Ireland abuse inquiry report due

Inquiries into alleged child abuse by Catholic orders in the Irish Republic are due to publish their findings.

By Yvonne Murray

May 17, 2009 / BBC News

The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, which was set up in 1999 after a TV documentary, reports on Wednesday.

Testimony has been heard from thousands of former residents of state schools and orphanages over more than 60 years.

A second report, to be published later this summer, is expected to criticise the handling of sex abuse complaints in cases involving up to 500 priests.

The commission has heard testimony from the residents of the state institutions where Ireland's poorest children, as well as the infants of unmarried mothers, were sent.

It was established following the airing of a documentary for Irish television on industrial schools, produced by Mary Raftery.

"There was widespread sexual abuse, particularly in the boys' institutions," she said.

"Extremely vicious and sadistic physical abuse, way off the scale, and horrific emotional abuse, designed to break the children.

"We had people talk to us about hearing screams... the screams of children in the night coming from these buildings and really not knowing what to do.

"They didn't know to whom they could complain because the power in the town was the religious order running the institution."

All the institutions have since closed down, but the commission will make recommendations to prevent the future abuse of children in state care.

The second report has been investigating cases involving up to 500 priests in Ireland's Archdiocese of Dublin.

The Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, who is seen as a reformer, used his homily on Holy Thursday to warn the gathering of Ireland's senior clergymen that the report would "shock us all".

He said: "It is likely that thousands of children or young people across Ireland were abused by priests in the period under investigation and the horror of that abuse was not recognised for what it is."

Andrew Madden, who was the first victim of a paedophile priest to come forward, said he was angry the state inquiry had taken so long.

'Too much power'

He said: "It is 14 years since I first went public about this practice the Catholic Church had of moving priests with a record of child abuse on to another parish which would give them further access to children.

"Only now is the state ready to publish a report into that practice... and then look at what it needs to do to change it."

Ireland is a very different country now to the one shocked to the core by the first revelations involving child abuse by the clergy, some 15 years ago.

It was traditionally one of the most Catholic countries in the world, but when the scandals began to emerge, congregations diminished and new vocations to religious orders fell dramatically.

The Church was heavily criticised for failing to deal with priests who abused.

"The way the Church handled the scandals, as we now know, was not exemplary to put it mildly," said Father Vincent Twomey, Professor Emeritus of Moral Theology at the National University of Ireland.

"But the Church has learned, or was pushed to learning, that it had to do something and the result has been very positive," he said.

"It has come up with a series of guidelines for the protection of children and they will go a long way to ensure that what has gone on in the past will never be repeated."

But Colm O'Gorman, who was abused by one of Ireland's most notorious paedophiles Fr Sean Fortune, believes the Church still has too much power, particularly in education.

"Well over 90% of all Irish primary schools are administered by the Catholic Church in Ireland," he said.

"The local bishop is responsible for child protection within those schools.

"That means we still have a situation where an institution that was so entirely negligent in how it addressed child protection concerns in the past, has full legal responsibility for child protection in the majority of Irish schools.

"That's obviously a concern, and the state needs to do more in Ireland to take on that responsibility."

When these two reports are released, this country - already rocked by a decade and a half of scandals - will be forced to reflect on a very dark period in its recent history.

The Catholic Church will once again face serious questions about its role in the abuse of Irish children in the past and perhaps its place in Irish society today.


Why no refference to Protestant and Mixed Faith victims


In the wake of the recent Ryan Report in Dublin, Ireland nowhere will you see mention of the child abuse as suffered by thousands of Protestants and children from mixed faiths as if they were somehow children of a lesser God! This to us at the NSCFC is totally unacceptable and as such we cannot and will not cease until the full truth is outed and those responsible brought to justice. That State, Church and Charity were involved in the systematic abuse of children of this there is no doubt according to the documented evidence and witnesses at our disposal all with their own personal allegations and horrific stories to tell. So if you can relate to victim and author of “Hanna’s Shame” or “Destiny Unknown” or “Empty Cradles” by Margaret Humphreys then we need you to come forward be it openly or anonymously via our Diaries page, for to remain forever silent is to give free licence to the perpetrators of child abuse as accused, namely the State, Church of Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, ISPCC, SNSPCC, (NSPCC) and Barnardo’s be they in the Republic of Ireland or the UK and all of whom at this very moment in time still have great influence and oversight over the so-called wellbeing of children as supported by the State be it financially or otherwise! As such other than the Catholic Church they all have to date escaped open and full accountability for the systematic sufferings of innocent and defenceless children in the hundreds of thousands and this no-one should ignore for to do so is to make a complete mockery of the Biblical quote in Luke 18:16 when Jesus said “Suffer the little children to come unto me” and suffer they did at the hands of those who claimed affinity with God Himself. And yes its true to say that many such child victims of the above quoted were trafficked as cannon fodder to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, South Africa, and Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) deprived as they were of their own name, age and birthright. Still others were used for experimental purposes, guinea pigs as to the effects of new psychotic drugs be they mind altering or otherwise and includes Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) to name but a few and yes its true to say that many a child died before they reached the age of five. So if you are a surviving victim or family member now is the time to let your voice be heard by joining our campaign for truth and justice.

National Society for Children and Family Contact (NSCFC) is a registered charity which believes that continuing contact with a child’s parents or extended family after separation or divorce is vital for the child’s balanced development and it works tirelessly to foster those all-important family contacts. As such we offer free support and advice to all those in need. Helpline at National rate on UK 0870 794 0075 or at

Kind regards

Mike Ellis

Chairman: “National Society for children and Family Contact”.

Collected History

If readers peruse the posted articles within our own section called The History of Child Placement, it becomes painfully obvious just how badly children have been treated by those in authority and those working for children's charities.  In fact, the one thing many governments and religions have in common is the cloak of secrecy that seems to protect adult reputations, not the well-being of children.   

What's amazing about the Ryan Report is this:  it reflects a small sample of the type of care given to those children put in so-called "better", "safer" environments... it presents a mere fraction of the real number of children put into the hands of danger.  In fact, I think it's very foolish to think for a single moment Ireland's Catholic Church is the only organization that has taken gross advantage of children in very painful and perverse ways.  The problem is, there is so little documented proof of past  actions and so little attention is given to abuse-in-placement.  It's a real shame such information isn't taken very seriously,  isn't it?

Time will tell just how many victims of institutional abuse will come forward and tell their story -- I know for myself, it's very difficult and painful to put the past into words.  I've been told what happened to me did NOT happen to me, (because if it did, what does that say about the people who took me in?)  When people try to negate a real event, it's hard to believe anyone cares about abuse taking place, in private. Perhaps many don't come forward because their stories and complaints get ignored and dismissed by those who have the power to make a difference and create real change within the old system of operations.  Perhaps many don't come forward because they don't want to relive a past that was just too hard and painful.  In any case, it is good to see how the Ryan Report has become the catalyst for outcries elsewhere.  For instance, on June 24, 2009, the following was reported in Australia: 

A large number of Australians who were institutionalised and neglected under state care are in Canberra this week for the tabling of a parliamentary report which reviewed recommendations made years ago, but which have not been acted upon. Victims say they want a formal apology like the one given to the Stolen Generation.  [From:  'Forgotten Australians want apology, ABC News, ]

As always, time will tell just how much governing bodies really care about such sensitive issues.

Pound Pup Legacy