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Gardai to quiz St Joseph's inmates

A MAJOR garda investigation into the physical and sexual abuse of children at Tralee's notorious St Joseph's Industrial School is now underway, The Kerryman can reveal.

Senior gardaí from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, who are investigating revelations contained in the Ryan Commission Report, are due to interview a number of former inmates of St Joseph's in the coming weeks The Ryan Commission Report detailed horrific physical and sexual abuse of boys, perpetrated by 12 Christian Brothers, in the Tralee school in the 30 years prior to its closure in 1970.

A special garda unit, set up by Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern, following publication of the report is now investigating abuse committed in Kerry. Though the 12 brothers who carried out the majority of the abuse at St Joseph's were not named in the Ryan Commission report it's known that all but one are still alive. They are understood to be the primary focus of the new investigation.

Several former inmates of St Joseph's, including the longest serving inmate John Prior whose early testimony about abuse in church run schools helped expose the scandal, have been contacted by gardaí and will be interviewed in the coming weeks.

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The former inmates assisting the investigation are currently residing in Kerry and Cork.

A major plank of the St Joseph's investigation is expected to be the death of 16-year-old school inmate Joseph Pike. Pike died in the mid 1960's just a few days after allegedly being brutally beaten by a brother for eating too slowly.

The special garda unit, commanded by Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne Ireland's highest ranked operational commander, has been tasked with investigating claims contained in the Ryan report to assess if criminal proceedings can be brought against the perpetrators of the abuse.