The Shame of Ireland

The Shame of Ireland

The Abbey Theatre in Dublin has said “We want to hear from communities who feel marginalised and silenced – we want to hear your stories!” – so this would be a rare chance for survivors, friends and families to work together on a project that could have a big impact. The 5 chosen groups get a week of professional help on their project paid for by the Abbey and 5,000 euros to help develop it for the stage – but they don’t need to finish everything in that week, it’s more to help pull the ideas together. The application only needs short answers to three questions, just 500 words in total – but you can send more material like photos, links or written material with the application.

The deadline is December the 15th, so Rob Northall and Jack Colleton encouraged me to post this for all members to urgently consider… I’d like to suggest that people here could put together their ideas for the application starting on this post.

If anyone would like any help or advice on applying, I’d be very willing to help (I used to work in Community Theatre in Dublin, in Ballymun and Tallaght). I wanted to make a few suggestions that could help with the application… If this was put together as a Community Theatre project based on the stories and oral testimonies of survivors, it would be a very powerful and important piece of theatre for stage or radio. Having the voices of survivors as the core of it would bring all the issues to life and finally let their voices be heard.

I suggest that the stories of survivors could be recorded and gathered to be used as the basis for a play – these testimonies could be recorded on a high-quality digital recorder. This would also create a historical archive so that survivors’ experiences could be remembered and preserved.

There would be six months or more before the week’s work in the Abbey, so that would give time to involve as many survivors and others impacted as possible. It would just need one survivor or family member to act as a co-ordinator who would keep an eye on things and OK the final application and send it in. As many survivors as want to get involved could add their ideas in and add their names into the material with the application. They could also add their own stories, testimonies, photos and so on.

Those survivors who have written about their experiences would be included too –so that six months would give time to gather written stories from as many people as possible. As well as their own stories, survivors could tell the stories of those who didn’t survive, or those deceased who never got the chance to tell their story. Some of these could maybe later be voiced by actors on stage, while any available photos and videos could be used as background material – projected onstage or on screens – with the true stories behind the photos being told… Their partners or family members could also have their testimonies recorded to give another perspective.

What would give extra weight to the application would be to emphasise that this isn’t really about something that happened in the past – for the survivors and their loved ones, it’s obviously happening right now. The effects of the abuse still go on, and the Church denials and official penny-pinching and neglect still continues (to put it very mildly!).

As they are looking for a “new idea”, maybe that could be it – to show in a powerful way how it is really still happening, and how abuse and its effects continues in different forms.
So if the survivors were able to tell the story of how their whole lives have been affected right up to today, it would give the “relevance” that these applications tend to want. It would also give a fuller picture of what the effects of sexual abuse, neglect, starvation and official denial can do to a person even many decades later.

The second stage after the gathering would be to bring in a writer or director or “dramaturg” (a fancy name for a person who edits and shapes stories for the stage). They would then have the job of shaping the stories into a play and putting them on paper into a script – the applicant and survivors group would then have to give feedback and suggestions.

That is one way of doing it anyway…. Please post any other ideas or suggestions you may have – the important thing is that an application goes in, whoever does it or whatever shape it takes. Many thanks for reading this!
Wishing you success in the application, Mark Lynch

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Just Seen Your Reply Now!   Yes Indeed!  Exactly!

Hi William you can Contact Mark at his Page here at

You can also contact Jack via

I don't recommend sharing emails and phone number via the site as it is there for anyone to see

Hi Mark,
My name is Seanie Morrison living in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada. I am going on age 83 this coming August, If you would like to read my memoir regarding my time leading up to and after being released from St. Joseph's Industrial, I won't call it a school, institute. I have written up to 104 foolscap pages up to now and you may find it interesting for your play, if you would like to send me your address, e-mail or otherwise I would gladly send it to you. My e-mail address is I was awarded compensation, not much, for their (the brothers) treatment of myself and some others. I had intended to call the memoir "Damaged Goods" but have looked at "Johnny Irish and the Black Suitcase" My dear departed wife of 60 years called me "Johnny Irish" instead of Sean, John when I landed in England at age 16 and three month's of age. The story starts out as I was leaving the port of Dublin as I had travelled with a man and the memories going back to the beginning. I am a Limerick boy. My writings are in my files and can be forwarded to you, if you are interested.
My very best regards and success with your fine venture.

Thank you, Seanie! That sounds perfect - I would be very interested in reading your memoir, and in including it in the application with your permission.

I think "Johnny Irish and the Black Suitcase" is a great title! I'll send you my email address...

You're right, of course - calling these institutions "schools" was a major lie, to put it very mildly.

If anyone else would like to send a story or statement, they can send it to me directly. As Rob said, it's not recommended to post emails, but as time is very short I'll put mine here in case people want to get in touch in a hurry, you can use -

Thanks again, Seanie, and to everyone who has been so encouraging!

And Even Now Some Places Are Called "Schools"  But A Major Deception Indeed And Nothing At All To Do With Education!

You're right - the only "school" they'd resemble is the "School of Hard Knocks" - and worse...

Yes, so many vanished children and stolen childhoods. There isn't much official interest in finding the truth - I'm sure the real facts and figures would completely shock most people to their core, so we get endless delays and evasions instead...

The Two Main Political Parties Involved Who Presided And Administered Over The Serial Child Abuse Have Much To Account For All These Decades Later. Yes Many Of Their Victims Are Already Dead But The Truth Remains .... 

Yes I Wonder About So Many Who Disappeared.  Adoption Was Not The Policy.

Hi Mark, I am in the process in getting the file to you.

Is there an address for Mark as I have more that may help him



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