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Pure evil Industrial school survivor recalls rape and beatings he endured and says officials must admit blame

Seamus said many of the impoverished working class families who looked for help instead found their children were taken away because they were judged to be unable to look after their kids.

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Seamus Kelly, who runs Survivors Unite, told his story.

Seamus Kelly, who runs Survivors Unite, told his story.

Seamus Kelly, who runs Survivors Unite, told his story.

The officials who fed youngsters into the brutal religious-run industrial schools have to answer for their part in the harrowing ordeals suffered by abuse victims.

Seamus Kelly, who runs Survivors Unite, said his own horrific story wouldn't have happened without the doctors, probation officials, gardai and teachers who wrote off him at an early age.

"They need to be held accountable. Without them there would be no industrial schools," he said.

A child tearaway whose attention deficit disorder went undiagnosed, Seamus was lucky to survive when in 1973 he fell from the roof of Cork city's English Market during an attempted break-in.

"I was dead when I hit the ground. When I was brought to Finbarr's Hospital my side had to be ripped open. I was put into a coma for a week," he told the Sunday World.

Despite being in a coma and just 11 years of age, he said his sister was furious to find him handcuffed to his hospital bed.

He said he was later charged with a burglary that happened while he was still in hospital.

The Cork man tells how almost every day a teacher "drew blood'" with beatings while he was still in primary school, forcing him to eventually quit.

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Children in the Sean Ross Abbey mother and baby home in Tipperary

Children in the Sean Ross Abbey mother and baby home in Tipperary

Children in the Sean Ross Abbey mother and baby home in Tipperary

"I got beaten every single day because I was different to them. I had ADHD and dyslexia," he recalls.

After spending two-and-a-half years at an industrial school in Dublin, Seamus left still unable to read or write.

During that time he was raped and beaten.

"I seen (sic) things done to kids only Nazis would do," he says.

Most days Seamus was sent off on his bicycle from Finglas to Howth to make paving blocks for which he never got paid.

"Every day I was given two slices of bread and butter. Every day the fat fella that was working on the machine brought me into the restaurant and had a huge dinner, making sure I looked at it."

In a cruel psychological trick, one day Seamus was told he was being brought home to Cork.

Instead, after driving for hours, when they got to the city a runaway from the school was collected from a garda station and they went back to Dublin.

Incredibly, he saw his mother on St Patrick's Street and called out for her, only to be beaten by two nuns in the car.

"Looking back on it now the only reason I was there was to make sure the escapee didn't leg it from them. If he escaped I'd have to go after him, that was the only reason I was there."

The next day, back in Dublin, Seamus ran away but was caught hiding in bushes near Heuston Station where he was going to try to jump on a Cork-bound train.

Despite pleading with the garda, telling him of the rape, beating and torture at the school, he was sent back again.

He didn't see his parents for more than two years as a teenager in what he now believes was part of deliberate policy.

While researching his book The Fuse Within, his co-author Audrey Wilson found his probation reports, some of which contained unfounded allegations.

"When the reports came back to the court there was always a note on top 'not to be read out in open court' that I was the leader of a gang in Cork, I was 12, in my gang there was a girl of eight and there's good evidence he sexually molested her with her consent.

"The judge read it, the inspector knew about it. My parents didn't know about it, I didn't know about it. It was on my file 40 years without me knowing about it."

Seamus has no doubt that part of the violence inflicted on him was due in part to that note on his file. It was removed after a court order in recent years and an apology was issued to Seamus.

"They were doing that with a lot of kids. They deserve to be held accountable for what they did," he says.

Seamus said many of the impoverished working class families who looked for help instead found their children were taken away because they were judged to be unable to look after their kids.

His original plan as a child was to steal food to give to the kids on his own terrace because he was "sick of looking at them eating dirt".

After his time in the industrial school Seamus got a job helping out with younger kids through a scheme in Cork but was fired after being wrongly accused of breaking windows.

"I got in trouble that night, I got worse. Two days later the priest came up to my house and apologised."

Up until 1990 Seamus said he "was in prison all my life" serving a number of sentences in Cork Prison.

His wife, who he married in 1983, is "an angel" and together they had five children and now have five grandkids.

"If I didn't meet her I'd be dead. Now I help people," he says.

Through his Facebook page Survivors Unite Seamus says he often talks to other people who went through similar experiences.

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