21 May 2009

The shameful 800

Author: will | Filed under: 2009, crime, Ireland, Irish, memory, news, politics, regret, religion, resolution, social media

The words “Counselling services available” (closely followed by counseling services swamped, contact telephone numbers below) barely cover the horror of the “endemic” abuse suffered by children in Irish Catholic institutions over 60 years. The report details 800 abusers (both men and women) who were given approval by Irish society in their abuse. This is not the complete figure. A separate report about abuse in the Dublin region only is also due.

The full report, all five volumes of it, took nine years nine years to compile and while covering a period of six decades and finding thousands of boys and girls that were terrorized by priests and nuns, it dosen’t show the full picture. Public opinion at the time refused to believe the victims. The victims were vilified while the abusers took their lauded place in society. The victims left, be it through suicide, or through emigration.

The 800 figure is also wrong. Many others knew, and turned a blind eye. Refused to believe that those given the task to watch their morality could be the depraved ones.

John Kelly of the Survivors of Child Abuse (SO...
Image by AFP/Getty Images via Daylife

To cap off the offense, the victims and the families were not allowed in to the press conference, which gave very little detail in the prepared speech, and permitted no questions.

It took a long time for the stories to emerge, and while the church is still respected by some, others find its protection if the abusers unforgivable (including those to “admire the bravery of the abusers“). I suspect that its the truth coming out behind these tales which have helped the numbers of regular church goers to dwindle.

Its also a national, and international news story now.

RTÉ News – Sexual abuse was ‘endemic’ in institutions

Irish Times – Audio analysis and summary of abuse report

Irish Times – Children exposed to ‘daily terror’ in institutions – Includes audio of Patsy McGarry outlining the report’s main findings

Irish Times – Anger over exclusion from briefing

Irish Times – Systematic abuse in State institutions laid bare

Channel 4 – UK – As a damning report is published into “endemic” abuse suffered by children in Irish Catholic institutions over 60 years, Carl Dinnen accompanies a former resident as he returns to a” reformatory school”. (Includes video embedded above)

Channel 4 – UK – Jon Snow talks to Colm O’Gorman, the Executive Director of Amnesty International in Ireland, who was a victim of sexual abuse perpetrated by a Catholic priest as a teenager. Includes video embedded here. Some RSS readers may need to click through to see the video.

Twenty Major – So what happens now?

Twenty Major – Institutional Abuse report

Granddad – Suffer little children

A growing list of other takes on the subject from Irish Blogs

BBC News – UK – Irish abused ‘cheated of justice – Victims of child abuse at Catholic institutions in the Irish Republic have expressed anger that a damning report will not bring about prosecutions.
Includes video of Victims spokesman John Kelly giving his reaction to the report

BBC News – UK – In quotes: Irish media have been giving their first reactions to the damning inquiry into child abuse at Catholic institutions in Ireland.

The full Comission Report

Volume three includes the witness statements, and chapter 14, about lay teacher abusing and being defended by the Department of Education,  got extensive reviews on today’s Morning Ireland.

Shocked but sadly not surprised,

The HSE offers a free National Counselling Service for anyone who has suffered childhood abuse on 1800 235 234.

The related Connect service, for out of hours contact, is on1800 235 235 from the Republic of Ireland (freephone)  00800 235 235 55 from Britain and Northern Ireland (free from landlines).

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre operates a 24-hour helpline on 1800 77 88 88.

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Update: 1pm May 21 2009
Irish Times Opinion piece  – Mr Justice Ryan’s report does not suggest that this abuse was as bad as most of us suspected. It shows that it was worse. It may indeed have been even worse than the report actually finds – there are indications that “the level of sexual abuse in boys’ institutions was much higher than was revealed by the records or could be discovered by this investigation”.

The Catholic League reaction – The Irish report suffers from conflating minor instances of abuse with serious ones, thus demeaning the latter. When most people hear of the term abuse, they do not think about being slapped, being chilly, being ignored or, for that matter, having someone stare at you in the shower.

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7 Responses to “The shameful 800”

  1. Jennifer Farley Says:

    Very well put together Will.

  2. will Says:

    Thank you. Its an area I touched on early on in my career. I guess I still feel concerned about it.

  3. Xbox4NappyRash Says:

    Well gathered and put together.


  4. Luke Says:

    As usual, well researched and constructed article Will. This latest debacle really does make you wonder will there ever be some sort of justice, or at least closure, for the victims and their families. They have been betrayed by their church, by their State, and by their peers time and time again, and so it continues. I’m all for due process and the correct implentation of the justice system, but when we find ourselves in a world where the “rights” and “dignity” of the abuser is given greater regard than the rights and dignity of their victim(s), then as a nation we need to seriously re-evaluate our priorities.

  5. WillKnott.ie » Blog Archive » Michael O’Brien Transcript Says:

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  6. Y’dig? » Child Abuse in Ireland - an ongoing national disgrace. Says:

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