It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Opus Dei Knights of Colombanus in coverup about Ryan Report(catholic church abuse)

page: 2
<< 1    3 >>

log in


posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:30 AM
Martin admits scandals hurt church credibility

Monday June 29 2009

ARCHBISHOP Diarmuid Martin has publicly conceded "the legacy of scandals" has seriously damaged the image and credibility of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

The archbishop spoke of the need for renewal as he launched the beginning of the Year of Evangelisation over a weekend which saw the ordination of four new priests.

Speaking at a special service in the Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, on Saturday, Archbishop Martin said: "The difficult times we are living through and experiencing do not excuse us from the task of preaching the Gospel, in season and out."

The service included the ordination of two new priests for the Dublin Archdiocese, Frs Colin Rothery and Aloysius Zuribo, and the ordination of one Capuchin priest, Fr Stephen Kim, for the Korean Province as well as the commissioning of 13 new parish pastoral workers.

Meanwhile, the Bishop of Limerick Dr Donal Murray urged people to pray that vocations to the priesthood will "flourish again in our country".

He made the plea at St John's Cathedral in Limerick yesterday at the first ordination in the diocese in four years.

Newly ordained Fr Eamon Purcell (55), from Co Laois, will be attached to St Munchin's Parish on the north side of the city where he is due to celebrate his first Mass tonight. He worked in that parish for a year as deacon before moving from Limerick to Bede College in Rome to study for the priesthood.

The Bishop of Limerick also appealed to communities and families to support those who feel they might have a vocation.

The last priest to be ordained in the Limerick diocese was Fr Chris O'Connell in 2005.

- Grainne Cunningham and Kathryn Hayes

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:31 AM
Why the DPP must pursue deviant clergy

The 82-year-old priest is frail, suffering from cancer and full of remorse for the terrible crime he committed.

Nobody denies that he is in many ways a decent Christian man who has done plenty of good things throughout his life. As far as the law is concerned, it doesn't matter a damn.

Fr John Skehan, originally from Co Kilkenny, has just started a prison sentence of 14 months after being convicted of stealing more than $100,000 from his parish in Florida.

Even though the man is reportedly suicidal and quite likely to die before the year is out, the judge has ordered that he must serve his full sentence. The US system demands that when somebody breaks the law, justice must be seen to be done -- no matter how long ago it happened or how painful the consequences.

As our own country struggles to come to terms with the shocking legacy of child abuse revealed by the Ryan Commission, one question now stands out above all others -- who exactly is going to pay?

The financial compensation issue is still a sensitive one and is likely to intensify during the next few days. But on a more fundamental level, why is there apparently no prospect of any of these brutal sadists being put behind bars?

The position is very simple. The State knows exactly who these 800 people are.


Since most of the shocking crimes detailed in the report took place in the last few decades, a high proportion of the offenders must be still alive. So why hasn't a single one of them been named and shamed in the report -- and why hasn't a single file been sent to the DPP?

The bitter irony is that on top of footing more than 90pc of the €1.3bn compensation bill, we the taxpayers have paid to keep their identities secret.

A few years ago, the Christian Brothers took the child abuse commission to court, arguing that some of their abused colleagues were no longer able to defend themselves.

After forcing the commission to promise that it would not name any names, they dropped their Supreme Court case and were promptly awarded their full legal costs.

That's why this week's apologies from the Brothers and other religious orders ring hollow. They knew about these crimes, they denied them and they did their level best to cover them up. Now that the truth has emerged, they are still doing everything in their power to avoid any real punishment.

But if we've learned to expect nothing better from the Catholic establishment, we can at least demand that the State does something about it. For half a century, governments made up of all parties stood idly by while thousands of children were subjected to physical torture that would not have been out of place in a concentration camp. If the German judicial system is still prepared to prosecute Nazis in their 90s, there's no good reason for us not to put our own guilty men in the dock.

Sadly, the response from Government Buildings so far suggests that the FF-Green coalition's only plan of action is to hope that it all goes away as quickly as possible.


It's been well known for several weeks now that this report was coming down the tracks and that it would make for horrific reading. But on the day of its publication, the Government could not find a single spokesperson to discuss it on air.

Now the cabinet is all at sea over the indemnity deal agreed with the religious orders in 2002, with the Taoiseach insisting it can't be re-opened and the Tanaiste saying that it just might. Depressingly, it looks as though Brian Cowen and his ministers have under-estimated the level of public outrage.

Let justice be done, though the heavens fall. That's the old Latin motto that forms the basis of any civilised legal system.

It should be our guiding principle as we try to make sense of this deeply shameful episode in Irish history.

- Andrew Lynch

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:31 AM
Abused Were Hidden In Clear Sight says Ombudsman


FOLLOWING THE Ryan report “we all emerge . . . somewhat lost, unbalanced, the touchstone of our former beliefs and certainties cast adrift,” the Ombudsman and Information Commissioner Emily O’Reilly has said.

“We stood exposed, not as an island of charming saints and chatty, avuncular scholars but as a repressed, cold-hearted, fearful, smugly pious, sexually ignorant and vengeful race of self-styled Christians,” she said

She recalled that at the 2004 Céifin conference in Ennis, Co Clare, she had wondered “what the real us [her emphasis] actually was, the old-style pious Mass-goers, or the new-style materialists.” She continued, “I wonder even more so in the light of Ryan.”

Speaking at the Sisters of Charity Justice and the Downturn conference in Dublin, Ms O’Reilly said that after six years as ombudsman, she had come to the view “that public bodies and agencies begin to go bad when they begin to lose sight of why they are there in the first place”.

Following Ryan “‘we didn’t know’, is the constant refrain,” she said. “Certainly, very few knew of the systemic nature of the abuse, of the near unbelievable extent and depravity of the sexual abuse in particular; of the political, bureaucratic and clerical cover-ups – but no adult living in Ireland throughout the period in question did not, in broad terms, know.

“If things were hidden, they were hidden in clear sight: the crocodile lines of boys and girls that streamed out of the institutions; the certain knowledge that corporal punishment at the very least was practised therein; the incarcerated Magdalene women in their Madonna blues and whites who walked the open streets of towns and villages in church processions. Judges knew, lawyers knew, teachers knew, civil servants knew, childcare workers knew, gardaí knew. Not to know was not an option,” she said.

Noting that the religious congregations had borne the brunt of criticism following publication of the report, she said this was “no surprise”.

She continued that “the hands and fists that descended on the bodies of the children were those of the people who worked in or who had access to the religious run institutions”.

“Yet”, she said, “the forces that enabled the abuse or turned blind, indifferent eyes to it ranged way beyond the institutions’ walls, [were] present within the plusher offices of State, and the boardrooms of so called charitable institutions as well as within the dank, depressing, and frequently terrifying dormitories of the institutions themselves”.

Abuse thrives “when society remains indifferent to the abuse because it is by and large indifferent to the abused”, she said.

Looking to the present, she said “we may think now that we have got it right vis-a-vis the rights of children, or the elderly, or people with disabilities, or immigrants, because we, after all, are the best educated, most liberal, progressive generation ever – but the lived reality is frequently otherwise, despite huge improvements in many areas of the social justice landscape”.

She warned that, on its last day as an independent agency, Combat Poverty must remain “free from political and bureaucratic pressures” as it is absorbed into the Department of Social and Family Affairs. This was “crucial for the achievement of social justice in these recessionary times”.

The Irish Times 01/07/2009

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:32 AM
The Ryan Report suggests that the plight of the Irish kids enslaved by Rome was ignored by the Garda, Doctors, Teachers and those in positions of authority who hadn't the guts to expose the horrific abuse dished out to the weak and vulnerable members of a very sick Society

Knowledge and disclosure
Parents, relatives and others knew that children were being abused as a result of disclosures and their observation of marks and injuries. Witnesses believed that awareness of the abuse of children in schools and institutions existed within society at both official and unofficial levels.

Professionals and others including Government Inspectors, Gardai, general practitioners, and teachers had a role in relation to various aspects of children’s welfare while they were in schools and institutions. Local people were employed in most of the residential facilities as professional,
care and ancillary staff. In addition, members of the public had contact with children in out-ofhome care in the course of providing services to the institutions both at a formal and informal level. Witnesses commented that while many of those people were aware that life for children in
the schools and institutions was difficult they failed to take action to protect them.

Contemporary complaints were made to the School authorities, the Gardaı´, the Department of Education, Health Boards, priests of the parish and others by witnesses, their parents and relatives. Witnesses reported that at times protective action was taken following complaints being made. In other instances complaints were ignored, witnesses were punished, or pressure was
brought to bear on the child and family to deny the complaint and/or to remain silent. Witnesses reported that their sense of shame, the power of the abuser, the culture of secrecy and isolation and the fear of physical punishment inhibited them in disclosing abuse.

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:32 AM
The Ryan Report into Child-Abuse: If I were a good man and a priest I would leave the church now.
By William Wall
May 2009

The Ryan Report into the abuse of children in Irish schools run by Roman Catholic religious organisations is a sobering document. Its contents are so shocking that it takes a certain act of will to believe in its findings. Reports of sexual violence of every conceivable kind co-exist with descriptions of systematic or casual brutality of an almost childish nature — forcing children to drink water from toilet bowls, springs to mind, the kind of thing a perverse schoolyard bully might come up with (indeed I myself saw it perpetrated as a kind of initiation rite in a boarding school I briefly attended, inflicted on my classmates by boys two years older than us). A generation of poor children (they are always poor) was ravaged in the name of god by a church that professed to cherish them. Suffer the little children to come unto me that I may profit by them and **** them and beat a living hell into them in order to make them better people.

The debate in Ireland has widened and deepened since the report first burst into our consciousness. Perhaps, in the process, it has become a little too diffuse. Other institutions are being indicted for their part in this poor child's hell. The Departments of Education, Health and Justice; the judiciary; the medical profession; lay teachers; the public at large; the Gardaí. More of that anon, but first of all, let us establish one fact: it was not the medical profession or the Department of Education that was buggering boys and raping girls. It was brothers and sister in Christ, members of spiritual congregations, people who had taken vows of poverty and chastity, and who had devoted their lives to the Christian concept of caritas, nowadays generally translated as 'love'. It was the institution of the church that enabled and protected the holy rapists. The institution profited by it — actual profits in hard cash because in the system of capitation grants that sustained children in the welfare system the money followed the child (hence a double injustice, the church earned a profit from the children it ******). It was the institution that silenced its critics and destroyed or attempted to destroy their lives.

Since the publication of the report church figures have been tripping over their own protuberant humilities, but nothing can possibly change the mindset of a group that believes itself linked by an irrefutable chain of evidence to omniscience.*

Now the church is under pressure to pay its fair share of the compensation needed by its victims and it is refusing to do so. Caritas, it seems, must express itself in ways other than pecuniary, even though peculation was part of the original sin. Surprise surprise. We all know the excuses: 'Those profits were hard-earned, it was unpleasant work and but for the charity of the church no one would have done it, we owe a lot to our religious institutions in Ireland, where would we be without them, in our darkest times they stood by us…' And other sentimental ********. Hitler built the autobahns.

Let the church pay. It's rich enough. It was rich enough to buy the state once. It may be poor now, but it's still not as poor as Jesus wanted it to be when he said, 'If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.'

But I am not suggesting that the departments of government, the judiciary, the medical profession, teachers, guards and the public at large bear no responsibility. The critical thing to understand is that the highest value in all of these transactions is power. When, on his election as government minister, the supposed radical and ex-revolutionary Seán McBride got into his car and drove to the pro-Cathedral to assure Archbishop McQuaid of his loyalty, what he was acknowledging was that his own power as a cabinet minister was contingent upon the church's power. And that the church could undo him. The most notorious example of this power was the destruction of Dr Noel Browne, Minister for Health and party comrade of McBride, for the terrible sin of proposing that mothers and children should have free access to medical care. If children and mothers were to be allowed to die rather than have 'socialised medicine', why should we be surprised that they suffered and died in their mother church's own tender care.

The church in turn exerted its power in many delicate and theological ways — by supposedly imposing celibacy on its members, for example, by cornering the market in hypocrisy and self-sacrifice, by controlling education and medicine, by manipulating believers and isolating non-believers, and by destroying its critics. Institutions and individuals bought into that power and hoped to profit by it. Most craven perhaps were the politicians, followed closely by the judges, for these were the people whose own power was commensurate with that of the church. The further down the line it went the more difficult any resistance was and the more cataclysmic was the odium of the men of god until a humble country curate or one of his parishioners could expect to be buried under a mountain of **** for asking a question.

Everything could have been different after the War of Independence if the post-revolution government had not been intent on slipping into the seats of the people they ousted. The Free State could have done as England did; they closed their industrial schools in the thirties. They could have simply thought about the injustice of locking up a boy for eight years for mitching school, or a girl for going with boys. They could have made that judgement without ever knowing about the rape and the murder and the sadism. Common kindness, uncommon as it is, could have changed the discourse.

The judges could have given a modicum of thought to the meaning of the sentences they handed down, but the reality was the church needed a steady supply of boys and girls for financial reasons, and to feed their overweening messianic certainty that they are the way the truth and the life, and the judges, mostly devout Roman Catholics, often members of semi-secret organisations like The Knights of Columbanus (and nowadays Opus Dei), were reluctant to deprive their holy mother church of a lucrative source of revenue. Besides, many of the politicians and judges were so starry-eyed about the church that they actually believed that taking a girl child away from her family and giving her to celibate women, or giving a boy child to a party of men living in a prison was the best thing for them. These same politicians and judges celebrated the 'central position of the family' in the Irish constitution!

Thus was formed a structure of power that came to strangle Irish society for five decades. John Banville put it well last weekend in the New York Times: 'Ireland from 1930 to the late 1990s was a closed state, ruled – the word is not too strong – by an all-powerful Catholic Church with the connivance of politicians and, indeed, the populace as a whole, with some honorable exceptions.'

Such a structure, enforced at the front by the heartlessness and hypocrisy of teachers, police force and judiciary and at the heart by the humiliation and violence of the congregations of the faith, has unintended consequences, not the least of which is a coarsening of all human relations within it, so that the brutality and sadism of the upper hierarchy is transmitted to the lower echelons, the priests and brothers and nuns infecting the children in their care with their monstrous pitilessness and brutality, simultaneously perpetuating their regime and justifying it. It was a rare child who survived the care of the fascist brotherhoods and sisterhoods to emerge with a heart and soul intact, with their lives in their own hands.

This violence of the church was a necessary corollary of the state itself. When we talk about 'soft totalitarianism', meaning the brutality that the state needs in order to maintain it's hegemony but pretends to disavow, the kind of thing we saw at the London G20 protest, we must count the industrial schools as our state concentration camps, our Guantanamo Bay. Here the truculent, unaccommodating poor were broken over the trousers of the Christian arm of the state. The 'trials' of these children were political inquisitions. The sentence was the state's own auto-da-fe.

Nevertheless, let the blame lie where it belongs. Not the state nor the population in general was raping the children of the poor. The actual physical act was perpetrated by the church. The situation is analogous to that of the Polish people who lived near Auschwitz. They must certainly have known something of what was going on. Some may have directly collaborated. But the Nazis committed the actual crime against humanity.

Equally there were those who resisted the power in Ireland. People of national importance like Noel Browne or writer John McGahern. The church destroyed Brown and tried to destroy McGahern. But small people too. My parents never accepted the perfect goodness of the priesthood. They were ordinary people; neither had been educated beyond primary school — unless we count self-education — but they saw through the charade. Many of our neighbours also resisted it, and this was true in every part of society, even though they were always only a small part of the whole.

So even ordinary people had to want to buy into the power structure. It was a decision like any other fateful decision. To become a priest-worshipping sycophant is a life-changing choice in any culture, and that is exactly what most of the people were who figure in this report and who weren't themselves members of the priestly class.

Now the argument is often advanced that there were many good men and women in the church and that their motives and actions were impeccable. In this analysis there is a kind of twin-track institution in which the good go about their business and save souls and comfort the sick and the imprisoned, while elsewhere, on another parallel track, the evil play their terrible games of power and terror. Pope Benedict made a similar claim in relation to his own past: I was one of the good Nazis. I do not intend to impugn the good name of those men and women who attempted to lead a moral life in an immoral system. I have met many of them. They were full of love for their imagined god and for their fellow-man and full of excuses for the church. Rather I would like to say that the system itself is and was always corrupt. Power not piety was always at its heart. The only moral response is to reject the system. Those women and men who joined it because of the Sermon on The Mount were sadly misled. The meek shall never inherit the earth if the church has its way; those who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall find themselves in prison; the merciful shall be ****** upon by the merciless; the persecuted shall be the persecuted in saecula saeculorum and the followers of Jesus shall be on the other side of the wire; the poor shall not even be allowed to be blessed in spirit but their minds and bodies shall be polluted by the servants of the followers of Jesus; and the followers of Jesus shall revile and persecute and say all manner of things falsely against anyone who gainsays them. For theirs is the kingdom, the power and the glory.

If I were a good man and a priest I would leave the church now.

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:33 AM
State fears compromising prosecutions by publishing Dublin archdiocese report in full

John Downes, News Investigations Correspondent

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: says Dublin diocesan report will ’shock us all’

The government may decide not to publish in full the names of priests identified in the report of the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation, even where they have been convicted of abusing children.

Unlike the landmark Ryan commission report into abuse at the state’s industrial schools, which decided controversially to give anonymity to every person it identified, the forthcoming report will name priests who have been convicted of abuse.

It has examined a representative sample of 46 out of a total of 102 priests who were suspected of abusing children in the Dublin diocese between 1974 and 2004.

But justice minister Dermot Ahern will have to seek his own legal advice about whether all of those identified in the report can be named in any version of the report to be published by him.

Both the commission and the government are concerned that the naming of individuals might hinder any current or future prosecutions.

As a result, the commission is understood to be considering leaving out the name of at least one priest which it had intended to identify for this very reason, although no decision has yet been made on this.

Ahern, who had been expected to receive a copy of the report this week, now appears unlikely to receive it until early next week.

This is because the commission is awaiting final responses from several people identified in the report, with a deadline for receipt of these set for the middle of next week.

A spokesman for Ahern could not say when the report, which Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has previously said will “shock us all”, will be published.

“His own plan would be to publish it as quickly as possible and in full. But the difficulties are if there are existing criminal investigations or potential future criminal investigations,” he said.

He added that it was “too early to say” if Ahern would publish a redacted version of the report to allow for any ongoing or future prosecutions.

“Obviously if it is anything like the Ryan report, it could be a nightmare scenario,” he said. “Whatever he does with it will be on foot of legal advice, but his own instincts would be to publish it in full,. He doesn’t want it sitting in a cupboard somewhere.”

A spokeswoman for the commission said the report is at “indexing and proofreading” stage and is now likely to be presented to Ahern next week.

While the report will identify priests convicted of abuse, it will not name individual victims unless they specifically request this.

“It is possible that, having submitted the report, the government might decide certain individuals wouldn’t be named,” she said. “We submit it to government and they publish it.”

June 28, 2009 The Sunday Tribune

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:33 AM
Martin hits out at 'media plan' for Church renewal

By John Cooney

Monday July 06 2009

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has hit out at reformers and media critics calling for new structures in the traditionally authoritarian Irish Catholic Church.

Speaking in Drogheda, Co Louth, yesterday, Archbishop Martin said that renewal in the Church did not consist in creating new structures, but in returning to the very roots of the Christian faith.


"The path of renewal in the Church is not a path of celebrity or popularity or triumphalism," he said.

"It is not a media plan; it is not simply a pastoral strategy", added Archbishop Martin, stressing that it was the Eucharist and the renewal of the faith that mattered.

Archbishop Martin was preaching in St Peter's Church after the annual procession and display of the relics of St Oliver Plunkett, a former Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland who was executed in Tyburn, England, in 1681. He was canonised as a martyr by Pope Paul VI in 1975.

In a display of traditional Catholic piety, the mile-long procession of St Oliver's relics moved its way from Our Lady of Lourdes Church to St Peter's Church, led by the Carlingford pipe band and representatives of local Catholic organisations including the Knights of Columbanus. The chief celebrant at the Mass was Cardinal Sean Brady.

Against the background of public revulsion at the scale of exposed clerical child sexual abuse of children, Archbishop Martin, in his homily, said the path of renewal for the Church was "a path of suffering".

And he appealed to Irish Catholics to renounce in their hearts and their lives many attitudes dear to them, and to purify their "understanding of God from the many cultural accretions which would tend to create a comfortable Christianity, a smug Christianity, a domineering or patronising Christianity, all of which are founded on a false sense of what brings certainty to faith".


Renewal demanded conversion and conversion was always painful, he added. "It requires the pain of recognising errors and misconduct."

A faith that seeks to align itself with a culture that was not open to understanding the true nature and the activity of God ends up just as an ideology or a veneer, he added.

- John Cooney

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:34 AM
áil Debate on Child Abuse — Department of Education “Controlled by Secret Societies” Says Ruairi Quinn

Jun 11th, 2009 | Category: Child abuse, Ryan report

The Dáil met today to discuss the gravest issue to confront our society in decades: the systematic abuse of children by clergy in residential institutions. (Ryan Report). The gallery was packed with survivors of that abuse, who heard the three main party leaders deliver speeches acknowledging the State’s failure to protect those children.

Once the three party leaders had finished speaking, most of the Fianna Fáil deputies stood up and left the chamber, in a gesture of casual contempt for the bewildered abuse survivors in the gallery.

In that one moment, Fianna Fáil displayed its true collective nature.

A parliamentary party indifferent to anything but its own survival was not going to waste a whole morning debating the most important social issue ever to confront us. Not when there were constituency funerals to attend, gaming arcades to open, free lunches to gobble down or incriminating documents to shred.

Those who remained mumbled platitudes, pieties and commonplaces off sweat-blurred pages creased from their **** pockets. And the more they muttered, the more they revealed the unplumbed depths of their crassness, the complete lack of empathy, understanding or insight that infects these elected representatives. The more they groaned and stuttered and stumbled through their lines, without a hint of originality, passion or emotion, the more they looked like the zombies they are.

Elected representatives, did I say? God help Ireland if this bunch of goons is representative of anyone.

Today’s debate was supposed to address the deep-rooted nature of the problems that afflict our society. It was supposed to acknowledge the hurt and the pain suffered by the church’s victims, with the collusion of the State, and yet the members of the governing party didn’t seem to grasp that fact, or to care. It hasn’t gone away, you know.

Those who did care included Ruairi Quinn, who explained that he had been attempting without success to get information from the Department of Education about who exactly owns our schools. He was fobbed off and provided with answers that would insult the intelligence of a frog. The information isn’t in any one place, he was told, but in hundreds of files, and it couldn’t all be gathered in one place.

Listen to that now: the Department of Education doesn’t know who owns the schools.

Is it any wonder that Ruairi Quinn accused the senior civil servants of being either members of secret societies like Opus Dei and the Knights of Columbanus, or else completely incompetent?

After all, you only have to look at the terms of the deal agreed between Michael Woods and the clergy to see that it was designed for the protection of the church. Woods lied to the victims and lied to the Dáil when he said the Redress Board was being set up so that the victims wouldn’t have to go through the adversarial system of the courts.

The reality is that all victims are bound by a savage gagging order forbidding them from even discussing what happened at the redress Board. The fact is that the victims were confronted at the Redress Board, humiliated, invaded, doubted and emotionally raped all over again. Their characters were called into question, and their parents’ good names were blackened. The Redress Board had confidential medical files on these childrens’ parents and siblings which were used to challenge their testimony about the abuse that had been inflicted on them.

The Redress Board was never intended to save the victims from cross-examination. The true purpose of the Redress Board was to make sure the church was protected from legal action, and it succeeded in that, thanks to Michael Woods and his Opus Dei colleagues in the Department of Education — the same people who continue to frustrate the efforts of an elected representative in his efforts to find out what schools the church controls.

A decision was made to put the taxpayer in the firing line instead of the church. Woods and his cronies decided to let the church off with a miniscule contribution, and agreed that you and I would pick up the tab instead. Meanwhile, they concocted a cast-iron way of permanently silencing the victims by imposing a binding restriction on them that prevents them discussing what happened to them at the Redress Board, thereby compounding the abuse.

And now we see what Fianna Fáil deputies think of this subversion of democracy, and oppression of the most vulnerable in society.

They strolled out of the Dáil chamber at the first opportunity, without an upward glance at the gallery where the victims sat in bewildered disbelief.


This is part of what Ruairi Quinn said, and the full Thursday debate is here and here:

Either officials in the Department are members of secret societies such as the Knights of St. Columbanus and Opus Dei and have taken it upon themselves to protect the interests of these clerical orders at this point in time in this year of 2009 or, alternatively, the Minister is politically incompetent and incapable of managing the Department of Education and Science. He went from February to last week saying that the information was not readily available.

The Taoiseach met with the same religious orders. Imagine what he could have said; imagine what power the Taoiseach could have had if he could have said to the 18 orders that, for example the Christian Brothers have 97 schools, paid for mostly by taxpayers through voluntary contributions and grants, and that the Sisters of Mercy and other orders together have perhaps 300 or 400 schools – I am guessing because these guys refuse to tell me.

The legal ownership of those schools should be transferred without any contribution and in return the schools should continue for the time being under the existing patronship arrangements until such time as we democratically and collectively decide how best to do it. We are the only country in Europe – including countries such as Catholic Spain, Catholic Italy and Catholic Austria – where the primary school system is controlled by private organisations. If one thinks they are not private one should examine the court decision on Louise O’Keeffe and how the State was not responsible for the abuse she received from a primary school teacher, who was not a religious person, but that the responsibility lies with the boards of management of the private organisations.

We have to deal with this problem and this is the way we start. The Taoiseach has asked the orders to return in two weeks with an inventory of their assets. The man sitting beside him knows what they are and he is refusing to tell me, a Deputy of this House. I do not believe the Minister, Deputy O’Keeffe, is a bad man. I do not believe he is a Catholic right-wing secret obscurantist but many of the people working for him on a permanent salary – he will be gone in a couple of years – most certainly are or else they are incompetent, lazy and destructive. He can take his choice as to what the explanation is but I have given him the facts. He and his Department are concealing from us, the citizens of the Republic, information on the nature and ownership of schools. I am unable to go into it but one of the replies I received was simply a lie; it suggested that legal protocols were in existence that prevented schools from being sold off. That is not the case for the vast majority of those schools, many of which are in built up areas and were built prior to 1960 when such protocols came into existence.

Build the monument and make it a living lasting voice of what we did. This was not some era of colonial exploitation; this was not the Anglo-Saxon invasion of the country; this is what we did to ourselves for the reasons Deputy Gilmore stated. We should have not just a monument but a living museum and a permanent reminder that never again can it happen and an explanation for those who were affected and their families as to why they were the way they were.

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:34 AM
Religious Orders Have No Loyalty To Ireland

May 25th, 2009

As the cracks appear between the bishops and the religious orders, we begin to see a mediaeval division re-emerging.

The independent monasteries and the secular clerics are at each other’s throats over money, while the people who suffered from their crimes stand back in disbelief. The members of the religious orders are loyal only to their international organisations and have no difficulty negotiating a deal that inflicts a gigantic burden on you and on me, because they don’t think of themselves as Irish. They think of themselves first and foremost as Christian Brothers.

Let’s be clear about these religious communities: they reject in every way the concept of Irishness. These people’s only allegiance is to their multinational organisation and they will suck blood wherever they can find it..

So far, we have heard four bishops speak out, demanding that the abbots, abbesses, superiors and mothers-superior pay for the abuses they inflicted on the children of Ireland, for the rapes, beatings and humiliations. The bishops have asked these haughty lords and ladies to share the burden they inflicted on this nation, and have received in response a dusty answer: No.

We will not contribute our fair share, is what they tell our craven government. Though we carried out the rapes and the beatings, you ordinary mortals shall pay the price. We stand above such concerns.

What does this tell you about the religious orders that form part of CORI?

It tells you that these fine religious people care nothing for this country. It tells you that these men and women do not regard themselves as being of this land, but as part of something greater., just as our former minister Michael Woods sees himself as part of something greater than our democracy.

Michael Woods is a member of a secretive Catholic organisation and he should never have been a member of cabinet. This man who signed away a billion euros of our money was not representing the interests of the Irish people, any more than those who accepted his donation sqw themselves as Irish. These people see themselves as part of a much greater international Catholic movement.

It matters nothing to these people if our country becomes bankrupt.

They see themselves as part of some overweening international brotherhood whose concerns do no not include Ireland’s bankruptcy.

This is the same international order of which Michael Woods was a member when he negotiated the despicable deal on behalf of the Irish government in which you and I pay for the crimes of the criminal organisation we call the Christian Brothers.

Truly, these are the Illuminati and they couldn’t care less if our country sinks under the burden of their demands.

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:35 AM
rish child abuse: The Ryan Report cover-up
By Steve James
26 May 2009

For all the details of sadistic physical, sexual, emotional abuse, neglect and brutalisation of children in Ireland’s industrial school system, the report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (CICA) is a cover up. Nine years of hearings, the probing of hundreds of childhood hells, have resulted in a huge report—five volumes and 3,000 pages—which will not lead to the prosecution of those individually or collectively guilty of crimes against thousands of children.

Neither has political responsibility been attributed. The report by Judge Sean Ryan continues to obscure the role of the Catholic Church, which is an essential element of the Irish state, and successive governments in operating a cruel workhouse system through which at least 170,000 children passed through in the middle decades of the twentieth century.

Even the publication of the report was characterised by official arrogance, contempt and indifference to former inmates who braved hearings and interviews, including cross examination by representatives of the religious orders in whose schools they were incarcerated and brutalised. Paddy Doyle, wheelchair bound, attempted to attend publication of the report last week in the Conrad Hotel, Dublin and was confronted by locked doors, PR and security men. When other victims of abuse managed to force their way into the hearing, police were called.

Co-ordinator of the campaign group Survivors of Child Abuse, John Kelly, told the press from the steps of the hotel, “There is nothing by way of justice in any means significant in this report, nothing...We were encouraged by this commission and by the former Taoiseach to open our wounds. We did this and they’ve been left gaping open.”

The Irish state has consistently refused to take any real action against the perpetrators. This is not only because it is complicit, by its silence, in the abuses. More fundamentally, it was dependent upon the Catholic Church to force submission onto numerous poor children exploited as cheap labour in its industrial school system.

The report was only commissioned in 1999 following decades in which the appalling conditions in the industrial religious schools were common knowledge. From as early as 1961 news broadcasts, films, plays and countless personal experiences led to numerous complaints being filed against schools. Yet only in 1999 did then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern commission the CICA inquiry under Judge Mary Laffoy. Laffoy published interim reports and reportedly won respect from the survivor groups, but found her investigations hampered by the Department of Education and the Church. Laffoy resigned in 2003 and Judge Sean Ryan was appointed.

In 2004, Ryan struck a deal to ensure continued participation from the religious orders, agreeing not to name those accused of abuse. The hundreds of religious brothers, nuns and lay persons accused of abuse have been given pseudonyms in the CICA report. Only those previously convicted of child abuse are named. Another deal in 2002 limited the financial liability of the orders to compensation claims to a maximum of €128 million.

The CICA report nevertheless does make clear the horrifying crimes of the child-care system. Dealing mainly with the period between 1930 and 1970, the commission interviewed 1,090 former residents of 216 schools, reformatories and day schools—90 percent of whom said they had been physically abused and over 500 sexually abused.

Compiling other information from the Department of Education, the Vatican and the schools themselves, the commission concluded that some 800 individuals were identified as having physically or sexually abused children in their care.

Nothing more clearly condemns the political system that emerged from the partition of Ireland, the accommodation reached between the Irish bourgeoisie, the Catholic Church, and the former imperialist master in Britain, than the protracted existence of a children’s gulag intended to provide cheap pliant, unskilled, largely agricultural, Catholic labour. Ireland maintained the industrial school system, run by various Catholic, orders until the 1970s.

Journalist Bruce Arnold wrote in the Irish Independent, “The report contains nothing about the steady flow of reform in the British system of childcare, begun by Winston Churchill when he was Home Secretary and continued throughout the grim period in which Tomas Derrig was our Minister for Education. From 1932, Derrig placed an iron fist on top of the smouldering drum of industrial school illegality and did nothing at all. Irregularly, cases came up in the court, the press and in the Dail. They cried out for investigation. Derrig always refused. Investigation was generally refused by other ministers. Nothing is said of this in the report.”

Arnold also noted that the report contains no serious assessment of the role of the District Courts, from which children were committed to the schools. The young people forced into the system—some 1.2 percent of the childhood population between 1936 and 1970—were from the poorest backgrounds. At any time between 5,000 and 6,000 were held in around 50 or so boarding institutions.

Children would be referred by the courts for begging, having no visible means of subsistence, no obvious guardian, being in the charge of parents who were in prison, or had criminal or otherwise dubious reputations. Others were referred for petty offences including non-attendance at school. Young girls who had been raped were sent to reformatories.

Most of the industrial schools held around 250 children. The largest, Artane near Dublin, held around 800. They were universally characterised by violence, fear, neglect, hunger, poor clothing, cold and miserable conditions, bullying, poor education, emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

The greatest numbers of industrial schools were run by the Christian Brothers, which opened its first school in Dublin in 1870 and expanded operations to the UK, Australia, Canada, Gibraltar, India and the United States and still operates in 26 countries.

The Christian Brothers recruited young, often badly educated men from the age of 14 onwards, who took permanent vows of chastity and silence from the age of 25. They were entirely untrained, learning only by the primitive and brutal practice of their elders. The report notes, “The Christian Brothers became a powerful and dominant organisation in the State and were responsible for providing primary and post primary education to the majority of Catholic boys in the country.”

Industrial Schools were funded on a per-capita basis, encouraging the orders to cram in as many children as possible. The section on Artane notes reasons for committal between 1940 and 1969: 1,374 children were committed for “improper guardianship”, 1,045 for bad school attendance, 720 for destitution, 227 for being homeless, 220 for larceny, 90 for other crimes.

These children were plunged into a medieval environment, with the report compiling a vast litany of atrocities. A few examples are enough.

A letter from the head of the school warns Brother Beaufort, “You are passionate in your dealings with the boys. In fact at times you show so little control of your temper that you are in danger of inflicting serious bodily harm on the boys by your manner of correcting them.”

One victim was picked up and thrown around a class by Brother Beaufort, knocked unconscious, and was only saved by the intervention of another Brother. The child suffered lacerations, broken teeth, eye and neck injuries.

All the staff carried leather straps which were freely used on children. A Brother Oliver repeatedly beat children with particular violence. One victim reported, “I was running trying to get away from him. He hit me, it didn’t matter where, legs, back, head, anywhere...”

Oliver forced one 12-year-old child to lick excrement from his shoes.

Instruments of punishment included rubber from a pram wheel, hurley sticks, hurley balls, fists, finger nails and fan belts. One child’s hand was held in boiling water. Boys were repeated pulled around by the hair, punched, strapped for crimes such as being left handed, being slow, tearing a blanket, having worn out shoes.

Another inmate commented, “You don’t seem to understand, the place was built on terror, regular beatings were just accepted. What you’re hearing about is the bad ones, but we accepted as normal run of the mill from the minute you got up, that some time in that day you would get beaten.”

Sexual abuse was rife. Artane’s staff hosted a number of Brothers who had repeatedly been warned for “embracing and fondling” boys. Two such paedophiles went on to be hung for child murder in Canada. Others accused of rape, beat or bribed their victims into silence. Accused Brothers were invariably excused, lightly admonished or, typically, moved to other institutions where they were free to continue abusing children for decades.

The children provided cheap labour for running the institutions. A 1957 report by the Department of Education complained, “These lads really make the running of Artane possible yet in all the apartments devoted to the farm and the trades there is not a single toilet or wash-basin for these boys. They come into their meals in a shocking condition, hands, faces and clothes are covered with the grime of the trades, boots, stockings and portions of the trousers often soaking from working in the cowhouse or the manure pit.”

St Vincent’s Industrial School, Goldenbridge featured in two broadcasts, “Dear Daughter” and “States of Fear”, which undermined the official silence on the schools. Run by the Sisters of Mercy, young girls were held in conditions of neglect and near starvation, subject to repeated beatings. One victim summed up the lasting impact of their experience. Their comments could apply to the entire system.

“The screaming of children, the screaming of children will stay with me for the rest of my life about Goldenbridge. I still hear it, I still haven’t recovered from that. Children crying and screaming, it was just endless, it never never stopped for years in that place.”

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:35 AM
Fingleton Brokered Religious Orders’ Bail-Out Deal With Government

May 30th, 2009

It seems that many people didn’t see this when it first appeared.

All right then. Here it is on the front page.

Michael Fingleton secretly met Michael Woods in the lobby of the Shelbourne hotel in 2002, and agreed the terms of the clerical bail-out before the official meeting took place. Fingleton concocted the agreement off the record with Woods, who later agreed — illegally — to exclude the Attorney General from the negotiations, at the insistence of the clergy.

Of course, Fingleton never worried too much if billions of taxpayers’ euros were being sidelined to prop up his bank or his clerical friends, even if it endangered the very stability of this State, as it now threatens to do.

Fingleton was the intermediary who shuttled between Michael Woods and the religious orders’ negotiators before the final deal was struck, in which taxpayers’ money would be used to protect the religious orders from legal action by abuse victims. It was Fingleton who told Woods what the clergy would and would not tolerate. It was Fingleton who laid down the law to the government and instructed them as to what was expected of them. It was Fingleton who helped Woods to work out a deal that would bring least pain to the religious orders, and maximise the burden on the taxpayer.

Fingers Fingleton, as you may know, is the man behind Irish Nationwide, one of the two non-banks that have dragged our economy to the depths. He was the man who ran the bank as his own private fiefdom, and who was eventually forced from office last March. Fingers, you might recall, paid himself a €1 million bonus after the government announced its intention to bail out his zombie bank, and also set up a €27.6 milion pension fund of which he was the sole beneficiary.

Of course, Fingers wasn’t just the most arrogant banker in Ireland. He was also the person who slipped Celia Larkin the cheque for €40,000 to pay back that money she’d borrowed from the FF funds in Bertie’s constituency.

According to the Irish Times, Fingleton approved a loan of €40,000 to Ms Larkin on March 4th, 2008 without the standard criteria being fulfilled initially on the loan application. Ms Larkin did not provide documents normally required by customers borrowing such loans when she applied for the money.

He’s a deeply religious man. Fingers proudly boasts of his membership of Opus Dei, a shadowy Catholic brotherhood, and there you have it. One Opus Dei member has a quiet word with a fellow Opus Dei member who just happens to be the government minister responsible for negotiating the deal and everything is wrapped up nice and neatly.

See? This is independent Ireland. The Gaelic idyll.

Not only are our banks, our governing political party and the main church in this country all filthy, despicable and unprincipled organisations who have no qualms about sucking the taxpayer dry. It now seems there’s no difference between the three.

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:36 AM
It seems that the cover-up over the Ryan Report continues as faceless men operate behind the scenes to deny the victims of terror by Roman Religious Orders the justice they surely deserve

Catherine Byrne (Dublin South Central, Fine Gael)

We have all heard the land of saints and scholars being mentioned during this debate. I want to know where the saints were while the little children threaded wire until their fingers bled to make rosary beads and where the scholars were, doubtless locked up in their ivory towers behind closed doors. Why did they not use their wisdom and knowledge to cry “Stop”? Instead they allowed the children to suffer at the hands of Satan. These landmark buildings, which were institutions of terror, should all be wiped from the landscape forever. People have suffered enough and should not be constantly reminded of what has happened to them when they pass these monuments of cruelty.

One would need to be subhuman not to be outraged and appalled by the contents of the Ryan report. It sickens me to the core to think I live just three minutes’ walk from the gates of one of these institutions where such depravity was part of everyday routine. Now I know why my grandfather before he died begged my grandmother not to put their children into an industrial school. He had on occasions maintained the washing machines and had witnessed the children’s workload and the conditions under which they performed their duties. Owing to family circumstances, mainly poverty, young defenceless children were abandoned to a life of extreme cruelty in these institutions. Corporal punishment was the norm and the children lived in constant terror for decades. Catholic priests and nuns terrorised thousands of boys and girls while Government inspectors failed to stop the chronic beating, rape and humiliation.

Children’s safety and self-preservation should be to the forefront of our education system but, sadly, this was never a priority in the network of industrial schools. In reformatories, orphanages and hostels, children were demonised from the 1930s until the last facility closed down in 1990.

Although the Ryan report has been published, we must accept that nothing can compensate for the damage done to small defenceless children. Many were trying to cope with the loss of a parent or a separation from siblings, or had committed petty crimes in a time of desperation. St. Vincent’s Industrial School in Goldenbridge opened its doors in 1880, run by the Sisters of Mercy order. When the first allegations of abuse emerged in 1992, the country was in a state of shock. My community of Inchicore was saddened and horrified at what had happened on our doorstep. In the years that followed, two documentaries broadcast by RTE, “Dear Daughter” and “States of Fear”, further depicted the horror endured by young innocent children in Goldenbridge. The official silence about the schools, held by the State, the Department of Education and Science and the Catholic Church, was finally broken but the road to truth and justice was a long one for those people who had suffered at the hands of so-called figures of authority and respect.

Young girls in St. Vincent’s Industrial School in Goldenbridge were held in conditions of neglect and near-starvation, and were subject to repeated beatings. One testimony revealed the horror and the long-lasting psychological impact and cruelty experienced by the children: “The screaming of children in Goldenbridge will stay with me for the rest of my life. I still hear it and have not recovered from hearing children crying and screaming. It was endless. It did not stop for years in that place.”

The extent of abuse in industrial schools in this country outlined in the Ryan report deeply saddens me. The report and the details of abuse sicken me. How could it happen? How did people stay quiet, turn a blind eye and bow to the power of the clergy? They had the power to put a stop to the misery and suffering of children but did not act. This is our greatest failure. Given my own experience of growing up in Inchicore, coming from a family where love was in abundance, in a community where the Oblate Fathers and the Sisters of Mercy played a vital role in the well-being and education of my community, it saddens me all the more to think of all the good people who have been let down by the sins of the past. Let us not forget those members of religious orders who have done good work but are now forever tarnished by the terrible scandal of abuse in industrial schools.

We must also remember the ill-treatment of children who were in places other than these schools. The classrooms of fear existed everywhere. In my own school children were subject to strap beatings on the knuckles or with the cane and were made stand on tables when they could not repeat the “Our Father” in Irish. Often their ears were pinned to the walls.

The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse interviewed 1,090 former residents of 216 schools and reformatories, 90% of whom said they had been physically abused, with over 500 abused sexually. After nine years of hearings and the publication of five volumes containing 260 pages of horror, have the victims really seen justice? Have those who committed the crimes outlined in the report been justly punished? They have not. The secrecy surrounding the identity of those who committed these horrible crimes is very troubling. Why should they be allowed hide behind faceless names, escaping criminal proceedings with no accountability for their actions?

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:36 AM
FG deputy seeks new investigation into former nun
Filed Under Newspaper Articles on Child Abuse

A CALL has been made for the reopening of an investigation into former nun Nora Wall, resident manager in the 1980s of St Michael’s Child Care Centre in Cappoquin, Co Waterford.

Fine Gael justice spokesman Charlie Flanagan said she “exposed the children in her care to unacceptable risks by allowing male outsiders to stay overnight at the Cappoquin care home centre in Waterford”.

He said: “It has been suggested that there were frequent visits to the Cappoquin home by some clergy from Mount Melleray Abbey. Access to children may have been a key motivation for these visits.

“We must bear in mind that that very abbey, Mount Melleray, was selected by the notorious paedophile Fr Brendan Smyth as a holiday destination or a haven to escape when he was on the run from the authorities in Northern Ireland. This issue needs to be revisited.”

Mr Flanagan was speaking during the second night of the Dáil debate on the Labour party Private Members’ Institutional Child Abuse Bill which provides that no abuse victim should be denied justice through the redress board.

The Bill also removes any record for children incarcerated in reformatory schools by criminal conviction.

It was rejected by the Government but the Labour Party did not call a vote last night on the Bill.

Minister of State Barry Andrews said the Bill contained a number of good measures and there was some valid criticism of the speed with which the indemnity deal was concluded.

The Fine Gael spokesman also said “there are issues in relation to the charging and release of Nora Wall that need to be revisited by way of investigation”.

“And it is a matter of some concern that reports about interference with witnesses and attempts to buy their silence have been made,” he added.

“I believe this particular aspect needs to be fully investigated because any secret payments made by religious institutions to individuals need to be fully probed and examined.”

Deputy Flanagan also called for the Education Finance Board, which has a budget of €12.7 million, to appear before the Public Accounts Committee.

“The board administers a very large budget. Concerns have been brought to my attention in respect of what some considered to be rather ad hoc and casual approach to awarding money.”

Ms Wall had a conviction in 1999 for the rape of a 12-year-old girl in her care declared a miscarriage of justice.

Mr Flanagan said the Ryan commission report into child abuse described her management of children in her care as “alarming”, “disastrous” “inappropriate and dangerous”.

He said: “One particularly worrying aspect of the Ryan report refers to an incident where a resident of the home with an intellectual disability was sexually assaulted by a colleague in a hotel where he worked part-time. The parents of the boy went to the gardaí.

“They confronted the abuser, who admitted the abuse. The boy later told the house parent that he did not want to pursue the matter. It was later noted that the boy had a new radio.

“He told her that Nora Wall had given him a new radio and a new bicycle. This is quite a sinister revelation that needs to be probed further.”

Mr Flanagan referred to the alleged involvement of a senior departmental official in a Dublin-based child sex ring “at a time he was supposed to have been investigating child abuse”.

“That individual had investigated the home run by Nora Wall and given it a clean bill of health at a time when there were serious problems at the home as now identified in the Ryan report,” Mr Flanagan said.
The Irish Times 9th July 2009

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:37 AM
Despite the horrendous abuse dished out against helpless Irish Roman Catholic kids the cover-up continues as suspected members of Opus Die re-write history

Michael Woods (Dublin North East, Fianna Fail)

There has been a great deal of poorly informed comment on the agreement the Government made with the religious congregations in 2002. I wish to place on the record of the House the facts regarding that agreement. It was my privilege as Minister for Education and Science to bring through the Oireachtas, in the timescale set by the Government and requested by the victims, two seminal and historic pieces of legislation - the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse and the Residential Institutions Redress Act.

The Government and the Oireachtas did not have to wait for this extensive and searching report to know what to do. We knew enough and we knew that in the interests of the victims we would have to act with speed. The policy of the Government on the Residential Institutions Redress Board was informed first and foremost by the consideration of what would be in the best interests of the victims of abuse in residential institutions. This dictated that the compensation should be provided to them on a basis which would be generous, expeditious and involve the minimum of stress to them in progressing their claims. In other words, anything that involved them in an adversarial court process should be avoided if at all possible.

To understand the context in which the Government decided, once and for all, to address the pain and lifelong suffering of children who were abused in the State’s residential institutions and reformatory schools, we need to examine the sequence of events that began in 1967. In that year the Government established a committee chaired by Ms Justice Eileen Kennedy which, in 1970, produced the Kennedy report. The report found that the reformatory and industrial schools were inadequately staffed; the institutions were housed in old buildings which were unsuitable for use as residential homes; an institutional approach pervaded the care of children - an approach harmful to their development; the system of inspection was totally ineffective; financial provision was totally inadequate; and the system of payment to the school on a capitation basis should be discontinued and payment should be made on a budget basis.

There was little evidence prior to the 1960s of any understanding of the issues of abuse of children. Neglect and deprivation due to poverty or lack of education were the key areas of concern. Up to the 1970s the focus of child protection was on familial neglect. The Kennedy report led to the closure of the industrial schools and reformatories.

In 1996, RTE broadcast “Dear Daughter” which dealt with abuse in Goldenbridge industrial school. In 1998, the Minister for Education and Science, Deputy Micheál Martin, brought the issue to Government for the first time with the focus on counselling for victims. The Department of Education and Science employed a social historian from Trinity College to examine the Department’s archives to see what evidenced there was of past abuse, how much the Department knew about it and what it did about it. The Minister also gave access to these files to Mary Raftery who, with Eoin O’Sullivan, made the “State of Fear” series broadcast by RTE in 1999.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet had set up a sub-committee to deal with the issue of child abuse and a working group of secretaries-general and officials. I was a member of the Cabinet sub-committee. This working group reported on 28 April 1999 with the report on measures to assist victims of childhood sexual abuse. They proposed a proactive approach to the needs of victims of abuse, rather than relying solely on a reactive response to litigation. They also proposed changes in the statute of limitation, funding for counselling and related services, and funding for research. They suggested a commission where those who were abused could tell their story to a sympathetic panel. In this way they could be assured that the abuse they suffered was wrong and is utterly condemned by Irish society.

On 10 May 1999, the Government agreed these proposals and decided to set up a commission chaired by Ms Justice Mary Laffoy. The next day, 11 May 1999, the then Taoiseach, Deputy Bertie Ahern, announced the proposals and made an apology to the victims, in effect accepting moral and social responsibility on the part of the State for past abuse in these residential institutions. While a full investigation and review was still to take place, the initial departmental examination had shown that children were incarcerated for flimsy reasons, for example, unfit mothers, children born out of wedlock, absence from school, or petty theft such as taking an apple from a shop. Many were orphans or from homes which were too poor to care for them. Many children were wards of court sent into the care of the Department of Education. The State had a duty of care, supervision and inspection, and a moral responsibility. The State sub-contracted that duty.

There were reports on the record of various serious physical and sexual abuse, but they were buried and hidden at the highest levels in the Department. There was correspondence from a bishop stating that serious abuse was occurring and this was denied in writing by the then Minister on the advice of officials. There were letters from Daingean reformatory stating that children were starving and dressed in rags, and begging for some extra funding. The letter of reply said, “Make do with what you have”.

Similar institutions in England got ten times the allowance per capita. It was clear that a full examination, eventually known as the Ryan Commission, would show an appalling neglect by the State and so it did. The Government at this stage decided to establish the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse on an administrative basis and when that had completed its work to then look at the question of compensation. This was a logical approach, but it was not tenable.

Some reporters and members of the Opposition have been asking why this was not done and criticised me for not waiting. The answer is very simple: it would take too long. In practice, we now have the Ryan report eight years later. This would not have been acceptable because victims were suffering in the meantime and some died. They begged me to press ahead urgently with the establishment of the redress board and not to delay the legislation.

On 27 January 2000, I assumed office as Minister for Education and Science. On 2 February, I published the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Bill 2000, accepting the recommendations of the interim administrative commission presented by Ms Justice Mary Laffoy. On 9 March, the Bill began its Second Stage reading in Dáil Éireann. Representatives of the victims followed the Bill every step of the way. Meanwhile, three schemes of payment of legal costs for solicitors were proposed. Each was rejected by solicitors acting for the victims and then by the commission. I pressed on with the Bill as urgently as possible and it finally passed all Stages. By June, the Bill had passed into law and became an Act.

At that stage it seemed that the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse was under way but, alas, this was not to be. On 20 July, the commission indicated to me as Minister that solicitors for the victims would not co-operate with it unless a compensation scheme was established. Work on a compensation scheme was already under way and on 7 October the Government approved in principle the draft proposal. On 24 October, I agreed to meet the solicitors regarding the compensation tribunal and assured them of our bona fides.

Meanwhile, on 10 November, senior officials from the Department of Education and Science, the Department of Finance, and the Office of the Attorney General first met with CORI regarding what was termed the “meaningful contribution” which they wished to make to the compensation scheme. They met on nine further occasions. Work on the compensation scheme had been progressing and on 27 February 2001, the Government approved the proposals for the child abuse compensation scheme. It would be open-ended and the Government would provide such moneys as needed, with a contribution from the 18 religious organisations involved if that could be agreed. This was consistent with the Government’s approach from the day the Taoiseach apologised to the victims on behalf of the nation.

Problems were still ongoing with the solicitors with regard to their participation in the commission. A fourth legal expenses scheme was accepted by the commission, but lawyers for the victims and for the congregations also rejected this legal expenses scheme. Meanwhile, lawyers for the victims refused to attend the commission thus delaying its progress.

On 13 June 2001, the child abuse compensation scheme was published. Its title was the Residential Institutions Redress Bill. This allowed time over the summer recess for the contents of the Bill to be considered before it was taken in the autumn. On 5 July, the proposed contribution of the congregations made on 26 June was rejected by the negotiators and by me as Minister for Education and Science. On 16 October, the negotiating team, comprising officials from the Department of Education, the Department of Finance and the Office of the Attorney General, with ministerial clearance from the Department of Education and Science and the Department of Finance, proposed a 50-50 contribution with a cap of €127 million together with an indemnity. This was not accepted by CORI. At this point the negotiations broke down. Furthermore, a leak to the media resulted in a breach of trust between the parties to the negotiations. Thus the full negotiating team was out of the loop for some months. I decided in the interim to press on with the Residential Institutions Redress Bill and leave CORI to consider its position if it did not make any contribution to the Government’s scheme of redress.

In line with the Government’s commitment to have both the commission and the redress board up and running during the life of the Government, which was into its final year, the Residential Institutions Redress Bill commenced its Second Stage in Dáil Éireann on 7 November 2001. On the same day, together with the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science, who is also the Accounting Officer, I met with the representatives of CORI. This was simply to say that the Bill would be concluded early in the new year and that they must now decide whether they wanted to be in or out of the legislation. Everyone wanted to know. I was being pressed by Deputies in Dáil Éireann, and by representatives of the victims, to say what the position would be. I said that unless they agreed to the minimum contribution which the negotiating team had put to them in a package, they could not be included and they would not have any indemnity. They also wanted to get credit for properties given to the State over the past ten years. I told them that the day the Taoiseach made the apology, 11 May 1999, was the implementation date for the whole scheme, and that I would bring their request for credit to apply from that date to the Government, but I would not consider the ten years’ request. The representatives of CORI agreed to go back to the 18 religious orders to ascertain if they would agree to a figure of €127 million as the minimum acceptable to the negotiating team and Government. This meeting lasted only 20 minutes because it related solely to a policy decision.

On 22 November 2001, Second Stage of the Residential Institutions Redress Bill concluded in Dáil Éireann. This was a long debate and once Second Stage was passed, the Bill could go to the Select Committee on Education and Science. I explained that we were awaiting news from CORI as to whether it would be included in or excluded from the legislation and that it could be included before Committee Stage concluded if it met the minimum requirements.

The Labour Party tabled a motion which would have delayed the conclusion of Second Stage from 22 November until the end of January when the House was due to resume. The motion was to see and discuss the report of the compensation advisory committee chaired by Seán Ryan SC. The Fine Gael Party stated it would oppose taking Committee Stage of the Residential Institutions Redress Bill until after the compensation advisory committee report was available. This greatly upset the victims of abuse and their representatives. I pointed out that the delay was unnecessary as I had included provision for regulations and that Fine Gael and the Labour Party, if they were not satisfied with the report of Seán Ryan SC and his expert committee, could bring the report before the Dáil for debate. However, the motion was moved by the Labour Party and had to be put and voted on at the conclusion of the Second Stage debate. In the event a voice vote was taken and the motion was defeated. The Bill then moved to Committee Stage, much to the relief of the victims present.

The compensation advisory committee reported early in January 2002, having studied schemes in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. Its report set out criteria and levels of compensation based on physical, sexual or psychological injury and increased the levels of compensation to reflect the higher awards given by the Irish courts. The Government accepted these levels of awards, as did Deputies and Senators, and delay was avoided.

On 7 January 2002, CORI met me, as Minister for Education and Science, and the Secretary General of my Department. It confirmed its acceptance of the package proposed by the negotiating team, agreed to the inclusion only of properties transferred or being transferred since 11 May 1999, the day of the apology, and agreed to be bound by the indemnity, as proposed by the Government on the advice of the Attorney General. Detailed discussions on the indemnity would follow, involving the negotiating team and Office of the Attorney General. I agreed to take this proposal, which involved a package valued at €128 million, to Government for approval in principle. On 30 January 2002, the package was agreed in principle by the Government. The final agreement was to be prepared, including the indemnity and a list of properties, for the approval of Government and signatures of the Ministers for Finance and Education and Science.

At a meeting of the Joint Committee on Education and Science held in public session on 12 February 2002, I outlined the details of the Government’s decision regarding the whole package as well as the inclusion of the indemnity and list of properties, some of which were known at the time. The meeting was attended by 15 Members, myself and my officials. No one was in any doubt about the inclusion in the Bill of the indemnity and the list of properties.

Róisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Labour)

No one knew it was an indemnity up to June 2002.

Michael Woods (Dublin North East, Fianna Fail)

On 20 February 2002, the Final Stages of the Residential Institutions Redress Bill were taken in Dáil Éireann. The CORI package and indemnity were discussed again. It was estimated at the time that the overall cost could be up to €500 million. However, since neither the number of victims who were abused nor the extent of injuries was known, the figure could be considerably higher.

Joan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)

The Deputy is rewriting history.

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:38 AM
Róisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Labour)

The Deputy has the dates wrong. No one knew it was an indemnity or what were its terms at that point.
Add your comment

Michael Woods (Dublin North East, Fianna Fail)

While I understood the Deputies’ concern, I stated we were only dealing with the residential schools and reformatories which were under complete, 24-hour control of the Department of Education.

On 8 March 2002, the CORI package was outlined in Seanad Éireann and fully discussed and approved by the House. The Bill was finalised in Seanad Éireann on 22 March 2002 and in Dáil Éireann on 28 March. It became an Act at the beginning of April.

Further meetings involving officials of the Departments of Finance and Education and Science took place on 7 May 2002, at which issues relating to the property transfer part of the agreement were discussed. At a meeting on 16 May 2002 between officials from the Department of Education and Science and Office of the Attorney General, changes to the draft text of the indemnity were discussed and subsequently carried through.

The agreement was finally approved by Government for signature by the Ministers for Finance and Education and Science on 5 June 2002 and then completed on the direction of the Government. This enabled the Residential Institutions Redress Board to begin its work. At last, those who had been abused and injured would be compensated by the State for this horrible period for children in the history of our young nation. This generation of Irish men and women can be proud that they made amends in some small way to those who, as children, were injured and abused in the State’s residential schools and reformatories, mainly from the 1930s until the 1970s.

I trust the sequence I have set out will be helpful to any genuine person who is anxious to understand what was done and why. The Ryan report greatly expanded on our knowledge of how child victims were treated in the State’s residential schools and reformatories. The Government knew in 1998-99 the nature of these abuses and injuries but not the full extent of the awful crimes committed against incarcerated children. Mr. Justice Ryan and his predecessor, Ms Justice Mary Laffoy, and their teams of experts and officials have done the State a great service.

Some commentators stated and still state that we should have had a full inventory of all the lands, schools, hospitals, care centres and other facilities before accepting the contribution of religious congregations who ran most of the institutions on behalf of the State. This would have resulted in delay and more pain and suffering for the victims. The scheme was based on taking a no fault, no quibble, no legal context approach. We knew that few cases would succeed in court and, accordingly, the cost of the scheme would be much greater than if cases were contested in court. It was the State’s decision to behave at last in a magnanimous manner to those whom it had offended by its actions in placing children in horrific circumstances, grossly neglecting them and ignoring all warnings and reports. The system, which the State ran, was the cause and opportunity for these grievous offences against children.

Others argue we should have taken time to allocate blame to all the parties involved. This, too, would have involved delay and adversarial court proceedings. It would also have placed victims under renewed stress, which the Government was not prepared to do. The Government determined that the redress scheme be provided regardless of the involvement of anyone else. This was done by the State paying full compensation. The issue was regarded as one for society to be dealt with fully and firmly and once and for all. The most effective way the Government could achieve this outcome was to take responsibility for the matter, which is what it did. The scheme was to be fully funded by the State - that was the starting position - and full awards were to be paid.

It has been alleged repeatedly by some Deputies that a sweetheart deal was done with the religious congregations. The Committee of Public Accounts chaired by Deputy Michael Noonan examined this allegation and concluded:

The Minister had set up a meeting with the Congregations where he wanted to move the agenda forward, re-establish a position of trust and see if an agreement could be reached. He only asked the Secretary General to come along with him and was aware that the Secretary General worked closely on this issue with the Legal Adviser. Suggestions have been made of a sweetheart deal at the meetings with the Minister. The Committee is satisfied that this is not the case.

The reports of the Committee of Public Accounts of March 2001, the Comptroller and Auditor General on the 2002 accounts and the Joint Committee on Finance and the Public Service all found there was no collusion with anybody, no sweetheart deal was made and every step taken was in line with the Government’s commitments.

I will address two allegations made by Deputy Gilmore on 26 May 2009 in this House. Deputy Gilmore stated:

In the case of Deputy Woods, he has explained why he did not include the Attorney General in discussions because, as he put it, the legal people had fallen out with the religious. [I did not say that.] Therein lies a clue as to why the blind eye was turned over decades. There was an unhealthy deferential relationship between the State and its institutions and the Catholic Church and its religious orders.

The Deputy omitted to refer to the strong rebuttal of the article he cited. It was in the next issue of the Sunday Independent dated 19 October 2003. I refer to a letter which I sent to the newspaper to make quite clear that what they said was wrong. It read:

Dear Editor

Your article published in last Sunday’s Independent October 12th 2003 concerning the agreement between the State and the 18 religious congregations, was a fabrication and a misrepresentation designed to suit a preset agenda. In discussion with your journalist I never mentioned my faith nor my religion nor did I suggest that they influenced me in any way in the manner in which I conducted the negotiations. Throughout the long negotiations involving many meetings from November 2000 until May 2002, all the officials, Ministers and the Attorney General acted with probity and in a fair and objective way. They did this in the full knowledge that the Government, on behalf of the nation, wanted at long last to make amends to those who had suffered injury in residential institutions and to allow the orders to make a meaningful contribution to that process. At all times I acted as an experienced Minister and not on the basis of my religion, as your article implies. Whether I was a Protestant, Catholic or Dissenter, it would have been my duty to do the same. Finally, may I say that your article highlights the need for an independent press council to prevent such irresponsible journalism.

They left that last line out when they published the article.

The second allegation by Deputy Gilmore is contained in the Official Report dated 26 May 2009 at 16.50 p.m.:

It is a pity that in 2002 he [Dr. Woods] did not bring the indemnity deal before the House for approval. What he did was to bring before the House the Residential Institutions Redress Bill, which enjoyed cross-party support at that time as the appropriate way of dealing with this issue. However, the indemnity deal which apportioned the various liabilities and which capped the contribution of the religious orders was never brought before the House.

There is a bit of confusion in that but I will leave that aside.

Pat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)

What confusion?

Michael Woods (Dublin North East, Fianna Fail)

It is his confusion, not mine. Once again, the Deputy is wrong. The indemnity was before the Dáil and Seanad committee and it was fully and openly discussed-----

Róisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Labour)

That is not true.

Michael Woods (Dublin North East, Fianna Fail)

-----and had the benefit of the advice of the Attorney General-----

Róisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Labour)

The indemnity never came before the committee.

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:39 AM
Batt O'Keeffe (Minister, Department of Education and Science; Cork North West, Fianna Fail)

As Minister for Education and Science, I want to apologise unreservedly for the way the Department of Education and Science failed children in residential institutions.

Róisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Labour)

What will you do about it? That is the question. It is not the apology; it is what the Minister will do about it now.

Brendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)

Please allow the Minister to make his contribution.

Batt O'Keeffe (Minister, Department of Education and Science; Cork North West, Fianna Fail)

The report clearly shows how the Department failed to protect these children for whom it had a duty of care. Had the Department done its job properly, thousands of children would not have suffered the way they did. We failed them. We are all united in our abhorrence at the findings of this report and the sheer scale of the abuse which children experienced in these institutions over a long period of time. The then Taoiseach apologised in 1999. My Secretary General acknowledged the Department’s failures at the commission’s public hearings in 2006. I unreservedly reiterate that apology today.

I can only imagine the frustration of survivors up to this point when they tried to speak out and their claims were rejected or denied. This report unequivocally supports the stories told by those who were abused and highlights the pain, suffering and abuse to which they were subjected for most of their young lives. For many, the continuing pain has remained with them and blighted their lives to this day. The report lays bare the reality of life in these institutions and the neglect, fear, and abuse experienced daily in an environment which, in the main, did not even provide them with their most basic needs.

I commend all victims on their bravery in coming forward to the commission and divulging the most painful and traumatic events of their lives.

Róisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Labour)

For goodness sake spare us this. What are you going to do about it?

Batt O'Keeffe (Minister, Department of Education and Science; Cork North West, Fianna Fail)

I commend them on their persistence in ensuring the story was told, heard and, most importantly for the victims, that it was believed. Without them, this report would not have been possible nor could we have ever hoped to learn from the mistakes of the past. Their bravery and determination is a lasting tribute to those former residents who are no longer with us and whom we should remember at this time.

Today, above all other days, we must be humbled and contrite for the wrongs that have been inflicted on innocent lives. The American author, James Baldwin, once said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed but nothing can be changed unless it is faced”. We have now faced the reality that thousands of young people lived in a regime that was harsh, severe and abusive. There is no denying it-----

Joan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)

It was savage.

Batt O'Keeffe (Minister, Department of Education and Science; Cork North West, Fianna Fail)

-----but now, as a society, we will be judged on how we respond to this reality, learn from the mistakes of the past and ensure our children are protected and cared for.

Michael D Higgins (Galway West, Labour)

And how we can reform the Department that covered it up.

Batt O'Keeffe (Minister, Department of Education and Science; Cork North West, Fianna Fail)

The Taoiseach, together with myself and other Ministers, met representatives of the survivors of abuse on 3 June during which the Taoiseach reiterated the Government’s full acceptance of all the recommendations in the commission’s report and that it is committed to their implementation. The groups were also advised that the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs will develop an implementation plan to be brought to Government by the end of next month.

In respect of my own Department, the erection of a memorial dedicated to all survivors, living and dead, has been already the subject of discussions with survivor groups and of consultation with the Office of Public Works.
Add your comment

Róisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Labour)

The Minister still does not get it, just like the religious orders

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:39 AM

The skewed view of evidence referred to by Mary Raftery at the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (Irish Times, 12 May) pales in significance compared to the activities of the Residential Institutions Redress Board. A place of secrecy, exclusion and bewilderment.

I have given evidence to the board on three occasions on behalf of three patients, all victims of layers of abuse, in particular sexual. Two of these have been under my care for over 10 years. All will bring their pain and suffering to the grave.

I was not allowed to be present when they gave their evidence, nor indeed were their partners, a friend, an advocate, no one of personal significance.
They were alone. Alone in attempting to articulate their exposure to regimes of unbridled rape and violence which lasted for years, at the hands of sadistic sexual perverts answerable to no one. Alone in telling about how their chance of a normal life was diminished from the beginning. About how they learned to place no value on themselves, and with their lives totally derailed following their release at 16 years old, drifted from one crisis to another for the rest of their lives.

One patient was left alone, on the verge of a panic attack due to the intensity of his fear, to tell the board of a past littered with criminal behaviour, prison records, substance misuse, dysfunctional relationships, mistrust of authority, and family breakdown.

I found the discomfort of waiting in a side room to give evidence, aware of my patients’ fears and worries, unbearable. They dreaded getting a panic attack, a flashback to an incident of abuse, a rush of uncontrollable anger that would alienate the chairman and jeopardise the outcome.
In giving my sworn evidence I felt under time pressure, and worse, that I was an unwelcome irritation slowing down the proceedings. An atmosphere of minimisation prevailed. It was impossible to present a complete picture.

The “board” consisted solely of a judge and a medical doctor. On two occasions that doctor, having had no experience of working with traumatised or abused children, let alone a qualification in psychiatry, was nonetheless there for the purpose of contributing to a judgment on the compensation deemed appropriate for each victim.

Not being a court, it is held in secret, away from the eyes of the community, and no perpetrator of a crime is ever sentenced to a punishment.
No apologies can be offered as no one is there representing the religious orders responsible. Justice for the victim is not the purpose, only financial compensation, which is capped to a maximum of €300,000. (To date the average award paid out to 2,555 victims has been €78,000.)

The award is conditional on them signing a secrecy agreement and a waiver on taking further legal action. If the victims disclose the amount they were awarded or discuss the facts of their case in public, they face criminalisation.
The wronged now accused of a crime! They can be fined up to €3,000 and can face a summary jail sentence of six months. After a second disclosure, they face a fine not exceeding €25,000 and a two-year jail sentence. Why the secrecy? It’s certainly not for the benefit of the victim. There is emerging evidence that the Redress Board re-traumatises victims.

One patient of mine used this analogy. “An adult, man or woman, abuses a child. It is their ’secret’. To make sure the ’secret’ is kept the adult will give the child money or sweets. They buy silence. By making secrecy a condition upon payment, the board is doing exactly what an abuser does to a child.”
The elements of restorative justice which are required for the restitution of balance and healing are transparency instead of secrecy, formal apologies, the punishment of the wrongdoers, and supreme efforts to compensate for damage done.

The Redress Board embodies none of these. Its role makes a mockery of the legal system, and of the Goddess Themis, whose scales are the symbols of Right and Justice. It is my firm belief that the Redress Board contravenes the most basic of human and civil rights. In short, it represents a crime against humanity.

It should be abolished immediately and replaced by an open forum where the victim is not only properly monetarily compensated, but where they can have their perpetrators named, and the scales of justice balanced.

Yours, etc,
Consultant Psychiatrist,
Dún Laoghaire.

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:40 AM
Abuse report no surprise to Pope

Monday June 08 2009

I read with interest the timely report and analysis from John Cooney on last week's Vatican meeting between Cardinal Brady, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and the Holy Father (Irish Independent, June 6).

"Abuse report rocks the Vatican," it read. Come now folks. It's hardly a shock to them at this point. They are well informed about it and have been for some time.

Dr Martin himself was aware of abuse during his schooldays in Dublin some 50 years ago, according to statements he made recently.

Perhaps the shock for the inscrutable members of the Roman Curia is the dawning reality that the Irish people, taken for granted for so long by the Church, are finally stirring from their slumber of clerical deference and financial gullibility.

On this point, it might also be appropriate to ask that the Irish Independent report in less deferential language on these matters.

Terms such as "exceptional access" to papal discussions on a matter of this magnitude are surely overblown. It is the Pope's business to deal directly with such an abominable issue as institutional child abuse, starvation and torture by religious congregations.

So Pope Benedict has now relayed his determination via Giuseppi Leandra of his intention to "rid the Catholic Church of paedophile priests".

It's a bit late in the day for relaying second-hand comment, Holiness.

This message he should have addressed to the Irish people personally. It is still widely anticipated, and obviously necessary.

Monsignor Lombardi's initial comments on the report beggar belief. All bishops report directly to the Holy Father.

If he had instructed them clearly in 2002 (when he was the senior cardinal in the Curia) or in 2006, the reform would now be in operation here, as it is in England and Wales and the US.

In Ireland, of course, our deferential Government has betrayed our children once again rather than discommode the Irish Catholic episcopate.

I would like to reiterate my previous request to this newspaper to give us a series of articles outlining the corporate, administrative and financial structure of this foreign-based Church which even yet maintains such an inordinate degree of control of the taxpayer-financed education, social welfare and medical services in this country. It would lend informative context to these reports.

Joseph A Geoghegan
Brisbane, Australia

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:40 AM
Everyone should read Bruce Arnold's new book on the shameful collusion that left innocent children languishing in Gulag-style industrial schools, writes John Spain

Saturday June 06 2009

Bruce Arnold's The Irish Gulag is an important book, probably the most important to be published in Ireland in the past 10 years. It should be bought in bulk by the State and distributed free in every third-level college and library in the country. It should be sent to every member of every religious order and to all civil servants. Every judge, lawyer, garda, teacher, social worker, doctor, nurse, cleric and politician in the country should get a copy. And when the State has done all that, it should send the bill to Cori.

This suggestion may seem excessive. But it's reasonable, given the size of the problem we face. Somehow we have to find an explanation for how Irish society could have permitted tens of thousands of children to be grossly abused in institutions across the country over many decades. And this book is the only comprehensive explanation that exists.

It is the definitive account, not only of what went on in the institutions but of how and why. It explains the origins of the institutions, the involvement of the religious, the appalling abuse that became commonplace, the complicity of the State in what went on over so many decades.

It also details the suffering of the tens of thousands of innocent children who became the victims of the system and whose lives were destroyed. It does so in a dispassionate, factual way and is all the more powerful for that reason. And it does so comprehensively, giving us the full picture of what was going on in various institutions all over Ireland.

But this book does not stop there. It then goes on to show that the way the State has dealt with the scandal over the past 10 years has been aimed more at protecting itself and protecting the religious orders than it has been at providing genuine reconciliation and redress for the victims.

Arnold shows how the legal framework for the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse was designed to prevent examination of the system that put the children into the institutions in the first place.

And he shows how the Redress Board was imposed on victims primarily to lessen the cost of claims and to make the process statutorily secretive.

It was Bruce Arnold who first exposed the outrageous indemnity deal done with the religious orders to limit their contribution to €128m when the real cost to the taxpayer is now going to be far in excess of €1bn. This is explored fully in the book, which also has many other insights into the horror of what went on in the institutions.

Following the evidence in the Ryan Commission Report (and before that in the States of Fear TV programmes and other media exposes) we are now all familiar with the appalling sexual and physical abuse. But what we are not so aware of is the utter everyday misery of the lives of the children who were the prisoners of the system, the lack of food, clothing, warmth, medical care and the total lack of the affection that is essential for a child to develop self-esteem.

The account in the book of the conditions at Letterfrack or in the Baltimore Fisheries School, for example, are truly shocking, (see panel above). Yet as Arnold points out, the religious orders were getting a capitation payment for each child which was enough not only to to feed and clothe them and heat their accommodation but to pay for lay teachers and recreation facilities as well. As he says, the amount paid for each child was equivalent to the average earnings of a farm labourer at the time.

Instead the money was siphoned off by the religious orders and the children were kept in conditions that were beyond Dickensian. They froze in winter, were covered in lice and had little or no amusement apart from prison like yards and gardens. Where did the money go? We still don't know because the orders always refused to make their accounts available.

As Arnold says, the institutions were actually juvenile slave labour camps operated in Gulag style in the service of the religious orders, instead of industrial 'schools'. At Letterfrack the boys knelt and used their spread-out fingers as hoes on the 400-acre farm. In addition to the utter deprivation, of course, there was the sexual abuse and the floggings, the injuries and the deaths (Artane even had its own cemetery and no one knows how many battered children who subsequently died were buried there).

The other aspect of Arnold's book that is vitally important is one that has not been covered by the Ryan Report or States of Fear or other investigations, all of which have concentrated on the sexual abuse and the savage beatings. That aspect is the system that provided the institutions across the country with so many children -- around 150,000 over the years by Arnold's reckoning.

If anything this aspect is the most shocking part of the book, the revelations about the system and the society that put tens of thousands of children into the institutions. This was the other side of de Valera's Holy Catholic Ireland from the 1930s up to the 1970s and beyond, where senior politicians sank to their knees to kiss the rings of the bishops and the priest-ridden Irish society was all about being pure and pious.

So children from single mothers or broken homes or homes where there was an alcohol or poverty or 'morality' problem were scooped up and sent away to join the few genuine orphans in these terrible institutions, supposedly for their own good. The Gardai, the courts, the local busybodies, they were all part of it, often led by the local priest and Catholic do-gooders.

Arnold explains the 1908 Children's Act which allowed ANY adult to bring a child under the age of 14 before a court for a long list of reasons (begging, missing school, parents regularly drunk etc) whereupon the judge could send the child to an institution. Former inmates who were small children when they were dragged (often literally) before the courts remember a member of the Vincent de Paul or the Legion of Mary, or a guard or priest or NSPCC (later ISPCC) official giving evidence on why they should be locked away.

It seems unbelievable now. But Ireland at the time was a Catholic version of Iran under the Ayatollahs. The Taliban of the Tabernacle ruled. You bent the knee or you were ostracised. And if you were a child in a poor family -- and almost all of those who ended up in the institutions were poor -- with a father who ran off to England or a mother who drank, or found it hard to cope with her eight children, or maybe just had an affair, or didn't go to Mass every Sunday, you were fair game.

In our tidy Holy Catholic Ireland of the time, messy embarrassment (especially if there was sex involved) was to be avoided at all costs. So the local Catholic worthies took it upon themselves to 'save' the children of problem parents, with the help of the State, by putting them away.

For all those who have been shaking their heads in disbelief after the Ryan Report and asking how such horror could have existed in Holy Catholic Ireland for so long, then this is the answer. It is all here in this book, the most complete explanation of the system that has shamed us before the world and the society that allowed it all to happen.

Bruce Arnold has been working on this book for the past 10 years and it shows. It should be required reading for all citizens.

The Irish Gulag -- How the State Betrayed its Innocent Children

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:41 AM
Gardai to probe 100 new cases of abuse

Wave of calls to hotline in the wake of Ryan report horrors

By Tom Brady, Senan Molony and John Cooney

Wednesday July 22 2009

GARDAI investigating allegations against clerical child abusers are now pursuing almost 100 fresh complaints.

The new lines of inquiry emerged from the telephone "hotline" set up by gardai in the wake of the publication of the Ryan report in May.

The breakthrough in the garda study of the Ryan findings was revealed last night as Justice Minister Dermot Ahern received a copy of the report on child abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese.

That report contains around 450 cases of abuse and will be referred by the minister to Attorney General Paul Gallagher for his advice on publication.

The dedicated Ryan contact line was established for anyone who wanted to provide information arising out of the findings.

So far, the special garda team has received about 140 calls. Some of the callers wanted details of the progress made on complaints that had already been filed.

But senior officers disclosed last night that in almost 100 other cases, they had opened new lines of inquiry and those complaints were now being actively followed up.

An estimated 60pc of the fresh complaints involve sexual abuse of children by members of religious orders while the rest refer to physical assaults.

Gardai will prepare a file on each individual investigation for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), who will determine if criminal charges should be brought against the alleged abuser. Some of the clerics named in allegations received on the "hotline" are now dead.

Officers said they were conscious of the historic nature of many of the allegations and were anxious to complete their inquiries as quickly as possible. They hope to have sent files to the DPP on a substantial percentage of their inquiries by the late autumn.

The decision to set up the "hotline" was made by Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy following discussions with Justice Minister Dermot Ahern.

The phone number is 01 6663612 and is being manned during office hours from Mondays to Fridays. Interested persons can also write to the Offices of the Assistant Commissioner, National Support Services, Harcourt Square, Dublin 2, marking the envelopes, "Ryan report".

Meanwhile, Mr Ahern indicated yesterday evening that the Dublin Archdiocese report was likely to be referred to the High Court. "It will be up to the court to decide whether to refer it to the DPP, the Garda Commissioner, or anyone else. That's laid out in the legislation," the minister said.


He pointed out that if it were possible to publish the entire report without lessening its contents, it would be sent automatically to the gardai.

But under the legislation he had to follow certain procedures as the report might contain material prejudicial to criminal proceedings.

"If there is anything of that nature in it, I would obviously have to discuss it with the Attorney General, and if there is anything prejudicial, we would have to ask the High Court for a direction, pending publication," he added.

It was his desire to publish the report as soon as possible but he did not want to do anything that "would cause people to get off, if they were supposed to be brought before the courts".

One of the most notorious serial priest paedophiles expected to be named in the Dublin Archdiocese report is the late Fr Noel Reynolds, who abused more than 100 children.

He had access to generations of children since 1967 when he was appointed secretary of the Diocesan Commission on Religious Instruction in Vocational Schools, and later as a Diocesan Inspector of Primary Schools.

He was appointed administrator on Inishbofin island, off the Galway coast, in 1984. Serious complaints about his behaviour with children go back to 1995 when he was parish priest in Glendalough, Co Wicklow, but he was not removed from there until two years later when he was appointed chaplain to the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire.

After the 'Prime Time' programme, 'The Sins of the Cardinal', Cardinal Desmond Connell, apologised to the hospital for not informing the authorities there of previous complaints.

- Tom Brady, Senan Molony and John Cooney

top topics

<< 1    3 >>

log in