31 May 2006

Sisters of Charity refuse to apologise for Kilkenny abuse


31/05/2006 - 14:55:12

The head of the Sisters of Charity has refused to apologise for the physical and sexual abuse of boys at St Joseph's Industrial School in Kilkenny in the early 1970s.

Sister Una O'Neill expressed regret and sorrow for the abuse while giving evidence to the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse today.

She also admitted that there were "system failures" which led to the abuse.

However, she refused to apologise because, she said, no members of the Sisters of Charity perpetrated the abuse, colluded in it or tried to cover it up.

Commission chairman Judge Sean Ryan suggested that it was a serious failure on behalf of the nuns not to understand what several children meant when they complained that someone was "at them".

However, Sr O'Neill said the phrase was not understood at the time in terms of physical or sexual abuse.

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