Patrick Bolger





Those damn boys. Occasions of sin.

He once told me. Cardinal Desmond Connell,

prince of the roman catholic church.

He nodded, leaned his head to one

side and tried to hold my hand.

He was sorry. He said.

At the age of 31, I sat alone in

the High Court of Ireland.  On a leather

seat, dark wood, the skin around my nails

bleeding. I sat. Waiting. For the offer.

On this settling day.

I was assured that my voice, would never

be heard by the High Court of Ireland.

In the absence of compassion and

apologies, they bring forth money.

Trading in their own currency.  The roman catholic church.

Where my bitten nails sit, I shake.

The offer is put to me, I should

accept, I am told as they will never go

higher, without proof of penetration.

Without proof of penetration.

The eight year old boy, me 23 years

before this day, should have collected

evidence. Evidence. My blood. Or his.



Blessed are those who have not

seen and yet believe.


This is the Roman Catholic Church

This is the institution that moved Thomas Naughton

Of the Kilteagan fathers

From Africa to the West Indies

From the West Indies to Aughrim Street

From Aughrim Street to Valleymount

From Valleymount to Donnycarney

From Donnycarney (via Stroud) to Ringsend.


(Stroud was a spiritual therapy facility for paedophile clergy)


This is the institution that wanted

‘Proof of Penetration’






This poem first appeared in The Children of the Nation: Working People’s Poetry from Contemporary Ireland edited and introduced by Jenny Farrell (Culture Matters, 2019)


Patrick Bolger © 2019