Scoping inquiry into abuse in schools run by religious orders gets more than 220 submissions

Inquiry’s survivor-engagement process involving completion of questionnaire by those registering interest has completed first phase

The scoping inquiry set up by the Government last March to determine what shape a statutory investigation of abuse in day and boarding schools run by religious orders should take received “circa 220″ expressions of interest from survivors, as of the deadline, 5.30pm on Monday.*

The inquiry’s survivor-engagement process, which included submission of a completed questionnaire by those who registered an interest, has now completed its first phase.

The expressions of interest “are currently being processed”, said a spokesperson for the Department of Education, “as the inquiry team continues to work to the November deadline for submission of its report to the Minister”. The team was “working through the questionnaires received and will be in touch with those who have indicated that they wish to engage with the next stage of the survivor-engagement process in the coming weeks”.

Led by senior counsel Mary O’Toole, when the inquiry was announced on March 7th, it was described as an “inquiry into historical sexual abuse in day and boarding schools run by religious orders”.


Mark Ryan, along with his brother David, took part in the RTÉ Radio One documentary Blackrock Boys broadcast last November, which led to many men coming forward alleging abuse as children at Willow Park prep school and Blackrock College in Dublin.

He hopes whatever statutory investigation arises from the scoping inquiry looks “at the extent of the cover-ups” and “the movements of abusers after complaints”. He would also like it to establish whether there was any “correspondence to Rome about what was going on”.

A statutory investigation should also “look at the judiciary and their connections with schools” run by the Spiritan congregation who ran Blackrock College, Willow Park and other schools in Dublin and Ireland, he said.

The Garda and Department of Education should also be investigated to establish what they knew about abuse in the schools, he said.

Any statutory investigation should include “all schools, not just Catholic schools. You can’t differentiate because of religion”, he said. “A whole generation has been affected.”

Mr Ryan was also “delighted” that the Blackrock Boys documentary won the Law Society of Ireland’s justice award in the human rights and social justice reporting category last week. It was prepared by Seán Mac Giolla Phádraig, David Nally and Liam O’Brien, and he said “they believed us and have supported us all the way through”.

*This article was amended on Thursday, June 29th to clarify the remit of the scoping inquiry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times