2006-12-10 13:33:49 Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

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400 give evidence to Abuse Inquiry
March 8, 2006

Patsy McGarry, Religious Affairs Correspondent

08/03/2006

To date 400 former residents of industrial schools and orphanages have given evidence to the investigation committee of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.

The committee is investigating allegations of abuse in the institutions and now hopes to complete the hearing of evidence by the end of May. Meanwhile, more than 1,100 former residents of the institutions have spoken to the commission’s confidential committee about their experiences.

That committee is preparing its final report for submission to the commission board. The commission has two committees: the confidential committee, where people choose to go to tell their story, and the investigation committee, where former residents and members of religious congregations which ran the institutions give evidence in the presence of lawyers, and allegations of abuse are fully inquired into.

The investigation committee is continuing to hear evidence from former residents and members of the religious orders, but is due to complete this by May 30th.

According to a progress report from the committee, it is expected that by then everyone wishing to take part in an investigation committee inquiry will have testified at a hearing or have been interviewed by it.

Since the investigation committee first began hearing evidence in connection with individual institutions in September 2004, it has interviewed former residents from 12 orphanages and industrial schools and representatives of the religious congregation which ran them.

The institutions concerned are Artane, Daingean, Letterfrack, Ferryhouse, Goldenbridge, Newtownforbes, Upton, St Joseph’s Industrial Schools in Clifden, Dundalk, Kilkenny, Tralee, and St Patrick’s in Kilkenny.

Preliminary hearings, this month and next month, are planned for five more institutions, but these will not be in public as was the case with the previous 12.

The five institutions are St Joseph’s Industrial School, Greenmount, Co Cork; Carriglea Park Industrial School, Dun Laoghaire; Marlborough House Industrial School, Glasnevin, Dublin; St Michael’s Industrial School, Cappoquin, Co Waterford; and Mount St Joseph’s Industrial School, Passage West, Co Cork. © The Irish Times
400 give evidence to Abuse Inquiry

March 13, 200 Hi. This is false information. Most of us have had interviews where nothing was written down or recorded.
Patsy McGarry, Religious Affairs Correspondent
08/03/2006

In reply to Patsy McGarrys article 08/03/2006. Stating that to date 400 former residents of industrial schools and orphanages have given evidence to the investigation committee of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.

I put my name down for the Investigation Commission in 2000. What i got was an interview in September 2005, where nothing was written down or recorded. I went to this interview with a very respected person. I had fought for over 9 months about going for the interview, without Legal representation, even asking that if i paid myself for a Solicitor to attend with me. This request was turned down.

Reply i got in May 16.2005. from a Solicitor. I will attempt to elaborate, on the interview process as follows – we had a meeting with the lawyers for the Investigation Committee where we expressed our concerns. We were assured that whether or not a person participates in the interview process has no bearing on whether or not they are called at a later stage for hearing before the Investigation Committee. Selection for hearing is based upon your written statement. If you do not go for interview, you may or may not be called for hearing, we simply do not know at this stage. If you are called for hearing you can give your evidence to the Investigation Committee and tell them ‘all the information you have acquired’, should you wish. If, however, you do not go for interview and you are not called for hearing, the Commission will not have heard from you in person.

Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2005 11:00 AM
Subject: Commission

Dear Mary Hanafin,
.
I would like answers to my questions.

1. Why am i been offered an Interview when I put my name down for the Investigation Commission, i did not put my name down for an interview.

2. Why am i not entitled to Legal representation.

3. If i pay for my solicitor to be there at the this interview, will the commission except this. if this is not agreeable, why not?.
How can my evidence and many others be published? I signed up for the investigation Commission in good faith, but the contract that I signed has been broken.

How many of the 400 have been given an interviews.?

Break Down.

13. Industrial Schools have had a public hearing so far, out of the 13, industrial schools only 4 of them girls out of 34?

If you look at the five that are due hearings that makes 17 out of 54 industrial schools that are named in Mary Raftery book..

So even if 50 people a week go to the Investigation commission in the next 5 weeks up to May 30th, 2006 that will only add up to 650 out of the original 1900.

When Sean Ryan took over from Mary Laffoy there was 1900 left to go to the investigation commission.

I am very angry at this deceit. As even up till today i have not been given the simple answer to my question. Will my industrial school have, a public hearing, and will I ever get called. I do not think that this is to much to ask. Getting to the truth and justice are the issues,

We that are alive, are the testimony of what happened to us as children, in all its shape and form, for good or bad. It is history that we cannot change. Kathy Ferguson

Last edited by Marie-Therese O’ loughlin (2006-12-10 13:49:26)

#102 2006-12-10 13:38:49 Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

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The Ryan Commission

November 2, 2006

The Ryan Commission fails to understand that between the 1920s and 1980s, an estimated 150, 000 children were sent to Ireland’s notorious institutions, where many suffered horrific abuse and neglect at the hands of the Religious Orders.

Hard manual labour replaced education and substantial numbers of children left the institutions unable to read or write.
Since the Redress Board’s inception, an estimated 75 victims of institutional child abuse have taken their own lives.
One man walked straight out of his meeting with the corrupt Redress Board and jumped into the river Liffey. Comment: Understood it was a solicitor’s office?)

It is also estimated that up to 100, 000 victims of institutional child abuse fled abroad following their experiences at these institutions.
It’s quite clear that many victims of institutional child abuse are against Sean Ryan moving in as Chair of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse and introducing sampling after the former Chair Honourable Justice Mary Laffoys resignation in September 2003.
It appears that the Ryan Commission have stated that 400 complainants have already given evidence from September 2004 February 2006 at the Ryan
Commission.
It begs the question “how many of those 400 complainants have been to the Ryan Investigation Committee hearings from September 2004″ February 2006 and how many of those 400 complainants have been to the Ryan Investigation Committee interviews from September 2004″ February 2006 and how many of those 400 complainants have been to a pointless Ryan Committee interview from September 2004” February 2006 and how many complainants remain in total from the original estimated 1,900 complainants that originally made applications to attend the former Chair Honourable Justice Mary Laffoy’s Investigation Committee hearings which the current Ryan Commission has not considered.
The Ryan Commission fails to understand that each survivors experience is as valuable as that of the next, and it is not enough to gather clear sample evidence in this instance.
Getting to the truth and justice are the issues, and the Ryan Commission hasn’t shown that, and most importantly he must not edit the truth in any of his reports.

The Progress Report and Plan dated 3rd May 2006, and the timetable for the Phase 3 public hearings in relation to the “experts” was originally set for the 8th and 9th June 2006, but then the “experts” were taken off.

It begs the question “why did the Ryan Commission withhold the names of the “experts” until long after they were taken off the timetable which has not been re- scheduled.
The Phase 3 public hearings last May June 2006 were clearly marked out as a platform for the State and the Religious Orders to deny the truth.

The Ryan Commission appears to have engaged the following list of “experts in secret to assist the Ryan Commission as follows:

Mazars will examine funding in a number of institutions.
Professor David Gwynn Morgan will report on: (i) Historical background (ii) Pathways into institutions.

Professor Anthony Staines will examine health issues and health recording in institutions.

Professor Robbie Gilligan will examine relevant recent institutional history post the Kennedy Report and current issues in childcare with reference to making recommendations.

Mr. Ciaran Fahey, Chartered Engineer, will report on buildings in a number of institutions.

Professor Alan Carr has been engaged to carry out a survey of a representative body of former residents of institutions.

Mr. Patrick Brennan and Mr. Richard Rollinson are expected to furnish reports on general childcare issues to enable comparisons to be made historically and with reference to U.K experience.

Mr. Diarmaid Ferriter is expected to report on relevant historical issues.

The Phase 3 public hearings transcripts clearly state that many victims of institutional child abuse have no confidence in the Ryan Commission.

Furthermore, we predict that a large number of complaints will surface before and especially after the Ryan Commission has completed its findings.

Taking into consideration the deeply flawed deal with the Religious Orders by the former Education Minister Michael Woods, the exclusion from the Act of many settings where children were abused, and the current crisis of the corrupt Ryan Commission and the corrupt Redress Board, there are a range of grave concerns which lead many to conclude that justice is not being done for victims of intuitional child abuse.

The Ryan Commission and the Redress Board is a cesspit of intrigue, mystery and shady deals involving weak and cowardly politicians capitulating to religious organizations who would do anything to keep the floodgates closed and fight tooth and nail to deny and obscure personal accounts of vicious physical and sexual assault, rape, buggery, psychological and emotional damage, mental torture, experimentation and other unspeakable evils.

It is a shocking story that will one day be analyzed by historians and political commentators who will judge the behaviour of the Government and the modern church in dealing with victims of institutional child abuse from the 1920s to the present day in the same critical terms as those who perpetrated the abuse and the politicians, departmental officials, members of the Garda Siochana, the Judiciary and others who facilitated the abuse or who incarcerated the victims of institutional of child abuse in those hellholes in the first place.

Many victims of institutional child abuse do not even know their real names. History will judge the Government and the Religious Orders unkindly when the real truth emergeS                                                                 Albert King on behalf of Mary King. (victim of institutional child abuse).

Last edited by Marie-Therese O’ loughlin (2006-12-10 13:48:36)

#103 2006-12-11 08:02:02 Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin
 Re: From the CrookedLawyers.com Guestbook {2}

Are Irish lawyers anti-competitive?

By Kieron Wood, Barrister-at-Law

Irish lawyers are divided into two branches: solicitors and barristers. Solicitors (who are regulated by statute) mostly do office work and appear in the lower courts. Barristers (who are regulated by their own disciplinary body, the Bar Council) tend to be specialists who provide legal opinions and appear in the higher courts.

In late 2000, Ireland’s Competition Authority advertised for two solicitors for its staff. When asked why the positions were not open to barristers, an Authority spokesman explained that the Bar Council would not allow barristers to be briefed by other barristers, only by solicitors. The spokesman admitted that the ruling was anti-competitive but said the Competition Authority was reluctant to take on the Bar Council!

It’s not the first time the Bar Council has been accused of restrictive practices. In 1984, Ireland’s Fair Trade Commission published its report into restrictive practices in the Irish legal profession. The Minister for Industry, Trade, Commerce and Tourism had asked the Commission to examine practices which led to increased legal costs to consumers and which reduced or limited employment opportunities in the legal profession.

The report considered both branches of the legal profession: barristers and solicitors. Irish solicitors can advertise their services to the public and can now effectively perform all the functions of a barrister. The Bar Council, however, still prohibits barristers from “touting” or from dealing directly with the public.

Those restrictions on advertising and direct access – as well as issues such as legal education, fee fixing and other anti-competitive practices – were investigated by the Fair Trade Commission.

Final Report
The final report, published in March 1990, concluded: “We believe that competition between lawyers would be of significant benefit to the public. We also consider that the interests of lawyers would be best served in a competitive environment. Unless consumers are satisfied that high standards of service are provided at a reasonable cost, the long-term survival and prosperity of lawyers will not be assured.”

Yet today – 17 years after the Minister’s initial request – how many of the core issues tackled by the report have been addressed by the Law Society (the solicitors’ controlling body) or by the Bar Council, which regulates barristers?

Some of the incidental proposals in the report, such as the establishment of a small claims court or the extension of the Circuit Court’s jurisdiction to £30,000 ($33,000), have been implemented. The “two senior rule” has been abolished, though it’s still not uncommon to see two senior counsel in some cases.

The Commission also proposed the abolition of pre-determined scale fees for barristers. The Bar Council has now done away with set fees – though current fees approximate remarkably closely to the former scale fees!

The report recommended a system of common vocational training for solicitors and barristers but, eleven years later, that has not happened. Would-be solicitors and barristers still attend separate lectures in Dublin. The English Bar, on the other hand, has accepted the need to broaden access to the profession, and law graduates may now train for the Bar at centres around the United Kingdom, instead of just in London. In Northern Ireland, prospective barristers and solicitors now train side-by-side.

The report also called for the abolition of barristers’ wigs. Legislation was proposed to implement the recommendation, but in response to representations from the Bar, the Court and Court Officers Act 1995 merely made the wig optional. In practice, the vast majority of barristers still robe as they have done for more than a century.

Solicitors’ Response
Ken Murphy, Director General of the Law Society of Ireland which represents the country’s 6,000-plus solicitors, says many of the recommendations of the Report have been implemented by solicitors.

He pointed out that solicitors were now required to have mandatory professional indemnity insurance, the Law Society had power to investigate excessive fees, an advisory committee on legal training had been set up and lay members had been appointed to the complaints committee.

The former chairman of the Irish Competition Authority, Paddy Lyons, who was a member of the group that drew up the Report, agrees with Mr Murphy. “Quite a number of the recommendations were carried through: things like solicitors being allowed to form limited companies or to advertise – albeit with some controls, which I think is quite right. A lot of solicitors agreed with the changes because they recognised that they were to their advantage.

“But in relation to the Bar, there has been virtually no progress. What little change there has been was the first for 400 years, so I suppose we should be grateful. But there’s an awful lot more to do.”

In the past, solicitors and barristers were both forbidden to tout for business. The Law Society even decreed that “the use of block letters or layout of an advertising nature” in a newspaper notice was unprofessional. In 1988, members of the Law Society voted by a narrow margin to allow advertising by solicitors and, at the end of that year, the Solicitors (Advertising) Regulations 1988 were passed, allowing advertising of services, but not of fees.

The Code of Conduct for the Bar, on the other hand, still absolutely prohibits advertising for barristers. Paragraph 6.1 says: “A barrister may not do or cause to be done on his behalf anything for the purpose of touting, whether directly or indirectly or which is likely to lead to the reasonable inference that it was done for such purpose.”

Paragraph 6.2 of the Code adds: “A barrister may not do or cause to be done on his behalf anything with the primary motive of personal advertisement or anything likely to lead to the reasonable inference that it was so published.”(Does this include the Internet?)

The former chairman of the Fair Trade Commission, Myles O’Reilly, who submitted the report, said: “We recognised it would take time to deal with these issues. It needed some Minister to make it a priority but unfortunately that didn’t happen. But the advertising issue is critical if you are going to have competition.”

The report insisted that: “Freedom to advertise goods and services is second in importance only to price competition in the effective operation of a competitive economy. Consumers, at least, need accurate information regarding availability in order to make an optimal choice from alternatives, and averting is a major method of supplying such information. Any prohibition or restriction upon the freedom to advertise is an extremely serious limitation upon competition.

“A prohibition upon advertising of fees, in particular, will tend to limit effective competition in fees…The Commission does not accept that…advertising lessens the confidence of consumers in the competence, integrity or independence of professionals…The Commission considers that, if price competition is allowed and encouraged, then it is virtually axiomatic that advertising of fees should not be forbidden.

“It recommends that fee advertising by solicitors and barristers should not be prohibited…(and) that any prohibition on direct mailing or cold calling by solicitors and barristers should be removed, subject to rules limiting content.

“The Commission considers that providers of professional services should not be restricted by their professional bodies from advertising. There are grounds, however, for allowing a degree of control to professional bodies in respect of the contents of advertisements placed by their members.

“The prohibition on advertising by barristers, even to solicitors, does not meet with the approval of the Commission and is seen as very much tending to favour established barristers.”

Paddy Lyons believes advertising will help newcomers to the Bar to survive. “The Commission was told that some young barristers earned so little that they were starving. While there is a very small number of barristers who earn an obscene amount of money, there are larger numbers who earn less than they would on the dole. But while advertising is still banned, how does the client or solicitor know whom to approach unless barristers can advertise?”

With well over one thousand barristers now practising in the Law Library, the ban on self-promotion can be financially crippling for those who come into the profession without contacts or family ties.

Direct Access
Another recommendation of the report – direct access of the public to barristers – has also failed to materialise. With limited exceptions, anyone who wishes to consult a barrister may only do so through a solicitor. Article 4.1 of the Bar’s code of conduct says: “Subject to such exceptions as may be authorised by the Bar Council, a barrister may not act in a professional capacity except upon the instructions of a solicitor.”

Article 4.15 adds: “A barrister may not have rooms in a solicitor’s office.” And Article 4.18 extends the prohibition: “A barrister may not work in a solicitor’s office, even though unpaid for the purpose of gaining experience.”

The Report criticises this practice: “From the client’s point of view, he must retain a solicitor whenever he has need of a barrister, whether the solicitor is strictly necessary or not. The Commission believes that the collective denial of direct access to barristers is open to serious objections.

“It considers that there are many occasions upon which it would be more efficient and less costly if the client could approach and brief the barrister directly. It does not accept that the independence and standards of barristers would be diminished if direct access were allowed…The Commission believes that there should be no rule limiting direct access which is collectively enforced. At the same time, the individual barrister should be permitted to refuse to deal with a client except where a solicitor has been engaged.”

Paddy Lyons believes the ban on direct access is nonsensical. “If, for example, the Competition Authority wishes to take an action, its legal adviser – who is an employed barrister – has to instruct an outside solicitor who then has to brief another barrister. It’s absolutely daft.”

Myles O Reilly agrees that direct access to barristers should be promoted, but believes that, in reality, even if the restrictions are removed, most cases will go through solicitors for practical reasons. But he believes the right should still be available. “It’s a bit like solicitors’ right of audience in the courts: even if they don’t use it, it’s useful to have the right.”

Bar’s Response
But Pat Hanratty, Senior Counsel and former vice chairman of the Bar Council, defended the reluctance of the Bar to accede to the proposals on direct access and advertising.

“We got the very strong impression from the Commission that they took on board our views in relation to direct access,” he said. We have gone nearly as far as we can on this matter. Public bodies now have direct access to barristers but there’s a limit to which our profession can go.

“Effectively, if barristers have direct access to the public, they are holding themselves out to do the work of solicitors. But barristers and solicitors do completely different jobs. In litigation, for example, a solicitor will prepare the case, interview witnesses, take statements. A solicitor also holds client money and maintains client files, but barristers don’t have the regulatory framework to enable them to do that.

“Then solicitors need someone to fight the case in court, which is essentially a barrister’s job. Although some solicitors exercise their right of audience in the higher courts, it is impractical for most solicitors to do a solicitor’s work and a barrister’s work. If you went down that road, you’d be talking about a merger of the professions.

“Advertising by barristers would also be undesirable, from the point of view of the clients and of professional standards, and it would add to the cost of the barrister’s services.”

Mr Hanratty says barristers obtain work by being seen in practice. “Basically, once you get your toe in the door, the Bar is a meritocracy.

“We accept that we have a lot of work to do in promulgating particular types of barristers’ expertise among solicitors and a wider audience. But our profession is a very high profile one and most people know what work particular barristers do.

“We also realise there is an income imbalance in the profession, and the issue of low income among junior barristers is a serious one which we shall have to address.

“But the reason for that imbalance is not because young barristers can’t advertise. The problem is that there isn’t a sufficient trickle down of work from the busier barristers. Admittedly, there has never been a case where the Bar Council has told a barrister ‘You are taking on too much work’, but barristers do send work back to solicitors if they can’t deal with it in a reasonable time. There’s plenty of work, but solicitors tend to be creatures of habit who always brief the same barrister.”

Competition Authority
The Fair Trade Commission report recommended that, if the Bar or Law Society refused to delete or amend their rules or codes of conduct, a restrictive practices order should be introduced, making the clauses illegal. Nothing was done. But now the Competition (Amendment) Act 1996 gives the Competition Authority the right to take action on its own behalf, without a complaint from a member of the public.

In 2002, the Competition Authority began a review of the professions, including solicitors and barristers. The interim report is available here. The final report is expected to be published in 2004.

RE: LAW REFORM, ETC.

FEW professions are more resistant to reform than the law; and few are more frequently and heavily criticised. But moves towards reform have been in train for several years, and not all the criticism has a solid foundation. The Competition Authority has led the drive towards modernisation. Its latest report, published today, echoes familiar themes and familiar proposals. These, if implemented, would give consumers a voice, promote more competitive practices, and end some notorious anomalies. At the top of any list for questioning, and most lists for chopping, stand the tight self-regulation practised by the Bar Council for Barristers and the Law Society for solicitors, coupled with the monopoly of education and training which is held by these bodies and which effectively excludes most aspirants who come from families of modest means. The authority’s proposals would change that drastically. They include an independent legal services commission with a lay majority to oversee the regulation of the two branches of the profession, and a similarly independent body to set standards for both branches in the matter of education. For the average client, perhaps the most relevant proposal is the creation of a new profession. “Conveyancers” would end the solicitors’ monopoly on facilitating property transfers. The clients and potential clients will hope that the move will drive fees down. The solicitors for their part will surely oppose it strongly. But whatever the professional view, the reforms mentioned above undoubtedly deserve public and parliamentary support. Moves away from archaic systems are overdue, and relations with clients should be more independent and businesslike and less like those of laity and priesthood. Allowing barristers to form “chambers” on the English model, and advertise as partners, calls for more reflection. Would it have the effect of confining the services of the top practitioners to the rich? The point has often been made, but is worth repeating, that the law, like health and education, is not just a commodity. A bigger question is whether the main recommendations will be implemented. Clearly this will not happen before the general election. But the next administration must revive them in the incoming Dail. The issue cannot be shelved.

Competition regulator calls for Clementi-style review of Irish legal profession

By Charlotte Edmond

In a damming report on legal services in Ireland, the country’s main competition body has today branded the profession anti-competitive and is calling for a Clementi-style fundamental review.

The Irish Competition Authority’s (IC’s) final report into the legal profession, published today (11 December), concludes that the Irish legal market is “permeated with unnecessary and disproportionate restrictions on competition and is in need of substantial reform”.

The body is calling for a new legal services bill to be introduced, which would, among other things, establish an independent legal services commission to regulate the profession. The Law Society of Ireland and the Bar Council of Ireland would continue to have a role in the day-to-day regulation of the profession, but would be required to separate their representative and regulatory operations.

Twenty-nine recommendations are made in the report, such as calling for an end to the monopoly enjoyed by the King’s Inns and the Law Society of the education of barristers and solicitors in Ireland. It says entry into the profession is controlled by those already practising.

The ICA says the profession does not act in the best interests of the consumer as it is unnecessarily difficult for consumers to get information or to switch solicitor or barrister. The body would also like to see barristers permitted to form partnerships.

The ICA acknowledges that since it published its preliminary report in February 2005, there has been a number of independent proposals to improve the profession “such as government proposals to create a legal services ombudsman “however, it is keen for its own ideas to be implemented in addition to the changes.

The report has now been passed on to the minister for justice, equality and law reform in Ireland.

The Irish Law Society hit out over the proposals when they were initially put forward, claiming the ICA had relied on assertions rather than evidence. Its rebuff comes in contrast to the Law Society of England and Wales, which has broadly backed similar reforms under the Clementi review.
Last edited by Marie-Therese O’ loughlin (2006-12-12 08:05:30)

#104 2006-12-11 08:44:47 Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

Re: From the CrookedLawyers.com Guestbook {2}

Sex abuse myth ‘is rife in Ireland’

Dearbhail McDonald

Feb, 2004

AN ORGANISATION established to fight false allegations of sexual abuse in Britain claims the Irish redress system has created a “myth-making machine”, with many complainants making extreme allegations about abuse. The claim, which has fuelled a bitter row with the main support group for victims of institutional abuse in Ireland, will be spelt out in Ireland this week by Margaret Jervis, a legal adviser to the British False Memory Society, which aims to raise public awareness of the dangers of using unscientific methods to recover memories of abuse. “The Irish are great storytellers and many it seems are making extreme allegations,” she said. “The further you go back in years with allegations of abuse, the taller the stories become.” Jervis will travel to Dublin this week to meet a group of people who claim to be victims of false abuse allegations. She will address the group on the issue of “recovered memory” and modern child abuse witch hunts.

The closed meeting on Wednesday will be hosted by (Love), a group of people with positive memories of institutional care who want to defend members of religious orders they believe have been unjustly accused of abuse. Jervis, who compared the thousands of claims of abuse in industrial schools to the “epidemic” of similar allegations prompted by recovered memory therapy in Britain in the early 1990s, said that the scale of alleged abuse in Ireland is incredible.
“It beggars belief that it (the abuse) could have been that bad. The scale of alleged abuse must surely be connected to the open-ended compensation scheme offered by the Irish government and the very broad description of what constitutes abuse. The definition of abuse is beyond belief, and the longer it goes on, the greater the hype”. The government has defined abuse as “the wilful, reckless or negligent infliction of physical injury on, or failure to prevent such injury to, the child”. The extent of the institutional abuse caseload emerged last month when the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, formerly chaired by Justice Mary Laffoy, revealed it was studying 4,128 allegations by 1,712 complainants. Laffoy resigned last September because she believed the inquiry was effectively rendered powerless by the government. The decision by Jervis to address Love’s members has sparked fury among members of Irish-Soca (Survivors of Child Abuse), a support group for victims. It claims the British adviser “knows absolutely nothing about Ireland” and has been drawn into “a nasty black propaganda war against the state’s former child prisoner”. In a letter to Jervis last week, Jim Beresford, a researcher for Irish-Soca, warned that she was “dabbling in the dirtier end of Irish politics”. “The BFMS seems to think that we have all been hypnotised into falsely recalling our history,”said Beresford. “This pathologises us and incriminates us. The false memory society is in fact a false history society”. Patrick Walsh, the UK-based spokesperson for Irish-Soca, also wrote to Jervis last week, asking her to reconsider the engagement. “What does she know about abuse in Ireland?” said Walsh. “She is making comments on a situation in a faraway country which she knows absolutely nothing about. It is quite extraordinary.” Walsh claims members of the Irish group are “dabbling in the black arts of crypto-eugenics”.

Love’s co-founder, angered abuse victims earlier this year when she stated that some former residents of state and religious institutions who received treatment for alcoholism, addictions, depression, and mental illness were genetically predisposed to such conditions. “We were affected before we ever went into institutional care as our own parents couldn’t or wouldn’t take care of us, “said one of the founders of LOVE” The usual cause was that they themselves suffered from mental illness and addictions. While environment is a factor in these conditions, they are also genetic” so had we never been in care we were programmed to go on to develop these conditions.” The debate about compensation being paid to alleged victims of institutional abuse has intensified in recent weeks. A dispute has emerged following allegations by Tom Hayes of the Alliance Victim Support Group, which represents more than 300 former residents, that institutional abuse had created a “cottage industry” of support groups. Jervis said that protests would not deter her from travelling to Dublin and that she felt the correspondence from Soca was “emotionally intimidating”. She added: I’m surprised at the aggressive tone of the group. It is unpleasant to be harassed in that way. What are they so worried about. We are grateful to LOVE for this information……………………………………………..End.

COMMENT: 1
It seems Josef Mengeles HAS left a “legacy” LOVE’S “knowledge of psychiatry” astounds me, for a simple sluice pan emptier she has certainly come a long way, but missed every turning. SO WHAT HAPPENED TO “THIS” CAMPAIGN LOVE? WATCH OUT FOR THOSE “HOLY COWS”!
VICTIM/SURVIVOR OF INSTITUTIONAL ABUSE – DOMICILED IN ENGLAND.

www. factuk.or

Posted by News Editor Tuesday, September 06, 2005

According to Let Our Voices Emerge L.O.V.E. the Alliance Victim Support Group which supports people who claim to have been abused whilst in State care and are now those claiming compensation for abuse through the Irish Redress Board, has today made the surprising move of issuing a statement in support of the L.O.V.E  the charity made up primarily of ex-residential institution pupils came under fire from Victim Support groups when it claimed there were carers in the homes being fraudulently accused of child abuse. They are now seeking legal advice to restore the good name of these people. According to the charity’s founder the cost of the Redress Board compensation system will be far in excess of what true justice requires – the real victims being the taxpayer, the genuinely abused, and the falsely accused.

The Alliance Victim Support Group statement says: It has been difficult for many to accept that there have been so many false claims made about Religious from all Institutions. Human nature been what it is these claims have mainly been made to gain monetary awards and without a thought for the good names and reputations of the individual Religious or the Institutions.As secretary to the Alliance Support Group I have been saddened to know that these false claims continue to be made and in particularly I have been saddened to hear of false claims made against many Christian Brothers and Nuns who I myself knew and whom I respected throughout my many years with them and now. They have every right to seek redress and we would encourage then doing so. We would wish however that their own Religious Orders would persue a policy of vigorously defending their member’s good names and that of their Institutions. They should allow those Religious who were part of these Institutions to speak for themselves as we are doing.They should go further. They should take legal action against those who have clearly made false claims and who have benefited from doing so. Above all they should publish the truth of these institutions if only to balance what the public up to now have not seen. Ends

COMMENT: 2

SEEMS TO ME THAT “SO MANY PEOPLE” HAVE “SO MUCH EVIDENCE” OF “FALSE ALLEGATIONS” THAT IT WOULD KEEP THE GARDAI BUSY FOR SOME CONSIDERABLE YEARS? WHY HAVE THE GARDAI NOT BEEN SUPPLIED WITH THIS “EVIDENCE” THE LATEST REPORT FROM THE REDRESS BOARD, CATEGORICALLY STATES, THAT THERE HAS BEEN ONE ATTEMPTED CASE OF FRAUD, THROUGH FALSE ALLEGATIONS. THATS FROM THE REDRESS BOARD. SO, WHO IS FOOLING WHO HERE. THROUGH THE “SMOKE AND MIRRORS” THE PERTINENT QUESTION TO BE ASKED IS, “WHY WONT THE religious APPEAR AT THE REDRESS BOARD TO DEFEND THE “GOOD NAME” OF THEIR “FALSELY ACCUSED” THATS THE QUESTION, AND THEIR ABSENCE GIVES THE ANSWER! FROM A VICTIM/SURVIVOR OF INSTITUTIONAL ABUSE.

COMMENT:3

Abuse suffered by children raised in Irish industrial schools, often at the hands of the religious running the schools, has been for years a problem hidden in plain sight. On occasion, such as the airing of the 1996 television documentary Dear Daughter, public indignation over stories of abuse sparked calls for government investigation and legal retribution. Public fervor over the issue of abuse, however, quickly waned; the abuse of children raised in industrial schools was acknowledged but essentially ignored. Recent stories of abuse have once again traumatized public conscience and stimulated calls for action. Recriminations against those who “must have known” about abuses but nonetheless turned away extend blame not only on those who committed offenses against children but also on those who dutifully worked within the system. Many accused of offenses, and those implicated for silent acquiescence, are members of the religious orders into whose hands the state remanded thousands of young children for more than one hundred years. Fintan O’Toole has articulated the view held by many that Irish society has for too long ignored its mistreatment of children:

[O]ne of the first tasks of this society in the new millennium will be listening to the survivors of the industrial schools in the Commission to Inquire into Childhood Abuse . . . . Historians have to develop a language for discussing 20th-century Ireland in which words like “slavery”, “concentration camp” and “torture” are not exotic imports but belong in the vernacular. 1
Others–including former inhabitants of industrial schools, educators, and social historians–respond that critics like O’Toole overstate the case in an attempt to discredit the Catholic church. In a letter to the Irish Times, Ray O’Donoghue presents a personal, opposing view of life in an industrial school:…
Last edited by Marie-Therese O’ loughlin (2006-12-13 10:41:56)

#105 2006-12-11 12:37:15 lillith
 Re: From the CrookedLawyers.com Guestbook {2}

The church/Religious orders have sold their souls eons ago. They have nothing to loose now,so they fight with the nails of their toes. This country is great at saying that we make things up,even when we have the evidence. You see, these de-humanised beings got away with it for so long that they find it difficult to believe it. Plus many have convinced themselved that what they did was for the* best*. They are devoid of emotions and have no sense of guilt. Believe me they can make excuses forever. They also have the old Patriarchial system to back them in Government Depts and the old boys club in the Dept of Injustice.

Justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done!’.

Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin #106 2006-12-12 07:21:59
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Legal profession report took 25 years 10 December 2006  By Kieron Wood

Tomorrow’s publication of the Competition Authority’s final report on the legal profession marks the end of almost a quarter of a century of studies of restrictive practices by lawyers.

In the early 1980s, the Minister for Industry, Trade, Commerce and Tourism asked the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) – the forerunner to the Competition Authority – to examine practices which led to increased legal costs and which limited employment opportunities in the legal profession. The commission published its preliminary report in 1984.

The final report, published in March 1990, concluded: “We believe that competition between lawyers would be of significant benefit to the public. We also consider that the interests of lawyers would be best served in a competitive environment. Unless consumers are satisfied that high standards of service are provided at a reasonable cost, the long-term survival and prosperity of lawyers will not be assured.”

Some of the report’s proposals – such as the establishment of a small claims court and the extension of the Circuit Court’s jurisdiction to‚¬ 38,000 – were implemented. But other recommendations – such as a system of common vocational training for solicitors and barristers – were ignored.

Ken Murphy, director general of the Law Society, said solicitors had implemented many of the recommendations of the 1990 rep ort. He said the Law Society had the power to investigate excessive fees, solicitors were required to have mandatory professional indemnity insurance and lay members had been appointed to the complaints committee.

The former chairman of the Competition Authority, Paddy Lyons, who was a member of the group that drew up the FTC report, agreed that solicitors had implemented “quite a number of the recommendations”, but he said that, in relation to the Bar, “there has been virtually no progress. What little change there has been was the first for 400 years, so I suppose we should be grateful”. In 2001, the Competition Authority announced that it was to examine eight professions, including the legal profession.

The authority said it expected to publish its final report in the autumn of 2005, but that date was deferred because of delays in submissions by lawyers’ groups and the resignation of authority chairman John Fingleton. He was succeeded last January by former aviation regulator Bill Pras.

The authority’s preliminary report, published in February 2005, said that high-quality legal services were important to society, “but of limited value if available only to the very rich”. It criticised the legal profession for “serious and disproportionate restrictions on competition”, and made more than 40 proposals for change, most of which are likely to find their way into tomorrow’s final report.

The recommendations included: * abolishing the educational monopolies of the King’s Inns and Law Society;

* removing the ban on direct access by the public to barristers;

* lifting the prohibition on partnerships between barristers and solicitors;

* scrapping restrictions on advertising;

* requiring advance fee information by barristers; and

* changing the taxation of costs system.

But the Competition Authority has no power to enforce any changes recommended in its report. Last April, it was reported that the authority was considering prosecuting the Law Society and the King’s Inns for abuse of their dominant positions in relation to the education of would-be lawyers.

The Law Society is the sole institution responsible for the training of solicitors, while the King’s Inns has the monopoly on training barristers. As part of its preliminary report on the legal professions, the authority gave both institutions until September 30, 2005, to produce guidelines for universities and colleges which wanted to provide training courses for solicitors and barristers. Neither organisation did so, but the authority did not take legal action.

However, the Law Society and the King’s Inns have taken steps to counter criticism of their monopolies. The Law Society has announced a second law school at UCC in Cork, while the King’s Inns is reported to be considering the reintroduction of the part-time course for the Barrister-at-Law (BL) degree.

The Competition Authority itself has been a victim of the restrictive practices in the legal profession. In 2000, the authority advertised for two solicitors to join its staff. When asked why the positions were not open to barristers, an authority spokesman cited the Bar Council rule forbidding barristers to be briefed by other barristers. In contentious cases, barristers may only be instructed by solicitors.

The issue of legal costs will feature strongly in tomorrow’s report. Legal services in Ireland cost more than €1.1 billion a year – almost 1 per cent of total GDP. Speaking at a debate in Trinity College Dublin earlier this year, Minister for Justice Michael McDowell said the issue of legal costs and fees was “subject upon which everyone has something to say”. McDowell said there was a widespread perception that lawyers decided their own incomes by rules which they interpreted and applied.

To help tackle the problem, he set up a legal costs working group in 2004, chaired by Paul Haran, former secretary general of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. The Haran report, published a year ago, recommended setting up a regulatory body to formulate guidelines for fees. That body has not yet been implemented. But the idea of a regulatory body for lawyers is likely to feature in the Competition Authority’s final report. It’s believed that the authors of the report are unhappy that the Law Society and the Bar Council continue to have sole responsibility for regulatory and disciplinary matters.

Although the Competition Authority has no power to enforce the recommendations in its report, the Bar Council and the Law Society are likely to come under increasing pressure to comply with the proposals. But those who expect swift action would do well to consider the Latin motto of the Bar: nolumus mutari – we do not want to change.

Competition body ready to enforce legal profession reform

John Downes

The Competition Authority has warned it will use its powers if necessary to enforce changes to “anticompetitive” practices in the legal profession.

The current monopoly over the training of barristers and solicitors operated by the Law Society and the King’s Inns is among the practices that could be targeted, it is understood. The ways in which fees are calculated by lawyers is another area where the authority could intervene if reforms are not implemented.

The calculation of legal costs on the basis of the size of the transaction involved, rather than the work done, was among the practices criticised by the authority in its final report into the legal profession yesterday.

The report recommends a radical overhaul of the industry, and a more consumer-oriented focus for the profession.

Authority chairman Bill Prasifka stressed it had adopted an “advocacy” approach to the issue of reform. He said the aim was to encourage those involved and the Government to bring about the necessary change. The authority had significant enforcement powers which would be held “in reserve” and implemented if necessary.

The report calls for an end to uninhibited self-regulation by barristers and solicitors, greater transparency in legal fees, and the creation of a new profession of specialist “conveyancers” to help reduce the cost of property transactions. Such work is currently shared between 7, 242 solicitors who are “the only professionals permitted to provide conveyancing services”, the report says.

The report recommends the introduction of new legislation to establish an independent Legal Services Commission with overall responsibility for the profession, and calls for an independent body to set standards and approve institutions which provide legal training.

It says the practice of junior counsel being awarded a fee set at two-thirds of the senior counsel’s fee, without reference to the work done, should cease immediately.

The report states that Irish consumers, businesses and organisations paid just over 1 billion for legal services in 2003, but that competition in the area is “severely hampered by many unnecessary restrictions permeating the legal profession”.

These include restrictions on entry to solicitor and barrister training, which are the subject of a monopoly, the existence of a “highly rigid” business model, and “known anti-consumer practices”. Several of these claims were yesterday rejected by the Law Society and the Bar Council.

A spokeswoman for the Tainaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Michael McDowell, said he will consider the report in the coming weeks.

News : International  Last Updated: Dec 11th, 2006 – 08:22:13

The Irish Independent reports that sweeping changes outlined by a government watchdog today will mean lower legal costs for consumers.

Root-and-branch reforms will radically change the way solicitors and barristers operate.

The reforms, designed to give more power to consumers, is outlined in a report by the Government’s competition watchdog.

Long awaited, the report claims the legal profession is anti-competitive.

The increased competition it demands will help reduce the sort of fees that have helped make legal professionals among the richest in the country.

Homebuyers and sellers are among those who stand to benefit most as the report envisages taking lucrative conveyancing work away from solicitors. It wants a new conveyance profession.

The proposals allow for consumers to buy and sell property without engaging a solicitor.

They also encourage people to shop around for quotes from lawyers and to hire barristers directly.

The Competition Authority also wants solicitors and barristers to stop regulating themselves. And, significantly, it wants to end the monopoly on training lawyers.

Under its proposals, barristers would also be able to advertise their services and form business partnerships.

That would end the long-standing tradition that they operate as self-employed sole traders.

Along with solicitors, they would also have to tender for lucrative state contracts.

The most far-reaching report of its kind will – given the authority’s status – put huge pressure on the Government to carry out its main recommendations.

Key elements include:

* A new profession of qualified conveyancers to break up solicitors’ monopoly on property and land transfers and drive down fees.

* An end to the monopoly held by The King’s Inns and The Law Society in training barristers and solicitors.

* Lawyers to provide estimates of fees and be paid for work done – and not a proportion of their client’s awards.

* An end to junior counsel getting two-thirds of costs charged by senior counsel.

* New transparent monitoring to appoint, monitor and withdraw the title of senior counsel.

While the authority has no power to enforce its recommendations, the report will put further pressure on the legal profession to overhaul its image.

But the legal profession will claim that many of the authority’s final recommendations have already been introduced by the Government and the legal profession itself.

Some of other reforms proposed include establishing an independent body, with a lay majority, to oversee the regulation of barristers and solicitors.

Solicitors could also be appointed as senior counsel and allowed to run “one-stop shops” for clients.

And the report wants the Law Society and the Bar Council to introduce consumer sections on their websites.

Legal services cost more than 1bn a year, almost 1pc of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Earlier, Justice Minister Michael McDowell announced the creation of a legal services ombudsman to oversee the handling of complaints against barristers and solicitors, currently handled by the Bar Council and the Law Society.

The legal ombudsman will also monitor entry to the profession.

But this is not enough for the Competition Authority, which wants new laws to enact a Legal Services Commission to regulate the entire profession.

The authority says the current framework allows anti-consumer practices to flourish and raises conflicts between the commercial interests of lawyers and the interests of consumers.

The level of fees charged by the legal profession has been widely criticised in recent years – largely due to the proliferation of state tribunals, which have produced a small but elite band of law library millionaires.

The fees netted by tribunal lawyers, some of whom are earning more than 2,500 a day, has been a disaster for the public image of barristers.

Solicitors were also damaged this year with revelations that a small number had double-charged victims of institutional child abuse.

The Competition Authority has been highly critical of the manner in which legal fees are structured and set. But that, too, has been addressed by an independent Legal Costs Working Group established by the Government.

As a result of that group’s recommendations, a new regulatory body to issue guidelines on legal charges and to assess disputed costs will be established.

Nine extra judges to be appointedWednesday 13th December 2006

The Tainaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Michael McDowell TD, today announced that he has secured Government approval to bring forward legislation for the appointment of nine extra judges. Two of these judges are to be assigned to the High Court, two to the Circuit Court and five to the District Court.

The additional judges are being appointed to deal with delays and generally speed up the judicial process.

In the case of the High Court, the additional judges will be utilised to minimise waiting periods in the Central Criminal Court and also to fast-track judicial review cases – in particular, review cases arising from major infrastructural projects – thus curbing the growth of judicial review as a delaying tactic.

In the case of the Circuit Court, cases are becoming more complex and, as a consequence, lengthier. The additional judges will speed up the process.

The workload of the District Court is also becoming more complex and lengthy. In particular, additional judges are required in order to fully implement the provisions of the Children Act 2001.

Last edited by Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin (2006-12-15 14:02:04)

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Dail Eireann – Volume 220 – 26 January, 1966

Ceisteanna Questions. Oral Answers. – Industrial Schools.

Mr. Ryan Mr. Ryan

75. Mr. Ryan asked the Minister for Education if he will state for the latest date for which figures are available the number of (a) boys and (b) girls in industrial schools, and the number thereof who (i) have not been convicted of any offence, (ii) have been convicted of offences other than ones relating to non-attendance at school, and (iii) were committed to industrial school because of non-attendance at ordinary schools.

Mr. Colley Mr. Colley

Mr. Colley: There were 1,527 boys and 1,567 girls in the industrial schools on the 30th September, 1965. Of these, 1,293 boys and 1,308 girls were committed by the courts, 25 boys and 96 girls were resident in the schools on a voluntary basis and 209 boys and 163 girls were placed in the schools under section 55 of the Health Act, 1953. Of the children committed by the courts, 1,069 boys and 1,288 girls were not convicted of any offence, 149 boys and 12 girls were convicted of offences other than non-attendance at school and 75 boys and eight girls were committed under the School Attendance Act, 1926.

Mr. Ryan Mr. Ryan

76. Mr. Ryan asked the Minister for Education the number of places for inmates of industrial schools, and their location; and the number of teaching staff in each such school.

Mr. Colley Mr. Colley

Mr. Colley: There are 42 industrial schools.

With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to give the remainder of the information sought in the form of a tabular statement, which will be circulated with the Official Report.

Following is the statement:

227

[227] TABLE showing the location of the 42 industrial schools and the number of teachers on the staff of each school.

NOTE: “In 17 out of the 42 industrial schools, instruction in primary education is given on the premises. In the remainder, the children attend local national schools. Particulars of the teaching staff relate to the schools in the former category.

Number of places available
Number of teachers on the staff.

Recognised national school teachers
Other teachers for extra subjects such as Wood-work, Gardening, Music, Domestic Science and Commercial Subjects

Senior Boys:

Upton, County Cork 300 4 5 Artane 830 11 4 Letterfrack, County Galway 190 4 Salthill 145 6 St. Joseph’s, Tralee 150 2 1 Glin, County Limerick 220 3 Clonmel 200 5 Junior Boys: Passage West, County Cork 80 Killarney 50 Kilkenny (St. Patrick’s) 186 4 1 Drogheda 150 Cappoquin 75 2 Rathdrum, County Wicklow 110 3 2 Girls: Cavan100 Clonakilty 180 2 2 Rushbrooke, Cobh 60 Mallow 80 Sunday’s Well, Cork 200 3 6 Booterstown, County Dublin 96 (a) Goldenbridge, Inchicore, Dublin 207 6 5 Lakelands, Sandymount, Dublin 110 Whitehall, Dublin 100 (a) Loughrea 100 (a) Ballinasloe 100 (a) Clifden 140 3 3 (a) Lenaboy, Galway 88 Killarney 98 3 1 Pembroke Alms, Tralee 85 Kilkenny (St. Joseph’s) 130 3 St. George’s, Limerick 170 St. Vincent’s, Limerick 180 Newtownforbes, County Longford 240 Dundalk 100 Westport 117 (a) Ballaghaderreenm100 (a) Benada Abbey, Ballymote 106 Cashel 125 Dundrum, County Tipperary 80 3 2 Waterford 200, Moate 102 New Ross 100 Wexford 146 (a) These schools have also been certified as fit for the reception of boys of tender years. NOTE: “A number of children detained in Industrial Schools attend Secondary or Vocational schools.

Mr. Ryan Mr. Ryan

77. Mr. Ryan asked the Minister for Education the amount paid weekly by the State or by a local authority in respect of each child in an industrial school.

Mr. Colley Mr. Colley

228

[228] Mr. Colley: Capitation maintenance grant is paid at the rate of 67/6 per week in respect of each child committed to an industrial school. The State’s share is 35/- and that of the local authorities is 32/6.

229

[229] In addition to the capitation grant, my Department pays the entire salaries of the primary teachers employed in the schools and the major part of the cost of the national school buildings concerned. No grant is paid by my Department in respect of children placed in the schools either by private arrangement between parents and the school or by the health authorities. I may add that in the latter case a capitation grant at the rate of 67/6 per week is paid, the amount of the grant being shared equally between the health authorities and the Department of Health.

Dail Eireann 220 Ceisteanna Questions. Oral Answers. Industrial Schools.

Questions

19660126
Dail Eireann – Volume 221 – 24 February, 1966

Ceisteanna Questions. Oral Answers. – Releases from Industrial Schools.

Mr. O’Leary Mr. O’Leary

40. Mr. O’Leary asked the Minister for Education whether any children were released on parole from industrial schools over the past year; if he will give the number and schools; and the number of persons released on parole over the past five years.

Minister for Education (Mr. Colley) George Colley

Minister for Education (Mr. Colley): There is provision in law for the release of children committed to industrial schools on supervision certificate i.e. permission for the child to live with any trustworthy and respectable person willing to take charge of him with liability to the child’s recall to the school at any time. The number of children so released from industrial schools in the calendar year 1965 was 82 and the number in the five years ended 31st December, 1965, 328.

With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to give the numbers released on supervision certificates and the numbers granted leave of absence from each industrial school in the form of a tabular statement which will be circulated with the Official Report.

Following is the Statement:

STATEMENT showing the numbers of youthful offenders and children released on supervision certificates and the numbers granted leave of absence from each industrial school in the years specified.

Industrial School
Calendar Year 1965
5 Years ended 31/12/65

Released on supervision certificates
Granted leave of absence
Released on supervision certificates
Granted leave of absence

Upton 3 60 17 413 Artane 3 155 17 825 Letterfrack 5 71 16 385 Salthill 1 58 4 377 457 458[457][458]Tralee 9 2 121 Glin 2 36 4 185 Clonmel 6 76 23 384 Passage West 8 1 44 Killarney 4 10 9 53 Kilkenny 5 43 17 194 Drogheda 1 11 1 30 Cappoquin 5 1 54 Rathdrum 10 35 21 133 Cavan 2 10 50 Ennis Closed 11 33 Clonakilty 4M2 21 Rushbrooke NM18 1 77 Kinsale Closed 3 0 Mallow 33 150 Sunday’s Well 2 10 2 136 Booterstown 5 81 25 361 Goldenbridge 9 103 40 500 Lakelands 1 75 6 377 Whitehall 40 2 244 Loughrea 5 11 7 26 Ballinasloe 7 1 44 Clifden 3 52 3 232 Lenaboy 20 1 61 Killarney 2 24 7 152 Pembroke Alms 13 5 66 Kilkenny 1 96 1 423 Birr Closed 11 67 St. George’s, Limerick 3 14 12 37 St. Vincent’s, Limerick 1 44 5 167 Newtownforbes 61 35 Dundalk 1 2 3 15 Westport 3 3 3 15 Ballaghadareen 5 22 Summerhill Closed 15 41 Bundoran 2 2 11 Benada Abbey 1 50 1 2 23 Templemore Closed 5 44 Cashel 1 25 1 1 33 Dundrum 2 30 5 144 Waterford 26 2 65 Moate 30 2 141 New Ross 47 Wexford 7 7 82

1,416
328
7,370

Daul Eireann 221 Ceisteanna Questions. Oral Answers. Releases from Industrial Schools.

Questions

19660224

Last edited by Marie-Therese O’ loughlin (2006-12-13 10:27:57)

#108 2006-12-16 06:47:58 Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin
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THIS IS A CHRISTMAS PLEADING TO ALL READERS OF RYS FORUM TO PLEASE CONTACT THE IRISH GOVERNMENT ON MY BEHALF, THANK YOU!

CHRISTMAS 2005 REFRESHER
No Redress for Marie Therese

Aged 18 months, Marie Therese O’Loughlin fell into a blazing fire at a Legion of Mary mother-and-baby unit. Now she is seeking compensation/acknowledgment under the Residential Institutions Redress Board…………………………….. Emma Browne reports
For the past eight weeks Marie Therese O’Loughlin has been camped in protest outside Leinster House in Dublin, surviving on only soup and yoghurt.
She gained three stone in weight in advance of her protest (which started as a hunger strike); she has already lost two-and-half stone. She is protesting to persuade the Government to allow her to seek compensation/acknowledgment under the Residential Institutions Redress Board for injuries she received whilst in the mother and baby unit at the Regina Ceoli Hostel in Dublin in 1952. The unit is not currently on the redress list.

At some point during her second year in the Regina Ceoli hostel, her mother was admitted to hospital with TB. Marie Therese remained at the hostel under the care of the other mothers living there, some as young as 14. It was common practice for one mother to look after the children while the other mothers worked. When Marie Therese’s mother was ill in hospital, Marie Therese’s high chair fell into an “open blazing fire”. She sustained injuries that have left her with scars on her face, hand and leg. To this day she hides her hand from strangers and covers the scars on her face with her hair. Throughout her life, Marie Therese had no idea what caused her injuries. “I grew up with this imagination that somebody was trying to get rid of me.

“I never showed my hand to anyone… if anybody wanted to hold hands with me I pushed them away, I didn’t ever tell anyone I had a bad hand.” It was only when she was 29 and met her mother that she discovered the real cause of her injuries.

Subsequent to her stay at the mother-and-baby unit, Marie Therese went to Goldenbridge, an INDUSTRIAL SCHOOL when she was five years old. “There was a lot of name-calling (one of the names they called her was “scarface”), children were frightened of me, and my deformity was used against me.” During her time in Goldenbridge, Marie Therese made rosary beads: “nobody ever questioned throughout all my years in Goldenbridge [about]my deformity or whether I should or should not have been making rosary beads… no child should have been making them, and especially not a child with a deformity… as far as I am concerned it did untold damage to the tissue”. She describes her time in Goldenbridge as very lonely and unhappy, “I don’t remember ever getting close to anybody, I just can’t remember” Goldenbridge had such a cold atmosphere, I don’t either ever remember people saying nice things.”

After Goldenbridge she went to work as an au pair in Switzerland. This didn’t work out and she was sent back to Goldenbridge for a few months. She moved to London in her late teens and floated around hostels. “Ironically I was rescued by a woman from the Legion of Mary.”

It was in her late 20s, after undergoing counselling, that she began to wonder about her mother. She had grown up believing that her mother was dead as this was what the nuns in Goldenbridge told her. She returned to Dublin to find her mother’s grave. It was then that she discovered that her mother was alive. “I couldn’t understand I said, I am looking for a grave, not a person. I was out of myself, with shock and  horror, they wanted to get a doctor.” She returned to London where her mother tracked her down: “I got a phone call and this woman with a  Irish country accent said ‘I’m your mother’. ‘My mother is dead,’ I said. ‘I’m not that person,’ and she said, ‘you are, you are,’ and she asked me to forgive her, and not to have any recriminations towards her.”

“She [Marie Therese’s mother] found it very hard to talk about [the fire incident], but I did ask questions, and I’m very glad that I did ask questions. I wrote to the REGINA COELI seeking litigation, their solicitor told me I was statute barred, I didn’t even have the education to go to a solicitor myself, I still hadn’t adapted to the outside world.”

In 2000, under a Freedom of Information application, Marie Therese got access to her Goldenbridge files, which included details of her medical history. “I’m actually lucky that it was recorded, and then I was lucky too that I got that information from my mother.”

Marie Therese says that she will continue with her protest outside the Dail until next Christmas if necessary. “When I get bad moments, when I am feeling so isolated and I’m lying down outside the Dail, I think that 18-month-old baby was never acknowledged, was totally and utterly ignored.” She has written more than 300 letters to members of the Government. A number of them“ including Joe Costello, Joe O’Toole, Caoimhghan “Caoilain, Olywn Enright, Jan O’ Sullivan,Joanna Tuffey, Bernard Durkan, Dr. Jimmy Devins, Joe Higgins, Pat Rabbitte, Enda Kenny, Mary Henry, Mary O’ Rourke, Terry Leydon, Jim Gannon, the cross party Oireachtas committee on education, Labour/Fine Gael party and various senators and wonderful  dail staff workers, such as Marie McHale, Marian Gaffney, Mary Ronan, Fionnula, and Orla are supporting her.

Mary Hanafin, Minister for Education and Science, came to visit her once outside, to tell her that she will not be adding the unit to the redress schedule. The Department of Education did offer her counselling for the emotional effects of Goldenbridge. “It’s not sufficient for somebody to have half their fingers almost taken off and for the government officials to say ‘oh yeah we’ll  only deal with the psychological aspects of what happened to you in Goldenbridge'”
Excerpt

Marie Therese later entered the notorious Goldenbridge orphanage/industrial school in Inchicore Dublin when she was almost five years old. She didn’t see her mother {of whom she was told – was dead} again until she was in her late twenties {when she decided to look for her burial ground} To her chagrin & astonishment it was discovered  that her mother was indeed, alive. She {Marie- Therese} was with her when she died in 1990. Despite all the tragic pain, encountering her mother was for Marie-Therese a very thereapeutic experience.

She never knew her father but believes he is from a farming background in Miltown Malbay, Co Clare and would like to contact him. His name is Michael D’arcy, whom she was told by her mother, went to Dublin in his teens. If anybody out there has any knowledge about the D’arcy’s, Marie-Therese would be indebted if information was passed on. Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

CHRISTMAS 2005 – ATTENTION!

Marie-Therese is believed to be staging the longest-ever continuous protest outside the Dail. She would be grateful for any support from the general public. If you are interested, you can please e-mail, in light of the coming May/June 2007 general election, the government will need to be more attuned to the electorate. It would be most appreciative. thanking you.

Main Contact Details for the Departments are as follows.

NB. The Taoiseach, Mr Bertie Ahern & Education & Science, Minister, Mary Hanafin, are the two kingpin players.

Postal Address:

Department of the Taoiseach, Government Buildings, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2
E-mail: webmaster@taoiseach.gov.ie
Phone: 353 1 619 4000
Lo-Call Number: 1890 227 227
Fax: 353 1 619 4258

Contact details for Divisions within the Department

CORPORATE AFFAIRS

e-mail: corpaffairs@taoiseach.gov.ie
Phone: 01 – 6194030
Fax:     01 – 6194259

ECONOMIC POLICY
e-mail: economicpolicy@taoiseach.gov.ie
Phone: 01 – 6194046
Fax:     01 – 6622163

EUROPEAN AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
e-mail: eu@taoiseach.gov.ie
Phone: 01 – 6194123
Fax:     01 – 6621899

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
e-mail: foi@taoiseach.gov.ie
Phone: 01 – 6194154
Fax:     01 – 6194257

GOVERNMENT PRESS OFFICE
e-mail: press.office@taoiseach.gov.ie
Phone: 01 6194033
Fax:   01 – 6763302

GOVERNMENT SECRETARIAT
e-mail: govsec@taoiseach.gov.ie
Phone: 01 – 6194036
Fax:     01 – 6194267

INFORMATION SOCIETY POLICY DIVISION
e-mail: ispu@taoiseach.gov.ie
Phone: 01 – 6194405 / 6194310
Fax:    01 – 6194422

INFRASTRUCTURE
e-mail: infrastructure@taoiseach.gov.ie
Phone: 01 – 6194046
Fax:     01 – 6622163

INTERNAL AUDIT UNIT
e-mail: audit@taoiseach.gov.ie
Phone: 01 – 6194479

MINISTER OF STATE KITT’S OFFICE
e-mail:
Phone: 01- 6194079/80
Fax:      01- 6765757

MINISTER OF STATE TREACY’S OFFICE
e-mail:
Phone: 01- 6194309
Fax:     01- 6194476

PROTOCOL
e-mail: protocol@taoiseach.gov.ie
Phone: 01-6194433
Fax:     01-6194257

PUBLIC SERVICE MODERNISATION
e-mail: bettergov@taoiseach.gov.ie ; betterregulation@taoiseach.gov.ie
Phone: 01-6194090
Fax:     01-6194239
QUALITY CUSTOMER SERVICES
e-mail: customer.service@taoiseach.gov.ie
Phone: 01- 6194116
Fax:     01- 6194258
SOCIAL PARTNERSHIP
e-mail: socialpartnership@taoiseach.gov.ie
Phone: 01-6194322
Fax:     01-6194239

SOCIAL POLICY
e-mail: socialpolicy@taoiseach.gov.ie
Phone: 01- 6194025
Fax:     01- 6622163

TAOISEACH’S PRIVATE OFFICE
e-mail: taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie
Phone: 01-6194020 / 4021 / 4043
Fax:     01-6764048

Mary Hanafin TD Fianna Fail TD for Dun Laoghaire
Minister for Education and Science
Office: Department of Education and Science, Marlborough Street, Dublin 1
Tel: 01-878 8495  Fax: 01-878 8300
E-mail: mary.hanafin@education.gov.ie  Website: www.maryhanafin.ie

Harney refuses to make exception for Dail protestor

15/12/2005
The Ta¡naiste and Minister for Health Mary Harney has said the Government will not allow protestor Marie Therese O’Loughlin, who alleges abuse in a private care home, to have her case heard by the Residential Institutions Redress Board.

Ms O’ Loughlin has been protesting outside the Dail for the past four months seeking to have her case heard by the board.

She says she was abused as a child in a private care home and wants her case heard by the Redress Board.

However, the board’s remit only covers abuse that happened in state-owned institutions.

Pressed about the matter in the Dail today, Ms Harney said the Government would not be making any exceptions.

“We can’t make exceptions for individuals, hard and all as it may seem to be,” she said.

COMMENT: 1

ON the 27th Dec 2005 Mary Harney sent a letter to Jan O’ Sullivan – {Labour Party Opposition Spokesperson on Education} telling her that in July 2005 or thereabouts, she had recommended to Mary Hanafin,{MINISTER FOR EDUCATION and Overseer of the Residential Institutions Redress Board} that the MOTHER AND BABY UNIT, OF THE REGINA COELI HOSTEL go on the schedule. Ex Tanaiste, Mary Harney has been conflictual  throughout her Dail dealings on this matter.
The mother and baby unit was “not a private institution”. The state to this very day “owns the building”, which incidentally, was once “a work house”. Mary Harney tried to delude the electorate into thinking that same was a private enterprise, whilst fully aware that the institution housed/houses and funded/funds the most vulnerable and poor of Irish society. The state says that its hand are tied on this one. To the state I say quite categorically, one of mine is…burned!………The state can untie its hands…….I CANNOT GET A NEW HAND! …Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

CHRISTMAS COMMENT: 2

DAIL EIREANN VIGIL KEEPER

SEEING IT THROUGH IN TENT  UNTIL/ AFTER THE FORTHCOMING ELECTION IN MAY 2007

THE DAIL, LAST THURSDAY, WENT INTO RECESSION AND WILL NOT BE SITTING AGAIN UNTIL THE END OF JANUARY 2007.
THE ONLY PERFORMANCE GOING ON PRO TEM WILL BE THE OIREACHTAS COMMITTEE MEETINGS/CABINET MEETINGS WHICH ARE ONGOING IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT ARE IN FEAT OR NOT. THE POLITICAL SHOP PER SAY DOES NOT CLOSE UP, OVERALL. OH, AND NOT FORGETTING TO BOOT THE INCALCULABLE CHRISTMAS PARTIES THAT WILL BE STIRRING BY THE NEW TIME – WHICH IS AN IMPERATIVE PART OF POLITICS! THE ELECTORATE WOULD READILY FORGIVE ME FOR OCCASIONALLY MISTAKING THE EXTRAVAGANT DAIL HABITATION FOR THAT OF THE SHELBOURNE HOTEL AS ALL TOO OFTEN INTOXICATED CONFOUNDING/PAINFUL DIVIDUALS PERPETUALLY SURFACE AT HOLIDAY TIMES.
I AM BY NOW A VETERAN HARDENED WEATHERED GOOD ‘JUDGE’ OF THE COMINGS AND GOINGS OF DAIL LIFE AS I AM NOW ACCURATELY FOURTEEN MONTHS OUSIDE THE GATES OF LEINSTER HOUSE  I AM literally. “LOITERING WITH-IN-TENT ON JUSTICE”.
I DO NOT INTEND MOVING ON “I AM IN-TENT” ON “SEEING IT THROUGH” UNTIL JUSTICE IS SEEN TO BE DONE. IT IS MY CONSTITUTIONAL AND DEMOCTATIC RIGHT, AS IT ALSO IS THAT OF EVERY “SINGLE” CITIZEN OF IRELAND.  {ONE LONE PROTESTER IS AS IMPORTANT AS 50,000} EVEN IF MEANS HAVING TO GREET THE NEXT GOVERMENT – WHO WILL INEXORABLY BE ELECTED NEXT MAY. LAST CHRISTMAS I ENDURED TEMPERATURES AS LOW AS MINUS 8 DEGREES, THE WIND FACTOR BROUGHT THEM DOWN, TO APPROXIMATELY, MINUS 15, AND IT WAS PRETTY TOUGH. BUT IT DID NOT DISSUADE THE MOTIVATION AND STRENGTH WITHIN. THE FORTITUDE IS STILL AS BRAWNY AS IT WAS FROM WHENCE THE PROTEST BEGAN.  I INTEND “SEEING IT THROUGH” TO THE VERY END COME HELL OR HIGH WATER! MY MOTTO THEN, WAS: “I WILL BE OUTSIDE THE DAIL UNTIL CHRISTMAS 2006 IF NEEDS BE!” SADLY TO SAY, MY INTUITIVE NATURE ACCURATELY PRE-EMPTED THIS CHRISTMAS SCENARIO!

I WAS UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES ACCREDITED OR TIME-HONOURED BY ANY PERSON IN AUTHORITY AS A CHILD, BUT THEN I HAD NO VOICE
I DO NOW AND I AM TAKING GAIN FROM IT. I WOULD NOT ADVOCATE MY WORST ENEMY TO DO WHAT I AM UNDERTAKING, IT IS NOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED. I LIVED, AS A CHILD, A VERY HARSH SUBSISTENCE IN GOLDENBRIDGE INDUSTRIAL SCHOOL SO ADVERSITY IS ZILCH TO ME.

THIS XMASTIDE/NEW YEAR 2005….. I ASK RYS FORUM READERS TO PLEASE CONTACT THE ABOVE ON MY BEHALF…..  NAMELY, THE TAOISEACH, AND MARY HANAFIN, MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND EXPRESS YOUR OPINIONS. IT WOULD BE MOST  DEEPLY APPRECIATIVE.
MANY THANKS!  ‘HAPPY CHRISTMAS’ TO ONE AND ALL! Marie-Therese O’Loughlin.
PLEASE CLICK VIEWCARD FOR NICE SURPRISE!

http://www.jacquielawson.com/viewcard.a … 8278556520

I wish Michael E Hanahoe, Tony Hanahoe, Michael Farrell, David McGrath SC, Linda, Gentle Anne, and Margaret Rice,
Nollaig shona duit (Happy Christmas to you Beannachtai na Nollag (Christmas Greetings)
Athbhliain faoi mhaise duit (Prosperous New Year) Bliain
Thanks for your support, it is most appreciated. From: Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.
“BREAKING NEWS”  Announcement  Friday, 22nd December 2006  + RESIDENTIAL INSTITUTIONS REDRESS BOARD

It is with profound regret that the Board announces the death, today, 22nd December 2006 of its Chairman, the Honourable Mr. Justice Sean O’Leary. The Board wishes to extend its deepest sympathy to Judge O’Leary’s wife, Mary, and to his family.

Past abuse evident to all with eyes to see.
The public response to the recently transmitted States of Fear documentaries bears a remarkable resemblance to the careful, dissembling responses of – sterling reputations for piety and compassion notwithstanding – some of those supposedly responsible individuals whose inaction in the face of obscenity is now highlighted for all to see.

It is as if we knew nothing about the abuse of children in State-run institutions before Mary Raftery’s series was transmitted. Oh, we declare, if only we had had a Mary Raftery back then to tell us the truth, then we could have done something.

States of Fear made its case with great sincerity and precision, but its essential content has been common knowledge in this society for a long time. For more than 20 years there has been a parade through the media of high-profile former inmates of our industrial school system, all seeking to draw our attention to their experiences.

There have been a number of fine books, in particular those of Mannix Flynn and Paddy Doyle, in which the facts were outlined in a manner at least as compelling as in States of Fear.
The image which gripped the nation from the opening programme of the series was of a brother beating and sexually abusing a boy in front of his class. The opening chapter of Paddy Doyle’s The God Squad, published in 1988, contained a similar account of a public beating of him by a nun. Later in the book he described being sexually abused by the same nun. Why did this not fill us with the same horror as States of Fear?.

The answer, it should be obvious, is that, even in adulthood, those victims whose childhoods were so discounted as to be regarded as worthless were not highly valued. It is rare for victims of horrendous physical or sexual abuse to climb to the dizzy heights of societal power.
So when, on foot of this recent series, a commission of inquiry is established and the Taoiseach apologises “on behalf of the State and its citizens”, we need to ask ourselves: why now rather than before?.

One factor, obviously, is that the status of children has changed for the better. In the past, parents, guardians and teachers were regarded as having rights of ownership over children. Today children’s rights are at a premium in the society, at least at the level of public platitude. This has enabled public outrage to reach levels which the culture did not previously allow for.

Another aspect is that there is often in such matters a time lag between public consciousness and official admittance. It is not that the scales have suddenly been lifted from the eyes of those in power, rather that, as a result of the altered public mood, those in power have reached the point where there is more to be lost by continuing to deny than by beginning to acknowledge.

Most citizens of this State have long since known that industrial schools were appalling places. Thirty-five years ago the threat of Letterfrack was one of the most effective instruments with which to subdue an unruly child’s spirit. Those who had eyes to see, had every opportunity to be aware that the spirit of Irish Catholicism had long since flown the coop. The dissonance between the ruling piety and the spiritual vacuum that was the true character of Irish religiosity caused many to walk away from the church.
Only now, it appears, when sufficient slack has been provided by the wave of scandals involving church personnel, can the broader span of Irish society give itself the freedom to be outraged. This places in context why, as Mary Raftery has pointed out, we seem willing to admit to abuse in the distant past, but not to that of recent times, still less that which may still be going on.

Our latter-day zeal about dealing with these matters has little to do with protecting children. It has, of course, a great deal to do with our pretence about caring for children, but that is a rather different matter. We welcome these dissections of the past, because the past has been rendered safe by our relentless prejudice about it.
Whistle-blowers on the past require, of course, to be in tune with the pretences of the present, but they also, ideally, need to be offering more than harmony with the platitudinous consensus. This kind of whistle-blowing delivers a number of things: one, it helps us to achieve that which is desired in the present (in this case a few more kicks at the departing backside of the Catholic Church); and two, it feeds our present-centred superiority over the ignorance of the past. Exposing injustice is all very well, but it is so much sweeter if it can be employed to score off a few demons.

The Sheedy case was pursued with such zeal, for example, not because of any great sense of an objective injustice (far worse things happen every day), but because there was a strong smell of a Fianna Fail connection.

Abuse is a symptom of power, but power is rarely made accountable until it is on the wane. By definition, power is accountable only to itself, and so it is the whistle-blower rather than the abuser who tends to get punished. This is why whistle-blowers who report what happened to them as children can in the 1980s be dismissed and 10 years later, when the church is in decline, be met with gasps of horror on relating precisely the same experiences.
Our society today is no more hospitable to whistle-blowing on the present than Irish society of 40 years ago. The last thing we want is that somebody start drawing attention to abuses in or close to the now.
In 10 or 20 years, I have no doubt, enterprising television producers will make documentaries about Irish psychiatric hospitals, or the family court system, or the quality of life in our urban ghettoes, and Irish society will again give itself the right to be outraged.
But if we stop to think, most of us know victims of all these tyrannies today. We accept such obscenities as part of the furniture of our society. Why? Because, just as the lives of children were discountable in the past, the lives of marginalised parents, mental patients or the dispossessed are discountable in the present.
Our desire to create present reality is equalled only by our desire to deconstruct and discredit the past. We will die in denial about the reality of the present but have no vested interest in protecting the past. Apart from an arid collection of “facts” in history books and a few dog-eared files in public libraries, the past has no media in which to make its case.

It provides, however, a ready stock of demons, many conveniently deceased. The present is less expendable than the past, being held together by many compromises, vested interests and loyalties, the very things which the whistleblower endangers. To inquire too closely into the present would not be containable in the manner of even the most rigorous examination of yesteryear. We might have to stand for something. We might have to confront those who make us afraid. We might have to grow up. Mick Waters The Irish Times.

Last edited by Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin (2007-01-07 09:17:35)

#109 2006-12-27 12:34:43 Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin
 Re: From the CrookedLawyers.com Guestbook {2}

The Goldenbridge Secret Rosary Bead Factory Copyright,  {Butterflies and Wheels.}
Click here if you want to print, or adjust the appearance, of this article

By Marie-Therese O’Loughlin

Making rosary beads

From the middle 1950s to the late 60s, after *school* at 4pm, children from the age of six were issued one slice of bread and margarine and then sent into St. Bridget’s classroom to make rosary beads. The classroom did duty as a mini-factory for the manufacture of rosary beads.

Each day of their lives children had to reach a quota of sixty decades and twelve threes. The task of rosary bead making is a very skilled one, and it required strict deliberation. Beads are strung onto a length of wire and are looped into the relevant beads very intricately, with the aid of heavyweight pliers. There were variations in the thickness of the wire. Silver wire, even though thin was very lustrous and burnished; it was hard to grapple and would flutter all over the place it was that temperamental. If the wire got crooked as we worked it, we positioned the wire under our sandals then impressed on it with the back of our sandals and with the aid of the pliers gripped at wire endings. Children pulled the wire towards them to straighten it.

The holes of pearl beads were very small, which made them an unqualified blight to work with. Silver wire, which was very costly, was exclusively used for the pearl and other such types of beads. Twisting loops with pliers into pearl beads was a thorny ordeal. Children cried at the painful prospect of having to work with these convoluted beads and wire.

Thick wire was used for beads with big holes. This wire consistently ripped into the skin and it resulted in deep indentation marks in the left index fingers and inside of the right palms. The hands got black from sweat and the coated substance that was on the wire. More energy was required in the making of these beads as the cutting with pliers of the thick wire was more demanding. It was very hard for small children who found the practice of cutting wire overwhelming. Not a soul gave a damn. The sizes of pliers never changed with the age of the child, the same size was used at six and at sixteen.

Irish horn beads were bockety [crooked, irregular] and came in various sizes and holes, which made them extra difficult to work with. The glass beads were lethal, as they splintered or fractured with the pressure of the pliers encountering the hole; the splinters then sprayed into the eyes of the child worker.

Life in the factory

We raced each other and tried to be in rivalry in seeing who would get their quotas done first. The beads were placed in discoloured pewter-like cans on grey padded desks; the cans could be toppled over if the loser so determined . We bartered ‘stolen’ bread, dessert or personal favours (we had no property, toys, books, or anything else to trade) for help with the bead making. Cronies helped children that they had a ‘gra’ for; it paid to be liked in Goldenbridge and if you were not you paid dearly.

Children often got temperamental and turned on each other. On the spot punishment by staff was an everyday event. Children had to stand on a cold landing (sometimes barefoot and wearing only slips) during the night for punishment. They were relentlessly flogged with thick bark from a tree by the nun in charge, if, for example, they had not fulfilled their quota of rosary beads in the factory. A quantity of older children worked on the quota for whole nights, wearing sleeveless nightdresses and no sandals.

Children from the lower echelons of Goldenbridge were always issued an assortment of leftover beads and wire which fallen on the floor during the week. The children had no alternative but to do their mandatory quota with this mish-mash despite the added technical hitches.

We constantly rocked backwards and forwards in our desks as we worked. This had a dual purpose: self-soothing, and hurrying to get the work finished. It always achieved its aim. We could block out everything. We also resorted to this type of behaviour collectively with other children at the same time, as we always had the idea that we would get our work done faster. Rocking, banging heads, sucking thumbs and fingers, also occurred when we decided to give ourselves a break for a few minutes.

Children didn’t have to leave St. Bridget’s all that often to go to the toilet as no liquids were allowed from approximately 8am breakfast time, unless children drank from the toilet cisterns and bowls.

Children as young as six had for hours on end to pick up beads and wire, which unavoidably fell on the floor. The particles of wire that carpeted the floor of the factory always presented a danger. St Bridget’s floor was strewn with beads; it was a job trying to gather them up from the floor. Some children landed up in hospital because they had put beads in their ears. Nutty flat brown beads were habitually chewed and swallowed by them, as a white coconut-like substance therein was very edible. Some children swallowed these beads just for the sheer sensation. The silver wire, employed by children in the making of pearl rosary beads, was continually blocked during the process, because of the stuffed holes on its journey through the bead holes; this caused huge problems. Children prodded or bit at them to release white contents when making these particular beads.

Younger children huddled for hours under benches stringing beads onto the tail end of wire for older girls. They were so bored and exhausted that they fell asleep. This was life in the Goldenbridge secret rosary bead factory.

No one to turn to

There were no empathetic staff in the institution that one could turn to for guidance or help. There was not any person of a sympathetic nature that I could importune with to ask if I could be let off the hook. There were no rules in place for us to exert our human rights. Children apprehensively obeyed without query. Fear continuously permeated all around, it was part and parcel of our lives in Goldenbridge.

There was immeasurable pressure on the children to reach mandatory targets. Children were punished there and then on the spot; they were pinched on the arms, or they got a dig of the pliers if they didn’t produce the prearranged amount on time; beads were flung back at them if there was deemed to be a fault.

The nervous tension haunted every day of our lives. We had not a solitary human being we could unburden our hearts to, we had to keep everything to ourselves; children would go into convulsions to rid themselves of pent-up anger. They inwardly knew there was something wrong with their lives. Children had to remain silent and conduct themselves like miniature nuns, offering up their young lives to a God that was never experienced as real. Children never got sick leave either, which factory workers generally do get.

After Work

At 6pm each evening the Angelus bell rang. Everyone lined up in the corridor to say it, then entered the Dining Hall to repeat more prayers: Bless us O Lord, and these thy gifts which of thy bounty we are about to receive through Christ our Lord, Amen. The gifts the children received day in and day out were two slices of smelly mouldy bread and a cup of black sugarless cocoa. Mother Catherine McCauley looked down upon them as they ate their pathetic meal. Little ones were still famished when they got up from the tables.

From noon until 8 the following morning, three slices of bread and one cup of cocoa were the staple diet. This derisory meal was expected to foster and sustain hard-working growing children. Oliver Twist would have felt at home. Having completed evening responsibilities children returned to the sweatshop to finish slaving at the third world job.

Morning at Goldenbridge

The children got up at six o’clock each morning. A staff member who grew up in the institution stormed into the dormitories and switched on the lights and roared ‘Get out of those beds immediately!’ If a child hesitated at all the bed covers were flung across the floor, if a child became even more stubborn, as often happened, the mattress with the child was toppled over onto the floor. We then had to make our beds to hospital standards.

Goldenbridge housed on average two hundred children, which included infants and babies; a good percentage of them were infants, babies and toddlers. I remember clearly, at 6:30 in the mornings, when I was eleven years old or thereabouts having to go to St Joseph’s babies/infants dormitory. I had to dress the toddlers. It was normal for some of them to have slept in their own excrement. When I took them from their destroyed beds, I found it so upsetting as they were always covered from head to toe in excrement. They were shivering and were all colours of the rainbow as they stood there waiting to be cleaned. I had to use the clean corners of the destroyed sheets. The only place to get water was from a very small toilet bowl. I dipped the sheet in the bowl and then cleaned the children. The whole dormitory which was a dark dank cold place stank to high heaven. The head honcho of the Sisters of Mercy at this time of morning was up in the convent saying her prayers. The sheets were placed in a soiled open sheet, and with the help of another child we carried them down to the school laundry. There were other sheets there from the Sacred Heart dormitory.

Children like myself who had no family visitors, or big girls who wet the bed, were given the grotesque taks of handwashing the sheets in cold water in the laundry.

This story, like that of the rosary beads, can be properly told only by those who were hidden in Goldenbridge, the ones who were imprisoned behind the doors, who were the lowest on the rungs of the institutional Goldenbridge ladder. Bernadette Fahy, author of Freedom of Angels, or Christine Buckley who appeared in the documentary ‘Dear Daughter,’ would not have been doing this despicable job, as they were both allowed to go to outside school.

Saturdays

On Saturday morning children worked like slaves doing hard maintenance jobs. The whole institution was scrubbed and polished from top to bottom , all done on bended knees.

Saturday afternoons children went to the factory to do time and a half. This entailed producing ninety decades and fifteen threes. Every week beads had to be equipped and organised for Walsh’s Factory outside Rathfarnham. Older children stayed up until all hours checking and rechecking beads. The beads had to be in perfect arrangement. Sixty decades and twelve threes of concluded decades of rosary beads were looped by the fatigued workers onto a stretch of circular looped or hooked wire approximately twelve inches long. Two decades were then held up parallel to each other and methodically examined, till the whole batch of sixty passed the test; this was repeated till all were examined.

Through years of familiarity, older girls could differentiate instantaneously those decades of beads that were erroneous. If there were mistakes such as inconsistencies in the tension of beads, this resulted in lengths not squaring up with each other or beads not nestling correctly together because they were crooked and out of order. This at once rendered the batch defective. All hell let loose, and the staff were on the warpath. ‘If I get my hands on you, I will leave you black and blue,’ echoed all round. Finally during the course of the night, the children filled brown boxes with batches of decades – the culmination of the hard work of very young people.

Conditions

The government paid capitation grants to the religious for the children’s upkeep, yet they were behind locked institutional doors all their childhood, doing factory work unbeknown to the Inspector Mrs McCabe, their parent or parents, and holy Irish society.

Children did not get any superfluous food from the nuns or staff for all the quadruple over-time that they were busied with. On the contrary, the staff requested children to fill hot water bottles for the nuns in charge. This indeed, was considered an honour. A cruel, cruel system prevailed in Goldenbridge Industrial School, Inchicore, Dublin, Ireland.

No outsiders were aware of all of this or if they were, they too did not care. A local woman, employed by the nuns in the latter part of the sixties, had to oversee the whole rosary beads making process. She was not a very strict woman – thank God. Children dreadfully needed some normality and sanity in their lives.

It is ironic that whilst children were doing this third world drudgery behind closed institution doors, the religious were perpetually collecting money for children in Africa.

In Goldenbridge Industrial School, the children produced rosary beads at a phenomenal rate. This factory work went on for a generation. Walsh’s of Rathfarnham were conspiring with the Sisters of Mercy in this racket. The whole of holy Ireland were buying their pompously labelled Made by Irish Cailini Rosary Beads’ from an assortment of religious outlets and holy places such as Knock Shrine. Did the populace at large ever know that children with abnormalities, severe injuries, orphans, vulnerable children who were wrongfully incarcerated (without their consent), who developed welts and deep cuts which frequently bled – were the ones responsible for their production? Blood sweat and tears and a scant once yearly fee of 2/6d was the recompense children received.

The Sisters of Mercy were in breach of the 1935 Employment Act and that too of the 1908 Children Act (Industrial Schools).

Luxury

An antiquated radio and a 98 record player were perched on a high ledge in St Bridget’s Classroom; they were solely for the pleasure of the nun in charge. John McCormack duly serenaded children with the ˜Last Rose of Aughrim” a song about consumption and death.

I imagine the holy people of this island of saints and scholars hadn’t a notion as to what was going on inside the bitter austere inhospitable labour camp called Goldenbridge, as children were imprisoned there and visitors weren’t ever allowed past the porch hall. To think of all the rosary beads that went to the graves of people who had no idea of the stories behind them.

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COMMENT

Ophelia,
Thank you very much. I really do not know what to post. You did an excellent job on same. It gives me immense satisfaction seeing such a thorn in my flesh {metamorphosing the metamorphoses} realising itself and taking positive shape. Rebirth!
A cartharsis, purification or purgation of the emotions will primarily through this article bring about a spiritual renewal and release long term tension and pent up anger. It will hopefully also bring about an elimination of a complex by bringing it to consciousness and affording it expression. Slan agus beannacht, Marie-Therese 0′ Loughlin.

Last edited by Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin (2006-12-28 12:53:48)

#110 2006-12-28 12:51:44 Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin
Re: From the CrookedLawyers.com Guestbook {2}

RE: RESIDENTIAL INSTITUTIONS REDRESS BOARD.
State will pay 1bn to abuse victims. Thursday December 28th 2006

ABUSE victims have received more than 580m in compensation from the Residential Institutions Redress Board so far.

The payments, at an average of 71,000 each, have been made to almost 6,900 people who suffered physical, sexual or mental abuse while attending State or church-run institutions.

The Comptroller and Auditor General has estimated the final cost of the scheme at 1.1bn.

This means that the State may pay more than 10 times the amount the Catholic Church handed over as part of a deal reached in 2002. Some 18 religious congregations which managed the orphanages and industrial schools paid 128m in return for an indemnity against future legal actions by former residents.

In its latest newsletter, the Board said it had made 5,256 offers so far to victims following settlement talks and 1,567 awards. There were no awards in 345 cases, due mainly to the fact that the residential institution at the centre of the claim was not covered by the board. So far, just one person has been referred to gardai on suspicion of making a false claim – and no criminal prosecution is being pursued in this case.

Around 488m has been paid out in direct compensation to victims, and legal costs are running at around 20pc of the awards. This brings the total figure to more than 585m.

The Board is only half way through its work. It had a setback with the death of its chairman Judge Sean O’Leary last week.

The Board said it had received thousands of extra applications before last year’s December deadline.

Another 166 applications have been received since the deadline passed, but the Board has the discretion to accept them if there are exceptional circumstances.

Michael Brennan © Irish Independent

111 2006-12-31 14:16:36 Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin
 

Re: From the CrookedLawyers.com Guestbook {2}

No change to definition of the family in children’s rights poll

December 30, 2006

Carl O’Brien, Social Affairs Correspondent, and Miriam Donohoe, Political Staff

Wed, Dec 27, 2006

The Government is to avoid changing the constitutional definition of the family in the planned referendum on children’s rights because of fears it could spark a divisive campaign over parents’ rights being undermined.

Instead, the wording for the referendum is likely to include two amendments to the Constitution which would strengthen a child’s right to be protected from mistreatment and lower the threshold for State intervention to protect a child from abuse.

The proposed changes are likely to result in an increase in the number of children being placed in State care or transferred to the care of other family members.

Meanwhile Minister for Children Brian Lenihan has confirmed to The Irish Times that he will meet Catholic Church representatives in mid-January to discuss a referendum wording.

He said he had already completed preliminary consultations with all the political parties, as well as children’s rights groups.

“A very general goodwill has been extended to proposals to have a referendum on strengthening the position of children in the Constitution,” he said.

The Minister said he was anxious to consult with all the churches and different faith groups. He had met Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin Dr John Neill before Christmas “and had good preliminary discussions”.

In mid-January, he will meet the Catholic Church’s Episcopal Conference.

Mr Lenihan said he did not want to pre-empt the likely shape of a wording at this stage but said once he had met the Catholic Church, he would then be putting together concrete proposals that he hoped to have finalised by the end of January.

The Irish Times understands that even though the constitutional definition of the family – which refers to a family’s “inalienable and imprescriptible rights” – has been identified as a barrier to the State intervening in cases of alleged child abuse, the Government will avoid changing it. Government sources say they fear such a move could lead to accusations that the State was undermining the status of the family and reducing parents’ rights.

Senior sources say the referendum is likely to propose:

Inserting a provision into Article 40, which deals with personal rights, affording all children, whether from marital or non-marital families, protection from mistreatment and abuse.

At present children’s rights are not recognised in this section of the Constitution.

Lowering the threshold for the State to intervene in cases where the welfare of a child is under threat by amending Article 42.5.

At present, this article states that such intervention can only take place in “exceptional cases” where parents fail their children as a result of “physical or moral reasons”.

Meanwhile, it is not clear yet whether a referendum will address legal issues arising from the statutory rape crisis earlier this year. Government ministers said the plebiscite could also reinstate the legal status quo, which prevented an adult from claiming “honest mistake” for sexual activity involving a child.

However, more recently, senior sources have signalled that the Government is wary of addressing this area over fears it could re-ignite controversy over plans to set the legal age for sexual consent at 16.

No decision has yet been made whether to drop these plans, senior Government sources say.

Mr Lenihan said his discussions with the parties to date had touched on areas other than a proposed referendum and included the wider issue of child protection and child welfare.

“We examined provisions in articles 40 and 41 and 42 of the Constitution and the whole question of ensuring when children are in care in the adoption process, their best interests are secured.” © 2006 The Irish Times
CHILD REFERENDUM IS EXPECTED IN MARCH. 2007

Lenihan Briefs Hierarchy.

There would be no question of any of the proposed amendments interfering with the core rights of the family already enshrined in the Constitution, representatives of the Catholic hierarchy were assured yesterday.

The Minister of State for Children, Brian Lenihan, met representatives of the Catholic hierarchy as part of consultations on the Government’s proposed referendum enshrining children’s rights in the Constitution.

The meeting came as the detail of the proposed referendum is to be finalised in the coming weeks and will be brought to Cabinet at the end of the month or in early February for approval before being published.

In a meeting described as “constructive and cordial” by both sides, Mr Lenihan outlined verbally the Government’s reasoning behind the amendments, and its current thinking on how the amendments should be made.

The wording has yet to be finalised, but in general it will seek to strengthen the position of children, who currently enjoy limited specific rights. Officials describe the proposals as “a recalibrating and a rebalancing” of rights.

The bishops are understood to have sought further information from Mr Lenihan on the specific detail of the proposed constitutional amendments, and further talks and contact are expected between both groups.

Yesterday a spokeswoman for Mr Lenihan said the meeting with the bishops was a “constructive, cordial meeting”.

The bishops’ delegation was headed by Bishop Colm O’Reilly of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise and Bishop Leo O’Reilly of Kilmore. Mr Lenihan’s spokeswoman said it was planned to finalise the wording with a view to bringing it to Cabinet for approval by the end of the month.

A referendum is expected in March….Liam Reid

Last edited by Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin (2007-01-16 09:40:57)

#112 2007-01-01 15:49:24 Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin
 

Re: From the CrookedLawyers.com Guestbook {2}

Caoimhgai­n O’ Caolain: Information Zoom  The Taoiseach is aware, as is every member of the Dail and the Seanad and as are people throughout the country, that a woman has been protesting outside this institution day and night for several months, making what I and many see as a courageous stand for justice. She is undoubtedly an exceptional woman. If anyone took the time to stop and talk with her, that would be confirmed.

Marie Therese O’Loughlin confirms that she was a victim of neglect and serious injury in what has become known as the Morning Star hostel in Dublin. She alleges she was disgracefully ill-treated as a child in that institution. However, she has been denied access to the redress process because the Government deemed that the so-called Morning Star hostel does not fall within the remit of the residential institutions redress board.

Last evening I received a letter from the Taoiseach, comprising a cover note with an accompanying letter from the Department of Health and Children, having raised the matter of Marie Therese O’Loughlin’s case with him. The letter from the Department of Health and Children states clearly that the Regina Coeli hostel, which is the same institution as that referred to popularly as the Morning Star, was subject to inspection and regulation by the Department of Health and Children. It states that a search of files related to the Regina Coeli hostel revealed that there was evidence of an inspection or regulatory function by the Department in regard to the hostel.

This information was previously rejected here. In this correspondence, the Department of Health and Children has confirmed that as far back as April 2005 it advised the Department of Education and Science that there was an inspection responsibility and it was carried out. The letter also states that as far back as April 2005, the Department of Health and Children asked the Department of Education and Science to consider including this institution under the Residential Institutions Redress Act, a step that would allow Marie Therese the opportunity of stating her case before the board, seeking redress and to at last be heard.

The Department of Education and Science continues to refuse what the Department of Health and Children as far back as April 2005 commended to that Department. There is a scandal here where justice is being denied to an unfortunate woman. Will the Taoiseach intervene directly in this matter? Will he ensure through his good offices that the Department of Education and Science takes the appropriate steps in order that this poor woman’s case can be properly heard and that her health and well-being continuing at risk outside the gates of this House are recognised, addressed and served by an immediate answer?

The Taoiseach: Information Zoom  I answered this question and I have sent correspondence to Deputies on this case. Marie Therese O’Loughlin is a fine person. Most Members of the House at one stage or another have spoken to her. Many officials have also spoken to her and to me regarding this case over many months. I answered questions on the detail of the case.

#113 2007-01-03 15:00:46 Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin
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Supreme Court judges must show ‘spirit of independence’

3rd  January  2007

When Mr Justice Sean O’Leary realised he was going to die, he took the unusual step of setting down some thoughts on the administration of justice with the instruction that they were not to be published until after his death. Sean O’Leary died at Cork University Hospital on December 22nd

As a judge of the High Court and chairman of the Residential Institutions Redress Board, this statement has been dictated for public circulation

contemporaneous with my death.

Unfortunately circumstances prevent me from participating in the usual “valedictory” exchanges on the departure of a judge where each side of the legal profession can express true feelings with regard to the manner in which the office holder has conducted his or herself.

It has been a privilege (perhaps equalled only by my time as Lord Mayor of Cork) to hold the offices of judge of the Circuit and High Court.

I thank those members of the Bench who were helpful to me both at Circuit Court and High Court level. I thank the practitioners and record my deep sorrow that the duty fell upon me to deny any person their liberty no matter how objectively it may have been justified.

There are a number of trends that emerged during my period on the Bench to which I must, in fairness, make reference.

Many lawyers with brilliant minds have been appointed to positions of importance and will no doubt, in due course, make significant contributions towards the administration of justice, which is the true purpose of the legal system. Unfortunately, this transition will take time and there are three areas of particular concern to which I would draw attention as I depart from the Bench.

They all share one common thread, that is, a harsh, populist approach to those persons who stand accused of socially unacceptable crimes. There appears to be a failure by the courts, up to and including in particular the Supreme Court, to vindicate the legal rights of the morally undesirable or socially unacceptable. The trend is toward the denial of rights of those who George Bernard Shaw characterised as “the undeserving poor” and the emphasis on the rights on those who fall into more populist categories.

Three examples will suffice.

(1) The failure of the Supreme Court to support the judgment of the High Court in the case of A v The Governor of Arbour Hill Prison dealing with the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1935. A careful examination of the reasons given by the Supreme Court is outside the scope of this statement, suffice to say that the earlier judgments of the Supreme Court dealing with the 1935 Act had established that the offence of which Mr A was convicted was not and never had been an offence under Irish law after the enactment of the Constitution.

The lengths to which the Supreme Court went to obfuscate the fact that the continued detention of a prisoner in an Irish jail (in fact the re-arrest of a released prisoner) for an offence that did not exist in law at the date of his conviction, smacks of an attempt to curry favour with a potentially hostile media.

Incidentally, in this case the focus of both Opposition and media on some perceived failure by the Minister for Justice or the Attorney General was unfair as neither of these persons were in any way responsible, in my view, for the difficulty that arose solely out of an earlier decision of the Supreme Court.

(2) The second example relates to the granting of representation to persons who stand “accused” before tribunals of inquiry. Though, in theory, “legally sterile”, the findings of fact have profound effects on peoples’ lives. The case of the Morris tribunal and Supt (Kevin) Lennon’s appearance is a good example of unfairness.

Irrespective of the technical reasons for Supt Lennon’s removal from An Garda Síochána, it was the unfavourable findings arising from the Morris tribunal that sealed his fate. The failure of both the Oireachtas and the courts to grant him legal representation pitted him, unrepresented, against some of the best qualified lawyers in the country. There is no criticism intended of Mr Justice Morris, who (as a retired judge) has but the status conferred on him by the terms of his appointment. He must obviously apply the law as it is presently understood.

Supt Lennon may have erred in the course of his duty and certainly was a focus of unpopularity, but the duty of the law is to be fair to all and not to limit its protection to those who are seen to represent popular causes.

(3) The courts have, in my view, contributed to the last of the three examples of interference with the rights of the individual by the awarding of excessive damages for personal injuries over the years. This has led to a justifiable campaign leading to the establishment of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board. Like many reforms it has gone too far.

The manner of its establishment, the backgrounds of those in charge of it and the general tone of their interaction with the community has created a culture where all claimants for personal injury can be characterised as “insurance fraudsters”.

The culture so created has been added to by the aggressive advertising of the insurance lobby where claims are equated to fraud and unsuccessful claims allegedly give rise to a criminal record. The judgment of MacMenamin J in a case involving a Declan O’Brien was a landmark in re-establishing some rights for claimants. Much more needs to be done to restore an appropriate balance. If this is not done by the Oireachtas, then, in my view, the courts must insist on appropriate protection when suitable cases are presented for adjudication.

The purpose of these comments is not to criticise any individual but to make a final contribution to the impossible goal of justice for all.

Of the three matters, the Supreme Court failure is by far the most serious as it will, through its younger members, continue to have a serious effect on the jurisprudence of this country for many years to come.

The background of these younger members, their identification with the media consensus, the power which they will yield over the careers of solicitors and barristers, make it vital that a spirit of independence from the populist consensus develops from within that powerful State institution.

Sean O’Leary: a life

Seán O’Leary was born in 1941. He pursued a career in law after qualifying as a barrister but was also active in local and national politics as a member of Fine Gael.

He was lord mayor of Cork in 1972/73, a senator and an important figure in Fine Gael at a national level, particularly during the 1980s.

After Garret FitzGerald became leader of the party in 1977 and its liberal wing assumed a dominant position, O’Leary became a senior backroom adviser to the leadership. In 1981, FitzGerald nominated him to the Seanad. He was nominated again in 1983, and served until 1987, after which he did not seek re-election.

But it was in his role as director of elections that he made his mark within Fine Gael. He fulfilled the task in the 1981 general election that saw FitzGerald elected taoiseach for the first time (hence the Seanad appointment). He was director of elections again during the two elections of 1982 – one of which FitzGerald lost, the other returning him to power – and once more in 1992.

Subsequently, he was appointed a judge of the Circuit Court and, in 2003, a judge of the High Court. It was in that capacity that he served as chairman of the Residential Institutions Redress Board.

He died three days before Christmas, after a long illness. At his passing, friends commented on his sense of humour, his kindness, quiet authority and integrity.

An obituary will be published in Saturday’s edition. © 2007 The Irish Times

Judge’s ruling from beyond the grave reeks of rank hypocrisy

Added on January 4, 2007

Thursday January 4th 2007

THERE is something wrong with Sean O’Leary’s valedictory message, published posthumously yesterday.

His overall pleadings – with the Supreme Court, the legal profession and the Irish public – concern those he describes as “morally undesirable or socially unacceptable”. And he goes on to quote George Bernard Shaw’s description of “the undeserving poor” whose rights, Judge O’Leary says, have been denied.

Yet he says nothing at all about the people whose welfare he presided over in his last judicial appointment, that of chairman of the Residential Institutions Redress Board. They, more than any other group in the care of the State during its whole history, belonged in the category for which he expresses such concern in his article. They were the undeserving poor, criminalised for being that, or for being illegitimate, abandoned, or having inadequate parents. They were judged morally undesirable. They were regarded as socially unacceptable.

Sean O’Leary implemented and presided over the secretive, prejudicial and deeply flawed legislation governing the Redress Board of which he was chairman until his untimely death. He implemented the law as it was – despite its serious defects.

In as far as it is possible to assess from the few cases where the details have become known to me during the past years of its operation, dating from well before O’Leary’s own appointment – the general view clearly is that he was parsimonious and restrictive in what he did.

Known awards given out by the Redress Board for personal injury have been at a level unacceptably below what an open court system would have awarded. The scale of payments set against any free and open-court judgment or agreed settlement, has been repeatedly revealed as derisory.

It is extremely difficult to make the comparisons, even if we had constructed a fair and open form of assessment of claims before the Board. Much of the abuse that happened in residential institutions was carried out in circumstances of imprisonment, secrecy, and the exercise of unfettered and unchallenged power.

It was quite wrong of the State to set up a compensation machinery that was equally secretive and covert, open to no cross-checking by the legislature or the judiciary, and to do this in supposed exculpation of its own neglect. It was far worse to establish a pattern of compensation amounts that was at an unacceptably lower level of payment than would have been the outcome in open court. And it was wrong of the State not to structure the hearings so as to achieve fair recompense rather than the self-serving level of awards that have been the sad reality for those abused men and women brave enough to bring their anguish before the noble judge.

For him to remain silent on this aspect of judicial balance and fairness – which is the main case he levels against other courts and judges – while coming out so strongly in supposed support of the ‘undeserving poor’ elsewhere in our system, is nothing short of hypocritical.

I knew Sean O’Leary over a number of years, well before his appointment, and, both professionally and privately, discussed legal issues with him. In his last appointment I raised with him the issue of the secrecy of the Redress Board and requested a briefing on why it had to be so. This was declined, on legal grounds which I was unable to query with the judge, since he refused communication on any terms.

I did, however, query them with other senior and distinguished lawyers. The response was simple and straightforward. The State had copper-fastened all the legislation dealing with institutional abuse by the religious orders in the industrial schools and reformatories. The State had done so in ways that were regarded by legal experts as unjust and pejorative to the interests of the plaintiffs while at the same time being protective of the interests of the defendants.

This is how the Redress Board is now widely viewed, and the same applies to the Commission on Child Abuse. In both of these bodies, carefully constructed in their operation by laws which the Oireachtas passed in good, if flawed faith, judges dictate the secrecy or otherwise of hearings. They refuse to answer questions about their actions. They administer – in the case of the Redress Board – settlements that cannot be appealed or made public. And Sean O’Leary was in charge of part of this.

IT IS painful to call him hypocritical, in writing about other judicial circumstances, when he completely ignores his own performance as a judge. It is doubly so to do so after his recent death. Yet his career closed in what should have been a humanitarian concern for the most extreme cases of what George Bernard Shaw called ‘the undeserving poor’. And Sean O’Leary – in so far as he can be judged on the indifferent information that has come out – did so with little compassion and even less fairness than he calls for in other courts and before other judges.

As a definition of hypocrisy I can think of no better example. Irish Independent

http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/ & http://www.unison.ie/

Flood supports O’ Leary stance on ‘A’ case.

Former High Court judge Feargus Flood has added his voice to calls for the Supreme Court to show independence in the face of hostile media consensus and public opinion.

Mr Justice Flood expressed broad support for the views of the late Mr Justice Seán O’Leary who, in a posthumous article published in yesterday’s Irish Times, criticised the Supreme Court’s actions during last year’s controversy over the release of offenders convicted of unlawful carnal knowledge.

Attempts by The Irish Times yesterday to establish the views of sitting members of the Supreme and High Courts on Mr Justice O’Leary’s comments were unsuccessful. Mr Justice O’Leary accused the court of trying to curry favour with a potentially hostile media during the controversy last year over the release of offenders convicted of unlawful carnal knowledge.

Yesterday Mr Justice Flood said judges must have regard for public opinion and must respect it, but they must not be overwhelmed by it. It was important that they always explained their reasons for taking a particular course of action in court.

He said the Supreme Court had done its best in last year’s “A” case, in which it ordered the rearrest of a man, known only as Mr A, who had been jailed in 2004 after pleading guilty to raping a 12-year-old girl.

Mr A had been freed earlier by the High Court, on foot of a decision in a separate case in which another man had argued he had been denied the opportunity of pleading he had reasonable grounds for believing the girl with whom he had sex was over the age of 15. However, Mr Justice Flood said his deceased colleague was “probably right” in his assessment of the court’s performance in the case. “They may have applied the law as they understood but there’s a big difference between the written law and what is needed to bring a man back into society. “You must look after society but you must also look after the prisoner.

That doesn’t mean the prisoner can be permitted to run riot in society.” Judges could not be slaves to the statutes; they must obey them, but they could also reduce their harshness by a careful assessment of a situation.

Their task was to inter-relate humanity and justice. Donncha O’Connell, dean of the law faculty at NUI Galway, welcomed Justice O’Leary’s remarks about the Supreme Court and public opinion.
“I agree that some Supreme Court members seem to keep a half-eye on the media consensus and public opinion, but this is not an entirely new phenomenon. “The kind of debate prompted by Sean O’Leary’s remarks is a form of judicial accountability that does not undermine the independence of judges and that can only be a good thing.”

Mr O’Connell instanced previous controversies relating to asylum, extradition and abortion as areas where judges were “mindful of public sensitivities” and politicians failed to treat the matter completely.

However, in other areas, particularly those involving claims for social and economic rights, the court had remained “untouched” by popular opinion, he said.
In the case taken by Kathy Sinnott on the rights to education for autistic children, for example, a narrow view of the separation of powers has been posited as a justification for judicial restraint in the policy arena.

Mr Justice O’Leary also criticised the work of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, describing it as a reform that had gone too far. Piab declined to comment yesterday, saying it would be “unseemly” given the judge’s recent death.
Paul Cullen

Judge reminds us that courts are capable of error.

Mr Justice Sean O’Leary may not be 100 per cent correct but he has fulfilled an important public service by stimulating debate, writes Rossa Fanning The dying art of posthumous criticism has found a new lease of life.

Hot on the heels of the release of Gerald Ford’s 2004 interview with Bob Woodward, where the former US president describes the justification of the Iraq War as “a big mistake”, a High Court judge has delivered a stinging deathbed critique of his erstwhile Supreme Court colleagues.

The comments of Mr Justice Sean O’Leary, published posthumously in this newspaper yesterday, have once again brought the Supreme Court’s decision last June in A v Governor of Arbour Hill Prison into public focus.

It is most unusual for a senior member of the judiciary to speak in such an overtly critical fashion of a recent Supreme Court decision, and the characteristically trenchant remarks of Mr Justice O’Leary have now reopened public debate on this topic.

The broader thrust of the late judge’s criticism – that the Supreme Court is guilty of a general failure to vindicate the legal rights of the morally undesirable or socially unacceptable – is in fact unsupported in the short piece published yesterday.

Indeed, the very genesis of the controversy in relation to Mr A was neither a populist decision, nor a convenient one from the perspective of the Government.

On May 23rd last, the Supreme Court ruled in CC v Ireland that section 1(1) of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 1935 was inconsistent with the constitutional rights of the accused, in that it failed to afford him the opportunity to defend a statutory rape charge by pleading that he had made a reasonable mistake as to age.

In hindsight it might be said that the real problem with this decision was that the Supreme Court omitted to offer any guidance on the position of persons who had been previously convicted of an offence pursuant to that section of the 1935 Act and who continued to serve a term of imprisonment on foot of such a conviction.

Other Supreme Court decisions with potentially far-reaching tentacles Рsuch as that in de B̼rca v Attorney General, which invalidated the legislation governing the composition of juries Рwisely chose to address specifically the implications for future collateral challenges.

Thus, within days of the decision in CC, the Government was plunged into an extraordinary maelstrom of controversy when A, who had previously pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the offence of unlawful carnal knowledge and who was serving a sentence of three years’ imprisonment dating from November 2004, was released by Ms Justice Laffoy in the High Court when an Article 40. 4 Inquiry into the legality of his detention came before her.

Article 40.4 is the constitutional provision that safeguards the liberty of the citizen, providing an in-built inquiry mechanism, commonly described as habeas corpus, whereby a detainee may make a complaint to the High Court as to the legality of his detention.

Such an Article 40 application may be made by a detainee in a Garda station or an involuntary psychiatric patient just as much as by a convicted prisoner. An Article 40 inquiry is not an appeal that addresses the merits of a conviction.

It is simply an inquiry into the legality of current detention.

Ms Justice Laffoy found that A was being detained on foot of a statute that the Supreme Court had recently held to be inconsistent with the Constitution.

As a matter of law, a statute inconsistent with the Constitution is ordinarily of no legal effect, and Ms Justice Laffoy held that as the purported conviction of A related to something that was not an offence in criminal law, both conviction and sentence were a legal nullity.

She therefore ordered the immediate release of A on the basis that his continuing detention was without legal basis. Within three days, the Supreme Court had heard and determined the appeal brought by the State against this decision.

It did so against the background of what Mr Justice Hardiman, in the only explicit acknowledgment in the Supreme Court judgments of the surrounding political and media controversy, would subsequently refer to as “the rather breathless, often intentionally alarmist, discussion and coverage this case has engendered”.

As is now well-known, each member of a unanimous five-member court delivered a judgment reversing the High Court decision, holding that A continued to be detained lawfully notwithstanding that the statute pursuant to which he was convicted and sentenced, was, as a matter of law, a legal nullity.

The Supreme Court decision carefully relies on precedent to demonstrate that a declaration of constitutional invalidity cannot ever be completely retrospective in effect. It is true, of course, to say that the past cannot be easily undone.

Even if it could, there would be dubious merit in today seeking to locate those who were imprisoned perhaps 50 or 60 years ago for a conviction on foot of an offence that, as a matter of constitutional law, was just as much of a nullity then as it is today.

There is ample authority to support the absence of retroactive application to such facts.

But A was different. He was not appealing against his conviction or sentence or seeking to reopen long-since concluded proceedings. He was simply contending that his present detention was unlawful, subsequent to the announcement of the decision in CC.

No element of retrospective application of the decision in CC was required for him to succeed in his Article 40.4 inquiry.

Quite simply, A was not asking that any eggs be unscrambled. This is the central aspect of the Supreme Court decision that has found disfavour with many. The late Mr Justice O’ Leary criticises that court for going to significant lengths to obfuscate the position.

That is surely a criticism too far.

The facts were not in dispute, but the nature of the findings to be drawn from them were. Vigorous public debate on the more important constitutional decisions pronounced by our superior courts is a welcome and healthy feature of a mature democratic system.

When pronouncing on personal liberty, or on adoption, embryos, marriage or any other topic implicating constitutional rights, the courts are adding important texture and definition to our public life.

A different High Court judge, Mr Justice Philip O’ Sullivan, in his retirement speech on December 21st, welcomed the prospective introduction of the mooted judicial council and voiced his opinion that the judiciary could not be immune from criticism in the modern age.

Mr Justice O’ Leary has done the public an important service by making a valuable contribution to public debate, but for all of that, the spectacle of judges criticising each other in the pages of the national media is not one to aspire to.

The hierarchical common law system of precedent entitles Supreme Court judges to disagree with their colleagues on the High Court, but discourages High Court judges from publicly criticising Supreme Court decisions they may well be obliged to follow.

Mr Justice O’ Leary must have understood this keenly as he made his comments at a time when he realised he would never again sit on the High Court bench. Many in the legal community will doubtless share his view that A was incorrectly decided.
Mr Justice O’ Leary’s unusual intervention in the debate at the very least reminds the public that the Supreme Court has no monopoly on wisdom and is capable of error.

That the general public rarely even thinks in these terms is in fact a testament to the institutional respect in which our Supreme Court is quite deservedly held. However, in a pithy phrase that would have found favour with Mr Justice O’ Leary, US Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson once said of that court: “We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final.”

All those in the legal and political community who knew Sean O’ Leary will remember him fondly as a man of conviction. I am quite sure that he would take no small satisfaction from knowing that he has succeeded in putting the cat amongst the pigeons.

Rossa Fanning
lecturer in law at University College Dublin

SENIOR members of the judiciary were remaining silent yesterday on controversial remarks by a High Court judge who made an unprecedented criticism of the Supreme Court.

The late Mr Justice Sean O;Leary, who died last month, accused members of the country’s highest court of attempting “to curry favour with a potentially hostile media” last year in its ruling in the Mr A case.

It related to the Supreme Court’s controversial decision, last June, to order the rearrest of man, who had earlier been released from prison. He had been released following a High Court ruling about the constitutionality of a law that did not allow people accused of the statutory rape of minors to enter a defence that they believed the victim to be above the legal age of sexual consent.

The initial High Court decision provoked a public outcry which prompted the State to appeal the ruling. Mr Justice O’ Leary “who died in Cork on December 22 after a long illness” asked for his comments on the case to be published shortly after his death as he acknowledged that he was not in a position to make such observations while still serving as a judge.

In particular, the 65-year-old criticised the Supreme Court for the lengths to which it went “to obfuscate the fact” that a prisoner was detained, released and subsequently rearrested for an offence that did not exist in law at the date of his conviction.

Mr Justice O’Leary suggested such a ruling seemed to have been taken in response to public opinion rather than based on a strict interpretation of the existing law.

Outlining a number of areas of concern in relation to the criminal justice system, Mr O’ Leary said they all related to a harsh, populist approach to those persons who stand accused of socially unacceptable crimes.

The late judge, who was also chairman of the Residential Institutions Redress Board and a former Fine Gael senator, pointedly criticised the younger members of the Supreme Court.” Their identification with the media consensus, the power which they will yield over the careers of solicitors and barristers, make it vital that a spirit of independence from the populist consensus develops from within that powerful State institution,: said Mr Justice O’ Leary.

His remarks are believed to be a specific reference to the Supreme Court’s youngest member, Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman, who was described by one legal commentator yesterday as the court’s “intellectual heavyweight.”

A spokesperson for the Courts Service, who normally issues statements on behalf of judges, said no comment was being planned in response to Mr Justice O’ Leary’s remarks.

Attempts to contact a number of Supreme Court judges individually proved unsuccessful yesterday. The observations by the late judge are certain to increase the recent focus on the performance of the judiciary after Justice Minister, Michael McDowell, who is also a barrister, criticised the low implementation of mandatory sentencing for people convicted of serious drug and weapons offences by senior judges.

One High Court judge, who did not wish to be named, said he did not believe Mr Justice O’ Leary’s views would be shared by most members of the judiciary. He said it was a fundamental understanding of members of the profession that they don’t criticise each other.

Sean McCairthaigh

Last edited by Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin (2007-01-04 08:05:36)

#114 2007-01-05 09:24:15 Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin
 Re: From the CrookedLawyers.com Guestbook {2}

Dear Editor,
Was scrolling through the Sisters of Mercy website & on it there are two photographs of Sister Helena O’ Donoghue,  {who is the Provincial Leader of the South Central Province}
She was smiling BLISSFULLY in BOTH them from ear to ear.

The occasion was obviously a happy one, being the profession of two new members into the Mercy Order.

I have no qualms, per se about the celebratory aspect of above-mentioned that is their entitlement/ privilege & CONGRATULATIONS ALL ROUND TO THE NEW NUNS THEY ARE albeit, HEAVEN KNOWS, A RARITY IN THIS DAY & AGE.

But what INDEED does gets my goat is the fact that there is presently a Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse regarding the Sisters of Mercy, to name but one Religious Congregation for this purpose, & most specifically Sr. Helena who is at the helm of it in connection with Goldenbridge.

THE CRUX OF THE MATTER IS THAT THE WHOLE CHILD ABUSE DEBACLE IS A MOST SERIOUS MATTER & SHOULDN’T BE TREATED LIGHTLY.
IMPORTANT FIGURES LIKE SISTER HELENA O’ DONOGHUE SHOULD NOT BE DISPLAYING INAPPROPRIATE MUGSHOTS of herself TO THE WORLD & ITS MOTHER VIA THE INTERNET THAT ARE PROFOUNDLY NOT IN KEEPING WITH THE ETHOS OF THE IMPORTANT ROLE SHE HAS UNDERTAKEN ON BEHALF OF THE SISTERS OF MERCY. THE INSENSITIVITY OF IT ALL MAKES MY BLOOD BOIL. THE SAME INDEED IS APPLICABLE TO ALL of THOSE CONCERNED WITH THE RYAN COMMISSION & THE RESIDENTIAL INSTITUTIONS REDRESS BOARD RIRB. ITS COMPLETELY OUT OF SYNC

I was bamboozled, shocked & numb-struck to see these mugshot of hers.
Has this professional Nun got no sense or insight in relation to her delicate position at this moment in time?. ITS FARCICAL TO SAY THE LEAST
It demeans & belittles victims/survivors of institutional completely.
It utterly undermines everything the Commission stands for.

On viewing PHOTOGRAPHS I was instantaneously reminded of a {tabloid} smiling picture of Doctor Marie Cassidy, Pathologist as she was at the scene of a serious accident I FOUND IT TASTELESS. She too was undoubtedly admonished/reprimanded by the general public.
The inappropriateness too of Sr. Helena’s ” smile ” is abhorrent to say the least.

Could not the good sister refrain from keeping said photos on her Orders’ site until such time that the COMMISSIONS EXHAUSTIVE/SERIOUS INQUIRY IS FULLY DUSTED & DONE.
In my estimation she is putting the two fingers up & saying victims’/survivors are irrelevant, inconsequential. Hope I’m wrong!

Was recently reading an article about different types of smiles & the ones which show the mouth half opened displaying teeth are the ones that one has to be aware!

The aftermath of viewing has deeply left me tremendously infuriated. So please adhere to a victim/survivor of Goldenbridges plea. THANKING YOU.  Please don’t get me wrong am not intending to get at the religious for the mere sake of it.
Slan agus beannacht agus go neiri an bothar leat!
I remain,
yours sincerely,
Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin.

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I spoke with an international lawyer yesterday and she pointed out that we are seeking moral justice and the courts are playing the game of using the law according to the book.There is a massive difference.
In our mind we seek proper justice like our own Brehon Law, but we inherited the old British system.
It seems to me that judges are unable to think for themselves…perhaps too lazy and bored by the sight of us plebs and lowlifes as I was once described, even though I was the victim at the time.
So sad…..but change is here…..they just dont see it yet!!!!

Justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done!’.

MarieTherese #116
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O’Leary’s hand grenade rips through the bench

Sunday January 7th 2007

SEAN O’LEARY, the former High Court judge who died just before Christmas, lobbed a hand grenade at the Supreme Court last week when his views on its most controversial decision of the past year were published posthumously.

O’Leary, knowing that he was terminally ill, chose to write down his thoughts and asked that they be published ‘contemporaneously’ with his death. O’Leary’s central theme was his fear that the courts were in danger of bowing down before harsh populism instead of focusing on the “administration of justice, which is the true purpose of the legal system”.

The specific case that drew his ire was last summer’s surprise decision by the Supreme Court to order the rearrest of a man who had been released by the High Court.

It was the high point of the statutory rape controversy, which had been sparked by the Supreme Court’s decision that the original 1935 Act was unconstitutional because it did not allow an accused person to enter a plea that he had made an honest mistake about his victim’s age.

Not surprisingly, the High Court then ordered the release of a man from prison on the grounds that he had been convicted of an offence that had never properly existed. That decision created the possibility that scores of convicted child rapists would be set free, prompted a storm of popular protest and sent the government into unconcealed panic.

The Supreme Court calmed the crisis almost as soon as it had arisen by overruling the High Court, arguing primarily that a declaration of unconstitutionality should not be retrospective. The released prisoner was rearrested and returned to jail and popular unrest subsided. The Supreme Court’s decision came as a genuine surprise to many legal experts, who believed that the original High Court ruling had been correct. It was, however, a unanimous decision.

O’Leary was unimpressed. “The lengths to which the Supreme Court went to obfuscate the fact that the continued detention of a prisoner in an Irish jail (in fact the rearrest of a released prisoner) for an offence that did not exist in law at the date of his conviction, smacks of an attempt to curry favour with a potentially hostile media,” he wrote.

His conclusion makes his criticism still sharper. He said that it is “vital that a spirit of independence from the populist consensus develops from within” the Supreme Court, and cites its decision last summer as a “failure” to reveal that independent spirit.

By clear implication, O’Leary was saying the current Supreme Court does not have that independence of spirit, and the blame rests squarely with its “younger members” and their “identification with the media consensus”, which is all the more serious because they will “continue to have a serious effect on the jurisprudence of this country for many years to come.”

O’Leary argued that this trend to populism has created a culture where all personal injury claimants are characterised as insurance fraudsters and argued, too, that the courts were not strong enough in their protection of the rights of all individuals, no matter how “morally undesirable or socially unacceptable” they might be in the popular mind.

His central point, though, was directed straight at the Supreme Court, and it is a deeply serious accusation which, sadly, O’Leary cannot expand upon. It is also very timely.

The role of the judiciary is under close and sustained scrutiny for the first time in my memory, and there will be no let up in the coming months. This year will see the long delayed publication of the Judicial Council Bill, which promises to introduce mechanisms for the disciplining of judges, as well as complaints procedures and training programmes. Its publication should start a much broader debate that brings all aspects of our judicial system – including the way in which judges are appointed – under review.

It would at any time be a tense debate, but it will be even more pointed because of the deepening hostility between the judiciary and politicians, and particularly between senior judges and Michael McDowell, the Minister for Justice. Just before Christmas the judges petulantly boycotted a McDowell party because he had voiced his criticism of their attitudes to bail and sentencing – suggesting that some members of the bench were perceived to be soft. McDowell’s outburst prompted an indirect rebuke from Adrian Hardiman, the youngest Supreme Court judge, who argued that the courts would not be influenced by strident populism. His declaration of an independent spirit came too late for O’Leary, who died the day that Hardiman’s opinions were published, but I doubt they would have stayed his pen in any case.

Hardiman, who was rejecting an appeal from a convicted drug supplier against the ‘severity’ of his seven year sentence (already three years less than the mandatory ten years for which the Dail had legislated ), said that it would be unrealistic for his court to ignore the fact that judicial interpretation of mandatory sentencing had come in for some severe criticism in recent weeks.

“Since these comments have been given wide and excited coverage in the media, it is perhaps appropriate in a case arising so soon after these repeated comments were made to say, in deciding this case, the court pays the comments in question no attention whatever,” he huffed.

Actions, however, speak louder than words and O’Leary would point back to the summer decision by Hardiman and his Supreme Court colleagues that slammed shut the jail gates in the face of a populist hue and cry. The problem, however, with O’Leary’s thesis is not that judges bow to pressure, but where that pressure comes from.

There was, undeniably, public outrage at the series of events that created the possibility that child rapists would be set free, but it was an unfocused rage. The pressure to make the necessary changes to our laws to ensure that children were protected was being directed not at the judges, who interpret our laws, but at the politicians who make them. The people in the firing line were government ministers, not supreme court judges, and the people who were most relieved by the Supreme Court’s decision were McDowell and Bertie Ahern, the Taoiseach, because their worst nightmare was averted. If there was pressure on the Supreme Court, it was political and not populist pressure, but that does not mean that the Court bowed to that pressure. Its decision was rationally argued and legally grounded, however surprising. Its unanimity also makes unimaginable the possibility of all five judges being cowed by pressure.

The problem, though, for the Court and for Hardiman, its youngest (and some would say most strident) member, is that O’Leary’s criticisms carry the stamp of authenticity. He was a man from within the system, a Circuit Court and High Court judge who was also revered as a political strategist in his former role with Fine Gael under Dr Garret FitzGerald.

Those who knew him well talk of his passion for politics, his humour and his goodness – not a man who would lash out without reason or without purpose. His criticisms were carefully thought through and designed to provoke debate, as well as being designed to provoke some degree of introspection from Hardiman and his colleagues.

Judges must have independence of spirit, and that independence is essential to a healthy democracy. It must not, however, rely solely on tradition or on the good graces of individual members of the judiciary.

The proper response to O’Leary’s concerns is to reform the manner in which judges are appointed, removing the process from the whims of the Taoiseach of the day and placing it in the hands of a properly independent judicial appointments commission. That must be backed up by the new Judicial Council, which must provide clear mechanisms for holding judges to account while simultaneously protecting their independence from political interference and giving them a proper forum to engage with both the public and the politicians – a difficult balance, but an essential one.

It is urgent, because the judiciary is in danger of losing its respect. O’Leary highlighted the failure to look after the rights of the morally reprehensible, yet the popular mood chimes with McDowell’s fears that judges are too soft, sentences too light and that criminals can too easily evade the proper consequences of their actions. Judges have responded to that criticism by sulking rather than by engaging in passionate, intelligent debate – a debate that O’Leary has taken to a higher level by throwing his posthumous grenade. They must respond, individually and collectively, to his criticism, demonstrate the independence of spirit which he craved and lead a debate that guides us to a more independent, more trusted and more respected judiciary.

Alan Ruddock © Irish Independent

#117 2007-01-08 14:35:38 Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin
Member
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Seanad Eireann- Volume 174 – 08 October, 2003

Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse: Statements (Resumed).

An Cathaoirleach An Cathaoirleach

An Cathaoirleach: Senator Kitt was in possession and has 11 minutes remaining.

Mr. Kitt Mr. Kitt

Mr. Kitt: I welcome the Minister of State to the House. When discussing this issue yesterday, I referred to the resignation of Ms Justice Laffoy. I joined the Minister in paying tribute to her for her work and I wished her very well in the future. I welcomed Mr. Sean Ryan, SC, as chairperson designate of the commission. He has gained a wealth of experience from his law practice and also because he chaired the compensation advisory committee and acted as counsel to the Ferns inquiry.

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I referred to the Joint Committee on Education and Science that sat during the term of the last Dail. It invited different associations to outline their views on setting up redress committees and investigative committees. I was impressed by the [78]number of associations that took up the invitation, particularly Right of Place and Survivors of Child Abuse. It was quite significant that we had applications from associations and organisations in Great Britain, particularly London, which addressed the committee on a number of occasions. It obviously put them at a considerable disadvantage to have to travel over and outline their views on how they felt a commission should operate. It was very interesting to note that those organisations were, by and large, very anxious to have the right to speak to a committee or commission about their experiences. Some of them were anxious that we would have a timeframe whereby decisions would be made as quickly as possible. They pointed out that many of their members were elderly and did not want a decision to be made which would be too late for their purposes. Furthermore, they did not want an adversarial process, which would involve their having to go to court. They were anxious to tell their story and have closure on this very sad chapter of Irish life.

There has been a very welcome response by the Government regarding a review of the commission. The Minister has spoken about amending legislation and I hope he will be able to give us further information on this and introduce to the House as soon as possible the amendments he considers necessary to alter the way the different committees operate.

The Minister for Social and Family Affairs stated yesterday that the expected compensation figure would be in the region of 508 million. The Comptroller and Auditor General estimated it would be approximately 1 billion. Only time will tell which is correct. The contribution by the religious organisations was completely voluntary and, as the figures indicate, it would represent about one quarter of the total sum the State envisages it will have to pay in compensation. I will return to this issue later.

We should concentrate on the fact that the Government, through the Taoiseach, issued an apology on behalf of the State. The then Minister, Deputy Woods, said that the State had to take responsibility because it was responsible for the fact that very young children had to enter institutions.

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I was very interested in correspondence I, and no doubt many other Members, received this morning from Mannix Flynn or James X as he describes himself. He was just one of many children admitted to institutions and his story is very interesting. He talks about going to Goldenbridge at the age of six. He was then transferred to St. Joseph’s industrial school in Galway and later to St. Conleth’s reform school in Daingean. From 1965 to 1972, he spent time in Marlborough House in Dublin, a place of detention for boys under 16 run by the Department of Education. He was also in Mountjoy Prison, St. Patrick’s Institution and Dundrum Central Mental Hospital. Mr. Flynn’s statement outlines his history of physical and sexual abuse in all those [79]centres. His story shows that religious orders and Departments were involved. His history is that of just one person but it shows very clearly that the Government was correct in stating that various Government agencies and Departments put young people into institutions run by religious orders or run directly by Department staff.

Let us return to the question of the timeframe about which the Minister spoke. In November 2002, the commission spoke about a timeframe of eight to 11 years on the basis of the existing caseload at the time. The report showed that the timeframe would be too long for many of those for whom the commission was established. It is important that the Minister quickly explains the current position to the Oireachtas and his proposals for addressing this aspect.

On “Questions and Answers’ on Monday night, Fr. Sean Healy of CORI suggested that there should be an audit of the property and assets of CORI. This will put into context the sum of 128 million agreed between the Government and the religious congregations. People have said the congregations got off lightly. Fr. Healy made clear he was not involved in the negotiations, but he spoke for many when he suggested there should be an audit. The results of a full audit could mean that the proportionate financial burden to be borne by the religious congregations may rise from what I understand is approximately 25% at present to 40% or 50%. In view of this, I hope the Government will again consult them.

It is also important that the Government consults with the various organisations who have spoken to the relevant Oireachtas committee and the commission. While they may hold different views, we all want to ensure that the Government’s commitment to bring healing and closure to those who suffered abuse is honoured and that it is true to its word.

Dr. Henry Dr. Henry

Dr. Henry: I thank Senator John Paul Phelan for allowing me to speak in his slot and I welcome the Minister of State to the House. I am glad this debate has been so thoughtful. Having been involved with many of those, both here and in England, who were subjected to both sexual and physical abuse in the past, it is good that speakers in this House have expressed such concern and been so compassionate in their response.

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I recently wrote to the Minister for Education and Science expressing the view that the section of the commission dealing with the vaccination trials should have been removed from its remit and dealt with separately. It was unfortunate that the commission began to assume the role of a catch-all for any problem that appeared to have arisen with children in the past. I also raised this matter when the former Minister for Education and Science, Deputy Martin, decided to add to the remit of the commission the vaccination trials which had taken place in mother and baby homes but from which, to my knowledge, no harm was ever shown and nor was any harm described in [80]the report of the Chief Medical Officer. While I understand why some of those involved in the trials feel that perhaps proper consent was not given, the matter should be dealt with separately. This might help the work of the commission.

I am not the only one to hold this view. When Professor Meehan brought his case to the High Court and then to Supreme Court that he should not have to appear in person before the commission because of his age and, I believe, infirmity, at least two of the Supreme Court judges said they could not understand why this element of the commission had been included in its remit because they could not see how it involved the sexual or physical abuse of children. I hope, therefore, this aspect is looked at again.

During the workings of the commission it is important to consider the lessons we can learn from what happened in the past, but I am not sure this is happening. Some years ago I spoke in the House about the care of unaccompanied minors who come here from abroad. I praised those involved in dealing with these minors because I considered they were given great care and consideration. However, while there were very few of them at that time, there are now hundreds coming into the country every year. I am not sure if the resources are in place to deal with them. We saw in the past how the lack of involvement by the State in the institutions caring for children left them very vulnerable and we now have another group of children who are in a similar position.

When the Child Care and Children Bills were debated in the House I was critical of the lack of concern about the inspection of institutions caring for children placed with them because of neglect or because they were orphans and so on. I said they were not being inspected often enough and that there was insufficient attention paid to the kind of people working in them. The Children Act requires that there be six monthly inspections of institutions caring for children in the custody of the State because they have committed a crime. Such children may well have regular visitors seeking their release, whereas, by contrast, children placed in institutions because of neglect may never receive visits. Yet, these institutions need only be inspected periodically. When I expressed the view that this was unfair, the then Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children with responsibility for children, Deputy Mary Hanafin, said there was not enough inspectors.

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It must be acknowledged that institutions are being established to care for unaccompanied minors from sub-Saharan Africa, eastern Europe and other parts of the world which are not being inspected as regularly as they could be because there is difficulty getting child care workers. It must also be acknowledged that those working in these institutions may not be properly vetted. While I do not underestimate the problems in this area, I am very concerned when I hear that some children are in institutions with adults where – I [81]can only tell the Minister of State what I am told – on some occasions, there is no staff on the premises between 5 p.m. and the following morning. That is most undesirable. While the health boards face great difficulties, I hope the Minister of State will look into this. If I can provide him with more details, I will do so.

Mr. B. Lenihan Mr. B. Lenihan

Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Mr. B. Lenihan): I would be obliged if the Senator would furnish me with particulars and I will look into the matter.

Dr. Henry Dr. Henry

Dr. Henry: I will do so.

Mr. B. Lenihan Mr. B. Lenihan

Mr. B. Lenihan: These are serious matters and I will arrange for them to be investigated.

Dr. Henry Dr. Henry

Dr. Henry: They are very serious, which is why I raised them. If I can get better information I will provide it. At present I can only offer anecdotal information. If the Minister of State can tell me it is not happening, I will be pleased.

Mr. B. Lenihan Mr. B. Lenihan

Mr. B. Lenihan: It is hard to deal with an anecdote, but if the Senator has particulars I will deal with them.

Dr. Henry Dr. Henry

Dr. Henry: I will furnish the Minister of State with particulars. Some children are sent to this country in the hope they will be with other family members. In other cultures it is not unusual to send children to families who are considered to be in a better position. However, in some cases it is hard to know if they end up with these families. Some have gone missing. For example, a girl who had been taken into the care of the State was placed in Crumlin Hospital but she went missing. I do not know if the State has managed to locate her, but these situations are worrying. I can vouch for that incident because I know of it from the papers.

This is an area where we do not want to say in five or ten years how we wished we had tried to do more. I realise how difficult it is for the State and the health boards, but we have a duty to these children given that they come into our care under international obligations. The fact that there is a shortage of staff and that we have said we have done the best we can, may appear pretty shabby in the long run. I am aware that the health boards are trying to do their best to get care for these children by advertising, even abroad. However, I am sure the Minister of State is aware of the grave shortage of workers in this area. I hope when what happened 20 or 30 years ago is examined, we remind ourselves that we do not want such children to accuse us in future of not having taken adequate care of them in the situation in which they now find themselves.

Labhrais Ni Murchai Labhraos No Murchai

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Labhrais Ni Murchai: There has been so much debate and publicity on this sad period of history that one wonders how one can make any worthwhile or helpful contribution at this stage. On the other hand, I believe that everyone accepts that, [82]until there is final closure on this issue for all concerned, it will continue to haunt us, especially the victims who are our primary concern.

I am especially disappointed by the direction the public debate has tended to take recently. I get the feeling that we are losing focus on who should be the subject of consideration on a day to day basis and are seeking other targets. This is not helpful to the victims because many of them are not young. They are pushing on in years and many of them have made the point that compensation is not their real concern. Obviously it is part of it, but their real concern is justice. Given the confusion created by the type of debate we are having at present, it is not possible in an urgent sense to bring together all the elements of this issue to try to find an adequate and satisfactory solution.

I was a member of the Committee on Education and Science when the proposals of the former Minister, Deputy Woods, were being debated. Many of the organisations acting for the victims came before the committee and discussed them openly and, in the main, generously with us. One man whom I know made a particular impression on me. Even though he put a harrowing tale before the committee, he finished up by saying that he would deem it wrong to tar everyone with the same brush and that to do so would visit a further injustice on innocent members of the religious orders. He did not want that to happen. It is especially important that we bear this in mind. While I accept that not all the groups are of the one voice and that there can be divergence on the way forward for some of them, I noticed in their contributions that, in the main, there was general acceptance of what the Government put forward at the time. They are the people to whom we must listen.

I took time out to meet some of these groups individually after that committee meeting because I felt it was important that we should listen a little more and lecture a little less, although lecturing appears to have been central to the public debate recently. As I watch television programmes, listen to radio programmes and read the extensive coverage in the press, I am beginning to realise that the people central to this issue are being sidelined in the main. I refer not just to the leadership but also the general body of victims who feel hurt and isolated. It is important for us at this stage to redirect ourselves in this regard.

I have not read or heard it but it was referred to on television and I was concerned to hear that a certain well known public person said that, if necessary, we should bankrupt the religious orders. That is of great concern. I see that as an incitement to hatred. For any person to make such a statement without clarifying it is for him or her to take a serious stand. It is an incitement to hatred and I hope it is clarified. It is not helpful.

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It is important for us to remember that, if we are to make progress on this issue, it should be [83]borne in mind that the Government provided leadership through the issuing of the apology, the establishment of the commission and the consultation that took place with the relevant groups. It is not correct for anyone at this stage to endeavour to make political capital out of this issue.

I am open to correction on this but there are elements of anti-Catholicism in the media. This is prevalent not only in Ireland, but also in many other countries. This anti-Catholicism which is creeping into a great deal of media coverage is being used for the wrong reasons. The victims of abuse will suffer through the confusion created.

Can anyone genuinely suggest that every one of the people who gave of their time and services to care for the most vulnerable people in society when the State was not capable of doing so is now to be held responsible in some way for the terrible deeds of a minority? If one accepts that logic and takes it one step further, does that mean that all connected with people who betray a position of trust are to be held responsible, ridiculed, sidelined and demonised? I say with much consideration that, if we go down that road, we will do immense harm to society.

We have seen instances of sexual abuse against children in many different sporting organisations. As a result of what happened and even though a tiny minority was at fault, many people have withdrawn from giving community service for fear that they may also be tarred with the same brush. If Members think I exaggerate, we should keep our ears a little closer to the ground and understand the way voluntarism has suffered in such a basic way. This is the case in rural and urban areas and the issue will continue to be erosive in the future. I suggest, therefore, that we refocus our attention on the victims, who are paramount, and the rights of the individuals responsible, which are also important. The idea of focusing only on religious orders and the suggestion that only people in religious life should be held accountable are not right.

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Great credit is due to John Waters for his appearance on “Questions and Answers” on Monday night following his article in The Irish Times of the same day. Despite their claims to independence and incisive reporting, few mainstream journalists have even considered doing what John Waters did the other night, namely, broadening the debate and trying to put it into context. Many of us have been thinking about his point that the current debate, which concerns events of 60 and 70 years ago, is taking place in the context of the times in which we live. This does not make sense. For example, on the issue of deprivation, given that most of us suffered an element of deprivation during the period in question, there is no point suggesting we had three meals a day, three pairs of shoes or that we were relatively well off 40 or 50 years ago. We must not allow that issue to be mixed up with the basic issue of sexual abuse. To do so and then to throw [84]them both at the church, the religious orders or even the State creates confusion.

As a layman who does not understand all the legal intricacies involved, I suggest we listen to the individuals concerned and make sure their leaders are telling us what it is they want. I had the opportunity to have discussions with several such individuals in the House and have corresponded with many others. While I am not suggesting their leaders are out of step, I am suggesting that the saturation of publicity and the bent now being given to the issue has left the victims with a less potent voice than they once had. That voice was characterised by a sense of injustice and a demand that justice be done and be seen to be done urgently. My fear is that we may be sliding into a position in which the urgency sought by the Government will not materialise.

I was sorry to see the eminent legal person stepping down from the Laffoy commission. I can understand that the task the person in question took up on her first day was not an easy one. We should be fair and point out that the process is organic, that is, just when we think we know everything, something else comes on stream which must be dealt with also. I have no doubt the new appointee will deal with the position in the same manner as his predecessor.

We must get rid of hidden agendas being pushed by people who have reasons for creating a smokescreen. I appeal to all the victims to come together in an orchestrated, co-ordinated and focused fashion, of which they are capable. Nobody can tell the story as well as the hurt persons and no other person knows their wishes as well as they do. We should get rid of the smokescreen and deal directly with the victims.

A new group of victims is emerging. I have heard the Order of the Christian Brothers being targeted by name in the House. The manner in which assets were liquidated has also been raised and it was argued that morality, rather than legality, should be the main consideration. As a former pupil of the Christian Brothers, I recall an event held about 30 years ago to celebrate the arrival of the order in Cashel. About 1,000 past pupils from all over the world attended the reunion out of gratitude to the Christian Brothers for providing us with education when we could not pay fees. By providing education denied in the past, they enabled people to reach positions of power. This is also true of the nuns and the other religious orders.

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We seem to be anxious in this debate to demonise every Christian Brother, nun and teacher from a religious order, which is uncalled for in this day and age. Are we creating a new group of victims which we will revisit in 20, 30 or 40 years once we have left behind the current politically correct environment? Will we then try to do justice to their memory and undo the damage we did to their families? Let us imagine a mother, father or grandparent of a completely innocent member of a religious order walking out into the community today in the knowledge that [85]fingers are being pointed at them for the good work their family member did and the service he or she gave. We are no longer prepared to speak up for members of the religious orders. We need a partnership of morality and human concern which embraces everyone, the victims and those now embroiled in this issue.

I make no case for those who perpetrated terrible crimes against young people not only because they were in a position of trust, but above all because they were dealing with the most vulnerable members of society. On the other hand, if we are to do what is correct in this instance, we must act urgently, in a focused manner and without political expediency. This must be done because it is right, society demands it and, above all, because if we do not correct and somehow compensate for the injustices which have taken place, they will revisit and haunt us again and again in the long run.

I wish the Government well in this matter. I have no doubt the former Minister for Education and Science, Deputy Woods, acted primarily in the best interests of the victims and that all those who contributed to the process did likewise. Ultimately, no political kudos will be won on this issue by anybody. Of paramount and primary concern are the victims. Let us focus on them.

Mr. J. Phelan Mr. J. Phelan

Mr. J. Phelan: I welcome the opportunity to contribute to the debate. I listened to most of the contributions, some of which, not least the previous one, were very good. Nevertheless, I take issue with several of the points made by Senator Ó Murchú and will address them later.

I, too, pay tribute to Ms Justice Laffoy who resigned from her position on the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. In her letter of resignation she expressed many legitimate concerns which should be raised in every political forum. I object to being accused of playing politics with an issue for raising relevant concerns expressed elsewhere. I and other Members of the Opposition have a role to play in bringing these issues to the attention of the House. We would be in dereliction of our duty if we failed to do so.

I am not a church basher, but a practising member of the Catholic Church who was educated at second level by the Augustinians in New Ross. I pay tribute to them, to the people who played a significant role through the years looking after people for whom the State was not in a position to care and to those who are involved in education and do tremendous work in that sector. We would not have an education system without the contribution of the religious orders over the years.

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#118 2007-01-08 14:39:07 Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin


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However, the primary object of our concern must be the people who were abused. There is a danger that, in the course of this debate, we will lose track of the horrendous abuse that was inflicted on them in institutions throughout the country. They must remain central to this debate at all times. I join my colleague, Senator Ulick Burke, in expressing concern that the responsi[86]bility for this commission rests with the Department of Education and Science. It is, in effect, a case of the Department investigating itself. Following the resignation of Ms Justice Laffoy, there is a case to be made for responsibility being taken from the Department of Education and Science and the Minister, Deputy Noel Dempsey, and given to some other Minister and Department. That should be considered.

I wish to express my concern and disappointment at the position in which Ms Justice Laffoy found herself and her decision to resign. In her letter of resignation she said that the main reason for her departure was the non-co-operation of the Department of Education and Science with the commission. This is a serious condemnation of the Department which has not been given sufficient attention in this debate to date. She also said in her letter that she was worn out by the approach of the Department. That is a damning indictment of the Department’s relationship with the commission. It seems to have obstructed the commission by not allocating resources. That point has not been dealt with adequately in this debate either.

The previous Minister for Education and Science, Deputy Woods, spoke about the therapeutic importance for the victims of abuse of being able to tell their story. This is vital. Each individual has the right to tell his or her story and to be heard. The original plan for the commission envisaged the possibility of four committees sitting simultaneously in order that all the victims could tell their stories within a relatively short period of time. Nobody wants a commission that will drag on indefinitely into the future. If the four committees were fully operational, it would reduce the time required significantly.

Other speakers yesterday, particularly Progressive Democrats Members, spoke about the delays associated with the legal procedure. They conveniently forgot to mention the delays associated with the non-provision of resources by the Department. I was particularly struck by the contribution of Senator Maurice Hayes, which was the best contribution I have heard in this House on any issue. I urge Senators from the Government parties to consider what he said. He outlined the moral obligation on the religious orders in this matter. A sum of €127 million is being contributed by the orders but, although the deal has been done, there is a moral obligation on them to look again at the contribution they are making. I do not believe that the religious orders should be bankrupted. That was an outrageous statement. However, they must make a more realistic contribution to the overall cost of the commission.

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The recent publication of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report reveals conclusively what most of us have suspected for some time, that the Government botched its much hyped deal with the religious organisations. It is beyond belief that the Government withheld support from the Laffoy commission and dictated that additional staff be recruited on short-term con[87]tracts while, at the same time, it indemnified religious orders at a cost to the taxpayer that could yet reach €1 billion. The Minister, Deputy Noel Dempsey, stated that the objective of the review of the commission was to address the issue of costs, with no mention of the need for the commission to work on behalf of the victims of abuse. Contrast this with the Government deal with the religious organisations that exposed the State to potentially enormous liability.

We know from the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report that in February 2001 the Department of Education and Science estimated the upper liability at 254 million. By April this had increased to 381 million and by June it had increased again to 508 million. At present, the Department estimates the liability at approximately 772 million, which is still almost 250 million less than the figure estimated by the Comptroller and Auditor General. This clearly shows that the estimates for liability are increasing rapidly. However, it is clear from the report that the Minister for Education and Science and the Minister for Finance agreed in April 2001, when liability was estimated at 381 million and rising, to accept a contribution of 127 million from the religious congregations. They knew this figure bore no relation to the actual liability faced by the State but they agreed the figure regardless.

While the estimated liability was increasing, the Department stuck with the figure of 127 million. Even when its calculations were showing liability could exceed 0.5 billion, it did not revise this figure. The Comptroller and Auditor General has stated that as additional information comes to hand it would be reasonable to expect that the full range of potential costs would be revised. This has not been done. In fact, no revision of the lower estimate of the potential cost was made despite evidence that the number of claimants was rising rapidly.

It is clear from the correspondence between Ms Justice Laffoy and the Government that the potential cost of the commission was of concern to the Government. This is in spite of the fact that the commission was established to bring justice to a large number of people who were the victims of horrendous abuse in institutions throughout the country. However, the Government felt able, without any qualms, to enter into a deal with the religious congregations which may cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions of euro.

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Then there is the matter of the legal advice obtained before the signing of the agreement. The Government entered into an agreement potentially worth €1 billion and failed to get adequate legal assistance. When the former Minister for Education and Science, Deputy Woods, announced in January 2002 that an agreement in principle had been made with the religious organisations, the Office of the Attorney General sought information on the detailed negotiations, including the extent of the indemnity offered. This information was sought on 31 January and 1 [88]February 2002. A full six weeks later, the Attorney General wrote again and stated that unless he was supplied with the requested information he could not give legal advice on the deal. One month later, and ten weeks after the initial communication from the Attorney General, the Minister finally responded.

According to the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report, the talks were held in virtual secrecy. They were attended by the Minister and one colleague. The Office of the Attorney General was not represented at meetings with the congregations and had no contact with those negotiating on behalf of the State from October 2001 to April 2002, a critical period for the discussions and deal making. The Office of the Attorney General was represented until October 2001 but when talks ran into difficulty, legal advice appears to have been suspended. Like so much else in the Laffoy debacle, the review of the commission and the deal with the religious congregations, it is beyond belief that this deal, worth so much money and indemnifying so many, could come to pass without full legal advice being sought at every step.

When the information was finally sent to the Attorney General it was based on what the Comptroller and Auditor General refers to as a “retrospective memorandum” which was drawn up after the negotiations as they had not been documented. It is not standard Department of Education and Science procedure to fail to minute important discussions and meetings, especially if their outcome could be a matter for later Cabinet approval. Yet when the Comptroller and Auditor General sought papers on the negotiations that took place between the Department of Education and Science and the religious congregations, he discovered that no contemporaneous records of them were available. That surely cannot be acceptable or standard procedure at meetings of any Department.

I welcome the opportunity for Members of the Seanad to discuss this important issue. I restate that in no way, shape or form do I wish to jump on the bandwagon and bash the religious congregations. However, a moral obligation rests with them. As Senator Maurice Hayes said yesterday, perhaps they should let down their legal books, take up the New Testament and read from that in their discussions with the Department regarding the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. Too much of a legalistic approach has been taken and there has not been enough of a moral stance on the issue. Much responsibility rests there and I hope that a satisfactory outcome can be reached as soon as possible.

Ms Ormonde Ms Ormonde

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Ms Ormonde: I too am very pleased to contribute to this debate. I have listened to many of the speeches and I will echo many of the points raised by others. Ultimately, in the contributions that came from the other side, it seemed that we were “damned if we do and damned if we do not”. I have never experienced such negative criticism. [89]This Government was the first to take on the problem of abuse, which has been in our midst for 40 or 50 years. In the past, successive Governments, including coalition Governments of Fine Gael and Labour as well as Fianna Fáil, failed to take it on. However, this Government has faced up to its responsibilities regarding redress for the survivors and victims of abuse. I congratulate the Taoiseach who apologised on behalf of the State for wrongs done. The commission was set up with that in mind.

I have read the history and it seems to me that the commission has two parts to it. There is an investigating committee and a confidential one. The problem arose that so many applicants were coming on stream that members realised it would take the committee between eight and 11 years, or perhaps longer, to fulfil its role. The Minister had to take responsibility and go back to the Government and say that it had to be examined again. We are here to examine how we can review the investigation committee to speed up the process and bring justice to those who have been wronged over the years.

Where do we go from here? We are here to discuss how the committee will be reviewed, how best we can give redress and what compensation can be taken on board. It is in that area that concern has been expressed. We must come forward with new thinking on how the religious orders can face up to their responsibilities. The State has huge responsibility. As we know, in the past the State was responsible for removing such children from their homes and putting them into religious institutions. This was accepted. The agents of the State must have known that they were being physically and sexually abused there, yet nothing was done about it. The State, therefore, bears great responsibility and it has owned up to it. Religious congregations have likewise accepted that there is a responsibility on their part to become aware of the problem.

I will not speak at length on the issue which has been thrashed out. I was at the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Science last session, where I listened to many of the victims. I came away feeling that it was the first time the Government had listened to the problem and tried to face up to it. It is the first time the Minister entered into a discussion. I compliment the former Minister, Deputy Woods, who dealt with it at the time and I compliment the current Minister for facing up to it. There are no fixed answers on how we can best go forward, so why are we criticising it? We are trying to find the best solution to the problem.

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Having listened to “Questions and Answers” the other night, I also felt that perhaps the religious institutions should look again at the question morally and consider coming forward again. I am not saying that they should – there were very fine people looking after many of the young people who had been deprived of their own families. Those few institutions caught up in scandal are the people to whom we must face up. [90]They should come forward and make alternative suggestions to increase their contributions. Perhaps that is not possible and perhaps, as was said the other night, an audit of their assets might be analysed.

However, ultimately we are here to discuss how we can best relieve the trauma endured by those children. There is no alternative to sitting down and trying to give them some recompense for their suffering over the years. Many will never get it. They have put their views forward time and time again. It is out of concern for them that we who are able should listen and produce a solution as quickly as possible – not 20 years down the road or through the courts. Let us find a way to make their situation easier rather than subjecting them to court cases, which would only traumatise people who have already suffered so much. I am here to put a few points across and speak on behalf of the victims. I ask the State to accept its responsibility, which it has done. I also ask the religious orders to sit down once again at talks to see how we can produce a solution to solve the problem once and for all, setting in motion new institutions that will ensure that such events never happen again in our society.

Mr. Ryan Mr. Ryan

Mr. Ryan: I apologise for my late arrival. I had assumed that the Independent benches would be awash with people wishing to speak. I am reluctant, although I probably will be tempted, to accord political blame on this question. I remember when the issue of redress was being debated and the then Minister for Education and Science came into the House. In response to every question I asked him about things that were not as I might have wished in his proposals, I was told that it was what Ms Justice Laffoy wanted. I remember that being said on between three and five occasions in this House. I do not wish to appear to be suggesting that it was otherwise, but one has no alternative to accepting the Minister’s word. I fully accept that he believed matters to be so. However, I now realise that there is every possibility that what the Minister, Deputy Woods, thought and, I feel, sincerely believed, Ms Justice Laffoy wanted was entirely different from what she said to him. Government Ministers have a capacity to filter opinions expressed to them to convince themselves that what people are saying to them is what they want to hear. I do not believe that Ms Justice Laffoy was one of those people who would have tempered her opinion. Her subsequent interim reports seem to give lie to any suggestion that the Department of Education and Science and the Minister were co-operating enthusiastically and efficiently with her investigations.

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I remember the experience of my colleague, former Senator Pat Gallagher, in his endeavours to find out the history of a case of abuse by a teacher in his constituency. He could wax eloquent for an hour about the obstacles that were put in his way in the Department of Education and Science to [91]stop him finding out what had happened, what complaints had been made and what had been done about the case. This struggle went on for quite a long time until eventually the then Minister, Deputy Martin, to his credit, agreed that progress would have to be made. It was agreed that the then Senator would be allowed access to the Department’s records of this case on condition that he did not make copies. He could read the records but could not copy them. This was meant to be the atmosphere of open, honest dealing with parts of our history for which nobody in the existing Department had any reason to feel culpable; the events had happened a long time previously and there was probably nobody from that time left.

The then Senator kept his word. He went in and did not photocopy anything but he wrote down in longhand large chunks of what he read and published those. The Department was not amused, saying it did not agree to him copying material. He said he did not copy in any technical sense but wrote down the relevant parts.

What does that say about attitudes, values and sympathy when, on a specific case, a public representative most people who knew him in the Seanad and the Dail knew him to be a man of considerable passion and conviction had to go through a series of hoops to deal with an incident from 30 or 40 years ago? The problem seems to be that every institution in the State, in confronting this horrible part of our history, has tried to delay, obfuscate and confuse people. We finally took our courage in our hands and I commend the Taoiseach on his eloquent, unequivocal apology on behalf of all of us. He was not just speaking for the Government but for the people of the country in general. Once that happened, as we all know with any sincere apology, the immediate follow-up had to be generous, efficient and consistent with the spirit of the apology. Without rehearsing all of the details, Ms Justice Laffoy had to reprimand the Department on numerous occasions for its slowness and her request for additional resources was dealt with equivocally, at the least, and was delayed. That request was subjected to reviews and reports with which she felt she was not properly involved. The immediate and unequivocal conclusion one comes to is that somewhere in the system there is a lack of the precise qualities needed to deal with an issue like this qualities of generosity, understanding and a belief that the issue is important.

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It does not matter if the Department had 1 million or 500,000 documents. The Department decided that it did not believe that it should sufficiently prioritise these issues and provide sufficient staffing and other resources to meet the Laffoy commission’s deadlines on these matters. I am reluctant to believe that people in the Department of Education and Science decided deliberately not to make this information available; I do not believe that. However, I believe they decided deliberately on the priorities in the [92]organisation and the Minister of the time has a culpability here. This matter had to fit into the priorities and budgets of the Department along with other competing demands. The sort of issue we are dealing with here is so unspeakably cruel and reflects so negatively on our society that the Minister of a properly run Department should not have come to that conclusion.

That brings me to another matter, namely that the Department of Education and Science should not have been expected to deal with this out of its existing allocation. That is either a cop-out from the Minister for Finance, and the Taoiseach by implication, by saying: “We have to be generous but you have to be generous within your already constrained budget,” or it means saying: “We do not really want to be generous, we want to talk about being generous.: Whichever way it happened, it means handing over all this responsibility with the obvious scale of costs involved and then telling the Department of Education and Science: “Tough. It is important but it is not that important. Other things are more important.” I could go into a silly populist comparison between issues on which money was spent and issues on which money was not spent or the matters for which extra allocations were made and for which they were not made.

Judged in the context of a generous and what appeared to be a wholehearted apology, what happened was disgraceful because there was no serious follow-through. Everyone knows that a heartfelt apology, which is not followed by serious action is more hurtful than the absence of an apology because there is an implication of insincerity which runs with the lack of generosity afterwards.

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It was not just the Government that was less than generous. I have many good friends who are members of religious orders. I am still a quasi-Catholic and still put my foot inside the church, although one gets to a stage where the continual affronts to one’s reason and generosity could push one in a different direction. Nevertheless, many of my good friends who are members of religious orders are among the most radical, genuine and committed people struggling for change in our society. Within all organisations, however, there seems to be an extraordinary capacity to separate what is done on the ground on a daily basis from the way they defend their own property and financial interests. It is worth repeating something my party leader has already said and which is a long-standing view of mine. The portrayal of Ireland in the 1950s which is behind many of the rationalisations for the low level of financial support from the religious orders is that the orders were doing the State’s job and that the job would not have been done but for them. That is a true picture of the 19th century, when many of the Irish religious orders were set up, providing educational and other services for children who would otherwise have received no education. However, by the 1950s the dominant power institution in the State was not [93]Oireachtas Eireann but the Roman Catholic Church. People know I am an admirer of both the 1937 Constitution and of Eamon de Valera and I have often said that the pressures de Valera resisted in the way he wrote that Constitution, given the demands of the Roman Catholic Church, were quite extraordinary. What he conceded to the church, he conceded knowingly and what he withheld, in terms of what the church wanted, was quite extraordinary.

The Catholic Church was not a fan of freedom of expression or democracy in the 1930s and nor was it a fan of religious tolerance, as we now understand it. It was a fan of states that were identifiably denominational. It was extremely taken with Franco’s Spain and it constructed a concordat with Mussolini in Italy which involved the dissolution, by the Vatican, of the most active Catholic political party. They dissolved a major political party to pacify Mussolini. That was the context in which there was a dominant and triumphant church which, in this country, did not want the State involved in anything to do with the education, welfare or protection of children. It wanted a quiet romantic view of the family in which the father’s primary duty was to provide for his children, while the mother had to stay at home and look after them. It was a romantic, very authoritarian and extremely male view of society.

It was in that context that provision for children who could not be brought up within a normal family was made. The Catholic Church was determined that no secular organisation would have the dominant position in that area. It was the religious orders who rallied to the cry to provide residential institutional care to prevent any possibility of State involvement. One should read the rhetoric of the Roman Catholic Church during the mother and child scheme which happened in the same era. The determination to prevent poor, vulnerable Irish women from getting advice about childbirth and related matters from doctors who would not be under its thumb was a singular and central concern of the Roman Catholic Church. To pretend that these were good generous religious reaching out to help a State that could not fulfil this need itself is a complete travesty of history. In terms of the argument now that the culpability is equally shared, as far as I am concerned, the institution which demanded the right to run and monopolise these institutions was the institution which was most culpable.

Ms O’Meara Ms O’Meara

Mr. Fitzgerald: This is revisionism gone mad.

Acting Chairman (Ms O’Meara): Senator Ryan is in possession and will continue without interruption.

Mr. Ryan Mr. Ryan

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Mr. Ryan: I am sorry Senator Fitzgerald spoke because I would love to hear which part is rubbish. I cite J. H. Whyte’s book, Church and State in Modern Ireland, in which he will see the degree [94]to which the Roman Catholic hierarchy demanded subservience from everybody.

Mr. Fitzgerald Mr. Fitzgerald

Mr. Fitzgerald: I have read better than that.

Mr. Ryan Mr. Ryan

Mr. Ryan: Taoisigh and Presidents genuflected before bishops and kissed their rings and thought that was the appropriate institutional relationship. If that is what Senator Fitzgerald hankers for, let him do so.

Mr. Fitzgerald Mr. Fitzgerald

Mr. Fitzgerald: Our leaders were practising Catholics.

Acting Chairman Acting Chairman

Acting Chairman: Senator Ryan is in possession.

Mr. Ryan Mr. Ryan

Mr. Ryan: My view of the role of religion in society is of service to society, not control, regulation or dominance. It corrupted both church and State. We are dealing today in these issues with the evidence of that corruption and its capacity to allow evil people access to the most vulnerable of our children to abuse them in an institutionalised fashion. I do not believe that all the institutions did it, but it was essentially institutionalised.

Let us remember, in addition to what is under discussion, sexual abuse, there was a tolerance of physical violence in our education system. I do not mean total prohibitions on corporal punishment, but there was a tolerance of a level of physical violence in religious controlled schools which should have been a reproach to any Christian. The point I wish to stress is that in terms of redress and compensation—

Acting Chairman Acting Chairman

Acting Chairman: I ask Members to allow Senator Ryan to speak without interruption.

Mr. Fitzgerald Mr. Fitzgerald

Mr. Fitzgerald: I thank the Chair for the control of free speech.

Acting Chairman Acting Chairman

Acting Chairman: Senator Fitzgerald, you will have your opportunity to speak. I ask Senator Ryan to continue.

Mr. Ryan Mr. Ryan

Mr. Ryan: With the Acting Chairman’s considerable defensive skill assisting me, the point I wish to make is that the argument that somehow society in the 1950s was at best equally and perhaps slightly more culpable because these poor institutions or religious orders were invited in to do the job the State would not do is a complete travesty of the situation at the time. They insisted on total control and they got it. We did not have boards of management of primary schools because the parish priests wanted a total monopoly until less than 20 years ago. That is the situation. That is why I have no patience with the argument that the State’s share of this burden reflects the position.

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However, because I believe many of the religious do an enormous amount of good, I accept that a level of settlement which would have bankrupted and closed down those religious [95]orders, while perhaps ethically and morally justifiable, would have been wrong because of the harm it would do to society today and to many good people working in religious communities. However, I will not allow a suggestion to be made that somehow society handed over its responsibilities. They were taken from us.

In terms of society’s capacity for denial, about 15 years ago I attended a meeting in my home city of Cork.

Acting Chairman Acting Chairman

Acting Chairman: There is another conversation taking place on this side. I ask, once again, that we hear Senator Ryan without interruption.

Mr. Ryan Mr. Ryan

Mr. Ryan: About ten or 15 years ago, I attended a meeting and a question arose at the end about young people and their safety. A Garda chief superintendent was in attendance and he said that, in his view, most of the talk about child sex abuse that was heard in Ireland around 15 years ago was put about by people who wanted to undermine the family. That was the view of a huge section of society until brave people forced us to confront what had really happened. This was done by the victims without much assistance from the rest of society. As this was done by the victims and because of the lives that were ruined by all of this and the harm that was done to people, once we finally acknowledged there was a scandal that had been buried for 30 to 40 years, the response, to which they were entitled, was a speedy, generous one, based on protecting the victims from further suffering.

The Government has made an extraordinary mess of Ms Justice Laffoy’s investigation and the equivocation, delays and ambiguity have done the opposite. They have made the lives of victims more painful and the view of society and how we deal with our victims even more tainted. I hope that, from now on, the qualities of speed, generosity and justice will determine Government attitudes to this whole shameful event.

Dr. Mansergh Dr. Mansergh

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#119 2007-01-08 14:40:36 Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

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Dr. Mansergh: We are discussing a difficult and painful issue, but we should at least give ourselves credit that we have the courage to address such an issue openly without fear or favour. In Northern Ireland, the Kincora scandal was a sort of hugger-mugger security investigation that was never properly aired. Admittedly, that was 20 years ago. Other types of residential institutions, catering more perhaps for the privileged than the underprivileged, boarding schools, public schools etc., have not perhaps even begun to confront the fairly endemic physical, not to mention, sexual abuse that took place in some of them. I am not only referring to institutions in this country but to those across the water. In the midst of all the pain this is causing, we should at least give ourselves some credit for the fact that we are trying, perhaps imperfectly and stumbling along the way, to address this issue, in as honest and as principled a way as we can, to try to make up to the [96]victims for some of what happened in the best way possible.

In the contribution of Senator Ni Murchai there has been some debate about the nature of society a generation or more ago. On the whole I would be more an admirer than a critic of what the Roman Catholic Church and various congregations did in terms of providing a range of social services. The key to such provision was that they provided the services at very much less than full cost in the sense that the people providing them were not paid in the way a secular person might have had to be. There was an ideal” it seems far removed now but there was some nobility about it “of establishing a model Catholic democracy here in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. As always, power considerations were intermingled with idealism, and it is very difficult sometimes to unpick the different factors. In regard to the type of society we are talking about, which was very different from society today and had very different norms, we need to separate the habit of corporal punishment from severe physical and sexual abuse, which left more lasting marks. That society, culture and administration were more authoritarian in character, much more so than today, and more secretive. It was not the case that problems were never dealt with when they arose; in many cases they were dealt with effectively, but that would have been done mostly without publicity. I am sure we are talking about a minority of abusers and abuse.

This problem has been with us a long time. One need only refer to characters in literature such as Tom Jones, the novels of Dickens and Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It is only in this generation that we have begun to tackle the issue in a way that hopefully will prevent more such abuse occurring, but there are other influences, to which Senator  Ni Murchai referred, of a much more secular kind. Abuse of children that is secular in nature is a problem, for example, in a certain sporting context, to which reference was made.

The issues relating to the Laffoy commission “I regret Ms Justice Laffoy’s resignation” raise wider matters relating to the tribunal method of dealing with and investigating problems, particularly when there is a large number of cases involved. We must reflect on this. Tribunals will be necessary in certain instances in the future as they have been in the past, but there is a need to think ahead and to draw their method of operation and terms of reference reasonably tightly in order that their work can be completed within a reasonable time. I accept that the work of some tribunals may take two or three years, but it is not acceptable, as seems to be the case with a number of the current tribunals, that they continue indefinitely with no end in sight. That does not create justice or closure for anybody. I hope that under the review that is currently taking place and having regard to the new chairman, ways will be sought to try to do this work within a reasonable and finite period.

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[97]  Having been a civil servant, I wish to point out that regarding the Department of Education and Science, people may have no concept of the vast quantities of papers and files that exist in Departments. It can be quite difficult to find papers from as recent a period as two or three years ago, let alone several decades ago. In theory, there are supposed to be good filing systems, but files were stored hugger-mugger in cellars and other places in the past. One could underestimate the amount of resources and personnel required to find particular pieces of paper from long ago.

With regard to the issue of the contribution of the religious orders, basically two approaches could be adopted by society and the State. One could adopt the confrontational approach that the religious orders are guilty and should hand over the money. Such an approach would have led to endless legal processes. Some commentators and others are acting not only out of concern for victims but because they enjoy attacking the Roman Catholic Church and its institutions and are not prepared to give them credit for anything and would be quite happy to see the church bankrupted. They see this as a way of trying to sideline the church out of Irish life in ways with which I have little sympathy and could not agree.

The alternative approach would be to recognise that the contribution had to be voluntary and negotiations took place. I regard a contribution of 128 million as reasonably substantial. After all the controversies concerning haemophiliacs and hepatitis C sufferers where the State was accused of being excessively legalistic and excessively concerned with finance, this is perhaps one of the first times the State has taken the opposite approach, which is basically a humanitarian approach towards the victims, and it is being criticised of wasting taxpayers’ money. I do not believe the worst case scenarios. Much of the media coverage of any subject is based on the worst case scenario. One needs to take that argument with a pinch of salt. The Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science was very adamant at the committee meeting last week that the figure was 500 million or thereabouts and I accept that. The figure of 128 million is not so disproportionate.

I welcome the idea that the religious orders might again be examining their assets to see if there is anything more they can do. With the way property values have gone, particularly in the Dublin area, there is no doubt that in some instances the religious orders may be sitting on much more valuable assets than would have been the case even a few years ago. If we try to adopt a coercive approach, it will fail and we will be further back. I understand that to a degree this has happened in Canada, where religious orders were bankrupted and the State had to acquire, at vast cost, institutions that had been run by the Catholic Church. The taxpayer would be no better off in such an event.

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I do not accept that the indemnity agreement as concluded by the Government the day before [98]the new Government was formed was defective or that there was an absence of adequate legal advice. The Attorney General is in many ways one of the most powerful people sitting at the Cabinet table even though he is not formally a member of the Cabinet. He would have the right and the opportunity to intervene in practically anything. The agreement could not have been finalised without his participation. I reject the implication that a better deal would have been concluded if in some way or another the Attorney General had not been sidelined. We all know the personality involved and there is probably no one in public life today who would be more difficult to exclude or sideline than the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform and former Attorney General. That argument is something of a red herring.

I hope we will manage to bring this whole matter forward and conclude it within a reasonable period with, rather than without, the co-operation of the religious orders. I hope they will do the best that, in conscience, they feel they ought to, bearing in mind the many responsibilities they exercise both for their members and the public at large. I would like to think that we would keep a very clear distinction in our minds between a small minority who took advantage of the ethos and structures of the time to abuse young people and children and the vast majority who acted conscientiously by the best lights of the day, which might not always have been the lights we would follow today. One has to make some allowance for the way in which Christian and public values develop.

Mr. B. Hayes Mr. B. Hayes

Mr. B. Hayes: I welcome the Minister to the House. I have been listening on the monitor yesterday and today to the debate. It has been a good debate and I welcome the opportunity to make a short contribution.

As a Christian Democrat, which I am first and foremost, I believe that the primary responsibility of the State is to protect children. Whether in the 1950s or today it is a responsibility we all must share and work towards. There is a great problem in this area when we look back and point the finger at the physical and sexual abuse that took place in the past in our institutions and elsewhere. There could be a smugness in thinking that since the protection of children today has advanced, there is currently no form of child abuse, which is not the case. I reiterate the point that we must always be vigilant in all sectors of society in terms of rooting out abuse and ensuring best practice in the protection of children.

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Last week I read in a Dublin newspaper an appeal by the Eastern Regional Health Authority for more foster care parents. It is a disgrace and a scandal in 2003 that, in the most built-up and populated part of this country, we do not have sufficient people to look after vulnerable children who need to be looked after and that would-be parents looking to adopt must go to eastern Europe to do so. In our community we have thou[99]sands of children who need to be fostered. No one will foster them, yet when it comes to adoption it is virtually impossible to adopt a child in this country because of the demand. We have young Traveller children on the streets. It is another form of abuse, which is accepted today in our society, that people under the age of 18 live in appalling conditions on roads throughout the country.

We have cases of child labour. Children of 16 and 17 years of age are working all God’s hours to make a few euro to get them through the week and no one bats an eyelid. They are not in school on Fridays or Mondays and no one seems to be concerned. If we are talking about child abuse and looking back at the 1940s and 1950s, we must also provoke ourselves into talking about child abuse today and the threats posed to children. We must be aware of these threats and do something about them, rather than simply looking back at times gone by and saying we now have all the wisdom of Solomon and consequently our hands are clean of this matter. We must force ourselves to deal with this difficult issue, to remember the children of today and to do everything in our power to ensure that no such abuse happens in any area of society.

In this saga there has been much discussion about the victims. My great dilemma now in trying to work out where we can go forward is that many of the people involved will be dead in the near future. They have not received compensation and have not been able to tell their stories. It is incumbent on the Houses of the Oireachtas to work with the Government in trying to expedite a new framework which will allow these people to get some closure to the appalling abuse they suffered some years ago. I make that appeal today. This should not be a party political football. We all have a responsibility to move the debate forward and to work with the Government in trying to sort out this problem and get a framework that will work for the victims. That is the best possible solution.

As a parliamentarian, I felt slighted over the summer when the letter from Ms Justice Laffoy to the Government was published in a Sunday newspaper. We are Members of the Oireachtas. It was the responsibility of both the Dáil and the Seanad to establish the commission chaired by Ms Justice Laffoy. We discovered the reasons for her resignation in a Sunday newspaper. Ms Justice Laffoy is not entirely blameless for that. When she decided to resign, as was her right, she had a responsibility to send her letter to every Member of the Oireachtas and not only to the Government. She was given substantial powers by this and the other House and she had a responsibility to tell us the reason she was resigning. I regret I learned of her resignation from a Sunday newspaper.

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The Government was wrong not to immediately circulate the letter. I would have had no difficulty with the Government receiving the letter, [100]circulating it to all Members and stating it would reply in two, three or four months. That we learned about this from the Sunday newspapers shows a lack of respect for Parliament which established the commission. Ownership of the issue should rest with the Houses of the Oireachtas. The problem arises from the fact that tribunals and internal inquiries are seen ultimately as being in the ownership of the Government. We have to take control in that regard as we go forward and try to develop a better structure. Ms Justice Laffoy and the Government handled the matter badly. I do not make that point in defence of the Government but to state that members of the Judiciary appointed to particular positions have a responsibility to all Members of both Houses as well as to Government. Otherwise, this type of dumbing down of Parliament which constantly takes place through all Governments will continue. That is something of which we must be aware.

A grave mistake was made in appointing the Department of Education and Science as the line Department with overall responsibility for the commission because many of the papers relating to the issue under investigation were held within that Department. The Government should have selected a more suitable line Department with overall responsibility for funding and progressing the issue. We ran into so much sand at the start because the Department of Education and Science, as a body, was being investigated. I did not hear in the contributions made yesterday or today, in particular by the Minister, anyone refute the arguments made by Ms Justice Laffoy. No Minister has adequately responded to the arguments she made in support of her resignation. Ms Justice Laffoy sought additional resources to expedite the entire inquiry but the Government took some time to reach a view on the matter. That is not acceptable. I have heard no Minister refute in stark detail the points made by Ms Justice Laffoy in her correspondence to Government during the summer. There were unacceptable delays by the Department of Education and Science in providing many of the documents and memoranda sought. I ask the Minister for Education and Science why a dedicated staff were not put in place to deal with this issue and expedite the requests. It is Ms Justice Laffoy’s view that much of the work could have been completed by 2005 if the requests had been followed up and the money provided. It is shameful that we, as a State, put greater resources into tribunals relating to planning matters and personal funding of politicians than into the investigation of child abuse. The Government has made no adequate response to the points raised by Ms Justice Laffoy in her correspondence. I await a response in that regard.

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I welcome the openness and honesty of Archbishop Martin in his remarks last week. I encourage other church leaders to break their silence and speak out on this subject. We need to hear the church’s voice on this matter. While not all the 18 congregations were implicated in this [101]regard it is important they speak out on the matter. We need more church leaders to do as Archbishop Martin did last week. I am not asking the church to defend its position. It needs to address this issue rather than run for cover. I ask the church to reconsider and renegotiate the deal between it and the Government. The potential for the church to increase the fund to well beyond €128 million is real and possible. As my party leader stated in another place, the church has a moral responsibility to renegotiate this sum so that there is a greater fund to provide the victims’ needs. The ability of the State to pick up the final amount owed remains questionable. The church has a responsibility to renegotiate the deal and I call on it to do so.

The deal, from start to finish, was shambolic. I find it difficult to understand the points made by the former Minister for Education and Science, Deputy Woods, when speaking on this subject over the last couple of weeks. I am unable to grasp the points he is making. I do not wish to make an attack on Deputy Woods but it is difficult for him to justify many of the arguments he puts forward in relation to the deal. Many have referred to the fact that the deal was signed off late into the term of office of the last Government. It appears from the evidence presented to date that the role of the Attorney General and his office was sidelined in the context of the discussions taking place. There was, as others said, no assessment of the total wealth or asset base of the church at the time, which should have been done. Anybody in the private sector negotiating a deal involving millions of euro would bring in their lawyers. They are the people one needs to ensure clarity on all the issues. That did not happen in relation to this deal.

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The heart of the issue does not rest with the 128 million total liability, it is the terms of the indemnity that matter. The former Attorney General was probably the most political Attorney General in the history of this State. He had views on national stadia, Europe and everything else so the notion that he was a shrinking violet does not wash with me. He believed, in regard to the terms of the indemnity, that it should apply only to those who came before the redress board and that the State should not indemnify itself against every member of the congregation who would come before the courts. The ultimate deal negotiated, which leaves the State with maximum exposure in the courts, is a carte blanche whereby everyone whether or not they go before the redress board is held liable and the State must pick up the cost involved. There will be other cases, of which there can be no doubt. It appears the Government got it wrong when negotiating the terms of the indemnity deal. Whether the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform is seeking an escape clause now or whether this was flagged at the time is a matter on which I presume the Committee of Public Accounts will have to make a determination. His view was sidelined on the matter on the basis of the evidence presented to date [102]and proper appreciation of the issues concerning total indemnity and its terms of reference were not taken into consideration.

The Irish Times reported earlier this week that a request was made under the Freedom of Information Act 1997 to the Department of Education and Science and the Attorney General’s office regarding correspondence on this matter. Most of the letters were not released to the journalists involved, yet two of them were published in the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report. It is important that all the documentation is released now and I question the decision of both the Department of Education and Science and the Attorney General’s office not to forward the letters to the journalists from a public interest perspective, particularly when two were published in the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report.

This is a horrible mess and it is the responsibility of the Opposition to work with the Government to sort it out, get to the bottom of what occurred during the dying days of the previous Administration and establish a proper legal framework in order that victims can achieve closure on these issues. That is the most vitally important issue we face.

Ms White Ms White

Ms White: I welcome the Minister of State. Approximately 29,500 young people born after 1930 were committed by the courts to industrial and reformatory schools. In addition, a significant number, which cannot be accurately quantified by the Department of Education and Science, were committed by parents. Such committals were made because the parents were poor and could not afford to nourish their children. The children were committed at a time when sexual mores and property regulations in society were ruthless and cold. The majority of society was in a stranglehold of puritanism, sexual mores and property rights. The upper class kept children born outside marriage. Throughout history aristocratic young people born outside marriage received titles and honours. However, the Roman Catholic Church, under Archbishop John Charles McQuaid, determined and ruled our lives. I was born in 1944 and the church ruled my life morning, noon and night until I was in my mid-twenties.

Many of the institutions were privately owned by the religious orders but they were regulated by the State. This cold and heartless system continued until 1975 when, eight years after the inquiry chaired by District Justice Eileen Kennedy was set up to deliver a report on reformatory and industrial schools, the last institution was closed. There was a suspicion at the time that this was done because Ireland wanted to present a good face to the rest of Europe. We did not want too close an inspection of this system by the EEC. Where would we be if Ireland had not joined? I had to give up my job in the Civil Service when I got married in 1969. It was not until 1973 that female civil servants who were married could keep their jobs.

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I wholeheartedly support the Government’s [103]view on compensation. However, I refer to the cover-up that took place. The Christian Brothers commemorated the centenary of the death of its founder, Edmund Ignatius Rice, in 1944. John Cooney, a revered writer formerly employed by The Irish Times, wrote a biography of Archbishop John Charles McQuaid in which he referred to the commemoration. He stated:

These celebrations took place as two senior gardai at Dublin’s Fitzgibbon St. station were prevented from pursuing allegations of abuse by two Christian Brothers of boys at Artane Industrial School. The Superior, the Rev Brother T. M. Lennane, and the school chaplain, Fr. William Kenny, succeeded in hushing up a potential scandal with the assistance of McQuaid and Justice Minister, Gerald Boland. In a climate of opinion hostile to prosecution of clergy the two gardai­ were told not to proceed with the case.

This is why the Taoiseach made his comprehensive apology on behalf of the Government and the State to these young people. Gardaí, judges, inspectors and departmental officials who regulated and inspected the schools did not have the courage of their convictions to speak out and identify what was happening. People know abuse was taking place in the schools and nobody had the courage to stand up.

I was 59 yesterday. The older I become, the more I realise how many people are afraid to speak out because they are fearful or are in denial. As Senator Brian Hayes said, this is happening under our noses similar to the treatment of Travellers and young people. I would not like to have been born a Traveller, living on the side of the road. I would be dead and probably would not have lived past ten years of age. We are in denial about those who are incarcerated in our prisons. Only the poor are in prison. The middle classes buy the best legal aid and keep themselves out of prison. We are in denial that those who are in prison cannot afford to pay for legal help. I support Senator Hayes’s comment that we are also in denial in regard to other issues in society.

Following the Taoiseach’s apology, he introduced two Bills to establish the commission and the residential institutions redress scheme. Subsequently, the Government decided to pay full compensation and the congregations were not requested by the Government to pay. However, the congregations agreed to a payment and many meetings took place involving officials of the Department of Education and Science and the Attorney General’s office to hammer out a deal on how much they should pay.

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The Laffoy commission had two functions, investigative and therapeutic. Many of those who sought therapy at the commission felt somebody was listening to them at long last about their suffering. I heard a number of them on radio programmes and it was most moving. They were finally able to tell somebody who was open to believing them that they were physically and sex[104]ually abused. This element of the commission worked well but the investigative stage opened many legal challenges. As they were accused, the Christian Brothers were entitled to bring in lawyers to defend themselves. In defence of the Government, it decided to review the commission’s work because it was facing a bill of €200 million for funding every aspect of the work. It was paying for the lawyers and barristers of the members of the clergy who were being accused.

I agree, with the benefit of hindsight, that the Department of Education and Science should not have been asked to inquire into the abuse of young people in institutions that were under its jurisdiction. I am fascinated by the fact that the Hutton inquiry in the UK conducted its business in eight weeks. It was able to demand the Prime Minister’s attendance. We all saw the reconstructions of the hearings on television. The fact that Irish tribunals of inquiry seem to go on for years is not the end of the world, however, as the more we learn from the tribunals of the behaviour of certain people, the greater the chance that other people will appreciate the need for a high standard of ethics in public life. It would have been better if the Department of Education and Science had not been involved.

I received first class help from the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science, Mr. John Dennehy, when I was chairwoman of Gaisce” The President’s Award. He gave me tremendous personal assistance when I had the stressful experience of being involved with the council. I was asked by President McAleese to try to introduce the award in Northern Ireland and I achieved this, in conjunction with the Departments of Education and Science, Justice, Equality and Law Reform and Foreign Affairs. I sent a letter to an official in the Department of Education and Science as chairwoman of the organisation, but I did not receive a response. I assumed that he was making up his mind about what I had requested of him. I became impatient after about three months and arranged to meet the man to whom I had written. I realised at that point that my request was not being dealt with. My letter had been placed in a file. I had thought, innocently, that I had not received a response because a decision had not been made.

One can understand that the Department of Education and Science may have been asked to deal with this issue because it was in possession of the documentation and other material, but another Department would have been more suitable, with hindsight. Senator Mansergh mentioned earlier that the Department has a mind-boggling workload.

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In my heart and soul, I believe the State was responsible for the abuse of young people. I have believed from the start of this process that it is right that the State should pay for its lack of vigilance in looking after young people in industrial and reformatory schools. I spoke about this matter at a meeting of the Joint Committee on Fin[105]ance and the Public Service. There seems to be a vendetta on the part of the Opposition, especially the Labour Party, in respect of issues of costs and money. Given that their lives have been ruined, how must the victims of abuse feel when they hear all this talk about money and costs? Any young person who is physically or sexually abused is damaged for life. They may make a form of recovery, but they are damaged forever.

The Catholic Church has paid a large price for the actions of some of its members. The fact it is on its knees in Ireland and the United States – the Archbishop of Boston has resigned – is a big enough price to pay. There is no doubt that the religious congregations contain some very good people. The hospitals that were managed by nuns were brilliantly run. The ladies who were in charge of training colleges and hospitals did an outstanding job at a time when women in Ireland had little chance of being involved in management, organisation or business. It should be remembered that not everybody was an abuser. Senator Mansergh does not realise how many young people were abused. His contribution gave the impression that only a few people were abused. Some 2,900 complainants, not a small figure, have made themselves known to the investigation committee. The relatives of the complainants should also be taken into consideration.

I do not want to omit any of the points I wished to make. It is sad that the church is on its knees. Why does Ireland top the poll when surveys list countries in terms of alcohol consumption? Ireland is the number one country for binge drinking. Young people have no moral authority. For all its faults, the Catholic Church established the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association, for example, to encourage people not to drink. It is a tragedy that the church is on its knees because there is now a lack of moral authority. Anybody who believes that young people listen to their parents, or do what their parents tell them, must be living in Disneyland. An authority other than parents is needed. I know that the church was repressive, but aspects of it were extremely good for social stability, and its downfall is a tragedy.

I do not think it is right to bankrupt the religious orders. The Government decided initially that the orders should not have to pay anything, but they came forward to make payments even though they were under no pressure to do so. I will never forget the moment I heard the Taoiseach’s apology on behalf of the nation in 1999. Senator Ulick Burke was somewhat disingenuous yesterday when he said that the Taoiseach’s apology rings hollow.

An Cathaoirleach An Cathaoirleach

An Cathaoirleach: The Senator should not make comments about Senator Ulick Burke as he is not present.

Ms White Ms White

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Ms White: I am very sorry. Another reference was made yesterday – I will not mention the Senator in question – to a deal of “madness”. How can one speak of a deal of madness? I fully [106]support the Taoiseach and the apology he made. I also support Deputy Woods, who spearheaded the deal in the presence of officials from the Department of Finance and the Minister, Deputy McCreevy. Justice is being done in the interests of the human rights of people who were deprived. The people in question were seen only as a number. They were not loved and were deprived of the love of a parent. Can one imagine the coldness felt by one who is seen by the Department as a number in an institution? The most traumatic aspect of this matter is that nobody cared about, praised or encouraged the people in question. There was a lack of love in their lives.

Mr. Cummins Mr. Cummins

Mr. Cummins: I am delighted to be afforded the opportunity to speak briefly on this subject. This has been an excellent debate and there have been some wonderful contributions.

The abuse to which children were subjected in reformatories, industrial schools, orphanages and Magdalene homes is a national disgrace. It was acknowledged as such by the Taoiseach, who made an apology to the victims of abuse on behalf of the State. Every right-thinking person lauded the establishment of the Laffoy commission, which was charged with inquiring into cases of child abuse and giving the victims of abuse the opportunity to have their day in court. The stated intention of the inquiry seems to have been frustrated and hindered by the Department of Education and Science, in particular. This culminated in the resignation of Ms Justice Laffoy. I cannot accept the view of a previous speaker, who said it is very difficult to locate specific documents in the Department of Education and Science when required, as there are so many papers in that Department.

What can we do to give survivors a speedy recourse to justice, which was the purpose of the inquiry? A spokesman for Aisling said recently that the people who go through the investigation committee only want to look their abusers in the face and ask them why they did what they did.

The handling of the issue by the Department of Education and Science has been disgraceful. The Government stated that its actions were largely motivated by concern that hearings would take up to 12 years, yet last November when the commission, in a document entitled Framework Procedures, sought resources to hold parallel hearings the Government agreed in principle to provide the extra resources, but failed to provide them on the basis requested. It has been estimated that if those resources had been provided, the commission could finish its hearings by July 2005. Instead of looking for review after review, the Minister should have provided those resources and let the commission do its job, finish its hearings in 2005 and produce its report in 2006. Reviews and reports are regularly called for by the Government. This is another way of delaying and postponing decisions. The Government’s inability to act has resulted in the resignation of Ms Justice Laffoy.

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[107]  It beggars belief that the former Minister for Education and Science, Deputy Woods, went into discussions with religious orders without legal representation when the other side was represented. I will not dwell on this matter because it has been adequately dealt with by my colleagues, particularly by Senator Phelan, and in the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

I have spoken to a number of victims of child abuse. Some are old and frail. I make an appeal that these people be granted an immediate hearing. All victims would agree that those who are old and frail should have their say at this point. I hope this question will be addressed. The reasons for this inquiry must not be overlooked and the victims must not lose out in the morass of administrative procedure and detail.

Mr. Moylan Mr. Moylan

Mr. Moylan: I welcome the Minister of State to the House and I compliment all speakers on their detailed research and the preparation of their statements. I compliment the former Minister, Deputy Woods, and the Government and I compliment the Taoiseach on his full apology to the unfortunate people who were abused in institutions for which the State had responsibility.

On behalf of the people of County Offaly, where there was an institution in Daingean, I apologise for the injustices done to people in that institution in my county. Daingean reformatory had football and hurling teams and I played alongside some of the boys from that institution. Some of the boys were very good hurlers and footballers and I recall one boy who hurled alongside me on the Offaly minor team. Some of the stories he relayed to me and others do not bear repeating.

Certain members of the clergy, gardaí and school principals sought, for very little reason, to have young boys committed to institutions. Problems existed but the solution to those problems was not to put boys into reformatories. Responsibility rests on several such people for what happened. The guilty must put their hands up and apologise to those unfortunate people.

I welcome the financial commitment made by the religious congregations, who bear no obligation. We had a responsibility to deal with problems we ourselves created in not properly supervising the institutions. The contribution of the religious congregations should not be treated lightly.

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I recall the stories told by the unfortunate young people from Daingean of having to work hard on farms when they were very young and hungry much of the time. One boy told me he was punished for eating a piece of one of the turnips he was pulling. The regime that existed in those days left much to be desired. It is a cause of sadness to me, as a practising Catholic, that those young people went to Mass every morning and some were abused every night. The Taoiseach was correct to make a full apology to those [108]who were abused and I would have expected no less of a public representative or Taoiseach.

The young fellows from Daingean used to arrive on a cattle truck, already togged out, to play matches. They always played to the rules, although we often suspected they were over the age limit for the competitions in which they took part. I regret having lost contact with some of the boys I got to know particularly well at that time. The Offaly minor hurling team was not as well treated as teams nowadays. We did not have dinner after important matches but thought ourselves lucky to be given a cup of tea with sandwiches and buns. The buns were not even iced. We used to collect the cakes and give them to the young fellows who were going back to the institution. Their only worry was that the buns might be taken from them at the gate as they returned and that they would not be able to give them to the other young fellows. Those were tough times and we regret them. We must have the courage to admit our faults and apologise for what happened at that time.

More than 3,000 complaints have been received. Many of the people who suffered in the institutions have passed on to their eternal reward and we must also apologise for what happened to them. We should thank Ms Justice Laffoy for the excellent work she did while she chaired the commission. I wish the board the very best in reaching a speedy conclusion to ensure that all the young people who suffered at the hands of people for whom the State was responsible are properly compensated. No matter what amount they get, it will not be sufficient to compensate for their sufferings.

I could not put on record the stories I was told by some of the young people who were abused during the era in question. As a person from County Offaly, which had an institution wherein child abuse occurred, I regret that there were not better rules and inspection methods in place, perhaps at a local authority level. Visiting committees from local authorities should have visited the institutions, just as health boards established visiting committees for their institutions more recently. Any institution dealing with young people with any handicap should certainly have visiting committees of elected public representatives to see at first hand exactly what is happening.

I thank the Cathaoirleach for affording me the opportunity to make some brief remarks. I thank the Minister of State for his presence and Deputy Woods and the Government for having taken the stand they have taken, and I hope this matter is resolved at the earliest possible opportunity.

Mr. Finucane Mr. Finucane

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Mr. Finucane: I listened with great interest to the previous speaker because he brought a human dimension to the debate. I remember growing up in Foynes, which was ten miles from Glin where there was an industrial school. When I was young in the early 1950s, industrial schools obviously presented themselves as a terrible pros[109]pect because I remember that parents of young school-going children who misbehaved always threatened to send those children to the industrial school. “We will send you to Glin,” was a statement at the time. There was fear as early as the 1950s.

Like Senator Moylan, I remember young people taking up employment with local farmers after leaving the industrial school. I remember socialising with one such person who was extremely friendly. Last summer, a museum was set up in Glin in an old Church of Ireland building and it contains memorabilia from the area and much memorabilia from the industrial school, including photographs. It brought a lump to my throat to enter the museum because it brought back memories of the days when the industrial school was in operation.

I accept it was correct for the Taoiseach to apologise on behalf of the State for the abuse that took place. In many ways, the apology would have been influenced by reports on television and in books about the era in question, an era which many would want to forget.

The issue of compensation does not involve a vendetta regarding money because even if victims received 80,000 or 100,000 in compensation, it would not compensate for the abuse they suffered and for the loss of their childhood. Money is not the factor. For many of those concerned, the main issue is that they are getting a chance to express what took place when they were young and that there is somebody to listen. This is probably the most important factor because with listening will come the healing process.

It is understandable that those on the Government side would congratulate Deputy Woods for the initiative he took as Minister, and all his officials. One has to realise that while the Opposition would like to see a consensus evolving in politics, it is important for it to look vigilantly at what is being done. I spent a year as Chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts and worked very closely with the Comptroller and Auditor General. He is one of the most principled people I have ever worked with. He is totally apolitical and is forensic in his analysis of different aspects of State spending. There has been much focus recently on his report, especially regarding excesses in Government spending. Much attention has been paid to his research in this area and his estimate that compensation may cost up to 1 billion. It may cost that much  “I believe it has been described as a guesstimate. This term is unfair because the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General does not go through a guesstimate-type process. One Minister criticised the Comptroller and Auditor General for entering the area of policy. One has to respect that we have an independent person producing this kind of analysis. In many cases, the Comptroller and Auditor General cannot defend himself, by virtue of his position, against those who may make political taunts or attack him in a hostile way.

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When one says Ms Justice Laffoy’s resignation [110]is not about money, one should realise that the sequence of events prior to her resignation, when she asked for sufficient resources to try to conclude the process in a timeframe of four to five years, was about funding. There was agreement in principle to provide the resources but, because of funding problems, they were not provided. One might say that the financial resources may not have been available because of the decline of the Celtic tiger, etc.

In that context, when the Taoiseach said that everything was not right and apologised to Ms Justice Laffoy, his actions were in complete contrast to those of the Department of Education and Science, under Deputy Noel Dempsey, who was quite defensive of the whole mechanism. There was no apology on his part and he obviously tried to put a different spin on the matter. It would have been far better had he put up his hand like the Taoiseach and said the issue was not handled perfectly. The spin that appeared afterwards suggested that if the process were to continue as it was progressing, it would take ten to 12 years to complete and that many of those involved would have passed away. In fairness to Ms Justice Laffoy, had she received the resources she requested the process could have been completed in four to five years. We should await the sequence of events that occurs under the new appointee to see how long it might take. It is important to establish finality in whatever time it takes, preferably in a short timeframe.

I worked with Deputy Woods and opposed him when I was spokesperson on the marine. I found him very frustrating to oppose during Question Time in the Dáil. He gave such long-winded replies that one was tearing out one’s hair when asking supplementary questions. One rarely got to ask a supplementary question and rarely got to the nub of the issue because many of his replies involved a process of obfuscation to put one off the scent.

Mr. Fitzgerald Mr. Fitzgerald

Mr. Fitzgerald: Not at all.

Mr. Finucane Mr. Finucane

Mr. Finucane: I did not interrupt anybody and listened with great patience. Deputy Woods made a sterling defence of his stance on the issue recently.

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I heard Senator Mansergh decide that the issue of the Attorney General’s intervention was a red herring. It was not. If one had listened to an eminent barrister on “Questions and Answers” last Monday night, one would have heard her say it was absolutely amazing that the religious congregations attended one of the meetings armed with their legal advisers while the Government did not have its legal representatives in place. That would appear obvious. Mr. Boland, an official of Deputy Woods’s in the Department of Education and Science, remarked that while the Department achieved agreement in principle with CORI, it would have to be fine-tuned with the Attorney General, which never happened. The then Attorney General, Michael McDowell, did not [111]want to be left out on a limb regarding this issue. He felt he was left outside the loop regarding many of the meetings. He had external matters to deal with and there were preparations to be made for the election etc., and maybe he might have taken his eye off the ball. However, it was a mistake to resolve the issue just a day into an election campaign. Maybe it was just a chance to clear the decks.

It was very important that the parameters were correctly set. On the question of the legal indemnity, the Secretary General, Mr. Dennehy, said indemnity had not been invoked, yet the following day he apologised saying it had already been invoked in view of a settlement of 150,000 to 200,000. It will be interesting to see if the findings of the Comptroller and Auditor General will be borne out when the overall cost emerges. The work of the commission will be extended over many years. An examination of the sequence of events will show that matters were not handled correctly. I am pleased the Comptroller and Auditor General had access to information from the Department of Education and Science. When The Irish Times requested similar documentation under the Freedom of Information Act, it was not disclosed.

I hope the Committee of Public Accounts will consider this issue further. It is not concerned totally with money but with ensuring that those who suffered recover their dignity. We must respect what the State has done in this regard, including the Taoiseach’s apology. It is important for politicians, the Comptroller and Auditor General and other custodians of the public purse to ensure that State resources are expended effectively and well.

I disagree with the view that there was no compunction on the church to provide compensation. Much of what happened occurred under the church’s stewardship. If it did not offer compensation, it would find it very difficult to preach to its flock especially in view of its eroded moral authority. Senator White referred to binge drinking among the young. Senator Moylan and other Senators know of the tremendous respect people had for the church when we were growing up. There was also respect for those who decided to become a pioneer. Young pioneers today feel like pariahs when they socialise with their peers, which is regrettable. Some of the changes that have taken place in society are not for the better.

While these events occurred under the stewardship of the church and were wrong, it must be acknowledged that the church has done a lot of good. When we were growing up, the church had greater moral authority and there was, perhaps, a justified fear of it which may have kept us on the right path. It is regrettable that has been eroded and has broken down.

I wish Ms Justice Laffoy’s successor well and I hope that over a short time period this matter will be brought to finality in the interests of those who have been abused in the past.

Mr. Treacy Mr. Treacy

112

[112]  Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Treacy): Is caiis athais dom teacht anseo i bhur measc agus paoirt a ghlacadh ins an diospiireacht an-thbhachtach seo mar ionadai an Rialtas. Danaim comhgairdeas le gach duine a labhair go croaiil, go cruinn agus go beacht ar an Aibhar.

I thank those who contributed to this debate. While I may not agree with the sentiments expressed by some Members of the Opposition, I accept Senators have spoken with the needs of the survivors of abuse at heart. I pay tribute to those I had the privilege to hear. Their contributions were open, heartfelt, sincere, humane and committed.

The Government regards the need to bring some closure to survivors regarding their past experiences as being the primary factor in shaping its policy in this area. Its programme of measures began in May 1999, with the Taoiseach’s apology to all victims of abuse on behalf of the people. These measures, comprising a nation-wide counselling service, a commission to inquire into child abuse and a redress board, remain in place. It is worth repeating that the only part of the Government’s initiative in this area that is under review is the investigation committee of the commission to inquire into child abuse. The commission’s other committee – the confidential committee – is working well and has heard over 700 witnesses.

All other parts of the Government’s response continue to operate. In particular, the redress board, which provides financial awards to survivors of abuse, is fully operational and is processing 30 claims per week. Some 97% of the offers made by the board have been accepted by claimants, so it is clearly working well. It is worth noting that it is open to claimants to appeal awards to an independent appeals board.

Fortunately, I have been a Member of Oireachtas Éireann for 21 years. Over the last decade, many tribunals of inquiry have been established to inquire into many aspects of public life. It is worth comparing these with the work of the Hutton inquiry in the United Kingdom. Everybody asked and summonsed to appear before the Hutton inquiry did so, some in the absence of legal advisers, without obstruction or legal impediment. They submitted their reports and gave evidence without difficulty. The inquiry report will be accepted by the Government, the public and the media and will stand as the record, the de facto position. By contrast, in this country, the tribunals of inquiry that have been established have become complex and legal quagmires. They have been impeded and obstructed to the extent that even servants of the State who are paid by taxpayers are not prepared to give evidence before them. There is something wrong with that.

113

The former Minister for Education and Science, Deputy Woods, and the current Minister, Deputy Noel Dempsey, and their teams are being lambasted because they did not have lawyers [113]present every time they met the parties involved in the negotiations on this matter. Surely if we elect people and if Parliament appoints Ministers, they have a duty to do a job and execute a conclusion, no matter how complex or difficult. As the then custodian of the Department of Education and Science, Deputy Woods did an outstanding job in bringing this matter to finality. He had a professional lawyer within his Department to advise him on a daily basis and be present with him during the negotiations. In view of this, I do not understand those who say there was something wrong with the conclusions reached, especially when the negotiations were conducted in a sincere attempt to discharge professional standards and bring to a conclusion one of the saddest tales in the history of the State.

It is planned to increase the number of redress board members from five to eight, which should allow for 40 cases a week to be processed. It is important to emphasise that the current review of the commission’s investigation committee has no impact on the work of the redress board. It is the Government’s intention that the review of the investigation committee would be completed as soon as possible. Where amending legislation is considered necessary, it will be brought before the Houses of the Oireachtas expeditiously. The overriding aim is that the committee should be empowered to complete its mandate within a reasonable period of time without incurring exorbitant costs.

It is important to remember that without the contribution of 128 million from the religious congregations, to be provided under the terms of the indemnity agreement, the costs associated with the redress scheme would have been met entirely by the taxpayers. It has been said repeatedly, but it needs to be reiterated in order that people are properly informed on this issues, that the indemnity agreement is not costing the State money. The redress scheme, proposed by the Government and agreed by all sides of the House, will do so.

The contribution of 128 million from the religious congregations means the State does not have to fund the entire bill. It also means that the need for further actions in the courts is minimised. While it has been argued that the State should not have accepted a sum of â128 million and should have insisted on a higher contribution and possibly a 50:50 split, it is my view and that of the Government that the agreement reached was the best that could have been achieved in the circumstances. In France, the state took on the churches on these issues and lost when it secured a discovery of documents order against them. That was appealed to the French Supreme Court which found that the documents had to be returned. The judges did not award a penny. Against this background, other international information, legal facts and common sense, a solid conclusion has been reached in our case.

114

There comes a stage in all negotiating processes when an offer is made and there is a [114]judgment call on whether it could be increased or should be accepted. In this case, the call was that €128 million represented a meaningful contribution and should be accepted. Any right-thinking and fair-minded person should agree with this decision.

I thank Senators for their contributions to this debate. I welcome the fact that there is more informed comment about the improvements that need to be made. In May 1999 the Government apologised to the survivors of institutional childhood abuse and set about redressing the wrong. The Government has been true to its word and will fully adhere to its commitments.

Sitting suspended at 1.40 p.m. and resumed at 3.30 p.m.

Seanad Eireann 174 Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse: Statements (Resumed).

General Debate

20031008

#120 2007-01-08 16:52:12 Setanta
 

Re: From the CrookedLawyers.com Guestbook {2}

Statement 12 LIES AND FALSE ALLEGATIONS OF CHILD ABUSE MADE BY CHILDREN FROM SAINT JOSEPHS ORPHANAGE KILKENNY CITY IRELAND.]

Is it about time that people should write a little more about the innocent victims who have suffered from false allegations being made against them by unscrupulous, lying applicants to The Residential Institutions Redress Board.Dublin.Ireland.

I and my innocent family have suffered for four years from some vile applicants to the Board,and from learned and esteemed professional people, who know about their lies,and have done nothing about it.

I now have a police record on file. And this was done to me in total secrecy, without any trial, and without any conviction.

I suspect,that all those people who have been named by the hundreds of applicants to The Residential Institutions Redress Board may now have criminal records held on Police file ?And this criminal record freely given to the named unsuspecting victims, in total secrecy,without a trial, and without a conviction .

The loss of a loved one by death is truly sad and upsetting for those relatives and friends of Judge Sean O’Leary. This  man,who was generally known, and a respected, and  esteemed  High Court Judge in Dublin,Ireland.

However, this honorable man was also the chairman of the Residential Institutions Redress Board.

He was acutely aware that some applicants to the Board had given false statements.And He was aware that Solicitors and Barristers and the Irish Police were also involved, and aware of these false and fraudulent claims.

Judge O’Leary was also aware that the Residential Instutions Redress Board was fundamentally flawed,and that the Board was in breech of Civil and Human rights,and European,National and International Laws.

In His position of absolute power and secrecy, Judge O’Leary and His Legal colleagues, actively denied innocent people, who had been falsely named by unscrupulous lying applicants to the Board, their right to defend themselves.

In my case,Judge O’Leary warned me to remain silent ,under His threat of a large fine,and a prison sentence should I expose the Redress Board proceedings to the public.

I know of one man, Mr.Myles Brady,who has died in prison after being named by the same lying unscrupulous individuals who have falsely accused me of child sexual abuse to the Board.

I submit that Judge Sean O’Leary was a greater crook than the disgraced Gun- Runner and  politician and prime-minister of Ireland Mr.Charles Haughey.
Because, while Mr Haughey was a crook,and a thief, Judge O’Leary caused utter destruction, and grief, and unrepairable damages, and trauma,  to innocent men, women and children, which will effect them for the rest of their lives.

The Residential Instutions Redress Board has caused,and is causing unbelievable trauma,grief, possibly death,and most certainly,human destruction, to many innocent individuals, families,and children.

I have no feeling of loss for this vile, and honorable man .
And I have no feeling for his colleagues who worked with Him,and continue to work,and operate in a system that is fundamentally flawed, and biased against all those who have been falsely accused, and named by unscrupulous applicants, who are prepared to lie in their sworn statements to to the Redress Board.

The  nature and doings of the Residential Redress Institutions Board, and Judge O’Leary’s support, and status held, epitomizes a vile corruption in the Irish Government, and the crooked Irish legal profession.

Judge Sean O’Leary knew that He was doing wrong, but He chose to do nothing about it.

Judge O’Leary worked in guilt, lived in guilt, and died in guilt.

Setanta.

Last edited by Setanta (2007-09-22 08:09:35)

Re: From the CrookedLawyers.com Guestbook {2}

Abuse Body not to have Full Hearings on all Claims

Marie O’ Halloran

The commission investigating child abuse at State-run residential institutions will no longer have to carry out full hearings on every allegation of abuse, under legislation introduced in the Dail yesterday.

Minister for Education Mary Hanafin said witnesses would be called to give evidence of the abuse they suffered, to the extent that the investigation committee deemed necessary. However, people who are not called to give evidence can opt to go to the commission’s confidential committee.

Ms Hanafin also informed the House that to date some 229 million has been paid out by the Redress Board to more than 3,000 victims with an average award of 78,000. More than 5,900 applications have been made to the Redress Board. The Minister also said that the commission intends to make its report before its May 2008 deadline.

Opposition TDs welcomed the Bill but sharply criticised the delay in its introduction, six years after the Taoiseach apologised on behalf of the State to victims and 18 months after the resignation of Ms Justice Mary Laffoy as first chairwoman of the commission.

Under the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (Amendment) Bill, a finance board will also be established to administer 12.7 million education grant scheme for former institution residents.

Provisions also include that the commission will only name individual abusers who have a criminal conviction for child abuse or those who have admitted to or pleaded guilty to charges of child abuse.

“The primary purpose of the commission inquiry is to determine the causes, nature, circumstances and extent of child abuse,” Ms Hanafin added.

Other changes are also included in the legislation to make the investigation process “more effective, less time-consuming and less costly”.

Fine Gael’s education spokeswoman Olwyn Enright said that “while justice should be delivered in the most timely and effective manner, the priority must be that it is delivered”. She pointed to the “conflict of interest in the Department of Education sponsoring an inquiry when the department is part of what is being investigated. That is a mistake and it is a pity that the opportunity to rectify it in this legislation was not taken.”

Ms Enright also expressed concern at the “sweeping change” in the Bill that would provide victims with an opportunity to recount the abuse and other relevant experiences “as far as is reasonably practicable”. She said there was “a great degree of concern among the victims that they will not get the opportunity to have their story told”.

Labour’s education spokeswoman Jan O’Sullivan said the fact that the Bill was only now being debated “is an abysmal indication of the record of the Government in dealing with the issue”. It had taken until now to get some answers, she said. Ms O’Sullivan also expressed “serious reservations about the fact that not all survivors will be able to tell their full stories if they want to”.

22.04.2005 © The Irish Times

Village Magazine: Letters to the Editor Thursday, November 23, 2006

Irish Child Prisoners: Child Prisoners must be given a Voice

The delinquent state that oppressed Irish children in institutional care is alive and well and is still denying justice to its former child victims.

During his lifetime, one such victim, Peter Tyrrell, could not get justice in Ireland.
He couldn’t even get a hearing of his complaints. He took his life in despair after being betrayed by Ireland’s bleeding-heart do-gooders in whom he had misplaced his trust.

Now that Peter has been safely dead nearly 40 years, Ireland’s parasitic do-gooders are cashing in on his suffering. Peter’s dreadful experiences can now be romanticised by Establishment Ireland and woven into Sean Ryan’s myth of Ireland’s “residential schools” and “child care system”. The hypocrisy is nauseating.

Meanwhile, the living victims of Ireland’s gulag (including myself) are being silenced by the state, the media and the do-gooders.
It is just like the old times.

A fraudulent and secret inquiry (the Ryan Commission on Child Abuse) and a secret hush-money court (the so-called Redress Board) are busily engaged in re-writing history.

If there is one thing worse than being oppressed, it is having one’s history written by one’s oppressors.

For the sake of Ireland’s children – past, present and future – that reprehensible project must not be allowed to succeed. Ireland’s theocratic ruling elite is a prisoner of its history but it would do well to heed Santiana’s warning that those who don’t learn from their history are doomed to repeat it.

An independent inquiry must be established to investigate the Irish Gulags. The former child prisoners could not get a public hearing at the Ryan Commission. The tiny, unrepresentative handful of survivors that was selected for a hearing by the inquiry was heard behind closed doors.

They were deemed unfit to be seen or heard by “respectable” Ireland – exactly as they were treated by the corrupt judges who illegally imprisoned them in childhood.

Meanwhile, the Commission gave everyone else a public platform from which to disseminate their misinformed opinions on the child prisoners.

Everyone, from Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to government minions to gulag jailors were given a chance to speak – everyone except the gulag victims. Even the likes of Colm O’Gorman (PD parliamentary candidate), who never set foot in a child prison, was given a public platform by Sean Ryan, the commission’s chairman.

Ireland is not ready to listen to those whose lives it wilfully wrecked in the industrial reformatories.

We, the former gulag children, will never get justice in Ireland.

Our history will have to be published abroad. Perhaps in another 40 years, when we are all safely dead, we will suffer the same posthumous fate in Ireland – as Peter Tyrrell.

Jim Beresford, Former Artane child prisoner, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

Village Magazine

Last edited by Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin (2007-01-18 11:26:46)

#122 2007-01-21 10:06:14 Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin
Re: From the CrookedLawyers.com Guestbook {2}

The Origins of Ireland’s Containment.

Culture and the Carrigan Report (1931).

James M. Smith

“In Ireland “whenever a child is born out of wedlock, so shocked is the public sense by the very unusual occurrence, that it brands with an irreparable stigma, and, to a large extent, excommunicates the woman guilty of the crime.

“1 Writing in 1922, the same year that the Irish Free State was founded, James F. Cassidy, himself a Catholic priest, captured the inherent contradictions informing contemporary

Irish attitudes toward women’s virtue and outlined the ramifications for those women who violated that social and moral ideal.

Branded by the public as simultaneously a mother and a criminal, a family member and an outcast, the unmarried mother faced shame, betrayal, and exile.

With little or no social welfare system to fall back on, her choices were limited to entering the county home, begging on the streets, or possibly resorting to prostitution.

Cassidy’s scenario carefully avoided the unmarried mother’s male partner, father to her “illegitimate” child. Similarly, he ignored the social powerbrokers “Church and State” that facilitated these communal responses.

The historically powerful Catholic Church and the fledgling Irish Free State cooperated increasingly throughout the 1920s as the self-appointed guardians of the nation’s moral climate.

Already by 1925 this partnership had provoked legislation establishing censorship of films and proscribing divorce, characteristic hallmarks of the socially repressive Free State society. These initiatives were followed by a series of official investigations, for [End Page 208]…

  Re: From the CrookedLawyers.com Guestbook {2}

Another country which has developed a particularly intense and dangerous crusade against child abuse is the Republic of Ireland.

Here, as in almost every modern instance, the collective fantasy which has been progressively developed has a core of reality.

The beginnings of the story go back to 1994 when the authorities in Northern Ireland sought the extradition from the

Republic of Father Brendan Smyth, a Catholic priest who was facing a number of counts of child sexual abuse to which he would eventually plead guilty.
It would appear that he had previously been protected against allegations by his own Norbertine order, which had moved him from parish to
parish as complaints arose, and failed to alert the police.

Perhaps because of the age of the allegations, which went back twenty years, there was a delay of several months during which the Irish attorney general took no action in relation to the extradition request.

Unfounded reports began to circulate in Dublin that the process was being deliberately delayed in response to a request made at the highest level by the Catholic Church.

An Irish opposition deputy, Pat Rabbitte, then referred in parliament to the possible existence of a document that would “rock the foundations of this society to its very roots”.

He apparently had in mind the rumoured existence of a letter written by the Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Cathal Daly, to the attorney general in Dublin.

In this letter the Cardinal had supposedly interceded on behalf of Father Brendan Smyth and requested the delay in his extradition which had in fact taken place.
No evidence has been produced that any such letter ever existed.

Yet, as a direct result of the rumours which now swept the country, confidence in the ruling establishment was undermined and the Fianna Fail government of Albert Reynolds fell, amidst talk of a dark conspiracy involving politicians, members of Opus Dei, the Knights of Columbus and others.
This conspiracy was allegedly seeking to cover up the activities of paedophile priests.

It should not be necessary to labour the similarities between the imaginary conspiracy which led to the fall of an Irish government, and the imaginary conspiracies which were invoked in the early stages of the story of North Wales.

The Irish story then developed in a manner which paralleled the development of the North Wales story.

In 1996 the producer and director, Louis Lentin, made a television documentary about abuse in children’s homes which was shown by RTE, the main public service broadcasting station in Ireland.

It focused on the brutal regime which was said to have been operating during the 1950s at St Vincent’s Industrial School, Goldenbridge, one of a network children’s homes or detention centres which were funded by the state and run by the Catholic Church.

The documentary featured allegations made against Sister Xavieria, one of the nuns belonging to the Sisters of Mercy order which ran the home.

The woman “survivor” at the centre of the film claimed that, on one occasion, she had been caned by Sister Xavieria so severely that the entire side of her leg was split open from her hip to her knee.

She says she was treated in the casualty department of the local hospital and believes that she received 80 to 120 stitches. No medical evidence has ever been produced to substantiate this bizarre claim.

The surgeon who ran the casualty department at the hospital in question has given evidence which renders it highly unlikely that such an incident ever took place.

Apart from anything else, the surgeon points out that caning would not have caused a wound of this kind, which would have required surgical treatment under a general anaesthetic and not stitches in a casualty department.

Yet although the evidence suggests that the woman’s memory was a delusion, her testimony was widely believed at the time.
In the wake of the broadcast, atrocity stories about Goldenbridge and other industrial schools began to proliferate.

[3]

In April and May of 1999 RTE broadcast a much more extensive account of the industrial schools in the form of a three-part documentary series, States of Fear, which was written, produced and directed by the journalist Mary Raftery.

The programmes contained much historical material which appeared to be soundly based.

They portrayed the industrial schools as part of a grossly underfunded and chaotic child-care system, in which Dickensian conditions had prevailed for decades longer than most people would have assumed possible.

Most of the schools had clearly been inadequate both pastorally and educationally.

Corporal punishment was frequently used and it seems beyond doubt that some regimes were both repressive and brutal.

The programmes also featured a series of claims by former residents of the schools that they had been physically or sexually abused by members of orders such as the Christian Brothers, the Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of Charity.

References were also made to a number of unexplained deaths which allegedly took place in these schools.

Raftery herself has explicitly rejected the ‘bad apple’ theory which seeks to explain the acts of abuse which were alleged as aberrations from a system which was essentially benign:

Were this true, it would be a valid point. However, the scale of the abuse of children within the industrial schools system was so vast as to pose the most fundamental questions about the nature of religious orders in this country ‘ [C]hildren were savagely beaten and treated with extraordinary levels of cruelty by their religious carers in almost every single one of the fifty-two industrial and reformatory schools which existed in Ireland for most of the twentieth century.

Very large numbers of the boys in particular were sexually abused and raped by male members of religious orders into whose care they were entrusted.

It is undoubtedly the case that by no means all nuns or Brothers within institutions were cruel to the child detainees. However, it is equally clear that those who did not either beat or abuse children did not stand in the way of the often sadistic excesses of their fellow religious [italics added].

[4]

The series provoked a huge public response. As Raftery puts it, “Outrage at the crimes committed against these children was expressed continuously for the three weeks of the series, across acres of newsprint and hours of radio broadcasts all over the country.’

[5]

The reaction of the government was swift. On 11 May 1999, the date that the final programme in the series was due to be broadcast, the Irish prime minister, Bertie Ahern, made the following statement:

“On behalf of the State and of all citizens of the State, the Government wishes to make a sincere and long overdue apology to the victims of childhood abuse for our collective failure to intervene, to detect their pain, to come to their rescue.”
Little more than a week later the minister for education, Michael Martin, announced the establishment of a Commission to Enquire into Childhood Abuse, chaired by a high court judge, Miss Justice Mary Laffoy.

The Commission’s proceedings, however, became bogged down in legal argument and delays over documents.

In September 2003, after the government had proposed that the Commission would investigate only sample allegations of abuse instead of the 1,700 complaints which were before it, Mary Laffoy resigned.

In 2002 the government set up the Residential Institutions Redress Board of Ireland, whose purpose was ‘to make fair and reasonable awards to people who, as children, were abused while resident in various institutions in Ireland”.

The maximum payment to any individual was set at the very high level of 300,000 (or £200,000). By November 2004 it was reported that the Redress Board had already received 4,633 applications “and continues to receive applications at a steady rate”.

As was noted in the introduction to this book, an Irish government report compiled in 2004 estimated that the potential final number of claimants could be around 8,900, at a cost of 828 million in compensation payments.

In view of the fact that, as this report was being compiled, the Cheshire-based solicitor Peter Garsden was advertising for British-based Irish complainants on his website, and teams of lawyers were already preparing to scour Australia, New Zealand (and presumably the United States) in search of more allegations from expatriate Irish citizens, it is entirely possible that this estimate will be exceeded.

[6]

In this case it seems beyond doubt that very many children and young people did suffer abuse in the Irish industrial schools, not least because of the draconian extent to which corporal punishment was sometimes permitted and used.

At the same time, however, there is clear evidence that large numbers of incidents have been fabricated, imagined or retrieved as “memories” as a result of counselling or other forms of suggestion.

It would indeed be remarkable if the creation of the Redress Board, which has extended extraordinarily generous terms both to complainants and to their lawyers, did not lead to a very high level of false allegations.

What has certainly happened already in Ireland is that journalists and politicians have inadvertently created a witch-hunt of their own “one in which the members of religious orders have effectively been demonised and in which false allegations have already played an extremely significant role.
Just as the story of North Wales was wholeheartedly accepted in Britain by a number of distinguished journalists, including Paul Foot and Nick Davies, so in Ireland something similar happened.

There, a narrative in which a significant amount of history is mixed with a great deal of fantasy or fabrication appears to have been adopted, with few reservations, by some of the country’s leading journalists.

[7]

NOTES
1.. Quoted by Daniel Lyons in ‘God, Sex and Greed”, Forbes Magazine, 6 September, 2003
2. See the websites www.stopmormonsexualabuse.com and www.lambsroar.org
3. Sunday Times (Ireland), 28 April 1996, citing the views of the surgeon, J. B. Prendiville.
4. Mary Raftery and Eoin O. Sullivan, Suffer the Little Children: The Inside Story of Ireland’s Industrial Schools, New Island, Dublin, 1999, p. 16
5. Raftery and Sullivan, p. 3
6. Irish Times, 16 November 2004.

The government estimate referred to was made in the 2004 annual report of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

The same report notes that, although awards had been made to nearly 2,000 former residents, only 11 had been awarded more than 200,000, and only one had received the full payment of 300,000.

It should be noted, though, that (as in any lottery) it is the theoretical availability of such high sums which tends to encourage false allegations.
The average award was in any case 77,000 a figure which does not include legal costs.

7. Nick Davies wrote two long articles about North Wales which appeared in the Guardian in October 1997 while the Tribunal was still sitting. The second of these articles, ‘Abusers of power’, dealt mainly with allegations about a paedophile ring:

For more than 10 years a dark storm of scandal has been gathering over the children’s homes of North Wales ‘a swirling mass of allegations not only of the outine rape and battering of children in care but of the existence of a paedophile ring, a conspiracy of abusers both in and outside the homes, who were nourished by each other’s obsessions and protected by each other’s power. Power is the key.

Power is the fabric of a paedophile ring, essential first to subjugate the children, whose passivity is necessary for the adult’s enjoyment; and second, where possible, to neutralise the authorities who might otherwise frustrate its activities (Guardian, 15 October 1997).

The article went on to relay many of the allegations made by Lee Steward, including the false allegation against Gordon Anglesea, who was not named and was disguised as ‘ a powerful public official’ who had previously been investigated and cleared.

Last edited by Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin (2007-01-23 12:56:43)

#124 2007-01-25 13:49:54 Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

 Re: From the CrookedLawyers.com Guestbook {2} 
Support group asks that new Redress Head be ‘unbiased’ Thursday January 25th 2007

 The next chairman of the Redress Board should not have active Catholic links, a support group of victims of residential abuse by religious orders has urged the Taoiseach.

Christine Buckley, the co-ordinator of the Aislinn Education and Support Centre, has pleaded with Mr Ahern to appoint a sensitive chairman to succeed the late Judge Sean O’Leary, who died late last year, to the position.

Judge O’Leary, according to Aislinn, attended a diocesan college and had a brother who was a member of a religious order.

“Please let the selection of the chairman be clearly seen to be impartial, ” Ms Buckley wrote in an open letter to the Taoiseach.

Ms Buckley also called on the Government to direct the new chairperson to be more respectful of victims in their methods.

The average payment to such victims has fallen from 80,000 to between 54,000 and 30,000. JOHN COONEY © Irish Independent

I thought the average payment was 71k?
Once again Christine Buckley has spoken without knowing the full facts.
The majority of those who appeared before the late Mr Justice O’Leary spoke about his compassion, courtesy and sympathy.

Callers to day were dismayed to learn of an attack by Christine Buckley on a person who steered the Residential Institutions Redress Board through despite his failing health.

He was they said a very fair, decent and honourable Judge who was clearly interested in them.

Some were reminded again of other remarks made by Buckley about this Judge which resulted in both her and RTE making an apology to him
some days later.

The vast majority of those who have been through the Redress Board (not everyone appears before the Judge) have been
happy and for those who contacted the Alliance about their experiences with the Late Mr Justice O’Leary, we are happy to publish these here.

COMMENT. 1

“We are happy to publish these”

Moderator,
It would undeniably be a very good suggestion if you so did generate substantiation from the majority of victims/survivors whom you palpably know were exultant with their lot at the Residential Institutions Redress Board.

It also crosses my mind from sound bites out there in the cyber waves that you may have leanings favouring the Department of Education, so it would consequently serve their interests exceptionally well having you to act on their behalf.

Political propaganda techniques such as what you are allegedly employing are as old as the hills, oh to be so gullible.

I find your arduous political dependency to be very crippling.

The dependent driven drivel that you churn out from time to time is extraordinarily stomach churning.

Incalculable victims/survivors of institutional abuse have come away from the RIRB in tears having been treated in a diabolical and contemptible manner by all and sundry.

It would be more in your line to serve the best interests of those who were incarcerated in institutions than that of wannabe Richard Webster.

You deleted, from the Department of Education partially funded website a victims/survivors polite material because it was not conducive with the thinking of the ex seminarian, that to me speaks volumes from whence you are coming.

I, as a consequence trust you not, something of a similar nature occurred some years ago which left a sour taste on victims/survivors palletes

You are in my summation nothing more than a political craw thumper with a DES agenda. STFU WILL YA. Victim/survivor of Institutional  Abuse.

Last edited by Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin (2007-01-26 09:47:10)

#125 2007-01-27 09:37:41 Marie-Therese O’ LoughlinRe: From the CrookedLawyers.com Guestbook {2}

There is an old saying, keep your friends close but your enemies even closer. There are people out there who give the impression they are concerned in you but in the heel of the hunt they are only in performance with regards ones own susceptibility, defencelessness and insecurities

I am fifteen months parked outside the Dail; and thus as a result have seen the foibles, the idiosyncrasies of human nature and have become very astute to those who have genuinely warmed to me and to those who have basically paid lip service.

I have also learned that the people whom I in the past had incredible deference for were in quintessence also the equivalent individuals who by no means turned up to see me in my darkest hour outside the Dail.

Recurrently so, it has been the unfamiliar person who has engaged in creature awareness of my welfare.

You know, Elephants Never Forget and I am one big one that won’t  – in the aftermath of all this hard political justice slog.

I was recently, called all names under the sun, by a pretended carer; who was with one hand giving me sandwiches and with the other hand, offering , yes, the poison chalice.

It is utterly conflicting to say the least, from my perspective.

The same person said; ” I hope the government keeps you outside the Dail for the next ten years.”

He also passed commentary on my delicate appearance and also said that I was in urgent need of a psychiatrist.
EXPLETIVES OF A VULGAR NATURE WAS ALSO HURLED AT ME.
THE REASON I WAS IN RECEIPT OF THIS FOUL MOUTHED ABUSE IN THE FIRST INSTANCE WAS, – BECAUSE I BLINDINGLY SO ASKED HIM FOR MORAL SUPPORT IN A FRACAS THAT HAD BROKEN OUT. WHAT CONFUSION INDEED!

His own inward/outward demeanour leaves very much to be desired.

I have news for him though and it is this; I intend staying outside the Dail for the next ten years if needs be to obtain justice.

I TALK THE TALK AND WALK THE WALK SONNY BOY AND NO LOW LIFE SUCH AS this so called CARER WILL THREATEN ME WITH VERBAL ABUSE OR NEAR PHYSICAL ABUSE.

The main STRANGER protagonist who initially hurled  VILE abuse, ALSO escalated things till they got out of all proportion.

He just simply despises what I am doing outside the Dail.

I was also told by this main perpetrator that I was a mad woman and that I did not have a friend in the world.

It was also maintained that I was a liar, that I was never in an institution, and that I was not born or reared in Dublin.

I never had communication with this chap in my entire fifteen months outside the Dail, I do not know him from Adam; – is this not a scary thought even to contemplate, enough to give one the hee-bee gee-bees.

TO DWELL ON THE FACT THAT SOME DARK STRANGER OUT THERE IS WATCHING ONE IS EERIE.

Yet this long pony-tailed  “non- Dubliner” was able to pitch all these lies in my bearing.

My only transgression was that I had asked THE VERY THIN – FRAMED MAN in query, whilst in an establishment – to be more considerate as he was persistently snorting away and it was making me nauseous. He sounded just like a pig and it was grating on my nerves.

The conduct of these two men bear a resemblance to that of the following.:

Woman beaten on J’lem bus for refusing to move to rear seat By Daphna Berman

A woman who reported a vicious attack by an ad-hoc “modesty patrol” on a Jerusalem bus last month is now lining up support for her case and may be included in a petition to the High Court of Justice over the legality of sex-segregated buses.

Miriam Shear says she was traveling to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City early on November 24 when a group of ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) men attacked her for refusing to move to the back of the Egged No. 2 bus.

She is now in touch with several legal advocacy and women’s organizations, and at the same time, waiting for the police to apprehend her attackers.

In her first interview since the incident, Shear says that on the bus three weeks ago, she was slapped, kicked, punched and pushed by a group of men who demanded that she sit in the back of the bus with the other women.

The bus driver, in response to a media inquiry, denied that violence was used against her, but Shear’s account has been substantiated by an unrelated eyewitness on the bus who confirmed that she sustained an unprovoked “severe beating.”

Shear, an American-Israeli woman who currently lives in Canada, says that on a recent five-week vacation to Israel, she rode the bus daily to the

Old City to pray at sunrise. Though not defined by Egged as a sex-segregated “mehadrin” bus, women usually sit in the back, while men sit in the front, as a matter of custom.

“Every two or three days, someone would tell me to sit in the back, sometimes politely and sometimes not,” she recalled this week in a telephone interview. “I was always polite and said ‘No. This is not a synagogue. I am not going to sit in the back.'”

But Shear, a 50-year-old religious woman, says that on the morning of the 24th, a man got onto the bus and demanded her seat – even though there were a number of other seats available in the front of the bus.

“I said, I’m not moving and he said, ‘I’m not asking you, I’m telling you.’ Then he spat in my face and at that point, I was in high adrenaline mode and called him a son-of-a-b-tch, which I am not proud of. Then I spat back.

At that point, he pushed me down and people on the bus were screaming that I was crazy. Four men surrounded me and slapped my face, punched me in the chest, pulled at my clothes, beat me, kicked me.

My snood [hair covering] came off. I was fighting back and kicked one of the men in his privates. I will never forget the look on his face.”

Shear says that when she bent down in the aisle to retrieve her hair covering, “one of the men kicked me in the face.

Thank God he missed my eye. I got up and punched him. I said, ‘I want my hair covering back’ but he wouldn’t give it to me, so I took his black hat and threw it in the aisle.”

‘Stupid American’

Throughout the encounter, Shear says the bus driver “did nothing.” The other passengers, she says, blamed her for not moving to the back of the bus and called her a “stupid American with no sechel [common sense.]

People blamed me for not knowing my place and not going to the back of the bus where I belong.”

According to Yehoshua Meyer, the eyewitness to the incident, Shear’s account is entirely accurate. “I saw everything,” he said. “Someone got on the bus and demanded that she go to the back, but she didn’t agree.

She was badly beaten and her whole body sustained hits and kicks. She tried to fight back and no one would help her. I tried to help, but someone was stopping me from getting up. My phone’s battery was dead, so I couldn’t call the police.

I yelled for the bus driver to stop. He stopped once, but he didn’t do anything. When we finally got to the Kotel [Western Wall], she was beaten badly and I helped her go to the police.”

Shear says that when she first started riding the No. 2 line, she did not even know that it was sometimes sex-segregated. She also says that sitting in the front is simply more comfortable. “I’m a 50-year-old woman and I don’t like to sit in the back. I’m dressed appropriately and I was on a public bus.”

“It is very dangerous for a group of people to take control over a public entity and enforce their will without going through due process,” she said. “Even if they [Haredim who want a segregated bus] are a majority – and I don’t think they are – they have options available.

They can petition Egged or hire their own private line. But as long as it’s a public bus, I don’t care if there are 500 people telling me where to sit. I can sit wherever I want and so can anyone else.”

Meyer says that throughout the incident, the other passengers blamed Shear for not sitting in the back. “They’ll probably claim that she attacked them first, but that’s totally untrue. She was abused terribly, and I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Word of Shear’s story traveled quickly after she forwarded an e-mail detailing her experience.

She has been contacted by a number of groups, including Shatil, the New Israel Fund’s Empowerment and Training Center for Social Change; Kolech, a religious women’s forum; the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), the legal advocacy arm of the local Reform movement; and the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA).

In the coming month, IRAC will be submitting a petition to the High Court of Justice against the Transportation Ministry over the issue of segregated Egged buses. IRAC attorney Orly Erez-Likhovski is in touch with Shear and is considering including her in the petition.

Although the No. 2 Jerusalem bus where the incident occurred is not actually defined as a mehadrin line, Erez-Likhovski says that Shear’s story is further proof that the issue requires legal clarification.

About 30 Egged buses are designated as mehadrin, mostly on inter-city lines, but they are not marked to indicate this. “There’s no way to identify a mehadrin bus, which in itself is a problem,” she said.

“Theoretically, a person can sit wherever they want, even on a mehadrin line, but we’re seeing that people are enforcing [the gender segregation] even on non-mehadrin lines and that’s the part of the danger,” she said.

On a mehadrin bus, women enter and exit through the rear door, and the seats from the rear door back are generally considered the “women’s section.” A child is usually sent forward to pay the driver.

The official responses

In a response from Egged, the bus driver denied that Shear was physically attacked in any way.

“In a thorough inquiry that we conducted, we found that the bus driver does not confirm that any violence was used against the complainant,” Egged spokesman Ron Ratner wrote.

“According to the driver, once he saw that there was a crowd gathering around her, he stopped the bus and went to check what was going on. He clarified to the passengers that the bus was not a mehadrin line and that all passengers on the line are permitted to sit wherever they want on the bus.

After making sure that the passengers returned to their seats, he continued driving.”

The Egged response also noted that their drivers “are not able and are not authorized to supervise the behavior of the passengers in all situations.”

Ministry of Transportation spokesperson Avner Ovadia said in response that the mehadrin lines are “the result of agreements reached between Egged and Haredi bodies” and are therefore unconnected to the ministry.

A spokesperson for the Jerusalem police said the case is still under investigation. End

I was cornered by the two men in query and I knew from past surveillance of a counsellors’ knee jerk rejoinder {when she was also cornered in an unapproachable and menacing manner} what to instantaneously do, that was; to remove oneself from the endangerment. IT WORKED.
I knew some people whose lives were shortened when they cornered a bull.

I WOULD RECOMMEND TO ANYONE GET OUT OF THE PRECARIOUS SITUATION THERE AND THEN.

I was also attentive that one of the men had purportedly beaten up on susceptible women such as Christine Buckley. So victims/survivors seem to be a soft target.

I have suffered excessive verbal/physical mercilessness at the hands of Irish passers-by at the Dail. Just before Xmas two strong willed hooligans unfalteringly decided to beat me up with a traffic cone, as a consequence I was bruised all over, conversely though I was appreciative not to have been done in on the head.

Two chaps sat on the tent whilst I was it, you can imagine the pain I in afterwards.

Some other ignoramus’s also determined to urinate on my tent and an additional time also on my personal effects which were painstakingly stacked away. I have been called all names under the Dail sun; by middle class yuppie hobos coming from the late night Porterhouse, and Raynards Night Disco’s. “You are nothing more than a knacker”

Other hooligans ripped the tent covering asunder.

I have had three mobile phones stolen, and my purse with hundreds of Euro.

On Xmas 2005 night when I thought it safe to play my radiio IT WAS STOLEN FROM UNDER MY NOSE.

I HAVE HAD ALL MY BEDDING, SLEEPING BAGS A COUPLE OF EXPENSIVE TENTS, ALL MY CLOTHES.

ONE THING THAT HAS NEVER BEEN STOLEN HAS BEEN MY SPIRIT AND MY SOUL. THEY CANNOT TAKE THAT AWAY.

Last night, for example, I was called a Hippie, which Mary Murphy who later came to visit me, DESPITE HAVING ONLY LOST HER MOTHER reckoned was docile in evaluation to the expletives that I have had to listen to over the last fifteen months.

There are without a doubt victims/survivors of institutional abuse who attend daily – Focus Point to have a hearthy meal who gives me a hard time…

The majority of them unendingly tittle-tattle about me, or luxuriate in treating me like a leper.

These identical victims/survivors also attend Aislinn Centre and are availing of education, but they still want to find blemish in someone like me who is purely protesting.

“There will not be enough in the Residential Redress Board Kitty for us with her out protesting to get the REGINA COELI institution onto the RIRB schedule.”

I treated the mainstream of them with the height of respect and for the life of me cannot comprehend why I HAVE BEEN BELEAGUERED.

Talk about AN EMBARGO ON the Sisters’ of Mercy IN not giving AFFECTION TO THE NEEDY CHILDREN IN THE INSTITUTIONS.

I AM MOST CERTAIN THAT THERE IS AN EMBARGO ON AISLINN CENTRE PRIME MOVERS in NOT making an honest moral MOVEMENT IN COMING TO VISIT a VICTIM/SURVIVOR OF INSTITUTIONAL ABUSE.

I am not a “dark horse” as was stated freshly to me by one of AISLINN’S ATTENDEES.

I am INDEED “a white horse” seeking justice for a very serious physical injury that occurred to me at the Regina Coeli Mother and Baby Home.

I “love horses” in general {but they also have derogatory connotations}

I hope Mary Hanafin IS PROUD because she is the central raison d’être why there are so many faction groups within the abuse groups.

Like the American woman in Jerusalem I INTEND TO STAND UP FOR MY CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS.

NO NEGATIVE VICTIMS/SURVIVORS, NO BULLY YUPPIE PISS ARTISTS, NO NASTY FEROCIOUS CONTEMPTIBLE INDIVIDUAL MAN WOMAN OR CHILD WILL DISCOURAGE ME FROM STANDING OUTSIDE DAIL EIREANN.

I AM AN IRISH CITIZEN THE SAME AS THE REST OF THEM I SPENT MY WHOLE CHILDHOOD LOCKED AWAY IN AN INSTITUTION

I WITHSTOOD THEN THE TYRANNY OF THE CRUEL SYSTEM THAT PREVAILED BUT WAS VOICELESS AND HELPLESS TO DO ANYTHING.

But things are different NOW AND I AM READY AND WAITING FOR THOSE WHO WILL TRY THEIR HARDEST TO COMPOUND THAT ABUSE.

The ones I FEAR MOST AT THE END OF IT ALL ARE THOSE WHO PRETENDED TO HAVE MY GOOD AT HEART BUT WHEN THE TOUGH GOT GOING SO TOO DID THEY.

TO ALL ON RYS AND THOSE WHO READ THIS POST I ADD

DO NOT LET ANYBODY STAND IN YOUR WAY OF SEEKING JUSTICE.

STAND FIRM AND STAND TALL WITH THE HEAD HELD HIGH

YOU WILL WIN OUT IN THE END WITH YOUR PERSEVERANCE.

I will be damned if any human person will pull me down to the ground as I have for the first time in my life only learned how to fully stand up.

I will arise and go now to Innishfree, oops, I meant – to my tent at the Dail

I am loitering within tent on justice and would be much indebted if you would on my behalf e-mail either, Mary Hanafin or the Taoiseach. Bertie Ahern.

Miriam Shear you are a woman after my own heart and how right you are to stand up to MEN WHO BULLY. They were nothing more than a bunch of decrepit DEGENERATES IN MY SUMMATION

THE SAME TOO APPLIES TO THE MEN WHO ATTACKED ME IN MY PERSUIT FOR NATURAL JUSTICE.

If there are solicitors who are authentically involved in humanity, how about joining in the support. Thanking you. Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

OTHER PROTESTING Pitfalls.
The Oliver St. John Gogarty Bar and Restaurant, Temple Bar, told me I was not allowed to go to the ladies rest room. I was treated very forthright

by a security foreign gentleman and was asked to leave the pub, when I ASKED WHY HE SAID IT WAS BECAUSE I was not dressed in the proper

attire. When I asked was he foreign {because he did he not understand} the implications TAKEN FROM WAS that I WAS BEING RACIST.

The Laois Manager in charge told me that I was mad that there was something wrong with my head. this was after I told him that was GOING FURTHER WITH THE MATTER.

ONLY A MAD WOMAN IN HIS ESTIMATION WOULD PROTEST.

Martin Keane I AM LOOKING FOR A PROPER APOLOGY

There are few if any characters Of DUBLIN’S PAST WHO COULD BOAST SUCH AN ARRAY OF ILLUSTRIOUS MEMORIES INDEED.

Bewley’s, one year ago, also barred me, but later apologised when I argued my delicate position.

The Halfpenny Bridge has also told me I could not use their facilities.

The DUBLINER HAS ALSO STOPPED ME IN MY TRACKS.

Temple Bar is a place were all tourists come to and enjoy themselves but just look at the way it treats those born and raised in Dublin WHO DO

NOT LOOK THE PART IN THE WAKE OF THE CELTIC TIGER.

Shame on you all

PROTESTING TO FIGHT FOR ONES RIGHTS IS NOT A JOKE AND DEFINITELY NOT FOR THE FAINTHEARTED.

Like Miriam Shear I WILL STAND UP AND BE COUNTED AND WILL MAKE A FUSS WHEN THERE IS DISCRIMINATION.

Last edited by Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin (2007-01-29 15:50:04)

© Copyright 2002–2005 Rickard Andersson

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