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Bishops meet survivor groups

category dublin | crime and justice | news report author Thursday February 11, 2010 19:38author by John of the Ayres Family Report this post to the editors

Bishops held counsel with Groups representing the Survivors of Roman Catholic Abuse, in Institutions from Ireland and Abroad;

Earlier this week a meeting took place at Maynooth College in the Columba centre, where the Bishops held counsel with Groups representing the Survivors of Roman Catholic Abuse.
Bishop John Mc Areavey speaking to press in Maynooth
Bishop John Mc Areavey speaking to press in Maynooth

Earlier this week a meeting took place at Maynooth College in the Columba centre, where the Bishops held counsel with Groups representing the Survivors of Roman Catholic Abuse, in Institutions from Ireland and Abroad; ahead of their eminent encounter in Rome with their leader Pope Benedict XVI, the Olive branch.

It only emerged only on that morning, the meeting was taking place; there was no notification to group members or media up until today.

The air hung with uncertainty and anticipation; four survivor group members emerged and chatted on the steps. The midday sun did nothing to raise the tempeture of a cold day. Eventually the Survivor groups (Alliance Support, Irish SOCA, the Right to Peace and Right of Place) came down to the small media presence which awaited them. It was a very hushed affair at Maynooth compared to the EGM held there recently which had attracted much more media attention.

When Bishop John McAreavey did come out, his interview was listened to intently. Overall they were happy that meeting was constructive but later conceded they were at a stand still in finding the mechanic by which they could move the process further on. During Mc Areavey’s interview Kevin Flanagan spoke out saying “it’s a crime to with hold information, it’s a crime, that’s what they’re doing.”

I probed the Bishop on the issue of the mechanics after his interview; I asked him to explain more on the mechanics of the process. Bishop John Mc Areavey replied; “more people would have to come to the table and understood there were others out there who were also hurt by their abuse; but it was on going and were looking for the mechanics to make it work”; I asked him “what was the process for the mechanics to work” he replied “we need to find a way to make sure that the full range of voices can be heard; were not at that point yet”. I asked “and what was wrong using the law courts in Ireland to deal with this”? After a short pause he replied “that was an entirely different matter”. I said “child abuse is a crime; a crime against humanity”, Kevin Flanagan added “and cover up was a crime and that’s what the Bishops have done; it’s a crime to with hold information to a crime”. The interview came to a sudden end.

Kevin, who as a member of SOCA was not informed of the meeting that took place today, He said that none of the groups represents him or the Irish people as a whole. Kevin’s Brother, Mickey was detained in Artane Industrial School where he was violently assaulted with a brush; sustaining concussion and broken arm, he was denied medical assistance for 60 hours while locked away in a shed. Kevin’s case is in the ‘Ryan Report’ and was brought to the attention of the Dáil in 1954. Mickey’s family were not informed that he (Mickey) had legal representation at the Redress Board.

While John Kelly was waiting to be interviewed, Kevin Flanagan made a statement to him, saying “that he did not represent him in any capacity in any way, for or on his behalf.”

John Kelly in his interview reiterated that it had been a constructive and helpful meeting. He had a letter to give to the Bishops on behalf of the survivors of for the Pope. John said “the contents of the letter would not be revealed”. He had received assurances that the letter would be received by the Pope. But then went on to say during interview “that all avenues were exhausted on behalf of the State on behalf of the people” he further added “that the Church could hold its own court, which isn’t satisfactory. It’s some element, we have to find a way for the victims to receive justice; we have to find a way where the Bishops are made accountable”.

The only real problem in holding the process up is the ‘Mechanics’. The process to which truth and justice are sought is through the courts; a mechanism already in place for those that break the law. Why are the Government and DPP not acting? Reports were coming in during the 1940’s to the Garda and nothing was done. Saving face is not a good enough excuse to allow the rape murder and abuse of children for relentless decades.

The Roman Catholic Church should not be allowed to finalise any deal for the Irish people who are not included by the groups. The Statute of Limitation prevents Irish people from taking their abusers to court. The length period of abuse went on much longer than 25 years. The Madeline laundries are an example of those unable to get recognition and the right to Justice, compensation and closure. These ladies who came through these institutions have a right to be heard as any victim of a crime. There are many who do not even come forward.

When we piece together the true size and nature of what went on in Ireland, with in the institutions; we see that those responsible cannot be allowed to direct their own course of law. To bring about closure we need to make accountable all that went on. All records must be made available by all parties concerned to any further investigations.

It is now time for an International Criminal Investigation into the Roman Catholic Church, State and Government for their involvement by way of collaboration and collusion as too avoid exposure and detection of child abuse.

Bishop John Mc Areavey with Sec. arriving for the press and media.
Bishop John Mc Areavey with Sec. arriving for the press and media.

Survivor Groups listening to Bishop John Mc Areavey interview, Eamon Long with Bishop John Mc  Areavey's Sec. Maynooth
Survivor Groups listening to Bishop John Mc Areavey interview, Eamon Long with Bishop John Mc Areavey's Sec. Maynooth

ohn Kelly of SOCA being interviewed by TV3
ohn Kelly of SOCA being interviewed by TV3

Kevin Flanagan at the Press Coference in Maynooth
Kevin Flanagan at the Press Coference in Maynooth

author by John of the Ayrespublication date Fri Feb 12, 2010 10:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Correction: Redress Board should read 'Commission'. Apoligies.

Survivor groups emrge from meeting.
Survivor groups emrge from meeting.

author by Author Chris Barrypublication date Tue Feb 16, 2010 09:24author email chris_daniel2006 at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Licensed to Abuse

A shelved Report into the Industrial Schools gave a license to members of Religious Orders to abuse and germinated a safe haven for the infestation of abusers between 1936 and 1960. In 1936 the Cussen Report on behalf of the Irish State carried out an investigation into the running of the industrial schools. If the recommendations of the Report were adhered to, many children would have been spared the emotional pain of the horrific sexual and physical abuse they suffered while in care. Even though the Report found fault with the schools regarding the care and education of the children under the religious orders it agreed that the schools should continue to function but under close supervision. Between 1930’s and the 1960’s on average 150 children per year were sentenced by the courts to the industrial schools. Once children were placed into care, the state by effect become the guardian to those children and had an obligation towards their welfare and education. According to the Cussen Report 87 percent of the children placed in care was due to poverty and not due to criminal reasons as many of us were lead to believe. In 1970 the Kennedy Report also verified that the environment in residential schools was unhealthy and unsuitable. This eventually gave rise to the closure of industrial schools and a provision for a safer and healthier environment for children in care.

The Cussen report was an in-depth investigation into the care of the children in the Industrial Schools. It questioned the transfer of the children in the court system “we are of opinion that the system under which a child is sent on an Order of the Justice should be continued but that the term “Committal Order” should be abolished: we suggest the words “Admission Order” instead.
The report refers to the food and the silence during the meals, stating that it was unhealthy and should be discontinued “ in our opinion a harsh and unnecessary disciplinary measure which should be abolished forthwith” It goes on to say that meals were to be of a high nutritional standard supervised by the medical officer in charge of the schools. Standard recommendations were to be given to the schools. No variation to the meals was to be carried out unless recommended by the medical officer. This is a far cry from meals of bread and dripping that many of the victims of abuse have reported! With reference to the military style drill that took place in the yard it states that it was unhealthy and should be stopped. “Such drill like exercise, especially if prolonged, becomes a dreary routine deleterious to mind and body, and it should be replaced by free play and organized games that will develop in the child alertness of movement and individual confidence, and thus help to compensate in some measure for the lack of initiative and individuality that are characteristic of children reared in institutions”

The report was of the opinion that the children were not receiving any useful training in the workshops or on the farms. The investigation referred to the use of children as child labour, “the training in farming in the schools is unsatisfactory, the boys apparently being regarded as a rule merely as juvenile labourers.” It goes on to say that the education of the children should be of a recommended standard. “The state being in effect in the position of guardian to the children sent to these schools has in our view an obligation to ensure that they are afforded a primary education at least as good as that provided for other children. It follows therefore that the teachers employed in these schools should have as high qualifications as those required of teachers in national schools,”

Other recommendation were that on a quarterly yearly basis the children should be medically checked by the doctor assigned to the schools All deaths were to be recorded and any sudden death or violent death had to be inspected by a medical officer. If a child was injured or sick, the parents of the child or the close relatives were to be notified. The school journal was to be inspected by the Inspector from the Educational Department during his visits to the schools. The report condemns the Christian Brothers regarding discharging of young boys in their care, “ we are not satisfied as to the adequacy of the methods of supervision and after-care of children discharged from theses schools, particularly in the case of boys leaving the Industrial Schools which are under the management of the Christian Brothers.”

All punishments carried out were to be recorded in school journal, the reason for the punishment and the type of punishment carried out. This journal was to be inspected by the state inspector from the educational department on his visit to the school. In the Rules and Regulations for the Certified Industrial Schools in Ireland that was approved by the Minister for Education, punishment consisted of
a) Forfeiture of rewards and privileges, or degradation from rank, previously attained by good conduct.
b) Moderate childish punishment with the hand.
c) Chastisement with the cane, strap or birch.
Referring to (c) personal chastisement may be inflicted by the manager or in his presence by an Officer specially authorized by him, and in no case may it be inflicted upon girls over 15 years of age. In the case of girls under 15 it shall not be inflicted except in cases of urgent necessity, each of which must be at once fully reported to the Inspector. Caning on the hand is forbidden. No punishment not mentioned above shall be indicated.

This alone gave a license to abusers to abuse, as there was no proper supervision of management of schools following the shelving of the Cussen Report.

In the Kennedy report this section on punishment is missing from the Rules and Regulations for the Certified Industrial Schools, as is other vital information. Was this a cover up or just an administrational omission?

In 1939 Dr Anne McCabe was appointed medical inspector of the schools. In one of her reports she states that she was appalled by the conditions in most of the schools. In 1944 she reported the bread fed to the boys in the Industrial Schools was “mouldy” and some of the children were in rags and barefooted. Her reports were not acted upon and in many cases ignored. Today many of the survivors’ memories of their time in care in the industrial schools comply with Dr McCabe’s reports. In 1946 Monsignor Flanagan visited Ireland. During his visit he was horrified to discover the widespread use of severe physical punishment carried out in the Industrial Schools. Gerry Boland FF Minister for Justice and James Dillon TD leader of FG criticized Monsignor Flanagan’s comments. Support for the government objections appeared in the Irish Press on the 16th October 1946

Research into the deaths of the children in the industrial schools indicates that many died from neglect. Survivors of abuse remembered boys who went missing from the school were surprised to hear that these boys had died while in care. The survivors remembered these boys in good health just before they went missing. One survivor who was at Letterfrack Industrial School said “his mother was not told of the death of his brother or of the funeral until it was all over”. Children in the schools were dying of childhood illnesses such as whooping cough and measles yet no child residing outside the schools were recorded of dying of the same illnesses. Surly it is a well-known medical fact that these illnesses are contagious. The question needs to be asked did the children in the schools die from medical neglect or were these illness put on the death certificates to cover deaths from abuse or violence as in the case of Joseph Pike in St Joseph’s Industrial School Tralee run by the Christian Brothers. This is a true example of cover up and conspiracy. Not only was his name misrepresented on the death certificate but also the reason for his death. Joseph Pike died as a result of a severe and violent beating he received from a Christian Brother. Medical people who knew and witnessed the neglect and abuse of the children in the Industrial Schools and who stood by and did nothing to prevent it broke the Hippocratic Oath

The truth of the matter is that survivors of abuse embarrassed the Irish state into facing up to what happened in the past. The people responsible for the running of our state did know the truth regarding the neglect and abuse in the industrial schools. Their repeated silence and cover-ups shows that they condoned the abuse. The fact is that the state gave the Christian Brothers and other members of the Religious Orders a license to abuse our children But the reality of the situation is that the Christian Brothers are not sorry for having abused innocent boys placed in their care by the state, they are only sorry they were caught! Hopefully the findings of the Commission to inquire into Child Abuse will help us to know what we already knew.

Questions now need to be asked why was the Cussen Report not acted upon? Why did our Politicians sneer Monsignor Flanagan’s and Dr McCabe’s reports? Surly if action was taken our children would not have been abused. Why has a section of the Kennedy Report carried out in 1967 and presented to government in 1970 gone missing?

author by Mick Foleypublication date Tue Feb 16, 2010 09:52author address Bray. Dublinauthor phone Report this post to the editors

This is a horrific revelation. So it turns out out that if this Cussen Report was acted upon many innocent children would have not been abused? It's a horrific though that our so-called professional people were involved in the cover ups, The Irish State along with the Catholic Church should hang their heads in shame. They did know about this abuse but they choose to ignore it, simply because children did not have a voice. We must stand up and make sure not one more child is ever abused again.....we must stop talking and take action.
Mick Foley

author by Ted Collinspublication date Tue Feb 16, 2010 16:12author address Cahir County Tipperaryauthor phone Report this post to the editors

What is the Catholic Church coming to at all, I ask myself. I'm must say, I'm ashamed to call myself a Catholic. Now hearing that if this Cussen Report was acted upon by the Irish State and the Medical People in charge of the Industrial Schools, innocent children could have been saved from been abused by members of our Religious Orders. But to add insult and more hurt to the victims of abuse the Pope seemly sees fit not to apologise for the evil actions of his Catholic counterparts.
It’s a sad day for members of the Catholic Church!

Ted Collins.

author by kevin flanaganpublication date Wed Feb 17, 2010 08:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

following 2days of meetings between the pope and the bishops we as victims are no near er to closeure than from day one let the people stand up and call on the bishops to stand up and be counted and admit that they broke the law withholding info to crimes of abuse please contact religiousabusetruth@gmail. con also we are at the gpo every sat 12 -4-00

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