Oblates' role in running Daingean
I don't know if Mr McGarry ever visited Daingean or has in fact ever met an Oblate priest or brother in his life or knows anything about the humanitarian work they do in some of the poorest places in the world.
My own experience of the Oblates, gained from my youth growing up in Daingean in the 1960s together with a four-year stint with them as a student for the priesthood (1972-76) gave me some insight into what exactly went on - and didn't go on - in the "reformatory".
I was aghast at the tenor of Mr McGarry's diatribes. He appears totally oblivious to the reality that in the 1960s, in schools throughout Ireland, corporal punishment was administered to some children, to a degree which, if it had occurred in St Conleth's (Daingean), would have resulted in a far greater number of abuse claims against the Oblates.
In particular, I found Mr McGarry's personal onslaught on Fr Hughes - a Welshman with no axe to grind with anyone - hard to take. I had the privilege of knowing him as a kind and most caring man throughout my four years with the Oblates.
He was also on the staff at Milltown Park Institute of Philosophy and Theology, Ranelagh, where Oblate students, together with other religious attended. To add insult to injury the startling photo used does a grave injustice to Fr Hughes.
Ms O'Brien got it right when she stated that a fuller picture of what happened behind the scenes included a horrendous amount of "buck-passing between various government departments" - some things never change! All Oblates, their families and friends - are indeed "deeply hurt by the one-sided and damning media portrayal" of their best efforts in circumstances and times a world removed from the 20/20 vision of today. - Yours, etc,
JH, RL, Leixlip, Co Kildare.