Monday, August 21, 2006

'Kathy's Story' starts to slip - Newspaper Articles.

NB: See 'Various Statements and letters' section for Sisters of Our Lady of Charity Statements regarding various claims by Mainstream Publishing, and Kathy O'Beirne.


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Orders dispute truth of woman's claims in book. Irish Independent. June. 05.

A dispute has broken out over the veracity of some of the claims made in a harrowing new book about life in the Magadalene homes.

The book, 'Kathy's Story', is written by Ms Kathy O'Beirne who says she was in a number of Magdalene homes where she was put to work in their laundries.
Ms O'Beirne was interviewed on the Vincent Brown radio show on Wednesday night.


However, the four religious orders that ran the now closed homes all say they have no record of Ms O'Beirne having been one of their residents. MsO'Beirne does not say in her book which homes she was present in, or which religious orders ran them. However, on the radio show, she mentioned High Park in Dublin, which was run by the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity. Ms O'Beirne told The Irish Independent she had "all the records of having been in the institutions" adding she was not at liberty to name the institutions "because I would be sued". Ms O'Beirne also said that two clerics have paid her out-of-court settlements because of sexual abuse she says she suffered from them.

David Quinn. _____________________________________________________________________________________

The Irish Catholic July 28, 2005 by Hermann Kelly

Kathy’s Story: Is Truth the real victim?

Bestselling author, Kathy O’Beirne sensationally claims allegations of abuse at the hands of priests and nuns but has provided no evidence. Four Orders of nuns deny Kathy ever went to a Magdalen laundry. Now the Garda are investigating her latest claims. Hermann Kelly reports.Kathy’s Story is one of best selling books of the season, standing at number 6 in Eason’s best sellers list. It paints a dark picture of systematic abuse, both sexual, physical and psychological in a series of Dublin Magdalen laundries committed on a young girl called Kathy O’Beirne. It tells the disturbing story of a girl who suffered abuse within her own family before being committed into a residential school around 1970 at the age of eight. This was the first of six institutions which she claims she attended. She also claims to have been raped by two different priests, was forced to take part in a regime of “slave labour” and was corralled into drug trials in a mental hospital against her will.However the main assertion of her story, that she was abused while in Magdalen Laundries in Dublin has been completely dismissed by the four religious orders that ran the now closed laundries in Dublin. They have all countered they have no record of Ms O'Beirne having been one of their residents. In fact the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity which ran half the laundries in Dublin have asked the Justice Minister for a Garda inquiry into these allegations.Kathy confirmed that she spent six weeks in the care of The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity while still a child. The order did confirm that they ran institutions for young people totally separate from the laundries. They have met with her to confirm this and hand over a letter to her from her mother, which they had in their possession. While Kathy says she was in three Our Lady of Charity institutions, the Order itself has said that after an exhaustive trawl of their records by a professional archivist, no trace of Kathy can be found as ever having attended their laundries or adjoining accommodation.The statements of Kathy and the Order obviously contradict.One of the difficulties is that Kathy, who says she is in her mid 40s, does not state in her book which laundries she was in, or which religious order ran them. She writes in her book that “for legal reasons, I have not been able to name any of the institutions in which I was incarcerated or any of the people who abused me.”This inhibition has not prevented other people however, from talking about their abuse or making allegations of abuse against religious orders. A number of people have come out publicly and named the order and indeed the persons involved. They can prove they were there and have fellow-witnesses to back-up their presence there. How about Kathy? Meeting at Bewley’s Hotel in Newlands Cross last Friday, Kathy told The Irish Catholic she had been under the care of Sisters of Our Lady of Charity and had spent time in High Park Laundry in Dublin.After revealing that she had spent time with this specific order, Kathy later in the interview said, “ I was only ever abused in one of those laundries. There was one of the laundries I was in that was fine. I have nothing to say about that laundry.”In this particular laundry Kathy said she was looked after really well. One nun, she said, “saved a lot of girls from death by taking them in from the streets.”The Order had two laundries, one in High Park, Drumcondra and the other in Sean McDermott Street.Though claiming to have documentary evidence to show her stay in all the institutions, Kathy failed to show this journalist any documentary evidence demonstrating that she ever attended any of the institutions in the book. Neither the dates nor the full names of any living people who worked along with her in the laundries are named in the book either.When asked to name people who could prove to be corroborative witnesses to her time in the institutions, she declined to do so. Instead she said: “there are nuns who came to visit me, clergy who came to visit me, family who came to visit me, there are letters.” She also said she had photographs of herself and other girls from the laundries.Questioned on whether she was taking all the institutions in which she claimed she was abused to court, she replied that “I’m not saying, what I’m doing or what I’m not doing.”Asked if she had shown the documentary evidence to the Gardai who have investigated the matter over the last year, Kathy replied, “Well, I’m not going to make any comment on that.”Kathy told The Irish Catholic she did not receive an education during her time in these institutions: “I didn’t get any education. I was in school for a couple of days and that was it. I certainly didn’t get an education in any institution that I was in. Certainly not in the mental institution I was in because I was doped out of my brains all of the time.”She remains adamant however that she “has all her files showing that she was there.” I asked to see these files but again she declined.Amongst the most serious statements in Kathy’s book (page 120) is the allegation that the nuns stole babies from their mothers and sold them to America.That “beautiful babies were, as far as the nuns were concerned, human traffic to be sold for profit,” she writes.Sr Sheila Murphy, as regional leader of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity said this was totally untrue. “We had nothing to do with the buying or selling or the adoption of babies.” The laundries and related institutions of her specific order did not accept any girls who were pregnant at all, Sr Murphy told The Irish Catholic. Kathy said that “the Ledgers are there, they weren’t burnt or washed away in floods. The babies names and prices are there.” Again allegations were made but no ledgers or photocopies have been produced as proof.According to the publicity material in the 2005 catalogue of Mainstream Publishing which published her book: “At 13, back in another Magdalen Laundry, Kathy was raped and became pregnant. Poorly from birth, her baby Kelly Anne, spent the rest of her short life in a home run by nuns and when she died she was interred in a mass grave. Kathy still doesn’t know where her baby is buried.”I asked Kathy about the burial of her child and she flatly contradicted the publishers publicity: “Who was buried in a mass grave? Who told you that? You want to get your facts right.” When I pointed out it was in the publishers press release, she said they had “got their facts wrong. There is nothing about her being buried in a mass grave in the book.” She added that her daughter, “was very well looked after by the nuns.”Sr Sheila Murphy pointed out that only babies are buried in a Holy Angels plot, not 10 year old children. Sr Sheila Murphy suggested that for a ten year old child buried in the mid- 1980’s surely there would be a birth certificate and death certificate? And asked what institution the child was put in?Kathy also told The Irish Catholic that she had spent time in Magdalen Laundries with a woman called Maggie Bullen. “We spent a couple of years together. I knew Maggie very well. That’s why I aired her story because I was so upset, the way she was buried.” Maggie died two years ago at the age of 52 and was buried in Glasnevin.For the first time, Kathy admitted it was she who spoke using the name ‘Elizabeth’ on the Joe Duffy Liveline radio programme on October 7, 2003 about Maggie Bullen’s burial. On that two hour radio programme under the assumed name ‘Elizabeth’, Kathy as well as other callers made a number of serious allegations.After a radio listener complained about the lack of accuracy and balance in the programme the Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCC) upheld the complaint. In its decision the BCC said: “This programme purported to be factually based. However, significant inaccurate claims made during the programme went unchallenged. The programme approached an emotive subject from a biased perspective and the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity were not afforded a fair right of reply.”‘Elizabeth’ claimed on Liveline that Maggie Bullen’s name was not put on the headstone, that the nuns were living like the ‘Queen Mother’ while Maggie was in a ‘pauper’s grave.’ She said on national radio; “The Nuns killed her, the nuns destroyed her, they took her babies off her, they destroyed her,....”. She went on further to claim that “the babies were wrapped in sheets, and thrown into holes, unmarked graves, they weren’t even buried in consecrated ground, so maybe she [Maggie] is lucky where she is.”However, the BCC said that significant inaccurate details included: -“ that Ms. Bullen was buried in a mass grave; that the Nuns lived in the lap of luxury compared to the conditions they made Ms. Bullen live in; there was no eulogy given at Ms. Bullen's funeral mass; the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity was a 'mothers and baby's home'; and that the family were not informed of Ms. Bullen's death.”According to the BCC: ”The programme contained many factual inaccuracies and the Commission further was of the view that the attempts made to contact the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity do not appear to have been sufficient. The complaint was upheld.”The Sisters of our Lady of Charity pointed out that Maggie Bullen had a well attended funeral attended by three priests, religious sisters and many friends. A funeral homily was given by a priest who knew her, a special Mass booklet in her honour was prepared for the occasion and she was buried in a burial plot and her name was inscribed on the headstone. Nuns from the order visited her regularly while in hospital and a very close nun friend visited her on the day before she died.In addition, one woman rang in during the show to say, how in her personal experience, the women in the nursing home were cared for very well by the nuns.But to The Irish Catholic, Kathy said Maggie “ was buried in what the nun’s called a communal grave, but any grave with more than six bodies in it is a mass grave. That’s were she is buried.”Kathy has made ‘mass grave’ allegations in other quarters. During an interview on the ‘Tonight with Vincent Brown Show’ on June 22, Kathy claimed there were “hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of bodies buried on the lands of the Magdalen Laundries all around Dublin and around the country and in Letterfrack. And they did not die from being undernourished. A lot of these children were murdered.”After similar claims of murders and a mass grave in Letterfrack, the Gardai set up a special investigation centre in Clifden to which 7 Gardai were assigned on a full time basis for over two years from November 1999 to the summer of 2002. In January 2003, Superintendent Tony O’Dowd told The Irish Catholic that “there is no evidence available that would suggest that foul play led to the deaths of anybody buried inside or outside of the cemetery at the old Industrial School in Letterfrack.” The Superintendent added that “there was no evidence of a mass grave.”The vast divergence in the claims of both Kathy O’Beirne and the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity may soon be coming to a head. After the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity called on Minister Michael McDowell to initiate an investigation the Garda Commissioner, Noel Conroy on July 6 appointed a Detective Superintendent to “examine the issues raised” in their letter. Added to this heady mix is the word from Kathy that she is in the process of writing a second book. This will be music to the ears of Mainstream Publishers in Edinburgh who have already sold rights to the first book to international clients for a fee. Kathy told The Irish Catholic that her group of ex-Magdalen girls, called ‘Care and Share’ were going to organise a march in Dublin last Saturday and she herself was going to start a hunger-strike to air her grievances. Hopefully, time will tell who is telling the truth.
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NO RECORD OF HELL AUTHOR IN LAUNDRY'

Sunday Independent, 3rd July 2005 by Lara Bradley

EXCLUSIVE

IT was the surprise best-seller on the summer book market - a bleak tale told by a brave survivor of rape and abuse within the infamous Magdalene laundries.
But the nuns who ran the institutions have rejected her story and claimed that Kathy O'Beirne - author of Kathy's Story: A Childhood Hell Inside the Magdalene Laundries - was never a resident.
The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity have now written to the Minister for Justice Michael McDowell demanding Ms O'Beirne's claims are properly investigated.
The book opens with an author's note: "For legal reasons, I have not been able to name any of the institutions in which I was incarcerated or any of the people who abused me."
Ms O'Beirne claims to have been repeatedly raped and became pregnant while a resident in the Magdalene laundry at High Park, Dublin and said she was also a resident of a similar laundry at Sean McDermott Street.
The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity ran both laundries. The order has never agreed to be interviewed, but were so appalled by the allegations they spoke last night to the Sunday Independent.
Senior archivist Sister Theresa said: "We are very careful about confidentiality as people's reputations are sacred to us whether they are dead or alive. Our girls came to us because they needed help.
"Kathy should produce evidence of where she was and when. Where is the child's birth certificate? Why has it taken 30 years to find? I am very sorry, the girl is clearly very traumatised."
A statement issued by the order said: "We can categorically state that Kathy O'Beirne did not spend any time in our laundries or related institutions. We met Kathy O'Beirne in the past year for the purposes of clarifying this with her.
"As the allegations made by Kathy are so serious we are now writing to the Minister for Justice to ask him to have Kathy's allegations investigated. We will fully co-operate with such an investigation and we trust Kathy will do likewise. Although Kathy's story is an horrific one, in the interest of fairness and justice to all, it is important that the facts of her story are clarified and verified."
Ms O'Beirne, 45, from Clondalkin, Dublin claims she was a resident in High Park from the age of 12 to 14. In a chapter titled 'Slaving in the Magdalene laundry', she says the nuns there beat her so hard with "a special thick piece of rubber" she sustained a broken pelvis trying to escape, and she details a rape within the laundry walls which left her pregnant at the age of 14.
Last week she went further, telling the Sunday Independent she was raped a number of times. Ms O'Beirne is working on a sequel in which she says she will name the men who raped her.
A professional historian was recently employed by the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity to catalogue their files, and the order claims its records for the period Kathy claims to have been in a Magdalene laundry are complete and so comprehensive that one woman's two-day admittance was recorded.
Sister Theresa said: "We searched and searched and cannot find Kathy in either of our laundries. Then we came across her at one of our industrial schools."
The Sunday Independent has seen documentary evidence confirming Ms O'Beirne spent six weeks at St Anne's School - having been referred there by the Health Board. The school was also run by the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, but the order insists this six-week period was the only time Ms O'Beirne was in their care.
Provincial Sister Sheila Murphy said: "'Related institutions to the laundries' means the residential side of the laundries and we certainly can say as a congregation that Kathy was never there.
"We also ran other care homes under our childcare section that had no relation whatsoever to the running of the laundries."
Ms O'Beirne told the Sunday Independent she had documentary proof that she was resident in High Park and Sean McDermott Street Magdalene Laundries, but refused to produce this. She said: "Of course I have proof. I'm not one bit confused. I'm calling them liars. I never had an issue with people believing me. There are hundreds of people out there who know what happened to me. There had to be forms signed by psychiatrists. I was actually delivered by a nurse to High Park.
"Of course I have all the proof I need. The best wine is kept till last. I'm keeping it for the High Court. I'll sue them."In Kathy's Story, Ms O'Beirne claims: "When I contacted one of the Magdalene laundries I was told that my files had been burned in a fire."
The nuns admitted there was "a small fire", but said the records destroyed in it related to a different period to the time Ms O'Beirne claims to have been resident in the Magdalene laundries.
Mainstream Publishers have sold the rights to Kathy's Story to a number of other international publishers and the book is soon to be launched in Australia, America and Sweden. Mainstream Publishers MD Bill Campbell said: "We are satisfied Kathy's Story is 100 per cent true. It is an earth-shattering story. We have done our own investigations, which are very stringent. There is no question of us pulling this book."
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Family Wash their Hands of ‘laundry rape Victim’.
Sunday Mirror.20th. August.
By Niall Donald.

The family of a woman who wrote a bestseller about her ‘ordeal’ in the Magdalene laundries have denounced parts of the book as fiction.
Kathy O’Beirne’s shocking autobiography tells how she was brutally raped and tortured in the notorious laundries.
The 50 year old woman said – ‘’I stand by every word I have written. It is terribly sad this has caused a rift in my family but I stand by every word.’’
The book Kathy’s Story: A Childhood Hell in The Magdalene Laundries – has become a smash hit in Ireland and Britain, selling thousands of copies but it has caused a massive split in her family.
This month a re-worked version of the book ‘Don’t Ever Tell’ was the third best selling non-fiction book in Britain.
Kathy claims she was beaten by her father, raped by priests and forced to take drugs in a mental hospital.
But the Church insist the Dublin woman was NEVER a resident in the infamous laundries.
Last night, members of her family broke their silence to say the bestselling book was largely a work of fiction.
Kathy’s older brother Oliver, 52, said his father did NOT savagely beat his kids.
He said ‘I read the book and I can’t figure out where she’s coming from – my father was a good man.
‘There are nine kids in the family and she is the only one who has any stories of abuse’.

Oliver said he has never heard Kathy mention the Magdalene laundries when they were growing up.
He said:’ she was very wild – and I remember visiting her in the children’s home and in the psychiatric hospital. But I never heard anything about the Magdalene laundries – even tho’ we visited all those other places.’’
Oliver said Kathy does not have a good relationship with her brothers and sisters.
He added: ‘’I was the last one to be talking to her – I always listened to her and I used to meet her in Bewleys for a chat.
I wouldn’t say she had an easy life and I don’t like to see any harm come to anybody in the family.
I think she needs help – and I hope some day she will have a bit of peace in her life.’’
In the book, Kathy said her father used to make her sleep in the dog kennel and held her hand in a pan of hot grease.
But Kathy’s younger sister Margaret, 38 insisted her father was not a violent man.
She said: ‘’She has blackened my father’s name – he was a good man and he never mistreated any of us.
‘’She said we were all mistreated by our father and that is just not true.’’
And Eamonn, 48, also said he did not believe his sister had been in the notorious institutions.
He said: ‘’ I have no memory of her ever being in the Magdalene laundries. She hung out with a wild crowd in town and I remember my sisters visiting her in Mountjoy – at the same time she was claiming to be in the laundries.
I don’t believe my father ever abused her like she claimed in the book – it is just lies.’’
Her sister Mary,40, said the book has been very upsetting for the family.
She added:’ Kathleen has done an awful lot of wrong to our family – but we haven’t said anything over the years. But we want to set the record straight and say our father was a good man.’’
Last night the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity said Kathy was never a resident in the Magdalene laundries.
A spokesman said: ‘’we wish to emphatically and categorically state that Kathy O’Beirne never spent any time in our laundries or related institutions.
‘’A professional archivist has checked our records in detail and there is no reference to Kathy O’Beirne.
We know all of the women who worked in our laundries in the latter years – and Kathy O’Beirne is not one of them.’’
But Kathy claimed she has documents proving she stayed in a Magdalene home.
She said: ‘’ I have never lied before – and I don’t intend to start now.
These are legal documents that I have been waiting 13 years for.
They cover my stay in the industrial school and I have also received my legal documents from my stay in the children’s mental institution.
I also have the signature of the psychiatrist that sent me to the Magdalene laundry.’’
She added:’’ I know what happened to me in my life – and other people know what happened to me in my life.
‘’The reason I was moved from my home was because of the abuse I suffered. I have people who back up my story.’’
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Gardaí asked to examine claims of abuse by nuns.

Joe Humphreys Irish Times, 1st July 2005
The Minister for Justice has asked the Garda Commissioner to examine claims by a Dublin woman that she was physically and sexually abused in Magdalene laundries about 20 years ago. A spokeswoman for Michael McDowell confirmed yesterday that the Minister had received a request from an order of nuns to have allegations investigated, and that this request had been passed to Noel Conroy for "appropriate attention". The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity said yesterday they could "categorically confirm" that Kathy O'Beirne, who made the allegations, did not spend any time at either of their laundries at Hyde Park or Sean McDermott Street. Ms O'Beirne, who has documented her alleged abuse in a recently published book, Kathy's Story, stands over her allegations. In a statement to The Irish Times yesterday, she said: "I wholeheartedly endorse the call to the Minister for Justice to investigate the issues raised. "I can categorically state I was under the care of the nuns in five different institutions throughout my life and I have official documentation that will corroborate this." She declined to name the institutions, citing legal reasons. She noted she had taken a case to the State's Residential Institutions Redress Board, and was pursuing "a separate legal action". In her book, Ms O'Beirne claims to have spent nearly 14 years in Magdalene laundries where she said she was sexually abused, beaten and repeatedly raped. She claimed a child was born as a result of these rapes who later died in the care of a religious order. A spokesman for the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity said that as well as checking their records - which were "entirely intact" and recently logged by a professional archivist - the order had "talked to Sisters who worked in both laundries and they have no recollection of her being in those laundries even for a brief period". The Sisters reiterated that their rules precluded them from accepting pregnant girls. "As a result, no pregnant girls ever worked in the laundries operated by us and no child was ever born in any of our premises." Ms O'Beirne dismissed these claims. "To say that they never accepted pregnant girls; the whole of Ireland is laughing at them." She said she wanted an apology, not money.The Sunday Times - Ireland

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Nuns set to sue author over her bestseller claim of abuse 'hell'
Irish Independent, September 13, 2006

Wednesday September 13th 2006


AN order of nuns embroiled in a dispute over a bestselling biography detailing harrowing abuse in a Magdalen laundry is on a legal collision course with its author.

The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, one of four Irish religious orders who ran the now closed homes, has asked a Dublin legal firm to investigate - with a view to launching civil proceedings - claims by Kathy O'Beirne that she was abused while in the care of its nuns.

Ms O'Beirne's book, 'Kathy's Story: A Childhood Hell in The Magdalene Laundries', has become a surprise non-fiction best-seller in Ireland and Britain, selling over 350,000 copies.

Debate

But the book, which has been snapped up by a host of international publishers, has been the subject of widespread debate about the veracity of its central claim that Ms O'Beirne was abused - or that she was ever resident in one of the infamous homes.

"A Dublin legal firm has been engaged by the order to examine all the issues surrounding books published by Kathy O'Beirne," a spokesperson for the order confirmed last night.

Ms O'Beirne, who defended the contents of 'Kathy's Story' earlier this week during an RTE interview, was unavailable for comment last night.

As sales of the book rocketed during the summer, a backlash against Ms O'Beirne ensued, led by members of her own family and former 'Maggies' who lived at the homes.

A website has even been set up on the internet to dispute the author's controversial claims.

In her book, Ms O'Beirne claims to have spent nearly 14 years in Magdalene laundries where she said she was sexually abused, beaten and repeatedly raped.

The Dubliner also claimed she gave birth to a child as a result of these rapes. The child later died in the care of a religious order, she said.

Significantly, Ms O'Beirne does not name any of the laundries in which she was allegedly incarcerated, citing "legal reasons".

But last year, Ms O'Beirne was interviewed by journalist Vincent Browne's on his RTE radio show in June 22 last year.

During the interview, she made the claim of being physically and sexually abused while in a Magdalene laundry, and that she had become pregnant.

She mentioned the laundry at High Park, and also claimed to have been a resident at a Magdalene laundry on Sean McDermott St. Both of these laundries were run by the sisters.

The order strenuously denied the claim and asked its lawyers to examine the transcript of the radio interview. It also filed a complaint with the Broadcasting Commission.

A sequel to 'Kathy's Story' is pending, and Mainstream - the firm who published the book - have sold the rights to publishers, in Australia, America and Sweden.

Dearbhail McDonald


© Irish Independent

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The Sunday Times September 17, 2006


Kathy's family says her story of abuse is fiction
Hermann Kelly



THE family of a woman who has written a bestselling memoir about her childhood of torture and rape will hold a press conference in Dublin on Tuesday to deny many of the claims made in the book.
Although Mainstream Publishers yesterday said it was standing by the autobiography — Kathy’s Story — which has sold 350,000 copies in Ireland and Britain, the author’s family says it should be shelved under fiction.



Kathy O’Beirne, 50, from Dublin, has written a moving book, subtitled A Childhood Hell in the Magdalen Laundries, about the physical abuse she says she suffered at the hands of her father and Catholic religious orders, including 14 years of forced labour in a Magdalen laundry. But her family are publicly to denounce the allegations as false, while three women have come forward to describe living with O’Beirne in a girls’ hostel rather than a Magdalen laundry.

At the start of the book, O’Beirne claims she was violently beaten and abused by her father, Oliver. Three of her brothers have denied this, and say their father was a good, loving man who worked hard to provide for his family.

Her older brother John O’Beirne, 51, said he is “absolutely sure that allegations in the book about sadistic abuse by my father are false”. He recalls visiting Kathy in St Anne’s, a children’s home in Kilmacud, and St Loman’s in Dublin, a mental institution for troubled children. He says his sisters visited Kathy in Mountjoy when she was imprisoned for petty theft. John O’Beirne says the chronology of events in Kathy’s Story is a “jigsaw puzzle and nothing fits”.

One of Kathy’s younger brothers, Eamon O’Beirne, said: “The allegations against my father contained in Kathy’s book are totally false.”

O’Beirne claims she gave birth to one child as a result of rape by a male visitor to the Magdalen laundry, with the child later dying in the care of an unidentified religious order. Eamon, 48, contradicts this. “To my knowledge, she never had a child. And I also know my father did not abuse or torture me. Never, as portrayed in this book, did these things ever happen in our house,” he said. “She can write as many books as she likes and make as much money as she likes, but she can’t implicate others.”

Angered at the smear on his father’s reputation and the family name, he predicted that “loads of my brothers and sisters will now speak up”.

But Bill Campbell, managing director of Mainstream, said yesterday that the Scottish publishing house would stand by its story. “We have made every effort and are satisfied that the story is true,” he said. Campbell interviewed Kathy in Dublin and had “other people go over the chronology in great detail” before signing a deal.

Campbell said that they made contact with the Dublin archdiocese inviting comments before publication of the book, but to date Mainstream had “received no substantive response”. Asked whether he has seen documentary proof that Kathy had a child or was in a Magdalen laundry, Campbell refused to answer.

He suggested that recent moves to question Kathy’s Story formed part of a “vendetta” by Florence Horsman Hogan of Let Our Voices Emerge (Love), a group that campaigns for those who have suffered false allegations of abuse.

Horsman Hogan has been campaigning for more than a year to have the book investigated. “Kathy O’Beirne’s family, a religious congregation and the psychiatric services were subjected to horrific allegations of child abuse, yet Mainstream ignored our appeals, and that of her family, to remove this book from sale pending verification,” Horsman Hogan said.

During the 1970s, Sherrard House hostel in Dublin was a voluntary shelter for homeless girls. Although never mentioned in Kathy’s Story, three former residents have said O’Beirne spent three years there with them.

Angela, 48, from Blanchardstown, said she remembered Kathy being there in her mid-to late teens. “Kathy never had any children, never spoke of having any children, never once spoke of being in a Magdalen laundry,” she said. “This story is complete madness.”

Two other residents of Sherrard House agree. Celine Dempsey, 47, from Dublin remembers staying with Kathy for four years in the girls’ hostel. During that time, she maintains that “Kathy never spoke of being in a Magdalen laundry, never spoke of having a baby or of ever being raped”.

Another woman, Mary Lavin, remembers that Kathy came to Sherrard House from St Loman’s mental home. She recalls that Kathy used to ask the girls about their life stories and would write them down. “She had loads of papers,” Lavin said.

Dempsey believes that O’Beirne has taken other people’s stories, “put them together and embellished them a lot”.

Kathy is standing firm, however. While refusing to take calls from the The Sunday Times last week, she defended the veracity of her claims in an interview on RTE Radio, insisting that she has proof of everything.

O’Beirne has indicated that the Magdalen laundry in which she was allegedly abused was run by the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity. She could yet face legal action from the order, which has hired lawyers and written to the Department of Justice asking for an investigation. The department has passed the matter to the gardai.

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Irish Independent
'Penniless' author living on welfare

Saturday September 16th 2006

THE author of a controversial best selling autobiography is
"penniless", living on a weekly €170 state handout, the Irish
Independent can reveal.

Despite making an estimated stg£1.5m (€2.22m) for Edinburgh-based
Mainstream Publishing, Kathy O'Beirne, author of 'Kathy's Story', has
continued to collect welfare payments.

It is understood the writer has so far received little more than an
estimated €20,000 advance she got from the publisher - which she
shared with a ghost writer.

The book, which is the subject of an intense debate over the truth of
O'Beirne's claims, has sold 350,000 copies worldwide. Mainstream
Publishing managing director Bill Campbell has declined to reveal how
much it paid O'Beirne for the rights to the book - or give any
breakdown of royalties.

The latest twist in the O'Beirne saga comes as her family prepare to
hold a press conference in Dublin next Tuesday morning to dispute
claims in the book.

The author was investigated by the Health Services Executive who
administer the Long Term Illness Scheme, which entitles O'Beirne to
free drugs and medical treatment.

Earlier this year, long-term illness payments to O'Beirne were
suspended following an anonymous tip-off to HSE officials, who were
notified of her phenomenal success.

After officials spoke to the author at her Dublin home, the weekly
welfare sums were restored.

O'Beirne's book detailing horrific sexual and physical abuse in the
Magdalene Laundries has yielded just a "trickle" of payments from
Mainstream, she said.

Any sums generated by the book had been donated to two orphanages and
a children's hospital, she added.

Dearbhail McDonald and Ciaran Byrne

(c) Irish Independent
_____________________________________________________________________________________


Irish Independent
Publishers battle credibility crisis over book's veracity

Saturday September 16th 2006

ALBANY Street lies at the heart of Edinburgh's spectacular Georgian
New Town, its neat cobbles and pale white street lamps giving off an
eerie silver glow at night.

It has a 240-year history and more than a few stories to tell. Today,
many of them are told at No 7, the home of Mainstream Publishing, one
of the most successful independent publishers in Scotland since its
formation in 1978.

Mainstream is a leading publisher of non-fiction, particularly
politics, current affairs, true crime and sport. Its success led last
year to it selling a 50pc stake to the global publisher Random House.

But it has, on more than one occasion, been dogged by accusations of
plagiarism and of publishing exaggerated 'true-life' stories.

In 1999, Mainstream was forced to drop one of its top authors, James
Mackay, and pay stg£20,000 (€29,700) to pulp his biography of John
Paul Jones, the Scots-born US Navy founder, which was heavily
plundered from already published material.

Two years later, it paid Tom Carew a reported stg£100,000 (€148,000)
for his book 'Jihad!', a 'personal' account of life as an SAS officer
training the mujahideen in Afghanistan.

Carew's real name was Philip Anthony Sessarego. He did go to
Afghanistan but it was certainly not as a member of the SAS. He was
exposed by BBC News after Mainstream had published the book and
organised global publicity tour.

His own daughter, Claire Sessarego, said: "Basically, if I'm going to
be blunt about it, I think he is a twat.

Now Mainstream has found itself battling a deepening crisis about the
credibility of its biggest ever commercial success: 'Kathy's Story' by
Dublin-born Kathy O'Beirne.

The book has, in publishing parlance, gone global. It has already sold
350,000 copies around the world, making it the most successful ever
work of non-fiction by an Irish author.

'Kathy's Story' is certainly a harrowing tale. But it has also caused
more controversy and anguish than any of the grim tales laid out as
fact in its pages.

The 45-year-old (her family says she is at least five years older)
claims to have spent nearly 14 years in Magdalene laundries where she
says she was sexually abused, beaten and repeatedly raped.

O'Beirne also claims to have given birth to a child - who later died
in the care of an unidentified religious order - after being raped by
a man who visited the laundry where she was living. All of it is
untrue, say opponents of the book, which now include members of her
own family.

Her story is the classic example of what Mainstream describe as
'Mis-Lit' - quite literally, it means miserable literature - and it
seems the world cannot get enough of it.

'Kathy's Story' sold its entire first trade paperback run of 150,000
copies. An estimated 200,000 of the second run has almost sold out. A
third run might follow.

Industry sources in Edinburgh and Dublin believe Mainstream has
recouped a conservative estimate of stg€1.5m (€2.22m) on what sources
say was an approximate €20,000 advance to O'Beirne, who still lives in
a Clondalkin council house.

It is unclear what her cut of the royalties are, but her living
standards suggest she has yet to receive any meaningful portion of the
enormous wealth generated by her story.

'Kathy's Story', a memoir by an Irish 'Maggie' who still can't read or
write, was manna from Heaven for Mainstream's founder and managing
director Bill Campbell.

A close personal friend of UK Chancellor Gordon Brown, he said last
week he heard of O'Beirne's story at a meeting with her agent in
London and instantly sensed he had a hit on his hands.

After the deal was clinched, a ghost-writer, Michael Sheridan, was
engaged to help the illiterate O'Beirne write some sample chapters.

A global best-seller was born.

Mainstream has been dogged by claims they have published exaggerated

'true-life' stories.

All four religious orders that ran the now defunct Magdalene laundries
deny O'Beirne was ever a resident. Significantly, O'Beirne does not
name any of the laundries in the book in which she was allegedly
incarcerated, citing 'legal reasons' for the glaring omissions.

But last year, O'Beirne revealed more than she intended. During an
emotional interview with Vincent Browne on RTE, O'Beirne repeated
claims of physical and sexual abuse, referring to the Magdalene
laundries at High Park and Sean McDermott Street, Dublin - both
operated by the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity.

The order, which was not consulted in advance of the interview, was
incensed to be implicated in such horrendous and illegal acts.

The Sisters employed a forensic archivist and historian to review its
files. It revealed that O'Beirne had spent a short period of time at
St Anne's, a children's home operated by the order.

But crucially, it emerged, O'Beirne had never - according to the
Sisters' files and those of the three remaining orders - spent a
single day in a Magdalene laundry.

The order wrote to Justice Minister Michael McDowell asking for the
allegations in the book to be investigated.

The minister asked Noel Conroy, the Garda commissioner, to
investigate. That inquiry is still under way. In addition, the nuns -
who filed a complaint with the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland
(BCI) about the RTE interview - has asked a Dublin law firm to
investigate the possibility of launching civil proceedings. The order
hasn't ruled out suing the authors and the publisher.

As sales of 'Kathy's Story' continue to rise, so too does a public
backlash against O'Beirne. Chief among those who disputed the claims
were women who had spent time in the laundries, O'Beirne's friends and
even members of her family.

O'Beirne's eight siblings turned a blind eye to many of the
allegations in her book, but broke their silence after their sister
claimed that she was violently abused by their dead father Oliver.

In 'Kathy's Story', O'Beirne claimed that she was beaten by her father
and sexually molested by local boys who raped her on the eve of her
first communion.

The claims about Oliver O'Beirne was the final straw for her brothers
who took their campaign to clear their father's name to the media.

Within weeks, they were working alongside Florence Horsman Hogan, the
founder of 'Let Our Voices Emerge' (Love), a support group set up to
dispute claims of physical and sexual abuse committed by Ireland's
religious orders.

Last week, the claims and counter-claims threatened to boil over when
callers to RTE's 'Liveline' accused O'Beirne of claiming their
experiences and passing them off as her own.

"I think she put part of my life into her book," claimed 'Ann', one of
a legion of callers who called Joe Duffy.

The claims have appalled O'Beirne's family. "It is never-ending," said
John O'Beirne, Kathy's brother. "I honestly don't know why she has
been saying these things.

"I have no problem with Kathy earning a lot of money, but she hammered
our father for no good reason. She cannot be allowed to discredit our
family without just cause."

For now, Mainstream is backing the author of its golden goose. A
second book by O'Beirne is being planned and the firm has revealed
that early discussions have already taken place.

Mr Campbell said he himself flew to Dublin to meet O'Beirne before
publication and was "totally sure" of what he described as "her
incredible story".

In his first public comments since the controversy broke, he hinted at
"sinister" Church agendas that were at play - a malicious campaign
designed to hide or cloud the truth.

He told the Irish Independent: "We did everything we could to
investigate the claims and even communicated certain passages to the
religious orders concerned.

"We have strictures and checks that came into play. Our reaction is
one of extreme surprise that one and a half years after its
publication, this is the first we have heard of a problem and the
allegations being made.

"We would question the agendas of those involved given that we even
delayed publication to give the Archdiocese of Dublin an opportunity
to respond, which they did, with no major changes."

As for O'Beirne herself, she broke a week-long silence and phoned the
Irish Independent on Friday to say: "I am above board, I have all my
documentation.

"I don't care what people say about me. My comeback (to all the bad
publicity) is that I have my proof, it's all above board. I dared to
come out and tell the truth.

"My book has helped hundreds of people, I get letters from all over
the world. I have helped people on the brink of suicide.

"Are we all liars?" she asked, referring to those who claim to have
been abused, before bursting into tears.

(c) Irish Independent

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Comment on above article: It is absolutly untrue that Mainstream have only become aware of a problem with the allegations in this book. Mr Bill Campbell is on record in the Sunday Independent, July 05, (when contacted by the journalist Lara Bradley in relation to the Sisters of Charity denying that she was with them ), as saying Mainstream had carried out rigerous checks and there was no question of their pulling the book.
Florence Horsman Hogan.
_____________________________________________________________________________________

The Times September 19, 2006


Author's family say abuse memoir is cruel hoax
By David Sharrock

Doubt has been cast on the 'childhood hell' in a Catholic institution recalled by an Irish writer


IT IS a harrowing story of a young woman’s life destroyed by nuns and priests, and it has raced to the top of the bestseller list. But now a chorus of voices, including those of the author’s own family, claim that the ordeal described by Kathy O’Beirne simply does not ring true and is nothing more than a cruel hoax.



Kathy’s Story: a Childhood Hell in the Magdalene Laundries has sold more than 350,000 copies in Ireland and Britain, securing a place in the top five bestselling non-fiction titles in Britain, where it sells under the title Don’t Ever Tell.

Published last year, the story of O’Beirne seemed to encap-sulate the anguish of a generation of Irish people whose experiences at the hands of religious orders left them scarred. And it could not have been better timed, with the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland apologising for the conduct of some of its priests and nuns.

But as the sales continued to rise, so too did the questions. In the book she says that she was beaten by her father and sexually abused by two boys from the age of 5 before being sent away to an institution. She claims that at the age of 10 she was repeatedly raped by a priest and whipped by nuns. Later she was forced to take drugs in a mental institution.

“I was consigned to a hell of beatings and abuse,” she wrote. “It was one long scream of suffering which has haunted all of my adult life.”

The first organisation to challenge the account was the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, one of four religious orders which ran the Magdalene laundries — institutions for young women who were seen to be in moral danger.

The sisters said that they invited an independent archivist to study their files after nobody could remember Kathy O’Beirne. No record has turned up of her attendance. She has said, in radio interviews since the book’s publication, that she could not name the institution in which she was abused for legal reasons.

Now her own family is about to dispute her story. Five of her brothers and sisters plan to hold a press conference in Dublin today. O’Beirne’s older brother, Oliver, 52, has told an Irish newspaper: “I read the book and I can’t figure out where she is coming from. My father was a good man. There are nine kids in the family and she is the only one who has any stories of abuse.” Adding that she did not have a good relationship with her family, he said: “I think she needs help.”

The publishers said that they would continue to support the book. Bill Campbell, director of Mainstream Publishing, said in a statement: “We have used every possible effort to establish the truth of Kathy’s memoir. We invited comments and corrections from the Church and we received no substantive response.”

But an Irish charity called Let Our Voices Emerge, established by people who spent time in religious institutions and who are now dedicated to defending their carers, has its doubts. Florence Horsman Hogan told The Times: “By her own admission Kathy has had psychological problems from an early age. Some members of her family have now come forward to state that their father emphatically was not an abuser and that, on the contrary, he worked extremely hard to support all of his children.” She said that the only record of O’Beirne having been in a Catholic institution was when she spent six weeks in St Anne’s Industrial School in Dublin in 1967.

The author has been refusing to speak to newspapers, but in a radio inAuthor is accused of inventing harrowing story of childhood torture and rape
By Tom Peterkin, Ireland Correspondent

An author whose memoirs recount a harrowing childhood of torture and rape while working in a Roman Catholic religious order is at the centre of a dispute over the accuracy of her claims.

Kathy O'Beirne's account of her early life, published as Don't Ever Tell in Britain and Kathy's Story in Ireland, has become a best-seller with 350,000 copies sold.

In the book, she alleges that she was beaten and abused by her late father.

advertisementThe book claims that Miss O'Beirne suffered 14 years of forced labour in the Magdalen laundries, a Catholic institution which was originally set up to rehabilitate fallen women.

While Don't Ever Tell rides high in the British non-fiction chart, some members of her family are adamant that her book should be re-categorised as a work of fiction.

Although in the book's acknowledgments Miss O'Beirne pays tribute to the support she has received from her brother Brian, some of her other seven siblings are angered by its contents.

Her Edinburgh-based publisher, Mainstream, has defended the book.

However, members of her family will host a press conference in Dublin today disputing much of what she has written.

Several brothers have rejected allegations that she was beaten and abused by her father, Oliver, when she was growing up in a working- class suburb of Dublin.

Her older brother John O'Beirne, 51, yesterday denied the book's allegations of sadistic abuse by his father.

Mr O'Beirne described the sequence of events outlined by his sister as "a jigsaw puzzle and nothing fits". He said that his father was a loving man, who held down two jobs to provide for his family. "Kathy has hurt a lot of people and it's now time for the truth to be told," he said.

Rather than working in a Magdalen laundry, Mr O'Beirne recalled visiting her in St Anne's Children Home, Kilmacud, Dublin, and St Loman's, an institution for troubled children.

A younger brother, Eamon O'Beirne, 48, said he had "no memory whatsoever of Kathy ever being in a Magdalen laundry".

He said: "I don't believe for a second that my father ever abused her like she claimed in the book."

He denied her assertion that she bore a child after being raped by a male visitor to the laundries.

In the book, she claimed that the child later died in the care of an unnamed religious order. Eamon O'Beirne said: "To my knowledge, she never had a child. And my father did not abuse or torture me. The stuff as alleged in this book did not happen in our house."

Several women have come forward to say they lived with Miss O'Beirne in the 1970s in the Sherrard Street hostel for girls in Dublin.

During their time in the hostel, which has not been included in the book, they claim that Miss O'Beirne never mentioned having had a child or of working in a Magdalen laundry.

Celine Dempsey, 47, said: "Kathy never spoke of being in a Magdalen laundry. How could she? She was in Sherrard Street."

The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, the religious order running the laundry, has denied that Miss O'Beirne stayed in one of their homes or laundries and is considering taking legal action.

Bill Campbell, the managing director of Mainstream, defended the book.

"We stand by her story," he said. "We have made every effort and are satisfied that the story is true."

Mr Campbell travelled to Dublin to interview the author and had "other people go over the chronology in great detail".

Mr Campbell added that before publication they had made contact with the Dublin Archdiocese inviting comments but to date they had "received no substantive response".

Miss O'Beirne has refused to take calls from journalists.

She stood by her claims last week on RTE radio and said she had proof of everything.

In a radio interview last week she insisted that she had proof of everything in the book.
_____________________________________________________________________________________
Irish author's abuse story "fiction", says her family
Catholic News.

Family members of Irish author Kathy O'Beirne, whose graphic account of abuse at the hands of Irish nuns has sold over 350,000 copies, have denied her story saying that the book published as Kathy's Story is almost entirely false and should be reclassified as fiction.

"Absolutely all or nearly all of this book is false - I don't understand why she's saying this," her older brother Oliver O'Beirne, 52, told Reuters following a news conference yesterday.

He said he and his other seven brothers and sisters had been forced to challenge Kathy's account, set in the 1960s and 1970s, to clear his father's and the family's name of her abuse claims, Reuters says.

In her book, published as Kathy's Story in Ireland and Australia, Ms O'Beirne writes about being beaten by her father and later about the torture and rape she suffered during 14 years in one of Ireland's Magdalen laundries - church-run institutions for "wayward" girls and women that became synonymous with brutality.

However, younger brother, Eamon O'Beirne, 48, said he had "no memory whatsoever of Kathy ever being in a Magdalen laundry".

"I don't believe for a second that my father ever abused her like she claimed in the book."

He denied her assertion that she bore a child after being raped by a male visitor to the laundries.

In the book, she claimed that the child later died in the care of an unnamed religious order. Eamon O'Beirne said: "To my knowledge, she never had a child. And my father did not abuse or torture me. The stuff as alleged in this book did not happen in our house."

Claims that he and his siblings were abused by his father were "fiction, not a word of truth", he said.

"We are just ordinary working people and we've been put in a situation we didn't want any part of and it has to come to an end. Today is about cutting the cord," he said.

Questions about the events portrayed in Kathy's Story: A childhood Hell Inside the Magdalen Laundries surfaced in Ireland earlier this year.

The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, the religious order running the laundry, has denied that Ms O'Beirne stayed in one of their homes or laundries and is considering taking legal action.

All four orders that ran the laundries - which were wound up a decade ago after 150 years in existence - have denied O'Beirne was ever a resident.

The Times also reports that Florence Horsman Hogan from the Irish charity Let Our Voices Emerge, established by people who spent time in religious institutions and who are now dedicated to defending their carers, has her own doubts.

"By her own admission Kathy has had psychological problems from an early age," she said.

Earlier this week her Edinburgh-based publishers, Mainstream, defended the work saying: "We have made every effort and are satisfied the story is true".

The author stands by her story and said last week she had proof to back up everything in the book.

The Magdalen laundries grabbed headlines in 2002 when they were made the subject of the award-winning film, "The Magdalene Sisters."

http://www.cathnews.com/news/609/111.php
SOURCE
Author is accused of inventing harrowing story of childhood torture and rape (UK Telegraph, 19/9/06)
Author's family say abuse memoir is cruel hoax (Times Online, 19/9/06)
Doubts cast on church abuse memoir (Scotsman, 19/9/06).

20 Sep 2006
_____________________________________________________________________________________

TUESDAY 19/09/2006 14:58:09
Family hit back at abuse claims


The family of an Irish woman who wrote a best-selling book claiming she was physically and sexually abused in a Catholic institution have publicly denied the allegations.

Kathy O`Beirne`s book documenting the alleged abuse, Kathy`s Story - published as Don`t Ever Tell in the UK - has soared up the best-seller list after selling more than 350,000 copies.


The story, published by Mainstream Publishing, claims she was tortured and raped in a Magdalene laundry over 20 years ago and also alleges she was beaten and abused at the hands of her father.

Seven of Ms O`Beirne`s brothers and sisters, all originally from Dublin`s Clondalkin, joined together claiming they were speaking out to simply tell the truth and reveal the real story of the O`Beirne family.


The family have denied Ms O`Beirne`s claims, saying their father was not an abuser and worked extremely hard to feed, clothe and take care of them.


"The anger and frustration we feel at seeing our father branded worldwide as a horrific abuser is indescribable," said Mary O`Beirne, speaking of her dead father Oliver at the gathering in Dublin.


"The allegations are untrue against my father, he did think an awful lot of Kathleen."


Mary, 40, said the stories in the book simply have to be stopped.


"We can`t go on living like this, we can`t eat, we can`t sleep, we have children to rear," she said.


"I live in Clondalkin village, Margaret lives in Clondalkin village, our children go to school there. I can`t go into the school any more."


She added: "If people tell lies for long enough, people will believe it. We all want to get on with our lives and remember our mother and father. They were good to us. I don`t want to live the rest of my life like this. I couldn`t do it."


The family, who displayed Kathleen`s birth certificate, stated claims that she was adopted were false and said she was playing mind-games with the book.


In the book, Ms O`Beirne claims to have spent nearly 14 years in Magdalene laundries where she suffered abuse.


"Our sister was not in a Magdalene laundry, or Magdalene home, she was in St Anne`s Children`s Home, Kilmacud, St Loman`s Psychiatric Hospital, Mountjoy Prison and Sherrard House for homeless people.


"Our parents placed her in St Anne`s for a brief period when she was 11 because of ongoing behavioural difficulties," Mary said.


The family claimed Kathleen was living at home with them when she says she was in a Magdalene home during the years 1968 to 1970 from the age of 12 to 14. She claims she became pregnant as a result of rape.


In 2005, the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity stated Kathy O`Beirne did not spend any time at either of their laundries at High Park or Sean McDermott Street in Dublin and wrote to the Department of Justice requesting an investigation.


"Our sister did not have a child at the age of 14 that she alleges died at the age of 10," Mary said.


"There are bigger issues here than our family name, which probably now cannot be rectified.


"I don`t think any money in the world could give back what they have taken from us," Eamon O`Beirne, 48, said.


He said the family wanted the book pulled from the shelves.


In a statement signed by seven of her brothers and sisters - Oliver, Eamon, Mary, Margaret, John, Tommy and Brian O`Beirne - the family said there was no evidence to support Kathleen`s claims.


"This woman has broken our hearts, especially the hearts of our now deceased parents, with her behaviour in the past," Mary said.


"Any discipline carried out in our house was the same as for any family living in the `60s and `70s. No better and no worse."


The family claimed it was clear that Kathleen, who turns 50 in October, was a disturbed and troubled woman.


"We are deeply sorry for all of the people who have bought this book believing it to be fact - and we can understand that many people will now feel hurt and conned - but we must tell the truth," Mary said.
http://www.utvlive.com/newsroom/indepth.asp?id=76814&pt=n
____________________________________________________________________________________
The Examiner
20 September 2006
Family of author dispute accounts of fathers abuse
By Senan McCarthaigh
THE family of a Dublin woman, whose autobiography is a best-seller in Ireland and Britain, yesterday publicly disputed allegations in the book that the author was beaten and abused by her father.

Five brothers and two sisters of Kathleen O Beirne yesterday expressed hurt at what they claim are false allegations she has made about her family along with claims she suffered years of physical and sexual abuse while resident in a series of institutions run by religious orders.
The anger and frustration we feel at seeing our father branded worldwide as a horrific abuser is indescribable, said the author s sister Margaret.

The autobiography, Kathy s Story (published as Don t Ever Tell in Britain) sold more than 350,000 copies worldwide to date.

However, her family called on the book s publishers, Mainstream, to withdraw it from sale because of the controversy.
The O Beirne family, who come from the Dublin suburb of Clondalkin, vehemently dispute allegations made by Kathleen, 50, in the book that she was beaten and abused by her father, Oliver, who died in the 1970s.

They also outlined a series of other claims which they state are inaccurate, including the central theme of Kathleen s book that she was subjected to years of forced labour in Magdalene laundries.

A spokesperson for Mainstream said they remained happy with the accuracy of the book after having conducted their own investigation into Kathleen s story.
____________________________________________________________________________________
Family rejects author's 'lies'
Bestselling tale of abuse totally untrue, claim angry brothers and sisters

THE family of an Irish woman who wrote a bestselling book claiming she was physically and sexually abused in a Catholic institution yesterday publicly denied the allegations.
Kathy O'Beirne's book documenting the alleged abuse - published as 'Kathy's Story' in Ireland and 'Don't Ever Tell' in the UK - has soared up the bestseller list after shifting more than 350,000 copies.
In the book she claims she was tortured and raped in a Magdalene laundry. She also alleges she was beaten and abused at the hands of her father.
Despite Ms O'Beirne stressing her story was true, seven of her brothers and sisters, all originally from Clondalkin in Dublin, decreed otherwise.
They denied Ms O'Beirne's claims, saying their late father Oliver was not an abuser and that he worked extremely hard to feed, clothe and take care of them.
Horrific
"The anger and frustration we feel at seeing our father branded worldwide as a horrific abuser is indescribable," said Mary O'Beirne at a press conference in Dublin.
"The allegations are untrue. He [Oliver] did an awful lot for Kathleen."
Mary (40) said the stories in the book simply had to be stopped.
"If people tell lies for long enough, people will believe it. We all want to get on with our lives and remember our mother and father. They were good to us. I don't want to live the rest of my life like this. I couldn't do it."
After the press conference, author Kathy O'Beirne defended her work.
"I thought it was totally hilarious, I almost laughed at the fact they said they loved me and wanted to stand by me.
"Why have they given me a life of hell over the last five years or more?"
She added: "Of course they were lying."
Ms O'Beirne claimed the family's comments followed a bitter dispute over a will and ownership of the family home in Clondalkin.
Michael Sheridan, who wrote the book with Kathy, said: "The real story of Kathy O'Beirne's family life is 10 times worse and more horrendous than was portrayed in the book for legal reasons."
Mr Sheridan said in May 2005 the publishers wrote to the Archdiocese of Dublin giving Kathy's account of her time in institutions. "The Archdiocese of Dublin did not have any objection to her account of time in institutions," he said.
The publishers of the book, Mainstream, said they took steps before releasing the story and were satisfied the memoir was appropriate for publication.
In the book, O'Beirne claims she was sexually abused, beaten and raped during her time in a Magdalene laundry. She claims she became pregnant as a result of rape.
The family claim Kathy was living at home with them when she says she was in a Magdalene home.
Her brother, Eamon O'Beirne (48), said the family wanted the book pulled from the shelves.
In a statement signed by seven of her brothers and sisters - Oliver, Eamon, Mary, Margaret, John, Tommy and Brian - the family said there was no evidence to support Kathy's claims.
Louise Hogan


_____________________________________________________________________________________
Irish Times
Ireland
Wed, Sep 20, 06
'Magdalen' author challenged
Patsy McGarry, Religious Affairs Correspondent


The Sisters of Charity and the family of a woman who alleged in a bestselling book that she was sexually abused during years in a Magdalen laundry have vigorously challenged her claims.
Dubliner Kathy O'Beirne's book, Don't Ever Tell: Kathy's Story - A True Tale of a Childhood Destroyed by Neglect and Fear, was published in 2005 by Mainstream Publishing and has sold over 300,000 copies in the UK. It was ghost-written by Michael Sheridan.

In a blurb for the book, Mainstream said Kathy O'Beirne had spent nearly 14 years in a Magdalen laundry where, it alleged, she was sexually abused and beaten. It said that when she rebelled she was classified as mentally ill and transferred to a mental hospital where abuse continued. It claimed that at 13 she was raped in another laundry and the baby born subsequently died and was buried in a mass grave.
In a statement yesterday the Sisters of Charity repeated that all four religious congregations which ran Magdalen laundries confirmed as far back as 2004 that Kathy O'Beirne never spent any time in the laundries. "The only time Kathy O'Beirne spent with us was for a six-week period in a reformatory school for young people," they said.
At a press conference in Dublin yesterday five of Kathy O'Beirne's siblings produced a detailed account of where she was in the years she claimed to be in a Magdalen laundry. A statement signed by Oliver, Eamonn, Mary, Margaret, John, Tommy and Brian O'Beirne said "our sister was not in a Magdalen laundry or Magdalen home".
"She was in St Anne's Children's Home, Kilmacud, St Loman's psychiatric hospital, Mountjoy prison, and Sherrard House for homeless people. Our parents placed her in St Anne's for a brief period when she was 11 because of behavioural difficulties," they said.
They denied their sister was pregnant at 13 or gave birth at 14. "Our sister, to our knowledge, was not raped by two priests, and did not receive an out-of-court settlement for the same," they said. They rejected her "horrific allegations of child abuse against our father, a religious congregation, and a psychiatric hospital" .
They dismissed as "totally untrue" weekend statements by Bill Campbell of Mainstream Publishing that he had checked their sister's story with the congregations running the laundries.
Mr Campbell's assertion was also challenged by the Sisters of Charity. They said that on April 21st, 2005, their solicitors wrote to Michael Sheridan following articles he had written linking Kathy O'Beirne to Magdalen laundries and homes. A copy of the letter was sent to Mainstream. "In the letter it was categorically stated the only time Kathy O'Beirne spent with us was for a six-week period in a reformatory school for young people. We received a curt response to this letter from Mr Bill Campbell of Mainstream dated 11th of May 2005," they said.
Kathy O'Beirne has already rejected the claims of her family and of the nuns.
The Irish Times.

The Times
September 20, 2006
_____________________________________________________________________________________

Family point to 'glaring flaws' in abuse memoir
By David Sharrock, Ireland Correspondent


THE family of an author who wrote a bestseller about being tortured and raped by Irish priests said that she had been living with them during the years of her alleged ordeal.
Kathy O Beirne s book Don t Ever Tell is a harrowing tale of savage treatment at the hands of her father, followed by rape by priests, resulting in pregnancy, and whippings by nuns. It has sold 350,000 copies in Britain and Ireland since it was published last year.

However, at a press conference in Dublin yesterday, seven of her brothers and sisters said that she had been the victim of publishers who had rushed to print her story without checking it.
As it would have been perfectly clear to anyone who met our sister, there were glaring flaws in her allegations. Mainstream [the publishers] did not carry out the necessary rigorous checks. If they had, this book would never have been published, they said.
Mary O Beirne, 40, added: The anger and frustration we feel at seeing our father branded worldwide as a horrific abuser is indescribable. The allegations are untrue against my father. He did think an awful lot of Kathleen.
If people tell lies for long enough, people will believe it. We all want to get on with our lives and remember our mother and father. They were good to us. I don t want to live the rest of my life like this.
The family added that claims that their sister had been adopted were false.
In the book, O Beirne says that she suffered abuse during nearly 14 years spent in Magdalene laundries institutions for fallen women run by religious orders. Mary O Beirne said: Our sister was not in a Magdalene laundry, or Magdalene home; she was in St Anne s children s home, Kilmacud, St Loman s psychiatric hospital, Mountjoy prison and Sherrard House for homeless people. Our parents placed her in St Anne s for a brief period when she was 11 because of ongoing behavioural difficulties. She spent six weeks there.
She added that between 1968 and 1970, when O Beirne claims to have suffered the worst of the abuse, she was in fact staying with them.
This woman has broken our hearts, especially the hearts of our now deceased parents, with her behaviour in the past. Any discipline carried out in our house was the same as for any family living in the Sixties and Seventies. No better and no worse. She added that her sister did not have a child at the age of 14.
Oliver, Eamon, Mary, Margaret, John, Tommy and Brian O Beirne signed a statement saying that there was no evidence to support their sister s claims and demanding that the book be withdrawn.
The family said that it had been very difficult to break their silence. They said: We love our sister and wish to support her in any way we can but we have been left with no other choice than to speak out . . . Our sister has a self-admitted psychiatric and criminal history, and her perception of reality has always been flawed. This has presented great problems for us, her family, our neighbours, and friends.
Our sister, to our knowledge, was not raped by two priests, and did not receive an out-of-court settlement for the same. There is not a shred of evidence to support such outlandish claims, and we believe our sister was uncooperative with the gardai [Irish police] when such was being investigated last year.
Calling the book s publication a horrific miscarriage of justice . . . in the interests of financial gain , the family said that Mainstream had refused to answer their calls and had gone ahead with the book because clearly there was too much money to be made .
Mary added: We are deeply sorry for all of the people who have bought this book believing it to be fact and we can understand that many people will now feel hurt and conned.

_____________________________________________________________________________________
The Times September 19, 2006


Author's family say abuse memoir is cruel hoax
By David Sharrock

Doubt has been cast on the 'childhood hell' in a Catholic institution recalled by an Irish writer


IT IS a harrowing story of a young woman’s life destroyed by nuns and priests, and it has raced to the top of the bestseller list. But now a chorus of voices, including those of the author’s own family, claim that the ordeal described by Kathy O’Beirne simply does not ring true and is nothing more than a cruel hoax.



Kathy’s Story: a Childhood Hell in the Magdalene Laundries has sold more than 350,000 copies in Ireland and Britain, securing a place in the top five bestselling non-fiction titles in Britain, where it sells under the title Don’t Ever Tell.

Published last year, the story of O’Beirne seemed to encap-sulate the anguish of a generation of Irish people whose experiences at the hands of religious orders left them scarred. And it could not have been better timed, with the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland apologising for the conduct of some of its priests and nuns.

But as the sales continued to rise, so too did the questions. In the book she says that she was beaten by her father and sexually abused by two boys from the age of 5 before being sent away to an institution. She claims that at the age of 10 she was repeatedly raped by a priest and whipped by nuns. Later she was forced to take drugs in a mental institution.

“I was consigned to a hell of beatings and abuse,” she wrote. “It was one long scream of suffering which has haunted all of my adult life.”

The first organisation to challenge the account was the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, one of four religious orders which ran the Magdalene laundries — institutions for young women who were seen to be in moral danger.

The sisters said that they invited an independent archivist to study their files after nobody could remember Kathy O’Beirne. No record has turned up of her attendance. She has said, in radio interviews since the book’s publication, that she could not name the institution in which she was abused for legal reasons.

Now her own family is about to dispute her story. Five of her brothers and sisters plan to hold a press conference in Dublin today. O’Beirne’s older brother, Oliver, 52, has told an Irish newspaper: “I read the book and I can’t figure out where she is coming from. My father was a good man. There are nine kids in the family and she is the only one who has any stories of abuse.” Adding that she did not have a good relationship with her family, he said: “I think she needs help.”

The publishers said that they would continue to support the book. Bill Campbell, director of Mainstream Publishing, said in a statement: “We have used every possible effort to establish the truth of Kathy’s memoir. We invited comments and corrections from the Church and we received no substantive response.”

But an Irish charity called Let Our Voices Emerge, established by people who spent time in religious institutions and who are now dedicated to defending their carers, has its doubts. Florence Horsman Hogan told The Times: “By her own admission Kathy has had psychological problems from an early age. Some members of her family have now come forward to state that their father emphatically was not an abuser and that, on the contrary, he worked extremely hard to support all of his children.” She said that the only record of O’Beirne having been in a Catholic institution was when she spent six weeks in St Anne’s Industrial School in Dublin in 1967.

The author has been refusing to speak to newspapers, but in a radio interview last week she insisted that she had proof of everything in the book.





at it had taken steps prior to the publication of Don t Ever Tell and was satisfied that the memoir was appropriate for publication.

_____________________________________________________________________________________
The Scotsman Wed Sept 20, 2006
Scots publisher linked to 'second made-up book' as author accused
TIM CORNWELL
ARTS CORRESPONDENT
THE family of an Irish woman who wrote a best-seller claiming she was the victim of repeated physical and sexual abuse in a Catholic institution yesterday accused her of making the story up.
Kathy O'Beirne's book, published in Ireland as Kathy's Story and in the UK as Don't Ever Tell, was largely fabricated by a "deeply troubled" woman, they claimed.


The book was published by Edinburgh's Mainstream Publishing, which defended its contents yesterday. Five years ago another book published by the company, Jihad!, which was the purported story of an SAS officer serving in Afghanistan, saw its author exposed as a fraud.
In her book, O'Beirne, now 49, claimed she was tortured and raped in a Magdalene laundry where she worked for 14 years, giving birth to a child. The institutions were set up to rehabilitate "fallen women".
She also claimed in the book, published 18 months ago, that she was beaten and abused from the age of seven at the hands of her father.
Seven of O'Beirne's brothers and sisters, all originally from Clondalkin, Dublin, came together at a Dublin press conference to tell what they said was the family's real story.
"The anger and frustration we feel at seeing our father branded worldwide as a horrific abuser is indescribable," said Mary O'Beirne, 40. "The allegations are untrue. We can't go on living like this, we can't eat, we can't sleep."
She added: "If people tell lies for long enough, people will believe it. We want to get on with our lives and remember our mother and father. They were good to us."
The family did not stop at protecting their father yesterday. They displayed Kathy O'Beirn's birth certificate, saying she was not adopted as she claimed.
"Our sister was not in a Magdalene laundry, or Magdalene home," Mary said. Instead, she had been in children's homes, a psychiatric hospital and a prison.
"Our parents placed her in St Anne's Children Home for a brief period when she was 11 because of ongoing behavioural difficulties," Mary said.
The family claimed Kathy was living at home with them when she says she was in a Magdalene home during the years 1968 to 1970 from the age of 12 to 14.
In 2005 the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity insisted O'Beirne did not work in any of their laundries and wrote to Ireland's Department of Justice requesting an investigation.
"Our sister did not have a child at the age of 14 that she alleges died at the age of ten," Mary said.
In a statement signed by seven brothers and sisters - Oliver, Eamon, Mary, Margaret, John, Tommy and Brian O'Beirne - the family said there was no evidence to support Kathy's claims.
"This woman has broken our hearts, especially the hearts of our now deceased parents," Mary said.
"We are deeply sorry for all of the people who have bought this book believing it to be fact."
The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity said they wrote to Mainstream and the book's co-author, Michael Sheridan, last year.
The letter stated that the only time O'Beirne spent with the order was six weeks spent in a reformatory school. Mainstream responded to requests for interviews by issuing a statement.
"Mainstream took steps prior to the publication of Don't Ever Tell and were satisfied that the memoir was appropriate for publication," it said. It included working closely with O'Beirne and asking the Archdiocese of Dublin to submit any proposed changes.
"Don't Ever Tell was put under considerable media scrutiny upon initial publication without any content being found to be untrue."

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Author's family deny tales of sex abuse


Bestseller lashed out at father and Catholic home
Brothers and sisters say account is pure fiction


Owen Bowcott, Ireland correspondent
Wednesday September 20, 2006
The Guardian


The family of a bestselling author whose vivid memoir claims to document a "hell" of sexual abuse inside a Catholic institution for fallen women denounced the book as a work of fiction yesterday.
At a press conference, seven of Kathy O'Beirne's brothers and sisters read out statements rebutting allegations against their father, who was accused in the book of beating and abusing his daughter.
Ms O'Beirne's bestselling account of her childhood after being placed in the care of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity is a grim catalogue of sexual abuse, beatings and rape. Sold as Don't Ever Tell in Britain and as Kathy's Story in her native Ireland, it appeared two years ago at a time when trust in the Catholic church's clergy and institutions had been shattered after the prosecution of priests for child abuse.

Her description of being handed over to the notorious "Magdalene laundries" - where difficult children were sent - by an abusive father at the age of eight fed public curiosity about life under the punitive regimes supposedly operating behind the walls of so many convents. To date, it has sold 350,000 copies.
Kathy's Story also tapped into the outrage generated by The Magdalene Sisters, a black comedy released to critical acclaim in 2002. The film stirred up popular anti-clericalism while celebrating the resilience of those who survived after being incarcerated for "'sinful" behaviour.
"A survivor of the horrific system has never told their personal story - until now," Mainstream, the Edinburgh publisher, declared in its publicity material. "Kathy O'Beirne spent nearly 14 years under the Magdalene laundry regime. At the age of eight her father called and asked if she wanted to go to the seaside. She was thrilled and ran to the front door only to find a nun waiting for her. She was taken to a Magdalene laundry and didn't return home until she was 21."
The trouble with her sensational version of events is that both the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity and now the O'Beirne family have dismissed it as unreliable.
"The reason we got together was because of the allegations she was making against our father," Oliver O'Beirne, her eldest brother, told the Guardian yesterday in Dublin. "They are totally untrue. I read her book from beginning to end and wanted to get a pen out and cross out everything that was not true."
"I have no recollection at all of her having been in the Magdalene laundries. I did visit her in a children's home, St Anne's in Dublin. It's a messy business. I haven't talked to Kathleen since my father's will seven months ago. She wanted to stay on in the house. The book was total rubbish," he added. "Yes, we got a belt [at home] if we did something wrong; that was normal then. But talk about sexual abuse is absolute rubbish. We were reared to respect others and be courteous to everyone."
His sister, Mary O'Beirne, also spoke out. "Our sister was not in a Magdalene laundry, or Magdalene home, she was in St Anne's children's home, Kilmacud; St Loman's psychiatric hospital, Mountjoy prison and Sherrard house for homeless people," she said.
"Our parents placed her in St Anne's for a brief period when she was 11 because of ongoing behavioural difficulties.
"Our sister did not have a child [through a rape] at the age of 14 that she alleges died at the age of 10. The anger and frustration we feel at seeing our father branded worldwide as a horrific abuser is indescribable," she said. "The allegations are untrue against my father, he did think an awful lot of Kathleen. We can't go on living like this. We can't eat, we can't sleep, we have children to rear," she said. "I can't go into school [with my children] any more. If people tell lies for long enough, people will believe it. We all want to get on with our lives and remember our mother and father. They were good to us."
The family has asked for the book to be removed from sale.
Kathy O'Beirne could not be contacted yesterday. In a recent interview with Ireland's RT radio she insisted her version of events was true
Last night Mainstream, the book's publisher, issued a statement supporting the book. "Mainstream took steps prior to the publication of Don't Ever Tell and were satisfied that the memoir was appropriate for publication," it said. "This included working closely with Kathy O'Beirne and providing the opportunity for comment or correction to the archdiocese of Dublin by submitting relevant material to it."
"After correspondence of some six weeks, no material changes to the text were requested. [Once it was published] Don't Ever Tell was put under considerable media scrutiny ... without any content being found to be untrue."

_____________________________________________________________________________________

NEWSTRACK - TOP NEWS
Family disputes woman's memoir of abuse
DUBLIN, Ireland, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- The family of an Irish woman who wrote a best-selling memoir detailing years of abuse at the hands of her father and the Catholic church says she made it up.
Seven of Kathy O'Beirne's siblings held a news conference in Dublin on Tuesday to denounce her book, published in Ireland as "Kathy's Story" and in Britain as "Don't Ever Tell," The Scotsman reported. In the book, O'Beirne says that her father abused her from the time she was 7 and that she bore a child after being raped in the Magdalene Laundries, institutions run by an order of nuns for "fallen women."
"The anger and frustration we feel at seeing our father branded worldwide as a horrific abuser is indescribable," said Mary O'Beirne, a younger sister. "The allegations are untrue. We can't go on living like this, we can't eat, we can't sleep."
The siblings also produced O'Beirne's birth certificate, saying that her claim to have been adopted was false.
The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, which ran the laundries, has threatened legal action. Women who were with O'Beirne in other institutions say her claim about the laundries is untrue.

Copyright 2006 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved
_____________________________________________________________________________________
The West Australian
Doubt over unholy story of childhood
20th September 2006, 17:30 WST


An author whose memoirs recount a harrowing childhood of torture and rape while working in a Catholic religious order is at the centre of a row over the accuracy of her claims.


Kathy O Beirne s account of her early life, published as Don t Ever Tell in Britain and Kathy s Story in Ireland and Australia, has sold 350,000 copies.
In the book, she alleges she was beaten and abused by her late father.
The book claims that O Beirne endured 14 years of forced labour in the Magdalen laundries, a Catholic institution which was originally set up to rehabilitate fallen women.
While Don t Ever Tell rides high in the British non-fiction chart, some members of her family are adamant that her book should be re-categorised as a work of fiction.
Although in the book s acknowledgments O Beirne pays tribute to the support she has received from her brother Brian, some of her other seven siblings are angered by its contents.
Her publisher, Mainstream, based in Edinburgh, has defended the book.
However, members of her family were due to host a press conference in Dublin disputing much of what she has written.
Several brothers have rejected allegations that she was beaten and abused by her father, Oliver, when she was growing up in a workingclass suburb of Dublin.
Her older brother John O Beirne, 51, denied the book s allegations of sadistic abuse by his father.
Mr O Beirne described the sequence of events outlined by his sister as a jigsaw puzzle and nothing fits . He said that his father was a loving man, who held down two jobs to provide for his family. Kathy has hurt a lot of people and it s now time for the truth to be told, he said.
Rather than working in a Magdalen laundry, Mr O Beirne recalled visiting her in St Anne s Children Home, Dublin, and St Loman s, an institution for troubled children.
A younger brother, Eamon O Beirne, 48, denied her claim that she bore a child after being raped by a male visitor to the laundries.
In the book, she claimed that the child later died in the care of an unnamed religious order.
Several women have come forward to say they lived with O Beirne in the 1970s in the Sherrard Street hostel for girls in Dublin.
They claim O Beirne never mentioned having had a child or of working in a Magdalen laundry.
The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, the religious order running the laundry, has denied that O Beirne was a resident and is considering taking legal action.
O Beirne stood by her claims last week on RTE radio, saying she had proof of everything.
London

http://www.thewest.com.au/default.aspx?MenuID=29&ContentID=7362

Same in Washingtom TImes
_____________________________________________________________________________________


Doubts cast on church abuse memoir
By Kevin Smith
DUBLIN (Reuters) - Harrowing tales of physical and sexual abuse at the heart of a best-selling memoir about growing up inside Ireland's Roman Catholic institutions are simply not true, the author's family said on Tuesday.


The brothers and sisters of Kathy O'Beirne, 50, whose autobiography "Kathy's Story" has sold 350,000 copies in Ireland and Britain, say the book should be withdrawn or at the very least reclassified as fiction.
"Absolutely all or nearly all of this book is false -- I don't understand why she's saying this," her older brother Oliver O'Beirne, 52, told Reuters following a news conference.
He said he and his other seven brothers and sisters had been forced to challenge Kathy's account, set in the 1960s and 1970s, to clear his father's and the family's name of her abuse claims.
In the book, published as "Don't Ever Tell" in Britain, O'Beirne writes about being beaten by her father and later about the torture and rape she suffered during 14 years in one of Ireland's Magdalen laundries -- church-run institutions for 'wayward' girls and women that became synonymous with brutality.
Her brother Oliver said she had been at a church school for girls in Dublin for about six weeks and later spent some time in a psychiatric home. He had never heard the Magdalen laundries mentioned in the house while growing up.
Claims that he and his siblings were abused by his father were "fiction, not a word of truth", he said.
"We are just ordinary working people and we've been put in a situation we didn't want any part of and it has to come to an end. Today is about cutting the cord," he said.
Questions about the events portrayed in "Kathy's Story" -- subtitled "A childhood Hell Inside the Magdalen Laundries" -- surfaced in Ireland earlier this year.
Last month an order of nuns threatened to sue state broadcaster RTE after it ran an interview with O'Beirne in which she identified an institution at which she says she was abused.
All four orders that ran the laundries -- which were wound up a decade ago after 150 years in existence -- have denied O'Beirne was ever a resident.
While the author herself was not immediately contactable on Tuesday, she told RTE last week she stood by her story and had proof to back up everything in the book.
Earlier this week her Edinburgh-based publishers, Mainstream, defended the work saying: "We have made every effort and are satisfied the story is true".
The Magdalen laundries caught the public's attention in the late 1990s as revelations of widespread abuse from former inmates gathered momentum. They were the subject of the 2002 award-winning film, "The Magdalene Sisters."
(c) Reuters 2006. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.
_____________________________________________________________________________________

This article:CHORUS OF DOUBTS ON CHILDHOOD IN HELL
The Australian, 20 September 2006

DUBLIN: It is a harrowing story of a young woman's life destroyed by nuns and priests, and it has raced to the top of the bestseller list.

But now a chorus of voices, including those of the author's own family, claim the ordeal described by Kathy O'Beirne does not ring true and is in fact a cruel hoax.
Kathy's Story: a Childhood Hell in the Magdalene Laundries has sold more than 350,000 copies in Ireland and Britain, securing a place in the top five bestselling non-fiction titles in Britain, where it sells under the title Don't Ever Tell.

Published last year, the story of O'Beirne seemed to encapsulate the anguish of a generation of Irish people whose experiences at the hands of religious orders left them scarred.

But as the sales continued to rise, so did the questions. In the book, she says she was beaten by her father and sexually abused by two boys from the age of five before being sent away to a church-run institution.

She claims that at the age of 10 she was repeatedly raped by a priest and whipped by nuns. Later she was forced to take drugs in a mental institution.

"I was consigned to a hell of beatings and abuse," she wrote.

The first organisation to challenge the account was the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, one of four religious orders which ran the Magdalene laundries - institutions for young women who were seen to be in moral or physical danger at home.

The sisters said they invited an independent archivist to study their files because nobody could remember any Kathy O'Beirne. No record of her attendance could be found.

Now her own family is about to dispute her story.

"I read the book and I can't figure out where she's coming from," said O'Beirne's older brother, Oliver, 52.

"My father was a good man. There are nine kids in the family, and she is the only one who has any stories of abuse."

http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=1386652006
Last updated: 19-Sep-06 19:58 BSTThe Book Standard


_____________________________________________________________________________________


The U.K. May Be Getting Its James Frey Moment
September 20, 2006
By Kimberly Maul


Kathy O Beirne s family has come forward to dispute claims made in her memoir, specifically that the Irish author was abused by her father and sent away to the Magdalen laundries at a young age.


Her book, Kathy s Story: A Childhood Hell in the Magdalen Laundries, which is also called Don t Ever Tell in some countries, has sold more than 247,000 copies in the U.K., according to Nielsen BookScan. Yet despite its popularity in the U.K., the book has not yet sold 1,000 copies since it was published in April in the United States, where it is called Kathy's Story: The True Story of a Childhood Hell Inside Ireland's Magdalen Laundries.






O Beirne wrote in her book, I was consigned to a hell of beatings and abuse. It was one long scream of suffering which has haunted all of my adult life. O Beirne also wrote that she was beaten by her father, sexually abused from the age of 5 and sent to the Magdalen laundries and other institutions where she was whipped by nuns, raped by priests and forced to take drugs.


Yesterday, O Beirne s brothers and sisters held a press conference to dispute claims made in the book, The Guardian reported today.


The reason we got together was because of the allegations she was making against our father, said Oliver O Beirne, the oldest brother. They are totally untrue. I read her book from beginning to end and wanted to get a pen out and cross out everything that was not true.


Yes, we got a belt [at home] if we did something wrong; that was normal then, he continued, But talk of sexual abuse is absolute rubbish. We were reared to respect others and be courteous to everyone.


In addition to the denial from O Beirne s siblings, the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, a religious organization that runs the Magdalen laundries, said they were unable to find attendance records for Kathy O Beirne, the Times reported yesterday.


O Beirne s sister Mary O Beirne also spoke out, saying her sister was not sent to the Magdalene laundries as a child, but that she was sent to St. Anne s children s home for a brief time due to behavioral problems.


Our sister did not have a child [through a rape] at the age of 14 that she alleges died at the age of 10, Mary O Beirne said, The Guardian reported. The anger and frustration we feel at seeing our father branded worldwide as a horrific abuser is indescribable. The allegations are untrue against my father.


O Beirne has not commented on her siblings denial of the events in her memoir, but in a recent radio interview, she insisted that events in her memoir were true.


Mainstream, the publisher of the book, issued a statement yesterday saying, Mainstream took steps prior to the publication of Don t Ever Tell and were satisfied that the memoir was appropriate for publication. Don t Ever Tell was put under considerable media scrutiny without any content being found to be untrue.


O Beirnes siblings are asking for the book to be removed from stores.
The Times September 23, 2006
_____________________________________________________________________________________

'New book proves my story of abuse'
By David Sharrock, Ireland Correspondent



A WOMAN who wrote a controversial bestseller about a violent father and sexual abuse by Irish priests says that she will answer her detractors in a new book that will reveal further shocking details.
Kathy O’Beirne’s Don’t Ever Tell has sold more than 300,000 copies but her claims that she was raped and tortured in Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries for “fallen women” have been dismissed as fabrications by the religious orders that ran them, by a woman who claims that they knew each other while living at a hostel, and by seven of her brothers and sisters.



O’Beirne told The Times that she had documentary evidence proving her story but when asked to present it she refused. She said that her new book, The Aftermath: Who Am I, would vindicate her. “I have ten abusers in all. There’s files on all of them,” she said.

A spokeswoman for Mainstream, which published Don’t Ever Tell, said that although no contract had been signed for the second book “we would love to do it”.

O’Beirne’s family said this week that their sister was a troubled person who had been exploited by her publisher. They produced a copy of her birth certificate to show that she had not, as the book claims, been adopted. One of the orders that ran the Magdalene Laundries is considering taking legal action.

Erica Wagner, literary editor of The Times, said: “This will be by no means the last confession memoir we see — whether this is true or false has no bearing on the matter. The plain truth is that confession memoirs shoot to the top of bestseller lists, and publishers will follow the money.”

_____________________________________________________________________________________

6 Comments:

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[QUOTE: ...The plain truth is that confession memoirs shoot to the top of bestseller lists, and publishers will follow the money. : ENDQUOTE]

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Confessions of the Sisters of Charity (with Forewords from our friends in the Industrial Schools Inspectorate)

Confessions of the Sisters of Mercy (with Forewords from former Mother Rectoresses of Goldenbridge and High Park)

 
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