Statement: Disband the Artane Band

September 12th 2016

Press Statement from Dublin Independent councillor Mannix Flynn

Mannix Flynn, an Independent councillor in Dublin City Council has today withdrawn a motion due for presentation at a South East Area Committee meeting for the Artane band to be renamed.

In its place, Cllr Flynn has submitted a new motion calling for the disbandment of the Artane School of Music, a venture jointly established by the Christian Brothers and the GAA, that continues the legacy of the Artane Boys Band.

Cllr Flynn is aware that those against his initial motion claim his endeavours have caused hurt to those presently involved with the band. However, Cllr Flynn, who himself attended industrial schools in Ireland said the Artane band’s continued use of original-style uniforms, insignia and associations to the school cause untold hurt for the many victims of childhood abuse at the hands of religious orders in Ireland.

Please find the new motion below, submitted today for October’s monthly meeting of all Dublin City Councillors.


That this monthly meeting of Dublin City Council, mindful of the shameful legacy of institutional abuse in industrial schools documented in the Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse, call on the Artane School of Music to disband as a matter of human rights.

The School of Music is an establishment jointly run by the Christian Brothers and the GAA, yet encompasses the original and traditional insignia and uniforms that hark back to an age of chronic sexual and physical abuse at the hands of the religious.

The Artane Boys Band was used as a front to hide the gross inhumanity that took place at St Joseph’s School in Artane and other industrial schools run by the Christian Brothers at home and abroad. The harrowing memories of these institutions for abuse victims are regularly flaunted without care or recognition at national sporting events in Croke Park in the form of the present Artane band.

A disbandment of the trust would sever all ties with the former industrial school and its brutal history and in doing so, would acknowledge the ongoing collective suffering of so many.



The Artane Boys band on route to America to raise funds for The Christian Brothers in 1962 the image was used later on the album that came out in 1969


4 thoughts on “Statement: Disband the Artane Band

  1. Hi Mannix

    I see you messaged me via Facebook.  I can’t open it as I am in Letterfrack and something weird happened with Facebook when I crossed the Atlantic!  Holding positive thoughts for your endeavour with the matter of this band. Will be in Clifden for arts festival next week if you happen to be over this way.

    Regards Bonnie

  2. Dear Mannix,
    I cannot imagine the burden of pain that you and others carry because of the cruelty, the evil you experienced and endured. I understand that when we are hurt, wounded we often seek to lash out at those who have inflicted the wound. I am truly sorry that for you and others the sight of the Artane Band is so painful.
    Can I ask if it has always been so? Why is it now, rather than in the years since 1969 when it became an open, community Band, that you call for the Band to disband?Why now?
    Will a disbanding of the Band really heal dreadful, deep wounds?
    The Band has a long history and, yes, part of that is haunted by the shadow of very evil acts experienced by many. But not all. And not the Band of today.
    My son got involved with the Band in 2000 and his experience of Artane is very, very different. He received an excellent music education, a love of music, an understanding of how to present himself and perform professionally.He found community and friendship, a sense of identity and belonging. It also set him on his career path in music. And he is not alone in that.
    For me, I watched him grow, develop and flourish under the great care and tuition of all the Artane staff. That staff work to the highest standards in every sphere, including child protection. For my son, for me, for so many of us Artane,the Artane Band, inspires pride and gratitude.
    I appreciate this is NOT your experience. But it is OURS. It would be wrong to deprive children and young people of the chance to grow musically and personally, as they do in Artane. It is a centre of excellence in both musical and personal development areas. It was wrong and unjust that you were treated as you were.Isn’t it another kind of injustice to limit the potential and opportunities of all the young, blameless musicians in Artane?
    I have my own history with the Christian Brothers. My grand uncle was a Brother. I trained to be a teacher with them in Coláiste Mhuire Marino. My experience was of dedicated, committed humane men. I will forever be grateful to them for all I received, along with my training. I will never condone or excuse the evil that some Brothers did. It should never have happened. They should never have been Brothers.However, I have to speak of the goodness I witnessed and experienced.
    That was not YOUR experience, but it was MINE.
    There are many places around the world, many in our own country, indeed many countries themselves whose names are linked to atrocity and inhumanity. Do we change the names of every place? Disband towns and countries?Will that undo the damage done? Does that bring any recovery to those whose lives were so crushed? Do we continue to hold endless generations accountable for previous horrors?
    Or do we look for the possibility of healing and growth in some other way?
    I think of Etty Hillesum who wrote of the horrors of the concentration camps,while noticing the beauty of spring all around. She observed that life contains it all; the beauty and the horror. Your horrific experience, along with the positive experiences of recent times, all exist together in a reality that is Artane.
    It is probable that nothing I or anyone else can say will change your views born of your experience.
    For you Artane is fixed in time in its awfulness.Your rage and pain is a constant.
    So why do I write? Because I have a different view and experience. Mine does not negate yours, but equally yours does not negate mine. There are many different experiences, emotions and stances, many reactions and memories.
    Again, I am so sorry for what you endured and that your experience has caused, and still causes you pain, anger and indeed rage. You feel and believe that getting rid of the Artane Band is the solution, I don’t. I feel that it would add to pain and hurt by creating more in another generation.
    I wish you well and I wish you peace,
    Mary Finnegan.

  3. Dear Mary,
    crimes were committed at Artane of an enormous magnitude against the majority of children that were in the institution. You cannot put YOUR experiences against this overwhelming holocaust that went on for decades. The band is a band that was created within the institution from the inmates of the institution and then was stolen from them and whitewashed into the form of the so-called community initiative through the Artane School of music which is still controlled to this day by the Christian Brothers and GAA. You can have a musical education anywhere but to defend this particular institutional band with the story that you have just related, just simply adds insult to injury. It is not about MY experience. It is about the moral and indeed ethical issues that surround the continuation of this fallacy – the Artane Band.

    It is absolutely wrong for this entity, the Artane Band, and indeed the school to remain in operation. If you really want a future for the children in music, if you really want to build really good experience, free from the past of the Artane Industrial School, you should be supporting the disbandment of this monumental lie.

    So what part of the Ryan Report did you not understand?

    Indeed, what part of former Taoiseach Bertie Aherns statement did you not understand?

    You’re entitled to your own experiences of your child growing up but you are not entitled to own the Artane Band – that’s OURS. We paid for that through the brutality, through the inhumanity, and through the physical rape of our bodies by grown men who called themselves Christian Brothers who to this very day are still in denial and roaming around free of any consequences.

    If you really want to save the children in the future, save them from the shame of the Artane industrial school in all its expressions. Tell your child the truth of Artane. Tell your child the truth of what the Christian Brothers did in the Industrial schools the length and breath of this country.
    How they betrayed their faith. Betrayed their God. And betrayed the children of the Nation. In the words of Enda Kenny
    “The Report of the Ryan Commission shames us. It shames us as a state and as a society.
    “We stand complicit in the criminalising of little children as a consequence of their poverty. But that’s just the beginning. This State was responsible for the destruction of life itself. It was responsible for the destruction of that precious, formative gift: childhood.”

    The Artane Band is part of that destruction and it cannot distance itself from it, except by disbandment.

    I know God very well. And I know God will dismantle the Artane Band, because God is good and God is merciful and we have justice on our side.

    Rest assured there will come a day when we won’t have to listen to denial. We won’t have to put up with patronising letters and we will find truth and we will get justice.

    For the record, I am a very happy well-adjusted individual going about my business on a daily basis. I have absolute peace of mind and an unbroken Faith.

    I won’t excuse my honesty in this letter because sometimes this kind of honesty is needed in order to wake people up, like yourself.

    In conclusion, it wasn’t today nor yesterday, we from the institutions, fought and struggled to have our voices heard, to have justice delivered and to find our place. Rest assured that like all the evil residential institutions that were closed down, and the Christian Brothers and their like arrested and brought before the courts for child rape and child abuse, the Artane Band which formed part of that Gulag in its present guise will cease to exist not by my hand but simply by the weight of its own horrendous history and its present denial.

    Do our lives, does our abuse, does our suffering count for nothing? Is it worth the trinket of a band. Is that what you would sell us for?

    Good evening Mary, and remember all of the screaming children of the industrial schools, don’t let the music drown that out.

    Kind regards,

    Mannix Flynn

  4. Dear Mannix,

    I thank you for replying.
    As I said previously, what you and others experienced should never have happened AND those who committed evil acts should be held to account in every way.

    Your experience is yours, and is your history and reality. No-one can negate that. No-one can defend the dreadful acts and horrendous behaviours.

    As I said,I have a different experience and reality. And mine leads me to not support your wish to see the Artane Band disbanded.

    I want justice for all of you who suffered.
    I also want justice for the many, many children who suffered and still suffer abuse within their families; I hear their screams too, Mannix. No child, in any place, in any setting should experience abuse in any of its forms.

    Again, thank you for replying.

    With good wishes,


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