The principal of Blackrock College is a homophobe and a bully who has no place governing the lives of children. His name is Alan McGinty and he made my life hell as a child. He once humiliated me for ‘having a period’ in front of my entire year. He should be removed or resign.
I am a 50 year old man and I have lived with this my whole life. It shaped my being, it shaped my very existence and comportment on this planet. It defined me before I had the opportunity to define myself. He is no educator. He is a throwback to Dev and McQuaids Ireland.
Abuse does not need to be physical. It can be sneering verbal and accepted. So many of the staff turned a blind eye to the bullying I suffered in school. Thank god for the ones who didn’t. They’re the only reason I’m still alive.
Sue me motherfucker. I have 187 witnesses.
Oh and when the Spiritans (renamed from the Holy Ghost Fathers to shift blame and responsibility from themselves) pop up to support their dear leader, ask them about Mr. Edward Baylor.
Thank you so much for all of your kind messages, it means so much. I awoke this morning and my heart is full with your good wishes. Now that I have opened the tap however, other long buried memories have flooded out and I had a very restless night awaking to sob a couple of times
One in particular shocks me still today at how horrible it was. When I was 15/16 in 4th Year (Transition year) we had to undergo a year long class in Civics, purportedly to learn about how to be a responsible citizen.
During one of these classes, the teacher proposed an activity. We were all to pin a foolscap sheet to our neighbours back and then everyone was to walk around the room writing positive things about each person on their foolscap sheet.
At the end of the class, the bell rang and we all gathered our bags to head to the next class, I pulled the foolscap sheet from my back and immediately my heart sank. Save for 5/6 comments all were in the same vein.
FAGGOT! AIDS FUCKER! HOMO! QUEER! TURD BURGLAR! NANCY BOY! DAISY(a nickname I had acquired early on and which followed me through school, even today I recoil when I hear that word).
I immediately sank into my seat, tears welling up in my eyes, after all of the other boys had filed out the teacher who had been filling his briefcase noticed me and came over to ask what was wrong. I showed him the sheet, tears rolling down my face.
Whilst initially sympathetic and using mollifying phrases like "words are only words" "I am sure they were only joking" as my grief turned to anger and I shouted at him asking "how could you allow this to happen, this is a stupid exercise, what did you think would happen"...
...his sympathy turned to anger. "How dare you speak to me like that you little pup! Be a rock man and grow some balls and man up." With that he whirled around and stormed out of the room leaving me behind in a snotty mess.
After a couple of minutes, I eventually collected myself and grabbing my school bag I took myself off to my next class, a class I was now late for. As I arrived in the door, the teacher screamed at me, "ah here is O'Shaughnessy, late again and gave me detention.
I haven't thought about this event in years and I am sitting here angry crying at it. We need to speak out about these experiences to make sure no other child has to endure them.
My brother who also attended Blackrock before begging to leave due to the trickle down bullying he received as a consequence of being my brother has just reminded me of this. Image
So a few people have asked me whether it has changed since I was there with the changes in society. Allow me to offer a perspective on that. A couple of yrs ago a good friend from Blackrock (there were many many good men made by that school who I continue to count as friends)…
…invited me to a Past Pupils Event. A gathering of ‘old boys’ to meet up with class mates and reminisce and network. It’s one of the things the school does very well. It keeps a network of friends, pals if you will who help each other in work, business, society.
My friend invited me along a d for a couple of years whilst still burying the trauma of the events in the school I agreed to attend to try and heal my pain by reconnecting with some of the boys who grew up to be brilliant great empathic men despite the pain we all suffered.
One of the things that they do at these events is they publish a booklet that they leave on all the tables whereby they recount the achievements of the school, pupils athletic achievements, past pupils achievements, and also deaths of past pupils and marriages of past pupils.
Every year I attended there would be a list of past pupils who had passed away, those who had got married and those who had had children. It was a lovely way of keeping people in contact.
In 2015 Ireland passed the Marriage Referendum, and I asked my now husband then partner of 21 years to marry me. On the 5th June 2016 we got to finally cement in law our relationship in the same way all of my classmates had done for years before.
At the past pupils event in 2016 I scanned the list of deaths, births and marriages.
We had had a feature in the irish Times that year irishtimes.com/life-and-style… which celebrated our union. I’m sure the college and the PPU was aware that my marriage had occurred. What do you think?
Did they include my name in the list of marriages in that years booklet?

They did not.

So when I get asked whether the ethos in the school has changed, I’m afraid I have to respond that no, I do not think that it has.

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More from @leoie

16 Apr
Another piece of framing that means an awful lot to me is this wonderful piece by @anniewestdotcom which I bought shortly after my father passed away in 2018.

The reason it means so much is because my dad, originally from Kilfinane in east Limerick was a lifelong hurling fan...
As a youth growing up, hurling had been his religion and he sported two scars, one on each eye socket from "belts from a hurl" received during his teenage years (long before helmets became de rigeur). My dad loved loved loved hurling and played it well into his 20's.
In fact he only stopped playing hurling because of his second great sporting love, Rugby. Dad had attended Mungret College in Limerick for secondary school (long since closed and merged into Crescent) and had picked up another great love for the game playing there.
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So thanks to a recent bout of insomnia likely related to the stress of our apartment refurb which after 6 months of stagnation is finally due to complete this weekend I found myself wide awake at 3am this morning staring at the 4 walls. I looked out to see a foggy city. #thread
Unable to sleep and with the dog staring at me with that ‘if you’re awake, I’m awake look’ on his face I realised that my insomnia and the lockdown offered me a very rare opportunity to see a foggy Dublin without any people in it. So my trusty companion & I set out for a walk.
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