April Comments 2017

ANON Apr 29th, 2017 @ 08:59 PM

People responsible for Grace ‘must be named’, says TD…

A TD who played a key role in uncovering the Grace foster home abuse scandal has said the people responsible must be named because “the day you blame a system and walk away from it is over in Ireland”.

Fianna Fáil public accounts committee chair John McGuinness made the comment after the president of the High Court Peter Kelly agreed a €6.3m settlement from the HSE to Grace over the case.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland, Mr McGuinness said the settlement is welcome and a long overdue move to help Grace with the rest of her life.

However, he heavily criticised the failures in the HSE, saying money “does not compensate in any way for the loss of a life that was destroyed at the hands of the HSE” and that those responsible must still be named.

“I hope this inquiry [the separate State commission of investigation launched by the Government earlier this year] gets to the very bottom of both this foster home and who went through it.

We want to know who those people were, the day you blame a system and walk away from it is over in Ireland,” he said.

Mr McGuinness echoed the views of Justice Kelly and the whistle blower who first reported her case, saying while the €6.3m settlement is welcome and “a considerable amount of money” it “does not compensate in any way” for what happened.

He said HSE and Tusla officials must “now ensure the type of abuse, physical and sexual abuse, that Grace endured for all those years does not happen again” and said the “cover-up” of the case can never be repeated.

Meanwhile, it has emerged the State commission of investigation into the Grace case and the treatment of 46 other extremely vulnerable people at the same Waterford foster home has only now begun its work despite being launched in February.

ANON Apr 29th, 2017 @ 08:56 PM

Treating children in adult mental facilities ‘must end’, say Senators…

Senators are seeking an end to children with mental health issues being treated alongside adults in State institutions.

The senators are giving two weeks for written submissions from interested groups or individuals which will then be considered during their public hearings in the Seanad chamber ahead of their final report.

Founder of the Pieta House suicide prevention charity and senator Joan Freeman has been appointed rapporteur to lead in the compilation of the report.

She said the primary focus of the consultation is to provide a forum where child and adolescent mental health service users, key civil society activists, and service providers who have engaged, or are presently engaging, with mental health services can bring their views to the Oireachtas.

“We are seeking their experience of current practice and views on how we can modernise and improve children’s mental health services in Ireland,” she said.

Ms Freeman wants the Government to take the action to stop such children from being admitted to adults-only institutions.

The charity is pushing for the admission of children to adult-facilities to be banned via legislation, although she says that “will take a year”.

Ms Freeman said Ireland is “in breach of all international regulations” by allowing the “enormous problem” of children in adult psychiatric units:

“The inspector of mental health services has described this as inexcusable, counter-therapeutic and almost custodial.”

ANON Apr 28th, 2017 @ 12:24 PM

1/4...No one cried stop to Ireland’s Catholic institutions…

Editor's note: The text that follows appeared in the Irish Voice on March 29th 2017 as a letter to the Editor.

I recall clearly a shocking conversation that I had about 20 years ago, with a fine man from Tralee, Co. Kerry about the Christian Brothers Industrial School in that town.

He recalled that some of the boys confined in the industrial school attended classes with him in The Green, the brothers' local high school.

He remembered that when the final bell rang to end the school day they would bolt for their living quarters because if they tarried at all they claimed they would be beaten.

My other memory of that conversation is much more disturbing.

He told me that local people would sometimes hear screams at night from the school.

As a teenager, he was surprised by this and asked his father, who worked as a laborer in the town, what was going on to cause such nocturnal cries.

His father replied that such matters were beyond his ability to deal with and that his son was better not talking about them a very understandable response in those times.
The scene of boys crying out for help to a deaf and seemingly uncaring community in my own county 50 or so years ago, is seared in my memory.

The men in clerical robes were paid by the state and honored for their work by the local clergy and dignitaries.

Completely disregarded was the clear admonition of the 1916 leaders that the country they fought and died for must "treat all the children of the nation equally.

" Poor, marginalized kids who had nobody to speak for them cried out in pain and nobody answered the stuff of nightmares.

ANON Apr 28th, 2017 @ 12:20 PM

2/4...I was reminded of these poor boys by three recent related reports, one from the Vatican and one each from Australia and Ireland.

Three years ago, Pope Francis responded to the sordid stories from all over the world of children being sexually abused by priests and brothers by setting up a high-powered commission with a mandate to develop policies and recommendations to protect children.

This distinguished group, led by papal favorite Cardinal Sean O'Malley from Boston, included two victims of clerical abuse, Peter Saunders, a Briton, and Marie Collins from Dublin.

Saunders, who was abused by two priests as a teenager, cast a cold eye on the commission, describing it as mainly a public relations exercise by church leaders, and he was outspoken in his criticism of senior curia officials, including Australian Cardinal George Pell.

He was removed from the committee last year. He berated the whole Vatican bureaucracy, including the Pope, for lack of urgency in dealing with the clerical abuse crisis.

Recently Collins, who was repeatedly sexually abused by a priest from age 13 in Dublin, resigned from the papal group for basically the same reasons as Saunders.

She explained that she was tired of "constant setbacks" from the various curias who "thrive on silence and cover-up." She said that she doesn't doubt Francis' sincerity and commitment but that it is unacceptable that "men at this high level in the church do not see child protection as a priority."

ANON Apr 28th, 2017 @ 12:18 PM

3/4...It certainly doesn't augur well for the effectiveness and credibility of O’Malley’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors that the two members who could testify from bitter experience about the terrible effects of clerical child abuse have resigned.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse in Australia reported a few weeks ago. The Catholic community there is in shock because the results show that children assigned to Catholic institutions fared very poorly in this area of child protection.

The headline in many newspapers highlighted the finding that an astonishing 40 percent of St. John of God Brothers abused their young vulnerable clients.

The results for the Irish Christian Brothers were better at 22 percent; Marists and De La Salles came in at about half of that and "only" one in 14 priests disgraced themselves by becoming predators instead of defenders of vulnerable children.

The third and most recent account which relates to the Bon Secours Home in Tuam, Co. Galway, was even more incredible and mind shattering than the Australian report.

Details emerged of about 796 bodies of dead children, buried in pits adjoining the sewerage system in Tuam in one of the nine Catholic mother and baby homes throughout Ireland.

This "home" was under the care of the Bon Secours Sisters who are still active in Ireland.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny spoke passionately in the Dail about "the chamber of horrors" in Tuam. He said, “We took their babies and gifted them, sold them, trafficked them, starved them, neglected them or denied them to the point of their disappearance from our hearts, our sight, our country."

ANON Apr 28th, 2017 @ 12:16 PM

4/4…Two big questions must be asked about what went on in these "homes" and "schools" in Ireland and Australia. How did priests and nuns and brothers, supposedly committed to high-level Christian living, trained in strict Catholic novitiates, perform such awful acts, including in some cases starving and buggering the children in their care?

Why did some of them not cry stop? How do you explain the group depravity and corruption pervading these awful Catholic institutions?

The second question relates to the public authorities because these religious orders were paid for their services out of the public purse. Inspectors visited the industrial schools but bought the lies of the men responsible for running them.
Ironically, boys in these so-called reformatories in Northern Ireland had a better chance of some level of humane treatment because the British inspectors were less likely to accept the palaver of the people in charge.

Famous Irish priest Father Flanagan of Boys Town fame visited Ireland in the forties and realized that there were major problems in the industrial schools.

He addressed the issues, stressing the positive policies he followed in his program for similar troubled youth in Nebraska.

No bishop spoke out in his favor, and he was rebuked publicly in the Dail as an outside troublemaker by the then Minister for Justice Gerard Boland.

Apart possibly from the Irish Civil War, the complete abandonment of humane and Christian principles in dealing with the most vulnerable young people is by far the biggest stain in the Irish people's story since the country achieved independence in 1922.

* Gerry O’Shea, Yonkers, New York

ANON Apr 19th, 2017 @ 04:27 PM

1/2...Developers of laundry in Cork must check for graves…

Developers of an apartment complex at a former Magdalene Laundry in Cork must carry out an assessment of the “likely occurrence of undocumented burials of children” on the site before planning permission can be granted.

The details are among the further information requested in relation to the recent planning application for the Good Shepherd Convent at Sunday’s Well on the northside of Cork city.

In February, Moneda Developments sought permission to provide 234 apartments in a project incorporating existing orphanage, convent, and Magdalene home buildings.

However, before planning could be granted, Cork City Council said the possibility that there are undocumented burials of children at the site needed to be fully explored.
he council sought “research on records of residents of the Institution, numbers of recorded deaths and recorded burials including an assessment of the likely occurrence of undocumented burials of children in the context of evidence from comparable institutions in Ireland”.

It also requested that a geophysical survey and test trenches “of all anomalies” identified in the survey is required.

The council has further required that the developers “develop and enhance” the Magdalene graveyard at the site.

“The significance of the Magdalene or ‘penitents’ graveyard, while not within the boundary of the current proposal, cannot be discounted.

ANON Apr 19th, 2017 @ 04:25 PM

2/2...Please submit revised proposals to develop and enhance the Magdalene Burial Ground as part of the overall development of the subject site.

This should include a revision to the rear walkway giving access to the western graveyard to include universal access from the vicinity of the Bakehouse. Dedicated visitor car parking should be provided,” states the council.

The headstone contains the names of just 30 women who died between 1882 and 1973.

The grave was unmarked until the late 1990s, when the order agreed to erect a headstone following a campaign by a former resident of the laundry.

However, in 2013, the Irish Examiner revealed that the grave had been badly vandalised and is inaccessible behind an eight-feet-high wall and gates which are welded shut.

It remains in that condition today.

Some of the women listed on the headstone are also listed as being buried at another graveyard in Cork.

Mari Steed of Justice For Magdalenes Research said any results from the assessment to ascertain whether there are undocumented burials on the site should be made public after the geophysical examination is carried out.

“In light of the Good Shepherds Sisters’ poor record-keeping and, given that there are significant discrepancies and gaps in the existing headstones marking Good Shepherd graves in Cork, every effort should be made to identify all human remains that may be interred at Sunday’s Well.

It is absolutely imperative that the nature of the identification process is determined and carried out by independent experts and the results made publicly available,” said Ms Steed

ANON Apr 17th, 2017 @ 07:50 PM

Bluewater shopping centre brawl as 'paedophile hunters' confront man in Kent…

The group streams the encounter on Facebook as a suspect is asked if he is there "to meet a child for sex".

A brawl broke out at a Kent shopping centre after a group of self-styled "paedophile hunters" confronted a man suspected of grooming a 14-year-old girl.

In a video streamed live on their Facebook page, the group is seen approaching a 29-year-old man at the Bluewater Shopping Centre in Greenhithe.

"You're here to meet a child for sex, yeah?," one of the group is heard saying.

The man denies the accusations and says the girl in question had told him she was "18 plus".

Members of the group, dressed in black shirts, tell the man to stay still and wait for the police to come and arrest him, while questioning him over his nationality.

As the confrontation continues, a younger man in a red shirt attack the man accused of grooming the girl, kicking him in the head and punching him while Bluewater security guards try to break up the fight.

Detective Chief Inspector Emma Banks, of Kent Police, said the man had been arrested on suspicion of grooming and officers were investigating the disturbance.

"Officers from Kent Police arrested a 29-year-old man from East London at Bluewater Shopping Centre on suspicion of grooming at 2.27pm on Sunday 16 April 2017," she said.

"I strongly discourage people taking the law into their own hands to avoid them and others including individuals which may have been wrongfully identified, being put in any danger," she added.

"Any acts of violence reported will always be fully investigated and enquiries into this incident are ongoing."

ANON Apr 17th, 2017 @ 05:19 PM

1/2...Ireland tolerated abuse of children, says legal expert…

By Noel Baker, Senior Reporter, Saturday 15 April 2017

Some victims of historic child sex abuse were “forgotten by the law”, according to an analysis of more than 50 high court and supreme court decisions relating to a range of cases.

The claims are contained in new research conducted by Sinéad Ring of Kent Law School, who investigated criminal cases In Ireland between 1999 and 2006.

Referring to the “unprecedented numbers of adults” who from the early 1990s onwards reported to the Gardaí they had been sexually abused as children, Dr Ring said Irish society appeared to “tolerate” the abuse of children.

She said parents, teachers, Gardaí, and others were involved in creating and sustaining a culture of silence around child sexual abuse.

The research focuses on the written decisions issued by the High Court and Supreme Court from 1999 to 2006 in relation to applications by defendants to have their trials prohibited.

Defendants charged with historical abuse offences could seek to have their trials prohibited on the grounds that a fair trial was impossible due to the delayed reporting.
he courts employed a legal test to scrutinise the reasons for the delay, including whether the victim was suffering under the ‘dominion’ of the abuser and was unable to report sooner.

ANON Apr 17th, 2017 @ 05:17 PM

2/2…Examing 54 such cases, Dr Ring said the law “produced a simple narrative of the passive and traumatised victim paralysed by the domination of the abuser”.

She said this perpetuated “stereotypes about ‘real’ rape victims” and that “victims who did not fit the dominion narrative such as those who attempted to report at the time, or those who went on to lead happy and healthy lives were forgotten by law”.

Dr Ring said that, until it was replaced in 2006, dominion was the key issue for courts hearing applications brought by defendants to halt their trial on historical child sexual abuse offences, and while initially a “progressive moment in Irish law’s treatment of victims of historical child sexual abuse”,

it later became problematic for a number of reasons, including that it “closed off consideration of the broader societal factors why a child remained silent for so many years”.

In one case involving a Roman Catholic curate, the dominion narrative accepted by the court “translated the failure of the Church authorities to stop the abuse into a minor detail in the Court’s account of the past”.

The Victim of Historical Child Sexual Abuse in the Irish Courts 1999-2006 is published in Social and Legal Studies

ANON Apr 15th, 2017 @ 08:45 PM

1/2...Mother and baby home survivors call for charges of genocide against Irish state…
A group of mothers who were former residents in mother and baby homes in Ireland wrote to the Irish Attorney General Máire Whelan calling for formal charges of genocide to be brought against the Irish state.

The charge is made on the basis that the mothers did not give valid consent for the children to be adopted.

Between the late 1940s and early 1970s, 2,200 Irish infants were sent for adoption to America.

There have been claims that birth and death certificates of adopted children were falsified in order for the adoption process to take place, claims that are currently under investigation by the Mother and Baby Homes Commission who are investigating the behavior of 18 of said homes as part of an independent inquiry.

Irish First Mothers, which is reported to represent 70 women, claims that the manner in which the babies were presented for adoption falls within the remit of genocide as the forcible transfer of children from unmarried women.

The group has also called on the International Criminal Court to informally assist Whelan if the Attorney General was to proceed with such a prosecution.

The founder of Irish First Mothers Kathy McMahon wrote to Whelan on April 4, 2017, citing the definition of genocide in the UN convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide as the foothold to the group’s claim.

Describing it as the intentional destruction of “a national, ethnic, racial or religious group”, Irish First Mothers claims the Irish State allowed the Catholic Church to bracket unmarried mothers as such and allowing for their attempted destruction.

“We assert that the perpetrators were malignly motivated by their own Catholic ideological characterization of us as a religiously defined group: a caste of so called ‘fallen women’,” McMahon said.

“Irish society has a historic, deep Catholic veneration of the ‘virgin mother’ as a deity figure.

Thus unmarried mothers were automatically deemed offensively faithless; viewed culturally by perpetrators as bereft of rights.”

“We now charge that a religiously founded and motivated, State-funded, a mass system of de facto incarceration caused us grievous life-long injury; then forcibly removed our children by means of systemically uninformed, impaired consents to the adoption.

ANON Apr 15th, 2017 @ 08:41 PM

2/2...Our children were with intent transferred from us as unmarried mothers to couples married in civil law under religious ceremonies,” the letter read.

The letter references two incidents, in particular, they believe prove this to be the case.

The first is a 2015 radio interview with former Supreme Court judge Catherine McGuinness who stated: “I must say that, at the time, you wouldn't have thought that the mothers who were consenting to have their children placed for adoption, that they that they really hadn't a great deal of choice they were, shall we say 'encouraged' to place their children for adoption.”

The other was the words of the then Irish Minister for Justice Paddy Cooney at first Irish Adoption Workers Conference in 1974, who said: “I think that we are all agreed that the consensus opinion in our society is to the effect that adoption is better for the illegitimate baby than to be cared for by its mother.”

The Attorney-General has since responded to the group, according to The Times, to say that she does not have any prosecution function to bring such charges against the Irish government as their legal advisor.

The calls of Irish First Mothers for a widening of the scope of the Mother and Baby Homes investigation was somewhat strengthened last month by the criticism of the Irish government by European Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muznieks, who called on the state to widen the terms of reference of the inquiry.

In a report issued on March 29, the Commissioner "stresses the need to ensure that all international human rights standards in this field are fully respected at all stages of the restorative processes.

"The Commissioner recalls that all victims have a right to be treated with dignity, to truth, full support and effective remedies ensuring reparation, including apologies, compensation, and rehabilitation, as well as to investigations into allegations of abuses that are prompt, independent, thorough and capable of ensuring the accountability of the perpetrators," said the report.

ANON Apr 11th, 2017 @ 12:27 PM

Tuam mother-and-baby home survivors air concerns about burial site
at meeting with Ministers, concerns were also raised about access to personal records…

Survivors of the mother-and-baby home in Tuam raised various concerns, including about the future of the burial site, at a meeting with Minister for Children Katherine Zappone and Minister for Housing Simon Coveney on Friday.

About 30 survivors are understood to have attended the private meeting, which was arranged by the historian Catherine Corless, whose research uncovered the mass grave.

During the two-hour meeting, the women raised various issues, particularly relating to access to their personal files and what would be done with the site in the future.

The meeting was also attended by Galway County Council chief executive Kevin Kelly, as the local authority owns the land.

“It was a very open and frank meeting, and the Minister came to listen; that was the role of the meeting,” a spokesman for Ms Zappone said afterwards.

“Clearly they have identified a number of actions they want taken, and the Minister will examine what can be done to address their concerns.”

Issues were raised by three or four women at a time and responded to by both Ministers, although it is understood no indication was given about what would be done with the site at this stage.

ANON Apr 11th, 2017 @ 12:24 PM

1/2...State accused of misleading United Nations on Magdalene liability…

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and her department have been accused of misleading the UN by claiming the McAleese report made “no finding” in relation to State liability with regard to Magdalene Laundries.

Ms Fitzgerald told the Dáil in February that a State apology was issued to the women who worked in Magdalene Laundries despite the fact that there was “no finding in the McAleese Report which indicated that the State had any liability in the matter”.

This was also stated in Geneva at a hearing of the UN Convention of Equality Against Women by a Department of Justice representative.

However, the McAleese report states categorically that over one-quarter of all referrals to Magdalene Laundries were facilitated by the State.

In the State apology offered by Taoiseach Enda Kenny to the women in 2013, he also explicitly acknowledged the State’s “direct involvement” in the Magdalene Laundry system.

“But from this moment on you need carry it no more. Because today we take it back. Today we acknowledge the role of the State in your ordeal.”

“We now know that the State itself was directly involved in over a quarter of all admissions to the Magdalene Laundries,” he said.

Mr Kenny cited the five areas specifically examined by McAleese namely routes of entry/exit, regulation and State inspection, State funding and financial assistance and death registrations, burials and exhumations and said that in all of the above areas, there was found to be “direct State involvement.”

ANON Apr 11th, 2017 @ 12:22 PM

2/2...Claire McGettrick of Justice For Magdalenes Research said Ms Fitzgerald’s view was “indefensible” given the clear evidence of State liability in the matter.

“Regarding forced labour, it is indefensible for the Minister for Justice, her Department or the Government as a whole to claim that they know of no factual evidence that would give rise to the belief that the State has any legal liability for forced labour in Magdalene Laundries,” she said.

Ms McGettrick pointed to multiple examples in the McAleese report where State involvement in the laundries was clearly set out.

Sinn Féin’s children’s spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said Ms Fitzgerald, and her officials have been misleading both the UN and the Dáil in their comments on State liability.

“Not only is both the Minister and her representative to the UN guilty of peddling untruths, they are being quite insulting to those whom the Taoiseach issued his apology in 2012,” he said.

Mr Ó Laoghaire also said the full recommendations of the Quirke Report had yet to implemented over four years on from the State apology.

“The Quirke Report recommended establishing a “dedicated unit” with Magdalene Survivors under the auspices of the Department of Justice to discuss a permanent memorial dedicated to the Women and Children of the Magdalene Laundries.“

ANON Apr 11th, 2017 @ 12:20 PM

1/2..Oblates say statement not meant to be insensitive to abuse victims…

Intention was to correct misinformation coming from politicians and reported by media

A religious congregation has said it was not being insensitive to victims when it published a recent statement on “the moral challenge posed to religious about the costs” of compensation.

The purpose of the statement by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate was to “correct a relentless stream of misinformation coming from some politicians and reported in the media” about the redress scheme, its provincial Fr Ray Warren said.

The statement came after widespread criticism of religious orders recently after a Comptroller and Auditor General report found that the redress scheme and related matters had cost some €1.5 billion and that the orders had fallen short of paying their share.

“Some welcomed this as a statement of the factual background to the commission, the redress board and role of the government and the detailed chronology of how the religious became involved with the government in the process,” Fr Warren said.

However, he said “others were angry at what they perceived as our insensitivity to the harm done to those who experienced as children the reformatory and industrial schools system and at our apparent lack of remorse”.

ANON Apr 11th, 2017 @ 12:18 PM

2/2...Residential institutions…

The Oblates managed St Conleth’s reformatory at Daingean, Co Offaly which closed in 1973. They were one of the 18 religious congregations whose management of residential institutions for children was investigated by the Laffoy/Ryan commission.

They were also party to the €128 million indemnity deal in 2002 between the 18 congregations and the State.

Their recent statement asserted that the redress scheme “was the Government’s very own initiative, to meet the Government’s own moral obligations, and the Government would lay down all the provisions that governed it”.

The congregations “were adjuncts to the scheme, and certainly not partners”, while “the Government was certainly not initially looking for the religious to pay a 50-50 share”, it said.

Fr Warren said: “The statement does acknowledge the moral claims of the victims of the system and our moral duty in the light of the Ryan report findings.

I am aware how inadequate financial contributions are to make up for the harm suffered by the victims but at the same time they are important.

“In the light of the Ryan report findings, the Oblates as many of you will know apologised at that time and subsequently for our shortcomings. Many are asking how the Oblates responded at the time to Ryan and to redress. Details can be found on our archives link.”

On publication of the Ryan report in May 2009, the Oblates said: “We wish to reiterate the shortcomings on our part acknowledged to the commission and the serious consequences for some of the boys in our care.

We unreservedly apologise for these.”

ANON Apr 11th, 2017 @ 12:15 PM

Labour wants Oireachtas committee to hold hearings into 2002 indemnity deal…

Labour wants the Oireachtas Education Committee to hold hearings into the 2002 indemnity deal between religious congregations and the State in relation to compensating victims of child sex abuse.

The deal saw religious orders and the State agree to split the cost on a 50-50 basis - but the actual redress bill has seen the congregations' share fall to as little as 13%.
Education spokesperson Joan Burton believes a committee of investigation into the deal would be worthwhile.

“We had for instance a couple of years ago, a relatively successful Dáil inquiry into what happened in terms of the banks," she said.

"This again is a very large significant amount of money and I think as a society and as a parliament we are entitled to know, how was this endemnity created, who signed off on it, we know there are conflicting versions of responsibilities."

ANON Apr 7th, 2017 @ 11:35 AM

Catholic priest who spent church donations on foreign travel faces sentence…

A Roman Catholic priest will be sentenced for fraudulently diverting more than £50,000 donated to his church by parishioners.

Father John Reid, 69, admitted abusing his position after he took the money meant for charitable purposes and the upkeep of St Cuthbert's Church, Chester-le-Street, County Durham.

During the four-year period, from June 2009 to October 2013, he instead spent some of the money on foreign travel and restaurants.

He was also accused of failing to keep proper receipts and accounts.

At a previous hearing Reid, who now lives in Stockton, Teesside, pleaded not guilty to two charges of fraud by abuse of position, but last month at Durham Crown Court he changed his plea and admitted one of the charges.

After the investigation was launched by Durham Police in 2014, Reid withdrew from public ministry, which also included leading St Bede's Church in Sacriston.

He will be sentenced at Durham Crown Court

ANON Apr 7th, 2017 @ 11:34 AM

Catholic League Bill Donohue's shameful personal attack on Tuam babies hero Catherine Corless…

When you can’t win an argument you attack the person making it. It’s a bait and switch ploy as old as politics. It’s what you’re reduced to when the jig is really up.

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, has finally made that calculation about Catherine Corless, the woman whose painstaking research uncovered the truth about the 796 babies buried without a marker in the Tuam Mother and Baby Home in County Galway.

The Tuam mother and baby home was described as “a chamber of horrors” by the Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Enda Kenny.

Last month a state-appointed inquiry found “significant human remains” in several underground chambers at the Tuam site and tests confirmed the bodies ranged from premature babies to three-year-olds.

But instead of thanking Corless for her persistence in bringing the horrifying tale to light, Donohue this week blasted her as a credential-lacking charlatan who isn’t qualified to conduct the meticulous research that led to the discoveries.

“Contrary to what virtually all news reports have said, Corless is not a historian,” Donohue sniffs in his latest media blast, “She not only does not have a Ph.D. in history, she doesn't have an undergraduate degree. She is a typist…”

A typist! How could someone so academically inconsequential tilt at the Catholic Church and hope to prevail? The idea is an absurdity.

“This does not mean she is dumb many secretaries are brighter than the professors they serve,”

Donohue continues, again looking down his nose at her perceived social insignificance. “Nor does this disqualify her from making a contribution to historical events.

But she is no historian.”

Perhaps she would have been more accepted if she had one of the many degrees, doctoral and such, that so any of the pedophile priests and those who covered up for them had. Donohue’s exaggerated respect for anyone with a collar shows the deep insecurity and craving for respect the poor man has.

ANON Apr 7th, 2017 @ 11:31 AM

2/2...There’s no question Donohue occupies a more elevated social strata than the Irish women he relentlessly attacks. Tax records for 2013 show he was paid a salary of $474,876.

That’s a hell of a lot of money to write poison pen letters and accuse grandmothers of exposing the church.

If typists can’t write can divorced men like Donohue lead right-wing Catholic organizations and tell us all what to think?

There is no end to Donohue’s pomposity. Donohue continues: “Those who think I am being too harsh should consider what happened when Corless tried to obtain information from the Galway County Council to facilitate her research. She was told to take a hike she was denied access because she lacked a university degre”

Doubtless, they would have refused information, too, to college dropouts like Bill Gates and Michael Dell and Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter.

His condescension is unmistakable, but this is Monday-morning-quarterbacking of the most pathetic sort. Nevertheless, Corless persisted until she obtained the death records, made the discoveries, alerted the world, and the Irish state investigations confirmed her findings.

From an early age, when she shared classrooms with the "home babies" as the children of unmarried mothers were known, Catherine Corless sensed something was very wrong about how the children from the Tuam home were treated

Later, as an adult, she undertook the research from a purely humanitarian point of view believing those lost souls deserved that their stories be told and an accounting made for how horrifically they were treated.

She dug out the truth and it was not pretty

Donohue can’t deny any of this, so he’s mounted a pathetic rearguard attempt to attack her standing. In Ireland, she is considered a national hero, but Donohue’s mocking tone makes it clear that in his eyes she is nothing more than a bumptious peasant who somehow got above her station to discredit the Church and tell lies about its operations.

Perhaps she lacks his increasingly gilded paychecks, but she has already done more for the truth by displaying Christian virtues such as charity and compassion than the sclerotic Donohue ever has.

ANON Apr 6th, 2017 @ 12:29 PM

“The window dressing...

A woman who was sexually abused by serial paedophile Fr Brendan Smyth has criticised the Catholic Church for its “disturbing” failure to change its ways.

“It’s all nothing more than window-dressing to me. They haven’t taken real action.

Release the files, prosecute the predators and compensate the victims.”

Helen McGonigle was raped and sexually assaulted by Smyth in Rhode Island in the US in the 1960s, when she was aged between six and nine years old.

The attacks took place in locations including a school, the church basement and his car. He also assaulted her mother after he was sent back to the parish following treatment in hospital in Ireland.

She was commenting after a review of four congregations by the Catholic Church’s National Board for Safeguarding Children, carried out in 2015-2016, was published on Wednesday.

It found that in regard to the De La Salle Brothers, the Norbertines and the Nazareth Sisters, “their performance in the recent past does not demonstrate any real change from their historical behaviour in terms of ensuring good safeguarding practice or putting in place effective pastoral responses to complainants who have made allegations of abuse”.

Smyth, a member of the Norbertine Order, was jailed in 1994 for sexually abusing children.

“It’s disturbing,” said Ms McGonigle, “because you would think with all the attention that has been brought upon clerical abuse and on the case of Fr Brendan Smyth specifically, and also the Norbertine Order, that they would have taken steps to change their ways over time.

“If the Vatican, or the Norbertines, or the Catholic Church as a whole is not forced to change its ways then the practices and the patterns will continue.

“The Catholic Church has not even changed its canon law that provides for secrecy – that’s still in place, and that places victims under pontifical secrecy,” she said.

“They can do all the window-dressing they want and have all these reports come out, which are just horrific and which state the truth for the historical record, but we have to put the Vatican on notice that they’ve got to change, and it has to come right from the top.

“The window dressing of Pope Benedict and Pope Francis apologising to victims isn’t enough. There has to be action.”

ANON Apr 5th, 2017 @ 05:18 PM

Limerick man jailed for defilement of child…

A 72-year-old man, who emphatically denied he had sexually abused a teenage girl over a three-year period, has been jailed for six years.

Michael Casey of Cois Rioga, Caherconlish, Co Limerick was given concurrent jail terms of six years and four years on a total of 16 charges of the defilement of a child.

The sexual abuse began in 2009 when the now 20-year-old woman was 13.
Casey, who was 63 at the time, was good friends with her father as they both worked in the retail shop trade.

The abuse occurred at a number of locations including the victim's home and at a disused factory in counties Clare and Limerick from June 2009 to December 2011.

The woman said that the sexual incidents became almost routine and would happen regularly, including on the morning of a Junior Cert exam.

The abuse came to light when she confided in a friend in 2012, who told a guidance councillor at her school.

A complaint was later made to Gardaí.

The woman said the abuse had left her deeply traumatised and had led to difficulties in her relationships, and she has needed counselling.

Casey denied the allegations, describing them as lies, fantasy and rubbish.

He returned from Africa, where he was doing charity work, to be interviewed by Gardaí when confronted with the allegations.

Sentencing him today at Limerick Circuit Court, Judge Tom O'Donnell said he took into account the age of the victim, the grooming nature of the offences, and that Casey was trusted by the victim's parents.

He said the offences were predatory in nature and the accused took advantage at every opportunity to abuse his victim.

Legal aid was granted in the event of an appeal.

ANON Apr 4th, 2017 @ 11:18 AM

1/3...Congregations proven right about cost dangers of redress scheme…

State ignored warnings from religious groups about loose structures

The Oblates, and others of the 18 religious congregations concerned, may feel like King Canute on the shore fighting off a particularly filthy modern tide in contesting claims they should pay half the €1.5 billion redress costs paid by the State as a result of abuse in institutions run by them.

Who, post-publication of the Ryan report in 2009, with all its scabrous revelations about those abuses of children in such institutions, would not accept that the congregations should in conscience pay at least half those costs?

But it is to put the cart before the horse. It was the State which framed the redress scheme, not the congregations. And it did so in the teeth of anxious warnings by the congregations as to where the scheme’s loose structures would lead.

The congregations were proven correct.

Now, a seemingly profligate State demands the congregations pay half the costs it has incurred despite their insistent warnings. The congregations are correct. It is wrong, possibly even “immoral”.

On October 4th, 2000, the Conference of Religious of Ireland indicated the 18 relevant congregations’ willingness to be involved with a State compensation scheme for victims of abuse in residential institutions run by them.

ANON Apr 4th, 2017 @ 11:16 AM

2/3...Bottomless purse...

It was in response to an announcement on October 3rd by then minister for education Michael Woods that the government was setting up such a scheme.

Talks began on November 10th, 2000, when it was agreed in principle the congregations would be part of such a scheme. Soon, however, it was clear they were troubled by what the State had in mind.

At a meeting on February 7th, 2001, they expressed concern at the level of contributions sought from them but in particular at “the process for validating claims of abuse which will require a low burden of proof”.

As the recent Oblate statement put it about these talks, “no religious order had a bottomless purse. At that time, the government did seem to think it had a bottomless purse”.

Seeing the direction in which the state was headed, the congregations sought an indemnity “against all further liability” as anything else “would leave them facing financial uncertainty for years to come”.

By a meeting on April 4th, 2001, the indemnity had become “critical”.
On April 30th, 2001, they told officials suggestions of a “50:50 ratio of contribution” from them was “far beyond what they envisaged happening”.

It is the first time this “50:50 ratio” emerges.

Rather, they felt their contribution should reflect “the fact that it was the State that had decided to proceed with this form of redress; that the State had decided to set the level of validation lower than that of the courts; [and] their own [congregations’] assessment of their own liability in a court situation”.

Negotiations became tense. On June 26th, 2001, the congregations made their “final offer” of IR£45 million – IR£20 million of which would be cash – payable over five years. They argued it exceeded “by a considerable margin what they reckon their exposure in litigation to be.

ANON Apr 4th, 2017 @ 11:13 AM

3/3...Disappointing...

They further claimed the scheme devised by Government would “in itself increase the number of claims, claims that they would otherwise never have had to meet”.

In a letter to Mr Woods on June 29th, 2001, then minister for finance Charlie McCreevy described the congregations’ offer as “quite disappointing” in the context “when contrasted with a possible cost to the State of the order of £200-£400 million” in redress payments.

Further correspondence between the congregations and government took place before an announcement on January 30th, 2002, that a deal was agreed.

The congregations would contribute a €128 million (IR£100 million) to the redress scheme and would be indemnified by the State against further claims.

The deal was signed on June 5th, 2002. The Residential Institutions Redress Board was set up seven months later in December 2002.

Such were government estimates at the time that, according to a report by the comptroller and auditor general of October 2003: “By November 2001, the Department of Education and Science was estimating that the potential number of claimants was likely to exceed 3,000 and might rise to 4,000.

By June 2002, [when the indemnity deal was signed] it was being estimated that the number of claimants could be 5,200 or more.”

In the event, 15,579 people received awards, which averaged €62,250.

ANON Apr 3rd, 2017 @ 04:32 PM

1/2...Catholic Church must reform confession, abuse survivor says

An Australian child abuse survivor has called on the Catholic Church to reform its laws on confession to ensure crimes are reported to police.

Peter Gogarty said perpetrators knew anything disclosed in confession would not be revealed to authorities.

He told the BBC it was effectively a "get-out-of-jail-free card".

It follows the final public hearings in an Australian inquiry, which has heard evidence of abusers co