‘Shameful time’ – Blackrock College apologizes to ‘victims of sexual abuse’

Blackrock College has apologized to victims of sexual abuse, which it described as a “shameful period” in the school’s history for which it “deeply regrets”.

In a letter to parents, signed by headmaster Alan MacGinty, he said the school sympathizes with previous students who have endured such “harrowing and life-changing experiences”.

Mr MacGinty assured current parents and guardians that the school will work diligently to ensure the highest standard of care for all students and staff.

“We are appalled by the recent disclosures of abuse at Blackrock College in the 1970s and 1980s. It is a shameful time in our history that we deeply regret,” he said.

“We sympathize with these former students, their extended families and friends who have suffered from such harrowing and life changing experiences. On behalf of the wider college community, I apologize for this.

“We want to reassure our current parents and guardians that we work diligently and in partnership across the Blackrock and Willow Park campuses to ensure the highest standard of care for all of our students and staff.”

The letter also included a statement from Fr. Martin Kelly CSSp, Head of the Spiritan Order in Ireland, who also apologized to the victims and survivors of abuse.

“As the leader of the congregation in Ireland, I want to acknowledge that there has been abuse in our schools,” he said.

“I sincerely apologize to those who were so badly injured and I assure the victims/survivors that our community is doing everything in its power to help those injured and to ensure our schools are safe places for the current generation of students are.”

Since 2004, the Spiritans have paid more than €5 million in compensation claims and to fund support services after children were abused in schools under their control.

Allegations have been made by alumni of nine Spiritan schools – including Blackrock College, where 57 people have alleged abuse on the school’s campus.

The Order has reached settlements with 12 people linked to abuse in Blackrock.

Some of the allegations also relate to the Willow Park School, which is adjacent to the college.

Blackrock College Union also expressed its “deepest sympathy and solidarity” with all of the alumni who were “abused while attending college.”

In a statement released today, the college said it was “great sadness” for the Union that “such abuse was inflicted on the students of the schools and we recognize that the matters raised in the media are deeply disturbing and life-changing for those.” Victims of such heinous abuse”.

“The union deeply regrets that students at the College and Willow Park have not been protected from this abuse and we encourage anyone affected by such abuse to seek appropriate advice and support,” the statement said.

“Media coverage has pointed to a statement posted on our website encouraging any former student affected by abuse to seek support, which is repeated below.

“Inclusion and engagement are two strong themes that the Union is focused on. As representatives of your union, we are aware that the experiences of some of our former students during their school years at Willow Park and Blackrock College may have been marred by abuse from priests and lay teachers during those important years.

“The union would like you to know that practical and moral support is available on a confidential basis if you are affected by such experiences by contacting the union at unionoffice@rock.ie

“We want to encourage any student who is a victim of abuse to come forward and begin the healing process with the full support of all of your fellow students.”

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/shameful-period-blackrock-college-issues-apology-to-victims-of-sexual-abuse-42131770.html ‘Shameful time’ – Blackrock College apologizes to ‘victims of sexual abuse’

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