Former St Conleth’s College pupil dismisses school’s statement about ex-Nazi teacher

Uki Goñi says St Conleth’s has not gone far enough in addressing the presence of a former SS officer

A former pupil of St Conleth’s College has described a statement by the school about an ex-SS officer that taught there as a “non-apology”.

Uki Goñi, who attended the school in the 1970s, said St Conleth’s has “passed up the opportunity to make a clean break with its bleak past”.

“It has opted instead for a non-apology anchored more in 1970 than in 2023,” Mr Goñi said.

On Wednesday the board of management of St Conleth’s College in Ballsbridge said it was “shocked” to learn that Louis Feutren could have been involved in atrocities during the second World War.


Feutren, a Breton nationalist and SS officer, was sentenced to death in France after the war. He had been a member of Bezen Perrot, a Breton nationalist group that rounded up Jews and French resistance fighters for the Nazis. He fled to Ireland in 1945 and taught French in the school from 1957 to 1985.

Many other members of Bezen Perrot fled to Ireland after the second World War.

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Former students of the fee-paying school in Ballsbridge, led by Mr Goñi, called on the board of management of St Conleth’s to apologise for the presence of a Nazi collaborator as a teacher for almost three decades.

Mr Goñi also drew attention to Feutren’s violent behaviour as a teacher. He “unleashed his baser instincts upon defenceless children, and, far from being an example to emulate, he was a boastful, unrepentant and proud former officer in the most evil and tyrannical organisation of the 20th century, the Nazi SS”.

Others said they had been physically assaulted by him or made to take off items of clothing if they did not know the French word for them.

In a response issued following a meeting of the board of management of the school on Wednesday, its chair Vincent Sheridan said it had been known in the school that Feutren was an “ardent Breton nationalist”.

However, he claimed the school only became aware of the allegations that the organisation Feutren was involved in, Bezen Perrot, had been involved in atrocities after Feutren’s death in 2009.

Mr Goñi dismissed the suggestion that school management did not know about Feutren’s Nazi past.

“What was requested was a frank acknowledgment that St Conleth’s knew Feutren was a convicted Nazi criminal and of the violence that the school applied as state policy,” Mr Goñi said.

“Conleth’s has chosen the cowardly path, leaving that task for the future.”

In a separate letter sent to Mr Goñi, Mr Sheridan wrote to him personally on behalf of the school and to other students who claimed they were assaulted by Feutren.

“I deeply regret that your personal experience of Mr Feutren, as noted by you, was that he was physically and psychologically abusive. In this context, your generous comments regarding your education and your acknowledgment that the school is a different place are appreciated.”

Mr Goñi said it amounted to “victim blaming, attributing the violence inflicted on us to our ‘personal experience’, a veiled metaphor for our imagination”.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times