THE destructive power of the Church in Clare over half a century ago has been graphically laid bare in a new book by an Enniswoman, who now lives in Austin, Texas.
Seventy-three-year-old Ghislaine de Regge – daughter of the noted musician and composer Ernest de Regge, who was tragically killed in the Carmody’s Hotel disaster in Ennis in 1958 – has exposed the cruelty of the Catholic Church under Dr Michael Fogarty’s reign as Bishop of Killaloe from 1904 to 1955.
In her just published memoir, ‘A Daughter’s Odyssey’, a copy of which has been secured by The Clare People, Ms de Regge has written about the role of Bishop Fogarty and his anointed successor Dr Joseph Rodgers in the eviction of a family, that later died homeless, from a property owned by the Diocese of Killaloe.
This concerns the Corry family from Ennis, who lived in an annex of Ashline House on the Kilrush Road, which was the former residence of Bishop Fogarty, before he moved to his new residence at Westbourne House on the Lahinch Road.
The de Regges lived in Ashline House, with both families receiving eviction notices from Bishop Fogarty in late 1947 as the house was needed as a residence for Dr Rodgers, who had just been appointed as Co-Adjudtor Bishop of Killaloe, taking up his position in January 1948.
“The new co-adjutor bishop, who was about to take up residence in the big house, didn’t want them there,” reveals Ms de Regge in ‘A Daughter’s Odyssey’. “Jack Corry was a gentle man, but the feisty Mrs Corry refused to go. Eventually the bishop had them evicted, and to the dismay of the neighbours and people in the town, their miserable property was put out in the rain in front of their house.
“It is said that Mrs Corry then attached a photograph of Bishop Fogarty to their door with the nails going right through his face. Not long afterwards both Jack and his son died of TB, followed by Mrs Corry and Edna. Some souls shuddered at the implications of thwarting the Church.
“The people of Ennis were outraged by the Bishop’s actions; furthermore, the details of the eviction of the Corry famly from the Ashline annex harked back to the not so distant past when the British had sole recourse to such ruthless means,” she adds.
See pages 40 & 41 of this week’s Clare People for our interview feature with Ghislaine de Regge.