Two brothers account of abuse by the notorious De la Salle Christian Brothers from the 1950s.
Patrick Murphy, 71, and his brother William, 65, were young boys when they were orphaned. They were separated, but unknown to the other, they both spent time in Rubane House in Kircubbin. It was a place where they were both subjected to shocking and distressing abuse, graphic in its detail.
Patrick was the first to go there, aged 11. “One one occasion, I was sent down to collect a film and they gave a ten shilling note and when I got down to the bus stop I found out that I had lost it,” he said. “I was literally terrified so I jumped on the bike and just started cycling and ended up on some beach somewhere. “The police came along and picked me up and when I came into the police station, I can remember very well what they said. “PJ you come along now, there is a good lad. All this in front of the police. And no sooner was I outside the police station until I was picked up as though I was an animal into the back of the car.” The warning to Patrick was chilling.
“The took me by the scruff of the neck and and hit me round the head and said – ‘next time you do that, you will not end up in a police station’. The reception back at Rubane House was even worse. “I was taken downstairs and they cut all my hair off which was something terrible then. They then put me across the table and literally beat me with a cane on the bare buttocks. “I felt that if I could have ended it, I would have done.”
William also went to Rubane House later, not knowing that his brother had already been and gone. Having previously lived with foster parents he describes as “good people”, he was in for a shock in his new abode. His account contains graphic detail of sexual abuse by one of the monks, known as brothers, who lived there. “I was put into a shower along with a big brute of a brother. He took his cloak off and I had to soap him and wash him down,” said William, his voice breaking with emotion. “Then I remember a bell going – it must have been for lunch or something and he told me that I was not to tell anybody what happened. That was to continue after that for years. “You could have woke up in the middle of the night and a brother standing naked in front of you. “When you were sitting at the end of the bed, he would have stood on your feet and if you did not do what he told you, he would have stood on your toes. Many a night my feet were crushed.”
Patrick and William have only recently been able to speak to each other about their own experiences. Patrick explained why they both believe now is an important time for the victims. “Most of the people I have met have tried to bury it but we cannot. It keeps raising its head,” he said. “It’s as real now as it was in the fifties when it was happening.”