A GLIN survivor of industrial-school abuse has this week been awarded the title of Limerick Man of the Month for August — in recognition of his brave efforts to expose the brutal regime that once existed at Glin Industrial School where he suffered at the hands of the Christian Brothers for over a decade.
Thomas Wall was one of the many survivors of the industrial regime in the country who testified before the redress board prior to the compilation of the Ryan Report. Inducted into St Joseph's Industrial School at three years of age — the last person in Ireland to have been admitted so young — Mr Wall suffered years of abuse, both physical and sexual, sometimes at the hands of the most vicious Christian Brothers in the industrial system.
While recognition of the plight of these survivors has come late, it is still a source of great consolation, Mr Wall said. "I am delighted with the honour of receiving the nomination for Limerick Man of the Month and I take it on behalf of all my friends and colleagues who survived the system," he told The Kerryman.
"The big problem I see now, when the dust settles, is that we will still have a serious issue with all the past pupils of the industrial system who are illequipped to continue dealing with their trauma, many of whom are now alcoholics and homeless with no one to look after them," he said. "They are the people who this award should really be for. There doesn't seem to be any system for them and I would call on the state to implement some strategy — backed up by the resources of the religious orders — to care for these survivors."
Appearing lucky by comparison with many of his fellow survivors, Mr Wall, who is the head gardener at Glin Castle, continues to deal with the trauma of his childhood which is growing more acute with the passing of time, he said.