The past they tried to hide.
His mother died from cancer in 1955. His father committed suicide shortly thereafter. Paddy Doyle was sentenced in an Irish district court to be detained in an industrial school for eleven years. He was four years old...
Paddy Doyle's prize-winning bestseller, The God Squad, is both a moving and terrifying testament of the institutionalised Ireland of less than fifty years ago, as seen through the bewildered eyes of a child. During his detention, Paddy was viciously assaulted and sexually abused by his religious custodians, and within three years his experiences began to result in physical manifestations of trauma. He was taken one night to hospital and left there, never to see his custodians again. So began his long round of hospitals, mainly in the company of old and dying men, while doctors tried to diagnose his condition. This period of his life, during which he was a constant witness to death, culminated in brain surgery at the age of ten - by which time he had become permanently disabled.
The God Squad is the remarkable true story of a survivor, told with an extraordinary lack of bitterness for one so shockingly and shamefully treated. In Paddy Doyle's own words: 'It is about a society's abdication of responsibility to a child. The fact that I was that child, and that the book is about my life, is largely irrelevant. The probability is that there were, and still are, thousands of 'me's.'