Commentary on B. P. Dolan's obituary of J. C. Daly by Justin Downes.
For the many thousands of young, vulnerable people who knew Brother Daly mourning him will be far from their minds. My memory, and those of his many other former charges, is so different to his obituary writer it is difficult to to believe we are considering the life of the same man.
The Joseph Daly I, and others knew, was a cruel and sadistic despot, feared and hated by those boys subject to his violent regime. Reading of Daly’s time in Spain it was as no surprise to find that the obituarist and his subject held Franco in high regard; after all Franco was a violent and unsavoury dictator, not dissimilar to Daly and his gang. When I read of the happy ‘singsong’ evenings that so entertained the Brothers, I was reminded that concentration camp guards too, enjoyed these sentimental soirees!
'Strict discipline was maintained, and there was no time for the laissez-faire type of boy. Parents were complimentary of Br. Cassian's worth and experience of boarding school life.'
Dolan is a liar. Life at Cricklade was violent and sadistic. We feared this monster as if he were the commandant of a concentration camp. Children as young as eight quivered in fear at his approach, whilst his hoodlum Brothers followed Daly’s example with the savage use of the belt at the slightest perceived misdemeanour.
'While his discipline was strict with the boarders he had their welfare always at heart. Nothing but the best would suffice for them and the menu and service were carefully checked. Maids had always to be in attendance. The dining room was a place where correct manners could be taught. Hence he preferred to take charge of boarders at all meals in order to secure uniform code and an opportunity of developing schemes for the boarders' welfare.'
One of Daly’s schemes to teach correct manners was to ensure that children incapable of eating the vile breakfast would have it mixed with the equally vile lunch, until at dinner they would be forced to digest the entire mess. Naturally enough a severe belting would follow if this mess was not eaten.
Another Daly speciality were the public beatings organised on Saturday afternoons by the ‘sweet and gentle’ Daly. The victim was led into the Hall and told to swear in front of the Monstrance that he was telling the truth. He was then forced over a stool and beaten with the ever present belt until he could hardly stand.
Brother Dolan. You are either a liar or a fantasist-I suspect the former.
'Great respect for the deceased Brother was shown by the Old Boys who attended the Mass.'
I would hazard a guess that any of those who turned up wanted to assure themselves that he was dead. I am afraid those of us raised in the Irish Catholic tradition were made to suffer in such a way as to deform us in our later life.
It did not surprise me to read that Gerry Adams was a product of the ICB.
Thank God the Order has been consigned to Hell-just where it belongs.
JUSTIN DOWNES EX CRICKLADE PRIOR
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