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13/9/2006 17:35:02

Tanaiste, Minister for Justice,

Mr. Michael McDowell must be seriously challenged to erase records of victims/survivors of institutional abuse whom the Irish state still labels as criminals. Children sent into Irelands Industrial Schools between 1922-1973 were taken under the 1908 and 1922 Children Act. These Acts allowed the state to ALLEGE IMPROPER GUARDIANSHIP & grant gardai power to seize children, for instance from failing marriages etc. Children were then prosecuted through the courts. No “solicitors” were personally made available to the respective children, what a chilling scenario indeed! The latter were subsequently incarcerated in religious-run institutions. The judiciary of the past ought to have been absolutely ashamed of itself.
It now behoves the newly created Tanaiste P.D. King of Politics and Justice} to right the wrong that was visited upon thousands of innocent victims. The operative word being, EXPUNGE;……………EXPUNGE;…………….EXPUNGE…….”Fortuna Favet Fortibus”.

*It is worth noting that the 1908 Act was not finally repealed until the introduction of The Child Care Act, 1991.

Seanad Debate. Ferns Report
Nov, 15th, 2005
Mr Bannon.

We have had the revelations of the horrors of the Magdalen laundries, Letterfrack industrial school, Goldenbridge, Artane, St. Joseph’s, Ferryhouse, St. Joseph’s, Summerhill and Daingean reformatory. The Kennedy report, which has been described as someone of the most damning indictments of the operation of any State system ever produced in this country, the Laffoy commission and the Ferns Report, which is not reading for the sensitive, as Senator Feeney stated, provide a record of appalling betrayal and abuse of innocent trusting children, on a scale beyond comprehension. The inquiry into the Dublin archdiocese is pending and will more than likely be equally horrific. I do not wish to pre-empt its content but media and other reports indicate a great deal remains to be unearthed in this diocese.

I used the words, State system when referring to the findings of the Kennedy report on industrial schools, which eventually led to the closure of these institutions, as it demonstrated the recognised collusion between the State and the Catholic Church and highlighted the ultimate responsibility which rested with the State. These institutions may have been run by the religious orders, but they did so on behalf of the State, which had ultimate control and whose head in the sand approach to the lives of young children reflects badly on us all. The collective guilt involves a number of Departments, health boards, political institutions and the Garda.

Thousands of wonderful nuns and priests work on behalf of society in Ireland and throughout the world with many engaged in charitable work. Like other speakers, I wish to acknowledge their immense work. I had three uncles who were priests and they worked both on the missions and here at home. I am aware of the effort they put into serving communities not alone here but also in foreign fields. I am also aware of the hardships they encountered as a result of their work. A few years ago when one of my uncles returned for a holiday, he attended a Dublin hospital for a check-up and died there. He never lived to enjoy a period of retirement, but passed away while still engaged in his mainstream pastoral activity. For almost his entire life he worked his heart out for the betterment of society in Ethiopia and Kenya.

The special relationship between church and State has not served the country, its citizens or the victims of abuse. If he were alive today, it would be interesting to hear the views on this issue of the former Minister for Health, Dr. Noel Browne, who served in the Lower House for many years. We know how Dr. Browne was victimised in a previous Government because of his views and what he was trying to do to improve so much.

Comment: 1

IN ITS TOTALITY I AM UNUTTERABLY IN AGREEANCE THAT THERE WERE/ARE GOOD NUNS AND PRIESTS ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE WORLD AND ON THIS ISLAND OF IRELAND WHO WERE/ARE OPERATIONAL AND WORKING IMMEASURABLY HARD ON BEHALF OF IRISH SOCIETY AND WERE/ARE COMMENDABLE OF RECOGNITION…

I DO ALSO HAVE THE SAME OPINION THAT THE STATE HAD ITS HEAD ENGROSSED PROFOUNDLY IN THE SAND WITH LOOK UPON IN THEIR ULTIMATE ACCOUNTABILITY OF SUSCEPTIBLE CHILDREN. YES, YES, YES ALL THE PERTINENT GOVERNMENT DEPTS TOO, ARE ALSO COOPERATIVELY RESPONSIBLE.

IN ADDITION, WHAT I INDIVIDUALLY DO NOT APPRECIATE IS; WHY DID THE JUDICIARY RECURRENTLY SEND CHILDREN INTO THESE SWARMING INSTITUTIONS WHEN THERE WAS NO ONE TO LOOK AFTER THEM? HOW ON EARTHS NAME DID THE JUDICIARY/STATE DIRECT TO PILE AT ANY GIVEN TIME APPROXIMATELY 200 CHILDREN, AS WAS THE CASE WITH GOLDENBRIDGE, {A GOOD PERCENTAGE OF THEM, TODDLERS, ONTO TWO NUNS? THESE TWO NUNS I SHOULD ADD – WERE EXPLICITLY TRAINED{CARYSFORT COLLEGE} IN SCHOOL TEACHING ONLY. THEY HAD WHATSOEVER, NO CHILDCARE TRAINING. SO IT BEGS THE QUESTION AS TO WHY VULNERABLE CHILDREN WERE PERCEIVED TO BE GOING INTO A MORE PROTECTIVE ENVIRONMENT THAN THAT OF THEIR BIOLOGICAL PARENT/PARENTS WHOM THE LATTER WERE CLASSED AS EITHER UNFIT OR WERE NEGLECTING THEM, ETC, ETC.
IN ESSENCE, THE JUDICIARY DEEMED TWO NUNS MORE CAPABLE THAN THE HUNDREDS OF PARENT/PARENTS FROM WHOM THE TRAUMATISED CHILDREN WERE SWIPED AWAY! It was afterall the collective responsibility of those dishing out the sentences and the relevant state departments to see that the institutional settings were appropriate to the needs of the impending prisoner children.
I CAN SAY FROM DELICATE EXPERIENCE} THAT THE NUN IN CHARGE IN GOLDENBRIDGE DURING MY INTERNMENT, WAS OVER-WORKED, AND AS A CONSEQUENCE WAS REPELLENTLY STRESSED OUT. CHILDREN, MODERATELY AS WAS EXPECTED, THEN BECAME THE RECIPIENTS OF HER INDIGNATION. SHE WAS PERCEPTIBLY UNACQUAINTED WITH THIS FEARFUL PORTRAYAL THAT WAS OOZING OUT OF EVERY FILAMENT OF HER BEING. THE RESULTANT THEREFORE WAS THAT CHILDREN CAME TO DERIDE HER BECAUSE OF HER CHILLINGLY STARTLING PERFORMANCE.EVEN WITH HER SHEER PRESENCE SHE WAS TANTAMOUNT TO FEAR ITSELF.

IT WAS/IS A SAD DENUNCIATION INDEED. AS CHILDREN FROM BIRTH WERE/ARE BORN TO BE CHERISHED/LOVED BY THEIR CAREGIVERS. HOW COULD TWO NUNS AND A SMALL NUMBER OF UNTRAINED/INSTITUTIONALISED STAFF LOVE 200 BABIES/TODDLERS/CHILDREN WHO WERE EITHER INWARDLY/OUTWARDLY CRYING/PINING EMOTIONALLY/IMPOVERISHED AND ALREADY NEGLECTED/STARVED OF PARENTAL CARE. IT WAS AN IMPOSSIBLE TASK. Marie-Therese O’Loughlin
Comment 2

EMPATHY IS WHAT VICTIMS/SURVIVORS NEED, “BUSINESS” WILL EVIDENTLY FLOURISH WHERE IT PREVAILS…………..TRY IT!
I say shame on any Solicitor/Barrister Junior/Senior counsel, Judge, of today – who remind victims/survivors of institutional abuse that the privileged position that they hold is merely ‘a business’ IT IS NOT!
BUT IT MOST DEFINITELY WAS IN THE PAST WHEN ‘TOUTING’ FOR “BUSINESS” WENT ON WITH THE RELIGIOUS. THE LATTER ACTUALLY CONTACTED THOSE IN POWER TO FIND OUT WHY MORE CHILDREN WERE NOT BEING SENT TO THEM THROUGH THE COURT SYSTEM. They were havng great difficulty maintaining THEIR “PRIVATELY OWNED” buildings AND UNDENIABLY,DESPERATELY NEEDED CHILDREN. WHAT A SHAM!
I find this “business” terminology insulting to say the least, it is a cop out. The judiciarys’ past contemporaries played a crucial role in the unlawful incarceration of thousands of innocents – and by way of this the present legal eagles have inherited the legacy………..

As a victim/survivor OF INSTITUTIONAL ABUSE I ASK THE LATTER: “NOT TO LOOK AWAY AND: NOT TO TURN THE OTHER CHEEK”

THOUSANDS OF VICTIMS/SURVIVORS OF THE INDUSTRIAL/REFORMATORY SCHOOLS OF WHOM 14,680 ARE/HAVE GONE BEFORE THE COMMISSION TO INQUIRE INTO CHILD ABUSE AND THE RESIDENTIAL INSTITUTIONS REDRESS BOARD WERE THE ONES WHO WERE SLAPPED IN THE CHEEK AND REAL HARD AT THAT! NOT THE LEGAL PROFESSION!

SUFFICE IT TO REALISTICIALLY SAY, AT THE END OF THE WHOLE CHILDHOOD ABUSE DEBACLE VICTIMS/SURVIVORS WILL NOT BE THE MAIN MONETARY BENEFICIARIES.
THE TRUTH AND THE JUSTIFIABLE JUSTIFICATION OF THE WRONGDOINGS OF THE PAST IS IS ALL THAT VICTIMS/SURVIVORS SEEK TO PUT RIGHT. EVEN IF IT IS ONLY TO SOME SMALL DEGREE.

Out of respect, THE LEARNED LEGAL PROFESSION SHOULD acknowledge THE PAST painful existences’/experiences OF ALL THOSE WHO WERE ILLEGALLY INTERNED. INMATES SHOULD not MERELY BE clients.

SOME LITTLE EXTRA ADDED HUMAN NATURE SHOULD BE EXTENDED TO  ALL THE LEGAL DEALINGS WITH THESE very vulnerable human beings WHO WERE VERY DREADFULLY LET DOWN BY ALL OF IRISH SOCIETY.

A LITTLE BIT OF MOLLYCODDLYING WOULD NOT GO ASTRAY TO THOSE WHO NEVER HAD AN OUNCE OF LOVE WHEN THEY WERE GROWING UP. What is wrong with that or, is “BUSINESS” MORE IMPORTANT?

One does not need to be a trained psychiatrist to understand – Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The privileged and sacrosanct profession on a legalistic basis deals with such like on a regular basis.
So please do not feign ignorance when confronted with VERY COMPLEX traumatised victims/survivors of institutional abuse. Passing the buck will not suffice any longer.

THE VICTIMS/SURVIVORS, AT THE OUTSET OF ONE OF THE LAFFOY COMMISSION PUBLIC MEETINGS, FERVENTLY STOOD BY THEIR OWN SOLICITORS, WHEN IT WAS SUGGESTED THAT THE COMMISSION HAVE ITS OWN TEAM. THIS MUST NOT BE FORGOTTEN. IT NOW BEHOVES  SOLICITORS/BARRISTERS TO STAND BEHIND THEM TO THE VERY LAST……………Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

Companies (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 1999: Referral to Select Committee.

Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Mr. Treacy): I move: That, in accordance with Standing Order 112 (1) and paragraph 1(a) (i) of the Orders of Reference of Select Committees, the Bill be referred to the Select Committee on Enterprise and Small Business.

Question put and agreed to.

Statute of Limitations (Amendment) Bill, 1998: Second Stage (Resumed).

Question again proposed: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.

Ms O’Sullivan:
I wish to thank the Government for providing time to debate this very important legislation which is a central part of the collective response that must be forthcoming from us, the political community, and the community as a whole, to the horrifying facts with which we have had to come to terms, namely, that our society was based on a sham and that the image we had of ourselves as a people who care for and love children hid so much horrible abuse beneath the surface – an abuse of the most vulnerable of our children.

This is a much worse blow to our concept of ourselves than all the financial scandals that have been unveiled because it is a much more fundamental abuse of power. While the golden circles of power and influence which are the subject of tribunals of inquiry forged their profitable bonds at the centre of Irish society, different circles, circles of cold stone, went unnoticed at the far fringes of the social sphere. If it is important, and it is, to throw light on circles of privilege and self-interest involving politicians, developers, big business and financial institutions, it is more important to throw light on the other extreme of social influence, namely, those with no power.
Imprisoned in those stone circles were hundreds, perhaps thousands of children who were in the so-called care of the State, religious institutions or warped and abusive parents. Windows of light were rare and when they did exist those who looked in did not seem to see what was happening inside. Those diametrically different experiences of life in Ireland in the not so distant past, perhaps even in the present, represent, in their different ways, gross abuse of power. From my perspective, the physical and sexual abuse of helpless children is the most gross and the most deserving of investigation.
Much investigative reporting, many column inches and a great deal of Dáil time have been devoted to questioning the activities of the socially and economically powerful. We want to know what happened, and rightly so. Let us be just as rigorous in pursuing those who wielded power in less prestigious circles but with more destructive results in the lives of individuals. The television series “States of Fear”, Susan McKay’s book about Sophia McColgan, Paddy Doyle’s The God Squad, Annie Ryan’s Walls of Silence and the personal testimonies of many brave survivors compel the urge to find retrospective justice or, at the very least, an acknowledgement of the enormity of the harm that was done.
Anyone who has spoken to a survivor of child abuse, particularly sexual abuse, will know how important it is to them to have confirmation from someone outside the circle of abuse that what happened actually took place, that it was wrong and that it was not their fault. There is a compelling need to tell their story so that they can move on and reconstruct their lives. There is also a compelling need to see justice done.For many justice is not available.

Comment 3

I ALSO WISH TO THANK JAN O’ SULLIVAN, LIMERICK LABOUR TD {FOR EDUCATION} FOR RELENTLESSLY TRYING TO PURSUE JUSTICE ON BEHALF OF VICTIMS/SURVIVORS OF INSTITUTUTIONAL ABUSE. JAN IS EXCEPTIONAL. IF PER CHANCE YOU OR YOUR LOOKING IN, {FROM YOUR BUSY SCHEDULE} I WANT TO ALSO THANK YOU FOR BURNING THE 2005 MIDNIGHT CHRISTMAS DAIL CANDLE!

THE ABOVE ARTICLE IS TELLING OF THAT COMPASSIONATE NATURE YOU ARE BLESSED TO HAVE.

Last edited by Marie-Therese O’ loughlin (2006-12-16 14:39:15)

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