Various Statements from nuns and Kathy's Family.
9 October 2003
Statement from the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity.
On Tuesday 7th October the name of a recently deceased person and explicit personal details about her life were broadcast by the Liveline programme, RTE. We believe that her family were not informed of this prior to the broadcast. We also knew this woman very well - and we know she would not have wanted her private life discussed in this way.
The programme makers called a housekeeper in one of our houses less than an hour before the programme was broadcast. We were not made aware of this until after the broadcast of the programme - so were given no opportunity to protect this woman’s privacy or correct the many untruths in the programme.
Despite suffering from a serious and terminal illness this woman died rather suddenly in the Mater Hospital in July. She had been visited by a Sister the evening before her passing, which occurred between two and three am.
Her family who were in ongoing contact with us were informed of her passing and attended her funeral. We had had contact with another section of her family and we had a contact number and address. We spent two days calling this number - and eventually asked the Gardai to visit the address we had. We did not know that the person had changed address until yesterday. Despite our efforts to contact this section of this woman's family we regret very much that contact had not been made. We believed it had been.
The deceased woman had fully professional nursing and medical care in a modern nursing home throughout her illness. When her illness needed further attention she was referred to the Mater - where she was visited by friends, family and Sisters.
A special funeral service was arranged which was attended by family and friends. There was a special booklet prepared with her name on it. The Chaplain for the nursing home who knew her very well said the Mass and spoke about her. The Mass was also concelebrated by two other priests who knew her. The Mass included singing as did the service at the graveside. This woman was buried in a community plot in Glasnevin Cemetery. Her name will be put on the headstone by the undertaker. This grave is maintained by the Sisters of our Lady of Charity. This is no reference to penitents or magdalens on the headstone. After the burial service all present all were invited to refreshments by the Sisters.
We must also point out that the Sister of Our Lady of Charity never ran mother and baby homes or an adoption agency. No babies were ever born or buried in High Park.
As we pointed out in a statement yesterday - criticising sisters and broadcasting allegations about sisters that have not been proven at any forum is now the norm. This has become part of our daily lives. We have only decided to speak on this issue as a woman who we know valued her privacy had her name and intimate details about her life broadcast to the nation on Tuesday. If this is ok with the Irish media then perhaps we will have to live with this as well. We simply ask that some controls are considered that will protect others from this type of exposure.
Letter from the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity
Presenter and Producers Lifeline
Dear Mr Duffy,
You and other journalists have taken our good name many times in the past without asking for corroboration or verification. We do not use litigation to protect ourselves - so you can say what you want and allow others to say what they want.
When you undermine the life of a decent woman who willingly spent most of her life with us, we must speak out.
Yesterday, you, as a professional journalist, presented a programme that was biased, prejudiced and lacking in truth.
You also hurt innocent people, without any attempt to check the facts or get corroboration.
You named a woman on your programme and broadcast the most sensitive personal details about her, which during her life she had endeavoured to hold in confidence. Who authorised you to release these details - certainly not us and not her family.
This woman, a friend and resident of ours, died recently after a long and incurable illness. Professional nursing and caring staff, sisters and the local doctor attended her in the final months and weeks in our nursing home. Family members, friends, staff and sisters attended her funeral Mass and burial, which were carried out with the utmost dignity.
This matter is too serious for you and your producers to treat as entertainment. You are dealing with real people, our present residents, past residents, staff and sisters.
Sisters of Our Lady of Charity.
cc Director General RTE
Head of Radio, RTE
June 24rd 2005
STATEMENT FROM SISTERS OF OUR LADY OF CHARITY OF HIGH PARK AND SEAN MCDERMOTT STREET
We have decided that it is necessary for us to issue a statement in response to the recently published book “Kathy’s Story” and Kathy O’Beirne’s interview on the Vincent Brown’s Radio Programme on Wednesday night last. (22nd June)
It appears to us that although Kathy O’Beirne is careful not to specifically mention our order in her book, she is asserting that she spent a considerable length of time as a resident with us and working in one of the laundries operated by us in the past.
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.
On a point of general information, we would like to state that although our order operated a number of residential homes for women and girls, our rules precluded us 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. We therefore never had anything to do with the adoption of or placement of any child.
We would also like to state that Kathy O’Beirne repeatedly refers to “a mass grave for the female penitents” located at the Glasnevin cemetery. In fact, we have no grave at that location and the photographs produced by Kathy O’Beirne of a large stone cross in the Glasnevin Cemetery actually depict a monument rather than a headstone of a grave. This monument was erected by a member of the order in the first part of the last century as a memorial to women of the "Monto" area and not to any women who was in our care.
Regarding her allegations about women being buried without death certificates a full research has been done on those who died in the care or our order and names and death certificates have been identified. The history of our order in Ireland is being written and we hope to have it ready for publication next year.
As the allegations being 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 a horrific one, in the interest of fairness and justice to all, it is important that the facts of her story are clarified and verified.
Statement from The Sisters of our Lady of Charity to the Sunday Mirror 10 August 2006
The Sisters of our Lady of Charity wish to emphatically and categorically state that Kathy O Beirne never spent any time in our laundries or related institutions, commonly known as Magdalen Homes. A professional archivist has checked our records in detail and there is no reference to Kathy O Beirne. We have spoken to Sisters, lay staff and women who worked in the laundries and there is no recollection of Kathy O Beirne. In fact we know all of the women who worked in our laundries in the latter years - and Kathy O Beirne is not one of them.
We also note that Kathy has not produced any evidence or witnesses to show she was in one of our laundries or Magdalen Homes.
Kathy O Beirne recently confirmed to a national paper that she spent time with us in a Children’s institution – and her publicly stating this allows us to confirm that this is the case – and this was for a very brief period. For some reason this very specific and totally verifiable information was not used in her books.
The institution in question was under the auspices of the Department of Education and had no link whatsoever either geographically or in terms of management or in any other way with laundries or Magdalen homes.
Again we wish to categorically state that we have no further documents relating to Kathy O Beirne in our possession – and this has been confirmed by an archivist.
Again to note that all four religious congregations, including ourselves, who ran laundries in Ireland confirmed to the Irish Independent in 2004 that Kathy O Beirne never spent time in any of their laundries.
This is the nuns response to Mainstream publishers claim that the allegations in the book were only contested recently. Book published April 05.
Mr Cambell is on record in this weeks Sunday Times claiming the controversy over this book has only started recently, 18 months after publication,yet he's also on record with Sun Independent, July 05, as stating he's standing by the book despite the denials of the Sisters, only two months after publication.
In their statement sent to Liveline RTE, last night, Mainstream state they are willing to fight this in court if necessary, LOVE and the family would very much welcome this move, as it's the only way to get it into the courts. The family can't sue as none of them were named, the religious congregation can't sue as none of them were named, but if Mainstream bring it to court, they will be forced to produce the evidence they claim they have. They claim they have taped evidence of a meeting with a child protection officer, and a nun, confirming Kathy's stay in the laundries.
Let them produce it for hearing in public, where the voices can be identified, if such a tape exists.
Florence Horsman Hogan.
19th Sept 2006
Statement from the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity.
On the 21st April 2005 our solicitors wrote to Mr Michael Sheridan based on articles he had written linking Kathy O Beirne to our laundries and Magdalene Homes. A copy of this letter was also sent to Mainstream Publishers because we had seen some advanced publicity for Kathy s book. 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 May 2005. We also wish to point out again that after allegations by Kathy O Beirne in 2004 all four religious congregations who ran laundries confirmed to the Irish Independent that Kathy O Beirne never spent time in a laundry or Magdalene Home.
Statement from the Family of Kathleen O’Beirne: 19-Sept.-06.
Our deepest gratitude to all of you , the media, for coming here today and giving us a chance to speak out. This is a very difficult thing for us to do, we love our sister, Kathleen, and wish to support her in any way we can, as we always have tried to do, but we have been left with no choice than to speak out on the true story of the O’Beirne family, and in particular, that of our sister, Kathleen.
We hope that in the name of our father and mother, Oliver and Anne O’Beirne and the O’Beirne family, you will now be able to bring this to the public and help us right a horrific miscarriage of justice, where an innocent man can be branded an abuser, and given no right to his good name in the interest of finiantial gain.
We would like to express our gratitude to the Let Our Voices Emerge charity, many of whose members have known the reality of child abuse, for their support. Without the balanced view they hold, which is to support those abused, while exposing fraudulent allegations, we would not have had this chance to bring our side of the story to all of you.
We the brothers and sisters of Kathleen O’Beirne, co author with Michael Sheridan, of the book,’ Kathy’s Story’ have come together to speak out in defence of our family name, and that of our father, Oliver O’Beirne, and simply to tell the truth.
In the book, our sister makes horrific allegations of abuse of child abuse against our father, a religious congregation, and a psychiatric hospital. We believe the vast majority of the allegations allegations to be untrue, and we now wish to present the real story.
We as a family are testimony to the fact that false and exaggerated allegations of child abuse can be made, and we can also testify that when they are made, the embarrassment, shock, and isolation involved are horrific.
The anger and frustration we feel at seeing our father branded worldwide as a horrific abuser is indescribable. One of our family only last Friday was subject to extremely distressing harassment from Mr Sheridan the co author, the same day, our sister tried to blackmail him to speak out for her, even tho he refused, he was quoted in a Sunday tabloid as supporting her.
Despite all of our efforts, Mr Bill Campbell of Mainstream publishers has refused to return our calls.
We noted a representative of the publishers, Mr Bill Campbell,is quoted in the Irish media over the weekend saying that he had checked the story with religious and we believe this to be totally untrue. We noted as for back as 2004 that all religious with laundries and Magdalene homes confirmed to the Irish media that Kathleen never spent time in a laundry and this clear statement of fact was simply ignored. Mr Campbell is on record as far back as July 05 as there being no question of pulling this book despite the denials. As this time we thought this would be the end of this madness – but clearly there was too much money to be made.
Our father was not an abuser, he worked extremely hard to feed, clothe and take care of us. Indeed, the suffering caused to our family due to Kathleen’s psychological problems would have driven any other person to extremes of despair.
Our sister Kathleen is not adopted as she has tried to claim, we have her birth certificate to prove it, and the family resemblance as you can see speaks for itself.
Our sister was not in a Magdalene laundry, or Magdalene Home, she was in St Anne’s Children’s Home, Kilmacud, St Lomans psychiatric hospital, Mount joy Prison, and Sherrard House for homeless people. Our parents placed her in St Anne’s for a brief period when she was eleven, because of ongoing behavioural difficulties.
Kathleen stated she was in a Magdalene home from when she was 12 to fourteen, and became pregnant as a result of rape there when she was thirteen. These are the years 1968 to 1970.
As with any allegations that only emerge years later we have had to use the best method we could think of to remember . We chose family activities.
1967: she was in St Annes Childrens Home, Kilmacud for 6 weeks.
1968: was at a cousin wedding , she still lived at home with us at this stage.
1968: Kathleen dressed our sister Mary, for our mothers return from hospital after having our sister Margaret. She still lived at home with us at this stage.
1969: Used to take Patsys new baby out for walks. She still lived at home with us at this stage.
1989/70 Brian and Kathy were in hospital together having their tonsils out.
1970: Made her confirmation with our brother Eamonn, she was 14. Still lived at home with us at this stage and did not have a child.
1968/69/70: Eamonn and Kathleen went to quarry playing with friends after school, and Saturdays. At this stage she lived at home. We also went went swimming in a local swimming spot, the ‘sandy hole’.
1968/69/70 : During the summer months, went swimming with Eamonn and friends in local swimming spot, the ‘sandy hole’.
1972 Was at Marys Holy Communion, as far as we can remember, she was still living at home. She would have been 16 years old.
1974: Eamonn met Ann,now his wife, Kathleen was living at home most of this time.
1975: Eamonn and Ann went to visit Kathy in Sherrard house. She would have been 19 years old.
1978, Mary, Margaret, Mam and Dad went to see her in Mountjoy.
Our sister did not have a child at the age of fourteen that she alleges died at the age of ten. Nor did she have the second child she claimed to have had, on the Liveline programme. Kathleen made this same claim as recently as five years ago, where she alleged to have been pregnant at 45 years old, but claimed the child was a stillbirth.
Despite a very difficult relationship with Kathleen, from a very young age, we have always known her – and we were always in contact with her and know where she was. We would certainly be very aware of the main events in her life.
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 unco operative with the Gardai when such was being investigated last year.
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. This woman has broken our hearts, especially the hearts of our now deceased parents, with her behaviour in the past.
As with any family, we have our ups and downs, but thanks to the love and care our parents gave us, we have always cared for and supported one another. Any discipline carried out in our house was the same as for any family living in the 60’s and 70’s, no better,. And no worse. Even at a stage when most families would have disowned Kathleen, we have visited her in (name the places, institutions), and tried to protect her from herself. It is absolutely untrue that we turned our backs on her when she made her allegations (in the book only), against our father.
From this it is clear that our sister is a disturbed and troubled woman. Yet Mr Sherridan took the utterances of our sister and transcribed them in book form to the world as true fact. He wrote the book, based on her alleged experiences.
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.
Mainstream publishers did not speak to us as a family, are callously refusing to listen to our appeals to remove this hoax publication from sales.
Tragically our sister, who has been a major player in this farce herself, is also being abused for profit. We hold the publishers Mainstream, and the co author, Michael Sherridan largely responsible, as it would have been perfectly clear to anyone who met our sister, that there were glaring flaws in her allegations. Mainstream did not carry out the necessary rigorous checks, if they had, this book would never have been published.
Statement of Oliver, Eamonn, Mary, Margaret, John, Tommy and Brian O’Beirne.
For press contact: Eamonn O’Beirne:
Florence Horsman Hogan: (LOVE): 086-8762148.