The Mike Kearney Memorial Prize

An Old Boy commented recently on Kearney:

I went to st joes from 1984 to 1991. My experience of mr Kearney was not a good one. He punched me in the face once in chemistry as a third year. My dad went to the school and he apologised.

This is not a historic crime that can be conveniently lost in the mists of time. It’s relatively recent and it was clearly serious.

Yet today’s regime at St J’s still have a Chemistry prize in this scum’s memory

Any teacher who punches a thirteen year old boy in the face is scum.

By the 1980s it would also be a criminal offence.  

Kearney had obviously not evolved as a human being from the 1960s when he was equally vile.

Or does this somehow come under the heading of necessary tough discipline? That’s what one female apologist and admirer of Kearney claimed when she wrote into this site about a year ago.

 A trawl through my site will show other examples of Kearney’s physically abusive behaviour, to which I will add my own experiences at some stage.  I’m still researching Kearney and his past.

Today’s St Joseph’s College knows that the College’s past teachers were physically and sexually abusive and they have remained silent on the subject.  It’s impossible not to know – the evidence is overwhelming and is added to every day.

But here it would seem it’s absolutely okay because of Kearney’s scholastic achievements.

So why not have a Brother James Memorial Mathematics prize. Because he was a truly brilliant maths teacher – I was terrible at maths until James taught me. His teaching made a huge difference to my life.

Or a Brother Solomon Memorial Music prize.

I owe my deep passion and love of classical music directly to him.  And I’m sure many other pupils feel the same way.

Or a Brother Kevin Memorial Latin prize.

I was hopeless at Spanish, but Brother Kevin taught me Latin and I quickly excelled at it.

But of course all these three teachers are also now proven physical and sexual abusers.   There are so many devastating testimonies against them, it’s no longer a matter for debate.

So why the exception with Kearney? Is it because he’s only known for his physical abuse, so that’s sort of okay?

St Joseph’s :  Do we have to wait for something really shocking that Kearney did before you change the name of your prize?

Punching a boy in the face isn’t shocking enough for you?

How bad does it have to be? I’m curious.

Or is it that the ‘greater good’ is Kearney’s teaching  which trumps any crimes he committed. 

In this respect, your regime is definitely following in the La Sallian Tradition, a tradition you’re clearly proud of.

You might want to reflect on all this the next time you give out your Kearney Memorial Prize. 

And so might the recipient of the Prize. It’s not a Prize that is worth accepting when it’s associated with a proven abuser.


Shame on you.

11 thoughts on “The Mike Kearney Memorial Prize

  1. I recall Kearney regularly exploding with rage in classrooms next door and desperately hoping I didn’t have to contend with him (as well) in my next year group (1970-75). I spent each day trying my hardest to stay invisible or better still, absent because of the inappropriate actions of one teacher. Thus a promising ‘A stream’ pupil (demoting himself to ‘B stream’ to avoid Mr _) left as soon as possible to face the world armed with the single o-level he still cared about and a lot of anger.

    I would urge anyone on the list of 70+ names I’ve just jotted down (in best “Moggs” voice) to please consider reporting anything they might regard as suspect. Seemingly many/most of my peers sailed through St. Joes with no issues but believe me, some of us are only now able to start processing what happened there to try and reclaim our identities. Others have died before even starting that process.

  2. Thanks so much to A for your thoughts. We all see different sides of people and because you were in the 6th form you would not have been a target. But when man punches a 13 year old boy in the face he has crossed the line. It was a criminal offence even back then and he should not have been allowed to teach children ever again. That’s non-negotiable, except – it seems – in Catholic schools where they continue to turn a blind eye to such crimes. Believe me, there was a lot more where Kearney was concerned. It’s time consuming and probably expensive to check my facts about him, but I hope to go public on them one day – just as I did on Brother James when there were two independent testimonies that confirmed my own. But the accounts already on this site are bad enough. I was struck by how he had physically changed from when I remembered him. But ‘The Bear’ is a good description of him that applies to both eras. Yeah, he was a Bear, all right. He should NOT be remembered with respect. Shame on today’s St J’s for naming a prize after such a criminal.

  3. I was just looking at a at Joe’s all school photo from 1985. Would brother James and Kevin and Solomon be on it ? I’m also trying to recall Kearney. Shame I can’t upload it to identify those that didn’t treat kids very nicely 🙁

    • Brother James had moved to St js Beulah Hill in the 70s (see an earlier post). Brother Kevin to Bournemouth. They both behaved as badly as ever there. Solomon – after a spell at Beulah Hill was thrown out, had a probable dubious period in the ‘Missions’ and/or Boys Town, where Third World kids would have sadly been at his mercy. He then returned to St js as lay teacher Mike Mercado. And no one cared about his paedophile past! Just as the current St Joseph’s regime don’t care today about any of these criminals closely connected with the school. So Solomon COULD be in your photo. Mercado/Solomon was a bald, short guy. Kearney was there in 85 I think. Although NOT remotely handsome, his Irish features had a similar look to Pierce Brosnan if that helps. Dark hair, thickset, tall, big guy. Probably jowly by the 1980s. But he was definitely not 007! His wife – an English teacher – may or may not be in the photo. Maybe next to him? An Old boy from that era described her to me. He said she looked like Beryl the Peril! Probably without the pigtails! If you find a way to upload it, I’d love to see it.

      • I remember Mrs Kearney being very competant and capable teacher (if a little obsessed with handwriting and calligraphy). I can imagine how she developed her patience.

      • Mr Mercado was Goldrood housemaster until summer 1985 so I presume he would have been in your photo. Mr Kearney too, but his description would not have been as Pat says. At that time, he was big but overweight, and with a short beard. We used to call him “the bear”. The skin on his hands was so thick he could use his thumb to cover the test tube where he was heating concentraded sulphuric acid without a second thought…

  4. One thing I remember about him was how he would patrol the room and be aggressive. For example when a test tube was cooling against a table he grabbed it and pushed it against the arm of a 14yo pupil, who obviously instinctively retracted resulting in a torrent of abuse.

    The total lack of empathy combined with a desire to be in total control created a very uncomfortable environment. A room of fear and not of respect. Some of the smartest learners backed out of Chemistry to avoid the risk of having him as a teacher.

    He had no flexibility for different learning styles or understanding of individual need – he would totally fail a contemporary inspection.

    • Funny how memories can differ so much…
      I was with Mr Kearney in 6th form, after having Mr Murchie in 4th and 5th form, My recollection is that he was firm but fair. I do not remember any wrongdoings from him.Maybe I was too naive to notice…

      • Me neither. I dont understand all this hatred towards mr kearney. He was a great teacher and helped me pass my exams. Think Pat you need to stop talking ill of those that are no longer here to defend themselves. Move on with your life

      • Thanks for your thoughts, Christine. So you would suggest, I guess, that I similarly ignore the crimes of Father Jolly, Brothers James, Solomon and Kevin. The truth about Jolly, Kevin and James has only come out recently. See past posts by Survivors. Not just me.They weren’t there to defend themselves but there is no doubt about their crimes or are you saying all the numerous Survivors are liars? The truth about Kearney still has to come, but it’s en-route. You’re clearly one of those people who think it’s best to forget the past, especially if they helped you pass your exams. That’s how abusers flourish when we bury the past. I think you need to reflect long and hard on this and you may well change your mind.

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