Hundreds of former pupils to help abuse inquiry
MORE than 500 former students at a prestigious boarding school will be contacted over abuse allegations that have triggered three major investigations.
Gardai and the Health Service Executive (HSE) are conducting separate probes into the former Colaiste Chroi Naofa boarding school in Carraig na bhFear, Cork.
Abuse allegations by five individuals have come to light over the past six weeks.
The garda and HSE probes were launched following Senator Mark Daly's decision to use Seanad privilege to highlight alleged abuses at Carraig na bhFear and identify Fr Donncha MacCarthaigh.
The religious order that once ran the school, the Order of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (OMSH), is also being looked at by the church's own watchdog body.
The National Board for the Safeguarding of Children (NBSC) is auditing how it handled complaints lodged over the years.
The allegations relate to a period in the 1970s and 1980s and involve both sexual and physical abuse complaints.
The Irish Independent understands that the NBSC probe could extend even further back.
The school stopped taking boarders in 1995 and is now under new management, totally separate from OMSH.
Yesterday, principal Eamon O'Donnabhain wrote a letter to parents of children of the now co-education day school.
"As we approach the beginning of the new school year let me assure you of our continued commitment to provide the best education and pastoral care for your children," he said.
Mr O'Donnabhain declined to comment further to the Irish Independent.
Last night, Mr Daly confirmed he had met gardai and HSE officials and welcomed the various probes under way.
Former school principal Fr MacCarthaigh has denied the allegation. He was the focus of seven abuse complaints. No prosecutions were taken.
Having stepped aside from his principal duties to work as a career guidance teacher, he was placed on restricted ministry in the 1990s.
A second former Carraig na bhFear teacher, Fr Tadhg Daly was convicted of 10 sample counts of indecent assault of a 12-year-old former pupil in 1999 and sentenced to three years in prison.
The HSE yesterday launched a freephone number (1800) 742 8000 for victims and those affected by child sex abuse.