Michael O'Brien (Irish politician)
O'Brien was one of 13 siblings. When he was eight years old, his mother died and he and his siblings were taken into care. He was detained in this industrial school for eight years where he was raped and beaten repeatedly. He was separated from his brother for 40 years.
He became a campaigner for the rights of those who had been put in industrial schools in 1999 when he went public with his own experiences, founding the lobby group Right to Peace.
Appearance on Questions and Answers
He was in the audience for Questions and Answers on 25 May 2009 when he confronted Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey about the way the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse had treated survivors of the industrial schools, pointing out that the allegedly non-adversarial process had involved him being accused of lying. He said the government should change the constitution so that the assets of the religious orders who ran the industrial schools could be frozen. He also spoke of how he still suffered nightmares about the abuse he suffered in Ferryhouse and how his experience of the questioning had led him to contemplate suicide but his wife had persuaded him not to do it.
While O'Brien is still a Catholic, he rarely goes to church.
- Abuse survivor calls on religious orders to seek out other victims, Caroline O’Doherty, Irish Examiner, 27 May 2009, retrieved 22 October 2009
- Mayor campaigns against abuse by the Catholic Church, Timesonline
- Ex-mayor tells of abuse by order, Steven Carroll, The Irish Times, 27 May 2009, retrieved 22 October 2009
- Does the panel think John was too polite?, Irish Independent, 4 July 2009, retrieved 22 October 2009
- Video clip of Michael O'Brien speaking on Questions and Answers
- Irish Central: "Leading Irish church abuse figure once claimed he was never abused" by Patrick O'Connor; May 24, 2010