Ireland's Child Care Institutions during the 20th. Century. Fo'T: The most vivid and passionate stories - banished babies, cruel orphanages, old abuses of power - have concerned things that went unnoticed, or at least unarticulated, at the time. News has often had to be redefined, not as the latest sensation but as that which everybody knew all along yet could not say.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Victims deplore early release of Brother

Victims deplore early release of Brother

By Eithne Donnellan

A religious brother given the longest sentence for child sex abuse in the history of the State was released from the Curragh Prison on Saturday after serving just three years of a 36-year sentence. James Kelly (76), otherwise known as Brother Ambrose, was taken from the Kildare prison by his order, the Brothers of Charity, to an unnamed institution in the State where he is to receive therapy and counselling.

The name of the institution is known only to the Brothers of Charity and Cork Circuit Criminal Court, where earlier this month Judge Patrick Moran told Kelly's victims that the Brother would, on his release, be housed in a place where he would not be in a position to reoffend.

He said he was happy the institution to which Brother Ambrose would be taken was "the appropriate place for him". However, he did not name it, saying the management at the institution were entitled to privacy. Brother Ambrose, who is in poor health, admitted he could not remember the names of all the boys he abused. He was jailed for 36 years in 1999 for sexually abusing boys in his care in the 1950s and 1960s in Galway and at the Lota children's home in Glanmire, Cork.

Mr Eoin Little of Irish Survivors of Child Abuse yesterday described Brother Ambrose as "the Adolf Hitler of abusers, the worst on record in Ireland". He criticised Judge Moran for releasing him and suggested that if Mr Justice O'Flaherty resigned over the Sheedy affair, Judge Moran should also consider his position. A man abused by Brother Ambrose, Mr Alan Carroll, said the decision to release him was a major blow to child sex abuse survivors throughout the country.

"I will never rest easy as long as that man is out there. Nobody knows what that man is capable of. I fear for the safety of children," he said.

© 2002 The Irish Times