Bishops meet survivor groups
crime and justice |
Thursday February 11, 2010 19:38 by John of the Ayres Family
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
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.
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
Kevin Flanagan at the Press Coference in Maynooth