His mother died of cancer in 1955. His father commited suicide shortly thereafter. Paddy Doyle was sentenced to an Irish district court to be detained in an industrial school for 11 years. He was four years old. This title is a testament of the institutionalized Ireland of only 25 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 dying men, while doctors tried to diagnose his condition. This period of his life, during which he was a constant witness to death, culminating in brain surgery at the age of 10 - by which time he had become permanently disabled. This title is the true story of a survivor, told with a lack of bitterness for one so shockingly and shamefully treated. In Paddy Doyle's own words: "It is about 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'".
Paddy Doyle was born in Wexford in 1951 and now lives in Dublin. He is married with three grown up sons. He is recognised as a leading disability activist in Ireland and has been a member of the government-appointed Commission of the Status of People with Disabilities.
A frequent contributor to television, radio and the print media on matters as diverse as the role of the church in caring for children to the legalisation of marijuana for medical use, he is currently Chief Executive of the National Representative Council - a body established to ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are upheld. He has also travelled extensively throughout Europe and the United States, speaking at conferences about disability and child sexual abuse.
Paddy Doyle received the Christy Brown Award for Literature, in1984, for a television play entitled Why do I Bother. Shortly after it was first published, The God Squad became a bestselling book in both Ireland and the United Kingdom. It also won the Sunday Tribune Arts Award for Literature. In 1993 Paddy Doyle was awarded a Person of the Year Award for An Outstanding Contribution to Irish Society by the Rehab Group.