such as ‘how many patients attended’ and ‘how many letters of referral there were’,” Moran said. “Crumlin management said they had no knowledge about the service. ‘Who approved it?’ They had no idea.”

As more patients aged out of Tavistock’s care and into the NGS age cohort, Dr Moran and his colleagues became aware of the “very poor clinical service for children”. We were coming across children who were clearly unwell and who had none of their underlying mental health problems addressed,” Dr Moran said. “Many of them were not suitable or ready yet to be on hormone treatment. The endocrinologists working in Crumlin recognised that, too.

They had basically gone over to Tavistock in distress, dropped out of school and started self-harming. They were rushed on to hormones but left sitting at home, not being schooled. Mental health issues were not addressed.

There was this total focus on blockers and hormones, but the bigger problems that were pressing in their lives were ignored. By the time they got to us they were often a couple of years sitting in their rooms self-harming...

Tavistock had a very narrow approach, because they didn’t have the clinical skill or the mix of professions, they become a very ideologically driven service. If you ignore the other problems and proceed with medical treatment, it doesn’t just leave problems unaddressed, it generally worsens. A person who’s really having difficulty engaging with life now, when they’re on hormones, unprepared, that can worsen.”...

Dr Moran  believes that the Cass Report is a watershed moment. "The international consensus is rolling back against specialist hormone treatment for children before puberty", he said. While puberty blockers were previously described as 'reversable', he said the emerging evidence is that administering them to children hitting puberty can have detrimental effects on bone growth and brain development.....     ALSO

Dr. Moran said it is ""really hard for a kid to say 'stop' when there has been such massive investment in what they want, by their family, by their doctor, by their school, by their peers." He said the idea of regret or people changing their minds is seen as "taboo" by some transgender activist groups. Patients tell him they are made feel unwelcome if they bring it up. "There's such cultural taboo about regret that people feel shame if they say there're not happy because they're left out of the community," he said.

He also voices concern that some HSE-funded groups have coached patients to "get their stories straight" before being assessed so they have the best chance lof being prescribed hormones. "They are being told to deny mental health problems and particularly any history of suicide attempts when they come for assessments," Dr Moran said. .....

Much of the surge [in patient numbers on a waiting list] has been caused by a huge increase in autistic people presenting. Dr Moran said that while roughly 20pc of their cases involved autistic people five years ago, it is now approaching 90pc .... Dr Moran is now concerned the HSE will repeat the mistakes of its Tavistock alliance. ..."The HSE seems wedded to to this idea of specialist, hormone-based care for children, which is unsafe. It may be developed safely in the future but right now, as we don't have evidence for the safety of these treatments." 


 (2.3) "The Future Will Condemn Us"

Eilis O Hanlon's article "The Future Will Condemn Us for Pandering to the Trans Agenda" is also in Sunday Independent on 7 August 2022. She asks why Government Ministers and the media are silent on the questions over children sent to a dangerous medical clinic abroad. After all when people look back at scandals from the past involving the abuse of children by church and state,  they always ask  How was this allowed to happen? And  reassure themselves it could never happen today, because the citizens of our caring and compassionate society, having learned from the mistakes of the past, would now speak out against it! Nothing of the kind!
Critics had warned for years that the treatments the [Tavistock] clinic performed on children who expressed doubts or unease about their gender were driven by ideological fervour rather than medical ethics and good practice, but they were either ignored or condemned as “transphobic”.

The recent Cass Report vindicated every one of their misgivings. Despite that, there has been virtual silence in Ireland about what happened to Irish children sent to this hellish place. TDs aren’t raising the issue. The media is largely silent.

In marked contrast, an inspection report by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) that showed dozens of children in foster care in north Dublin were overdue a visit by child and family agency Tusla was given the full interrogative treatment on RTÉ’s News At One last week, despite the fact that, thankfully, “there was no child at immediate risk in any of the cases discussed”.

Why has there not been similar concern about children who were actively put in harm’s way by being referred to the Tavistock clinic? Why are no questions being asked of Irish authorities who approved this egregious trade? ....
Trans activist groups funded by the taxpayer have been given free rein to go into schools to proselytise, weaponising spurious statistics about the risk of suicide among gender-confused young people, the upshot of which is to poison children’s minds against their own bodies. Teachers and parents say more and more children are presenting as trans after being exposed to such propaganda online, where activists proliferate. Professionals who bravely resist this pressure by reassuring children that there is nothing wrong with their bodies are mendaciously accused of advocating “conversion therapy” when it is the activists themselves who are urging children to reject their bodies.....

The publicly funded Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) even offers what it calls “gender identity skills training” for health workers, using self-styled “national and international experts”, paid for by the HSE’s Social Inclusion Division, meaning the State is pushing models of care known to be widely discredited. TENI makes no bones about what it wants to see. It explicitly urges the “abolishment of the medical/diagnostic model” of treatment, to be replaced by “the right to our own bodies”. The problem is that it wants the right to influence how children think about their bodies, too, while continuing to state as if it was a fact that puberty blockers are reversible — a highly irresponsible assertion two years after Irish doctors officially stopped making any such claims. 

Children’s Ombudsman Niall Muldoon was even forced to acknowledge last year that a piece he wrote for [the Sunday Independent] about the issue was “done in collaboration” with TENI, as well as the LGBTQ+ youth charity BeLongTo. BeLongTo also states that meetings of “trans, non-binary and questioning young people” are held weekly in the Children’s Ombudsman’s Office.

Ministers urgently need to address these concerns. A trawl of the Government’s own website fails to find a single press release published on the closure of the Tavistock clinic, despite the fact hundreds of vulnerable Irish children went through the system.....Everyone who looks at this honestly knows full well that, if this involved any other failure of care by the State, it would be everywhere on the news in Ireland, as the cervical cancer scandal was. Instead, because it’s about patients who identify as trans, there is an awkward and fearful silence from politicians and the media alike.


(3) WHY are Politicians, the HSE and RTÉ so Fearful of ideologically Driven Trans Organisations?

In a follow-up article on 14 August Eilis O'Hanlon attempts to answer that question. 

Regarding RTE and the HSE:   RTE initially chose to ignore the Sunday Independent story about clinical psychiatrist Paul Moran’s warnings to the HSE over Tavistock. Then, when shamed into covering the story a day late, the national broadcaster put out a report on Morning Ireland which did not even feature Moran’s voice, despite having interviewed him. Dr Siobhán Ní Bhriain, the HSE’s national lead for integrated care, was asked if the HSE had listened to Moran’s concerns.

We did of course take them on board... but we satisfied ourselves that the evidence wasn’t there to support what we were hearing,” she said. This assertion was not scrutinised by Morning Ireland. Neither was Ní Bhriain’s statement that, as the HSE continues to send children to a discredited clinic, “we will monitor it extremely closely”. As per Eilis O'Hanlon "It goes beyond belief that RTÉ would allow such statements in relation to any other reported scandal to go unchallenged."

The RTE reporter even declared at one point that puberty blockers “work by putting a pause on puberty while a young person thinks about their gender identity” BUT according to Dr Hilary Cass, author of the report which led to Tavistock’s closure, “there has been very little research” on the effect of puberty blockers on “neurocognitive development”.

It was left to [national independent radio] Newstalk Breakfast to allow Dr Paul Moran to speak at length. He made it clear that representations by him to the HSE went unanswered.

We went as far as sending them an audit of children outlining the problems, and this was never addressed or discussed with us,” he said. “Further, when we did meet Crumlin, the concerns we raised were omitted from the minutes — so the idea that they’ve been taking on board concerns and found no evidence is shocking.”

Regarding current Tanaiste [Deputy PM] Leo Varadkar: When the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) recently updated its policy to say that female contact rugby was only for those born female, he waded in within hours to urge the IRFU to consider “the voice of those most affected” — by which it’s clear he meant those born male.

In 2015, Varadkar’s first full year as Minister for Health, 15 children were referred to Tavistock. After he became Taoiseach [Prime Minister] in 2017, with Simon Harris as Minister for Health, referrals rose to 36. The following year they went up again, to 49. As per Eilis O'Hanlon: "Even if neither man knew every detail about what went on while they were in office, they must now be concerned — yet neither has felt the need to comment. No politician has." 

The Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI), which goes into schools and teaches children controversial gender theories, remains a source for government and media.

Ollie Bell is a self-described “non-binary socialist feminist activist” from Dublin. As per Eilis O'Hanlon "On Bell’s public profile on Twitter there is a link to a page on the internet giving advice on where to buy and administer DIY hormone treatment. Bell sits on the board of TENI. Even though it’s been reported that the HSE is concerned about TENI’s online activities, nothing has yet been done to rein them in."

BUT the dangers of placing children on puberty blockers and other hormonal treatment are becoming increasingly clear. Sweden has outlawed their use completely for under 18s, citing a “lack of quality evidence”. They believe the risks of the treatment “outweigh the benefits at present”. According to Paul Moran, these gender-affirming clinics are also being closed in France and Finland. Yet Crumlin remains ideologically committed to this form of care. “They’re very influenced by activist groups,” he says.

(4) CONCLUSION: Will Fight-Back against Trans Agenda be Successful?

I stated in the Introduction that on a number of occasions over the past 25 years, I thought my own Crusade against the fanatics who accused Catholic clergy and religious of killing children was successful. Not only was I incorrect but the insanity - once largely confined to Ireland - has spread to other countries - most recently Canada. [(v)]

I am encouraged that, in the aftermath of the Cass Report, some heavy hitters in the Media and among Doctors and Feminists have spoken out against what Dr Paul Moran believes is an ideological desire in the HSE to continue the Tavistock-type model of care. They have certainly been more successful than I or other activists have been in bringing their issue to the attention of the public and putting their opponents on the back foot. I am still dubious that this is going to end well!

I note that our national broadcaster RTE is doing its best to ignore the Trans issue - as is our "newspaper of record" the Irish Times. The vast majority of our politicians have remained silent - apparently too scared to criticise the Trans Lobby - while our Tanaiste [Deputy PM soon to be PM] Leo Varadkar spoke out against the Irish Rugby Football Union when it declared that female rugby is solely for those born female. How long will the Sunday Independent et al continue to publish critical articles about Tavistock and TENI if everyone else is either silent about their follies or actively supporting them and denouncing the critics?

Returning to my own subject (False Allegations of Child Abuse and Child Killing), I note that Irish Catholic nuns were major targets of this hysteria. The original Blood Libel was directed against the Sisters of Mercy 25 years ago and recent ones targeted the nuns who ran Mother and Baby Homes - especially the Bon Secours Sisters of Tuam. All such claims were discredited (not least by the Final Report of the Committee of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes) [(vi)] but the media, politicians and "Victims" just shifted gear and attacked the nuns on a different front. I suspect something similar will happen here. Also NO feminists - including the current gender-critical ones - spoke up for the women who were defamed over the past quarter century!



(i) I may have contributed to the demise of the "Murder of the Undead" allegations i.e. claims that the Christian Brothers killed boys - during periods when no boy died of ANY cause. On the other hand, our anti-clerics may have figured out - by themselves - that it's unwise to make idiot accusations that can be easily refuted!

(ii) See article in Irish Examiner dated 4th August 2021 "Transgender Women in Limerick jail Locked in Cells for up to 23 hours" . It begins: 
Two transgender women in Limerick Prison are locked in their cells for up to 23 hours a day, with one of the inmates describing her isolation as “mental torture” and the other saying it was “worse than hell”. 
Their plight is highlighted in a report by the Inspector of Prisons, who said the two prisoners live an “extremely isolated existence”. In a report, the inspector said the women are largely confined to their cells under a prison rule which allows inmates to be put on a restricted regime either for their own safety or that of other prisoners....

(iii) The website of our Ombudsman for Children indicates that its values include: 
"Independent — our independence is important so we can say the things that need to be said and hold public organisations to account."

Are there any circumstances that would cause our Ombudsman to criticise TENI ?  

(iv) See NHS to Close Tavistock Child Gender Identity Clinic - BBC News, 28 July 2022

(vi) See Part A of Blog article Deaths of Children in Mother and Baby Care Homes (did they die of starvation?) and the extract concerning 'Marasmus' from Chapter 33 of the Final Report of the Commission 

Sunday, May 22, 2022

'We've Been Treated Like Monsters' - Sisters of Charity in fear of media and bewildered by negative coverage




Michael Kelly, editor of The Irish Catholic writes on 19 May 2022: 

The Religious Sisters of Charity, who agreed to hand over their hospital and the site of the new National maternity Hospital, are fearful of the media and feel bewildered that they have been so badly portrayed in the public eye since deciding to transfer ownership of St. Vincent's Hospital in Dublin. The Government this week signed off on the deal.

"You would think we were evil", a source close to the Sisters told the The Irish Catholic this week on on condition of anonymity. "We've been treated like monsters. In no way do they want the Church involved in any way [in the running of healthcare].  Yet many, many people experienced the care and work that the Sisters had done - many in the Irish population experienced care and concern and compassion. Yes there were some exceptions but for the most part the good that was done was amazing," the source said

The Religious Sisters of Charity began caring for cholera victims in Ireland in 1832 and in 1834 set up St Vincent's Hospital and since then have been "dedicated to providing the best possible healthcare in hospitals, hospices, nursing homes and in the homes of the sick. The nuns are also known for their work among prisoners and the homeless as well as in education, counselling and emigration. It is distressing that people would think so badly of us. I'm more concerned for the people who are saying these things than for us," [!] continued the source.

"The Sisters are absolutely terrified of the media and the way they have been portrayed. The notion that a young person listening to this, what idea of Christianity do they go away with?" she said.

My Own Suggested Answer: Is this "source" Sister Stanislaus Kennedy by any chance? I have posted previous articles about the Sisters of Charity and Sister Stan - the latest being "The Folly of the Sisters of Charity (and other Nuns)" However the most relevant response to this question is contained in the Introduction and in part D ("Eloi and Morlocks") of my article "The Decadence of the Sisters of Mercy

What idea of Christianity do young people go away with? the Sister asks. One of two things: (i) either they believe the atrocity stories published by the media about the Sisters OR (ii) they regard you as cowardly fools who practise a decadent kind of religion that prevents you from defending yourselves!

(B) Why are Sisters of Charity "Treated like Monsters" by Media and Politicians?

The leaders of the Religious Sisters of Charity (like their Sister of Mercy colleagues and other nuns' leaders) have spent many years trying to ingratiate themselves with our new secular overlords - and made themselves ridiculous in the process. They now find themselves spurned by Traditionalists and Liberals alike! Consider the following:
  • "The nuns are annoyed and they consider some of the comments that have been made as being defamatory. I think their attitude now is ‘let the State go off and build their hospital on their own land’." (Valerie Hanley, Mail on Sunday, 23 April 2017) 
    The leaders of the Sisters of Charity should have done this and allowed the the anti-clerical mob of politicians and media to experience the fruits of their own bigotry. Instead they caved in to the mob, handed over property worth hundreds of millions of euro for the new National Maternity Hospital and announced they were withdrawing from their own St. Vincent's Hospital!
  • Also in 2017, the Sisters were libelled by journalists and politicians who claimed that they owed €3 million to the State - when the State actually owed the nuns €2 million! As per the same article in The Mail on Sunday: "the claim that the Sisters owed €3 million, had been repeatedly cited by politicians from Fianna Fail, The Greens, Labour and the Social Democrats and the media as justification for outraged comments about the agreement brokered by Kieran Mulvey.
    Did the Sisters complain or sue for libel? No they told the State it could keep the €2 million it owed them - that will teach the liars about the joys of Christian Charity!
  • I have no inside information about the Sisters of Charity but I was told there was a conflict within the Sisters of Mercy about how to treat false accusations. I was told that the dispute pitted older Traditionalist Sisters against "Liberal" colleagues - and the Liberal ones won! I suspect that the same applies to the Religious Sisters of Charity'.
However- see APPENDIX at end of this article!

(C) Civil War within the Pro-Choice Lobby - an Opportunity for Church??

I think it was Iona Institute Director David Quinn who described the Maternity Hospital debacle as a "civil war within the abortion lobby". Public figures who are strong supporters of abortion rights (plus those who normally take no part in the debate) have found themselves obliged to state that the allegations against the Sisters of Charity and claims of a Catholic Plot to influence the ethos of the NMH are rubbish. Is it too much to hope that this gives an opportunity to the Sisters of Charity (and other female Religious) to restore their reputation in the eyes of the public? 

Well yes I think it is too much to hope! Irish nuns have gutted their morale and their self-respect by decades of grovelling before the Secular Power. Now that the latest outbreak of anti-clerical hysteria is disappearing from the front pages, the Sisters will likely retire into their shells - until the next wave of media hysteria forces them out again! However it may be possible for other parts of the Catholic Church to take advantage of the current opportunity to make the truth known!

Some Unusual "Supporters" of the Catholic Church

(i) In an article in Irish Independent on 5 May 2022 Health Minister Stephen Donnelly (Fianna Fail) said some people had been making "false claims" about the National Maternity Hospital project. "There are people who are making really serious claims that are really worrying people. These claims are false and in many cases they have been told repeatedly that these claims are false." Mr Donnelly said that the Catholic Church was not involved in the project and there would be no religious interference at the hospital....."The Vatican has nothing to do with this. What the Vatican thinks about our national maternity hospital is irrelevant." [NOTE 1]

(ii) In Irish Independent article "Five-year row over maternity hospital now looks like time wasted on someone’s culture war"  Ellen Coyne writes: "Many people are asking why the land the hospital is being built on can’t just be given to the State. Wouldn’t that make things much easier? [Prime Minister] Micheál Martin argued in the Dáil that the hospital land is in public ownership in all but name, as it is being leased for the negligible rate of €10 a year for 299 yearsIt is worth explaining that what many regard as the best maternity hospitals in Ireland are built on land that the State doesn’t own. These hospitals – like the Coombe, the Rotunda and the existing NMH – are voluntary hospitals. This means that while they get most of their funding from the State, they are run by private bodies....Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said nobody is trying to use a compulsory purchase order on the Rotunda or the Coombe, which operate on land the State doesn’t own."

(iii) However Ivana Bacik, leader of the Labour Party claims There are concerns about the lingering ethos of the Sisters of Charity". But according to Ellen Coyne: This is a common claim, but one that is described as a “red rag” to those at St Vincent’s who are “seething” over the way the hospital is being portrayed. A senior source at Holles Street [the current National Maternity Hospital] said they believed that claims of religious interference at the new hospital were part of “the biggest misinformation campaign in Irish medicine.

(iv) Mary Brosnan, director of midwifery and nursing, says. “Because we don’t have strong politicians, we have weak, fearful politicians who are afraid of losing their seats and of women’s opprobrium.” Staff at Holles Street are dismayed, feeling they are fighting a tide of misinformation about the new hospital. Campaigners tweeted pictures from a protest outside an NMH board meeting this week, holding posters declaring that “nuns who sold babies” are to be “gifted” a hospital. This is false not only because the Sisters of Charity will have zero involvement in the new hospital, but also because the hospital will not be “gifted” to anybody. The State will own the hospital building. [ ‘We have a fortnight to get the truth out there’: As Holles Street creaks at the seams, staff battle ‘myths’ by Ellen Coyne]

(v) Younger female staff [at the existing National Maternity Hospital, Holles St] are horrified by the rhetoric in their WhatsApp groups, where friends ask if the nuns are trying to “steal” a hospital. Walking this reporter [Ellen Coyne] through the hospital Brosnan will sometimes pull a midwife aside at random and ask her if she has “any concerns about religious interference at St Vincent’s?” Some look askance. A few cast an incredulous look at the Irish Independent, as though to confirm such a question is genuinely being asked. Emma, a midwife working on the infamous Unit 3, laughs with derision. No,” she says, “I’m not worried about nuns.” [Above article by Ellen Coyne]

(vi) Professor Shane Higgins, Master of National Maternity HospitalHiggins is dismayed by politicians who he says are “not doing due diligence” before making claims about the hospital. “They’re willing to just repeat whatever has been said to them by the loudest voice, which is typically and usually Peter Boylan’s,” Dr Higgins says. I don’t understand why Peter Boylan is continuing to peddle the narrative that he’s been peddling for years about ‘the nuns’, knowing that they’re gone, knowing that they won’t have any influence on anything … he’s out there, he has a very large soapbox upon which to stand...

I assure you, if this is derailed every single member of staff in this hospital and I’d say the vast majority of St Vincent’s will hold him wholly responsible for damaging women’s health for the next 20 years,” Prof Higgins said. [Above article by Ellen Coyne] [NOTE 2]

 (vii) Fifty-two doctors, including Higgins and three other former masters as well as many staff who currently work at Holles Street, signed a letter pleading for the project to go ahead. [Above article by Ellen Coyne] An article in Irish Independent on 6 May 2022 "What the Row is All About - and Who Says What" gives further details. It listed the more than 50 doctors who signed a letter in support of the new Hospital stating that it was "manifestly false" to claim that full State ownership was the only way to avoid religious interference in the new National Maternity Hospital. They included "Professor Shane Higgins, current Master of the NMH; Dr Michael Robson and Prof Declan Keane former Masters of the NMH". The article also quotes Dr Rhona Mahony, former Master of the NMH "Let it be said absolutely today, every procedure that is permissible under Irish law will be performed at the new maternity hospital on St Vincent's campus." 

My Comment
Many people who have no allegiance to the Catholic Church (or would not normally involve themselves in a public dispute concerning religion) now feel compelled to speak out against anti-clerical fanatics whose antics are delaying  the establishment of the new hospital. This is something that our Church should build on!

(D) Against the Hospital 

(according to Irish Independent article, 6 May 2022 "What the Row Is All About"  

Dr Peter Boylan - former Master of the National Maternity Hospital
"If it's to be independent, it should not be owned by another entity." According to David Quinn (in "No Reason to fear Nuns Under the Hospital Bed" 15 May 2022): 
Boylan told the [Oireachtas Health] Committee last Thursday: "It's about time we stood up for ourselves as a people, faced down the church, and said "We need that land thank you". In this case, however there is no church to stand up to; it has already gone. [See also NOTE 3]
Roisin Shortall - Leader of the Social Democrats
"What is known about the new company, St Vincent's Holdings, to which the Government is handing over control of a €1 billion publicly funded hospital?

"Our Maternity Hospital"
A grassroots campaign group that says it is "against Church ownership of women's healthcare."

PLUS: All other opposition parties including Labour and Sinn Fein. HOWEVER the Irish Independent article also points out that while the coalition Government of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green Party support the project, this is "with the exception of a number of government TDs who are still raising concerns about the project." This is a reference to the Green Party and indeed two Green Party TDs Neasa Hourigan and  Patrick Costello were suspended from the Green Party for six months because they supported a Sinn Fein motion  calling for the new NMH  to be built on land owned by the State. 

(E) CONCLUSION - Sinn Fein and Opponents of Hospital and Church

A few comments about these opponents. 
David Quinn's abovementioned article "No Need to Fear Nuns Under the Hospital Bed" is subtitled "Concerns about a caring, religious ethos at the new national maternity campus resemble the furore of McCarthyite America". He  writes: "Like Senator Joseph McCarthy seeing Communist plots everywhere in the 1950s, we are now being led to believe that sinister nuns will one day succeed in dragging Ireland back to the past, all because the naive refused to heed the warnings." 

The Political Parties opposing the project are almost identical to those who in 2017 accused the Sisters of Charity of owing €3 million to the State - at a time the State owed €2 million to them! See Part B above - "the claim that the Sisters owed €3 million, had been repeatedly cited by politicians from Fianna Fail, The Greens, Labour and the Social Democrats and the media as justification for outraged comments about the agreement.." We are talking about people who utterly reckless as to the truth of their allegations - and who made no apologies once their lie was exposed. 

These are the parties that are most likely to form a coalition with Sinn Fein if and when that party wins our next General Election. OK Fianna Fail is an exception BUT Sinn Fein is well on its way to replacing FF as THE "Republican Party" in the State. Moreover Fianna Fail's willingness to participate in a reckless anti-clerical lie, is a potent symbol of its decline. [NOTE 4]

Regarding my reference to "lie": I suppose that an Honest Bigot - a  left-wing or 'liberal' equivalent of Rev Ian Paisley - could believe in a Catholic Plot to control the ethos of the New National Maternity Hospital. But how is it possible to believe that the nuns owed millions to the State when the reverse was true?? Anti-clerical hatred is similar to the anti-Semitic variety. I doubt if an anti-Semite says to himself: "I know this story about Jews is false, but I'll publish it anyway." Self-deceit and believing what one wants to believe, are more complicated than that. But the description "liar" is still valid and I apply it to the afore-mentioned politicians from Fianna Fail, The Greens, Labour and the Social Democrats.


[1] But perhaps Stephen Donnelly is a secret admirer of the Catholic Church? He has neither thanked the nuns for their gift of hugely valuable land for the new NMH nor for their two centuries of service to Irish women. However - as noted in the article by Ellen Coyne, Philip Ryan and Eilish O'Regan - "more than €50 million  has already been spent in preparing the site of the new hospital building."  In the eyes of the State, our anti-clerical fanatics have become a serious nuisance who must now be discredited!

[2] The current master of the NMH at Holles Street, Dr Shane Higgins, told the [Oireachtas Health] committee: It has been difficult to hear claims both in the media and in this room that my fervent support for the proposed move to Elm Park is some kind surrender to the church. Legitimate concerns are welcome and deserve every consideration, but we must also deal in facts, and I am alarmed by the combination of emotive misinformation and misunderstanding that prevails.” From article by Eilish O'Regan: Release ‘Vatican papers’ on New NMH, Former Master Demands

[3] In her article Maternity Hospital Debate Hijacked by Fear and Loathing, Irish Times journalist Kathy Sheridan wrote on 18 May 2022: 
"On Monday, while the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group was declaring itself “a secular organisation”, Dr Peter Boylan tweeted pictures of Catholic paraphernalia – a wooden crucifix, a Zambian mission hospital collection box, a notice about the streaming of Sunday Mass, apparently in a corridor – which he said were taken an hour before in the “fully secular” (his quotes) St Vincent’s Hospital.

Among the inevitable angry responses calling for a shutdown of all religious iconography and chaplains etc, a staff member calmly noted that the picture selection was from the private hospital where she often uses the oratory for some peace and quiet. Meanwhile the SVHG chair was assuring people that all religious iconography at St Vincent’s public hospital will be removed in the coming months."
Something other than "misunderstanding" lor even "normal" bias is on display here!

[4] In Part D ("Bethany Mother and Baby Home - a PROTESTANT Institution") of article Deaths of Children in Mother and Baby Care Homes (did they die of starvation?) I wrote: 
I was slightly surprised to see that the Protestant Bethany Home was also the subject of false allegations of starving children - coming mainly (of course) from Sinn Fein but Deputy Niall Collins of Fianna Fail makes a contribution as well by referring to Marasmus as "a form of malnutrition". This seems to be the sole Fianna Fail contribution to this brand of hysteria. It does indicate that irrational attacks on the Catholic Church have a way of spreading.- and corrupting the entire society.
Are Fianna Fail now trying to match the Sinn Fein/Labour/Far Left brand of anti-clerical hatred? If so they will lose some core supporters and likely fail to impress the haters anyway!

APPENDIX regarding History of Sisters of Charity & Voluntary Sector

In part B above, I refer to the folly and cowardice of the current leadership of the Religious Sisters of Charity. However, it is only fair to recall their very different history. In his article Nun Better for Generosity, Charity and Care in the Sunday Times on 8 May 2022, David Quinn wrote:
For most of the last 300 years the voluntary [i.e. non-State] sector has been run by religious organisations both Protestant and Catholic. The Religious Sisters of Charity founded St. Vincent's Hospital on its original St Stephen's Green site in 1835. It was run by women, for women. From a feminist point of view, you would think this is a good thing, but not when those in charge are nuns apparently. 

The congregation was established in 1815  by Mary Aikenhead. It played a leading role in the fight against a terrible cholera outbreak in Dublin in 1832. The nuns were asked by a group of laypeople to take over the running of the Temple Street Children's Hospital in 1876. Three years later they set up the country's first Hospice for the Dying, Our Lady's in Harold's Cross, Dublin.  

To this day they are involved in prison ministry, education, assisting the homeless, helping immigrants, offering mental health support and fighting sex trafficking...

David Quinn also quotes Sam Coulter-Smith, a former Master of the Rotunda Hospital (and a Protestant) in praising the role of the voluntary hospitals in the Irish health-care system. Professor Coulter-Smith said: "Pretty much everything good that has come out of the health service in Ireland in the past 300 years, has come out of the voluntary service." He expands on the theme in a new book: Delivering the Future: Reflections of a Rotunda Master. The Rotunda [founded 1745] is the world's oldest maternity hospital in continuous operation, and traditionally has had a Protestant ethos. Several Church of Ireland clergy are on the board of governors.

According to David Quinn, Coulter-Smith thinks it is a good thing that the relocated NMH will still be a voluntary hospital because he believes these institutions are generally better than their HSE-run counterparts. He argues they are faster to react, less tied up in red tape, and can respond to emergencies better than the HSE system. 

Indeed, in Part C above I quoted Health Minister Stephen Donnelly (Fianna Fail) saying that "nobody is trying to use a compulsory purchase order on the Rotunda or the Coombe, which operate on land the State doesn’t own." But will that last, if and when, Sinn Fein comes to power?? [See also NOTE 4 above]