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Plea for mourners to attend funeral of Irish man who died alone in Manchester…

'Give your fellow country man a decent well attended funeral'

A heartbreaking appeal has been launched for mourners to attend the funeral of an Irish man who died alone in Manchester.

The Council of Irish Associations in the city posted the plea on Facebook yesterday afternoon.

In the message they revealed that John Joseph O'Brien, aged 73, died on August 9.

The Manchester bereavement service arranged the funeral for Mr O'Brien and it is scheduled to take place at Manchester Crematorium on Wednesday, September 27 at 10.00am

However the council revealed that they fear nobody will show for the service.

They write: "No mourners are expected so please if any of the Associations can send some members or if any of Irish Manchester community are able to spare an hour to help give your fellow country man a decent well attended funeral it will be much appreciated."

The council say they are looking for any next of kin to contact the Bereavement Team.
Please Contact: Bereavement Team On. 0161-234-3932 or 0161-234-3871

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1/2...US sex offender who groomed children over the internet had 'at least four Irish victims'…

A sex offender who was found to have been grooming more than 100 girls over the internet had at least four Irish victims, it has been revealed.

Blake Robert Johnson, from Martinez California was sentenced to 30 years in prison earlier this year on charges of traveling across state lines with the intent of engaging in sex with a minor, as well as a host of child pornography charges.

In a report by RTE Radio One show, This Week, journalist John Burke discussed Johnson’s history of sex offence and his link to Irish children

“Prior to that time he (Johnson) wasn’t really known to police in the United States, but then a 14-year-old girl in Oregon went missing. The girl’s mother handed her phone over to police.

She was concerned that they use it in any way to find where her daughter went to.

“Police downloaded all manner of messages and images and so forth from the phone, and they found a pattern of messages with an unidentified phone number.
They traced that number to this man, Blake Robert Johnson and within 24 hours they found the girl, they found her at his home.”

Johnson was charged for sex offences relating to that incident, but when police searched his property they discovered a large amount of disturbing materials on his computers.

“So the material that they found was actually in 500 separate folders, each with an individual child’s name and all previously unidentified children to law enforcement figures, meaning that they suspected that Johnson had actually targeted all of these children individually himself,” Mr Burke explained on-air.

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2/2...“This lead to an investigation that spread across multiple jurisdictions, including Ireland and it was led by the US Homelands Security Investigation Agency.”

Johnson was found to have been in contact with children in 32 US states and more than six jurisdictions.

He used a number of apps, including Ovoo, Kik and Omegle to contact his victims and, according to documents from the trial, would target emotionally vulnerable young girls.

Johnson was the father of a teenage girl himself and was described as being “sophisticated at engaging young girls over the internet to engage in illicit sexually explicit conduct.”

He targeted vulnerable young girls and requested that they perform sexual acts, while also directing them to send the resulting photographs. It was also found that Johnson distributed a portion of his child pornography collection to other paedophiles.

To date, the US Government has identified 94 victims between the ages of 12 and 18, but expect to identify significantly more as their investigation progresses.

Of these victims, Burke reported that at least four victims are from Ireland, with one identified as being from Dublin, one from Meath, one who has yet to be confirmed and one who has moved between jurisdictions.

As the process of identifying victims is ongoing, however, it is possible that there are more.

“It’s only when all the victims are identified that we’ll have a full picture here of the potential number of victims in this jurisdiction,” Burke said

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1/2...Abused children waiting five years for justice…

Sexually abused children and their families are being subjected to “additional trauma” by having to wait an estimated five years before their court case is completed, according to a national therapy service, Cari.

Cari said an analysis of 23 cases in its court accompaniment service for victims last year revealed that these cases were “still subject to extensive delays” at different stages in the criminal justice process.

“We found that children wait, on average, five years from date of the crime to the end of the criminal proceedings,” said Eve Farrelly, manager of Cari’s forensic and court accompaniment services.

“It is our view that a five-year time span out of a child’s life is too long and it behoves all those involved in the administration of justice to prioritise and expedite children’s cases as far as possible while having regard for due process and rights of the accused.”

Cari CEO Mary Flaherty said five years was “a really long time, even for an adult”, but said that, for a child, it was at a vulnerable time in their lives.

“If they are five they are 10 by the time its finished in the courts,” she said. “It’s more serious if they are nine or 10 and then into the difficult teenage years before the case comes up.”

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2/2..She said there were delays at “every level” of the criminal justice system from the Garda investigation, to the prosecution, to the courts and the judiciary.

“This is all despite a stated obligation to speed things up,” she said. “And we know the length of time it’s taking because we are accompanying them and that’s the average in the 23 cases.”

Speaking before the publication of the service’s annual report today, Ms Flaherty said: “We want to highlight the unnecessary additional trauma on children and their families at a vulnerable developmental stage.

“All the elements of the legal system need to try and address this and reduce the additional trauma from delays.”

Ms Flaherty said Cari managed to increase the therapeutic hours it could offer last year.

Despite this, she said waiting lists and waiting times for therapy “continued to grow as more referrals were received”.

She said that, in December 2016, there were 97 children waiting for Cari therapy services.

She said the agency had “campaigned for some time” for more statutory and private funding.

Ms Flaherty said it provided therapy to both the children and their family and that therapy can take a year or longer, depending on the person’s experience.

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1/2...Vatican’s stance on children’s rights is not acceptable, says McAleese

UN Convention on Rights of the Child must be implemented in church teachings and canon law.

It was “downright wrong” and “misleading” of the Vatican to tell the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) that it did not promote corporal punishment for children, former president of Ireland Mary McAleese has said.

“The Holy See has a long tradition of supporting corporal punishment,” she said. It was also “misleading” of the Vatican to tell the CRC in 2013 that the terms “corporal punishment” or “punishment” were not used in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and that it did not use the term “illegitimate”.

Prof McAleese was speaking in an address to the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin on Tuesday on “The Holy See and the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is a once-promising journey now going backwards?”

She said the Vatican’s “prompt ratification” of the convention on the rights of the child in 1990 “was highly significant for, by any standard, the Holy See is a major contributor to and influencer of the lives of children world-wide”.

“It governs the faith lives of 17 per cent of the entire world population; that is, 1.25 billion Catholics, of whom well over 300 million are children aged under 18. It is the biggest non-governmental provider of educational and welfare services to children in the world operating over 200,000 schools across five continents catering for some 60 million children a majority of whom, according to the Holy See, do not profess the Catholic faith.”

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2/2...Church jurisdiction…
This “initial enthusiasm for the convention has given way to complaints”, she said, the nub of which “is that the CRC says the Holy See must implement the convention within the internal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church, that is to say within church teaching and canon law for the benefit of its 300 million child members”.

However,“the Holy See says it is only obliged to implement the convention within the tiny territory of the Vatican City State which has no more than a handful of children”, she said.

Of the Vatican’s “misleading” report to the CRC in 2013, she said the Catechism of the Catholic Church “tells parents in the words of the Old Testament Book of Sirach 30:1-2: ‘He who loves his son will not spare the rod.’”

The full quotation from that section of the Old Testament “makes it clear that physical punishment of children is regarded as an appropriate form of discipline: ‘Bow down his neck while he is young, and beat his sides while he is a child, lest he grow stubborn, and regard thee not, and so be a sorrow of heart to thee,’” she said.




Illegitimacy
Where the term illegitimacy was concerned, she pointed out that the church’s 1983 code of canon law, its “own international law”, uses the term “illegitimate” in canon 1139.
“Three other related canons make distinctions between legitimate and illegitimate children,” she said. Further, “canon law does not acknowledge the equality of legitimate and illegitimate children”.
“A question which the Holy See must answer therefore is why it believes it can credibly disseminate to the world at large the principles of a treaty (convention on the rights of the child) which it has ratified but refuses to implement within its own internal jurisdiction, particularly when that jurisdiction operates a body of law and principles which directly impact the lives and rights of over 300 million children,” she said

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"It's ridiculous," he says. "I'm not happy about that. Whoever is behind this, I hope they can live with themselves."

Many allegations of abuse at the care home were also uncovered by File on 4 and the Sunday Post, including beatings, punches, public humiliations and psychological abuse.

This case mirrors the investigation into the Tuam mother and baby home, an Irish institution run by a religious order, where it is thought nearly 800 babies and young children died and were buried in unmarked graves between the 1920s and 1960s. What happened at Smyllum is one of the topics that the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is examining.

Two representatives of the Daughters of Charity gave evidence to the inquiry this summer in which they said they could find no records of any abuse taking place.

The nuns refused to respond to detailed questions from reporters about how many people were buried in the mass grave.

In a statement, they said they were "co-operating fully" with the Child Abuse Inquiry and that they believed that was the "best and most appropriate forum for such investigations".

They continued: "...as Daughters of Charity our values are totally against any form of abuse and thus, we offer our most sincere and heartfelt apology to anyone who suffered any form of abuse whilst in our care". How the figures were calculated

Since 1855, there has been a legal duty in Scotland to register a death.

Those death records are available for scrutiny at the National Records for Scotland office in Edinburgh. The records contain details such as the name and age of the deceased as well as what they died of and their usual place of residence.

After focusing on those people under 18 who'd been resident at Smyllum, the BBC and Sunday Post checked local burial records for Lanark, which today are held with South Lanarkshire Council.

They found no evidence that the dead had been buried.

Some children were sent to the home from other places across central Scotland, so spot checks were also made with a number of other areas. Burial records were discovered in Glasgow for two of the dead. No other area we approached could find any burial record for the names we asked them to check.

As the Daughters of Charity have previously indicated that children were buried in an unmarked plot at the cemetery, and that their records are incomplete, all the bodies are believed to be buried in the graveyard.

The method is a replica of that used to expose a mass grave in the Irish Republi

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(1) The bodies of hundreds of children are believed to be buried in a mass grave in Lanarkshire, southern Scotland, according to an investigation by BBC News.

The children were all residents of a care home run by Catholic nuns. At least 400 children are thought to be buried in a section of St Mary's Cemetery in Lanark. The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, which ran the home, refused to comment on the findings. The research by the File on 4 programme in conjunction with the Sunday Post newspaper focused on Smyllum Park Orphanage in Lanark. It opened in 1864 and provided care for orphans or children from broken homes. It closed in 1981, having looked after 11,600 children.

A burial plot, containing the bodies of a number of children, was uncovered by two former residents of Smyllum in 2003. Frank Docherty and Jim Kane discovered an overgrown, unmarked section of St Mary's Cemetery during their efforts to reveal physical abuse which they said many former residents had suffered. In 2004, the campaigners said the Daughters of Charity told them their records suggested that children had been buried in 158 compartments in the graveyard.

Frank and Jim, who both died earlier this year, believed however, that the numbers were far higher as the nuns had indicated their records were incomplete. The investigation by File on 4 and the Sunday Post indicates they were right; at least 400 children are understood to be buried in the plot.

"Oh my God, I've got goose pimples. It's shocking," said Frank Docherty's widow, Janet. "He had been trying for years to find a figure and he didn't get anywhere. That's unbelievable." The death records indicate that most of the children died of natural causes, from diseases common at the time such as TB, pneumonia and pleurisy.

Analysis of the records show that a third of those who died were aged five or under. Very few of those who died, 24 in total, were aged over 15, and most of the deaths occurred between 1870 and 1930.

One of those believed to be buried there is Francis McColl. He died in 1961, aged 13; his death certificate indicates he died from a brain haemorrhage.

His brother Eddie spent decades wondering what had happened to Francis. At one point, he heard he'd been struck on the head by a golf club, which now chimes with the evidence of the death certificate. But Eddie could find no trace of where his brother had been buried.

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Former Llangollen care home boss denies 1970s sex abuse…

A 70-year-old former care home boss has denied a string of sex offences against 11 different children.

Bryan Davies pleaded not guilty to 38 charges during an hour-long hearing at Mold Crown Court on Friday.

It is claimed most of the offences took place at Ystrad Hall in Llangollen during the 1970s, when Mr Davies was its deputy principal.

He was arrested in Malta as part of the Operation Pallial investigation into historical sexual abuse allegations.

In addition to charges of indecent assault and serious sexual assaults, the defendant is also accused of six charges of making indecent images of children in Sussex between 2007 and 2013 and three charges of inciting sexual activity over the internet in 2011 and 2012.

He was arrested under a European warrant at the beginning of August on the Maltese island of Gozo, where he had retired.

Judge Rhys Rowlands agreed to bail him pending his trial after it was revealed he had already surrendered his passport.

He was told he must not apply for any further travel documents, must report to police in Reigate in Surrey three times a week, and observe a nightly curfew.

A trial lasting up to five weeks will begin in April

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Cambridge paedophile convinced child he was their 'boyfriend'…

A "vicious paedophile" who convinced a child he was their "boyfriend" has been jailed for 27 years.

Robin Matthews, 63, of Hobart Road, Cambridge, took the child to woodland and said he would "bury them alive if they told anyone about the abuse".

Matthews was found guilty of 20 counts of child sexual abuse and one of child cruelty for offences between 1970 and the early 1990s with two children.

The victims were as young as four and the abuse lasted years.

Sentencing at Cambridge Crown Court, Judge David Farrell said Matthews was a "vile bully, prepared to use a younger child for [his] perverted sexual purposes".

The court heard that "aggressive" Matthews made "serious threats" to one victim and threatened violence if they "made any noise or protested".

One victim did try to speak out, the judge said, but "was not believed".

'Stolen childhood'

The judge added the child had been "let down by the authorities at the time" and by the age of 16 believed Matthews to be their boyfriend because of all the sexual things they had done together.

Eventually, Matthews was arrested in July 2015 after the pair disclosed the historic abuse.

In an impact statement read out in court by prosecutor Charles Myatt, one victim said they felt they had their "childhood stolen away" from them.

Det Con Helen Tebbit said: "I would like to thank the victims for giving evidence against Matthews.

"I know this would not have been easy, but I do hope they both find some closure knowing their abuser is now behind bars and they can move on with their lives."
Matthews was found guilty following a week-long trial of 13 counts of indecent assault, seven counts of buggery and one count of child cruelty.

On top of his 27-year prison sentence, he was given an extra year on licence and an order to prevent him from having contact with any children under the age of 18

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New site in Tuam to be excavated for 'unmarked children's graves' – reports…

A site in the Galway town of Tuam is to be excavated to find out if an unmarked children's grave is on the site, according to reports.

A ground-penetrating scan, similar to the one carried out on the town's mother and baby home, is due to be carried out on the grounds of the former religious-run Grove Hospital in the town.

The HSE bought the former site, previously owned by the Bon Secours nuns, in 2001 and last year they sought permission to develop a mental health facility here.

However, the Irish Daily Mail is reporting that a group of people who believe the site may contain human remains have appealed the case to An Bord Pleanála.

According to Freedom of Information (FOI) documents released to the newspaper, An Bord Pleanála ruled that the conditions for planning permission include an excavation at the site.

The planning document, dated July 31, states the developer must facilitate the "preservation, recording and protection of archaeological materials or features that may exist within the site".

The document also states that a '"suitably qualified archaeologist" should be employed to monitor all investigation works and to "secure the preservation and protection of any remains that may exist" there.

In March Children's Minister Katherine Zappone confirmed that significant quantities of human remains had been discovered at a Galway site excavated by the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation.

The Commission of Investigation is currently probing how unmarried mothers and their babies were treated between 1922 and 1998 at 18 State-linked religious institutions.

A spokesperson for the HSE said they had recently received planning permission from an Bord Pleanala "for the part demolition, refurbishment and remodelling of the Grove Hospital, along with new extensions and site works to provide a Mental Health facility and Early Intervention and Disability service facility for HSE West".

The statement continued: "There will be no works carried out at the site referred to as Garden Area/Former Nuns’ burial site, which is delineated by a fence/hedging.

This area is outside the redline boundary of the proposed Community Mental Health Centre site and will be protected during any construction works."

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Mandatory reporting of child abuse concerns should not be introduced, Tusla argue…

The Child and Family Agency Tusla have argued that the mandatory reporting of child abuse concerns will place children and families at risk and should not be introduced.

On RTÉ’s This Week, documents released under the Freedom of Information act were revealed.

The documents showed that repeated warnings were given by Tusla to the Department of Children.

The warnings state that mandatory reporting will put extra pressure on its child protection services. and damage the progress it has made in dealing with social work waiting lists.

As it is, mandatory reporting is due to be introduced in January of 2018.
Back in August 2016, Tusla Chief Executive Fred McBride sent a letter to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs outlining his concerns about the reporting regime, which is contained in the Children First legislation.

"I have serious concerns regarding the commencement of the mandatory reporting aspect of the Children First Act. Evidence from other jurisdictions indicates that mandatory reporting could increase referrals to the Agency by 150pc.

"On this conservative basis the immediate impact of the introduction of mandatory reporting will be to reverse all progress made in respect of unallocated cases and will result in increased waiting lists, including retrospective allegations of abuse, in direct proportion to the increased level of referrals".
The letter continues:

"I am therefore reiterating our recommendation that mandatory reporting is not introduced at all due to the impact this will have on services and our limited capacity to respond with little evidence from other jurisdictions that outcomes for children are improved.

"Indeed I have sent documentation to your department setting out the intention of the Australian authorities to dismantle mandatory reporting as they deem it to be wholly counter-productive," he said.

The Tusla Chief Executive called for the reporting obligations to be delayed until January 2018, to which The Department of Children agreed, but insisted that the latest possible date for mandatory reporting to be implemented is the1st of February 2018.

In response to these concerns, the Office of the Ombudsman for Children has called for Tusla to be properly resourced to implement the reporting regime.

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Mayor of Pembroke charged with historical rape of child…

David Boswell, 56, faces six counts of indecent assault and one charge of rape between 1991 and 1994 with the charges relating to two alleged victims who were under the age of 13 at the time.

Mr Boswell was elected as a Conservative county councillor for Pembroke St Mary North in May.

Dyfed-Powys Police confirmed he had been summonsed to appear in court on 13 September.

Mr Boswell served in the Army for more than 12 years and is a marshal for the Royal British Legion.

A Pembrokeshire council spokesman said the council "continues to keep under review all necessary safeguarding measures pending the outcome of any prosecution".

He added it was a police and Crown Prosecution Service matter and would make no further comment at this time.

Pembrokeshire council's Conservative group said Mr Boswell has been suspended from membership of the party.

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The Bethany Home Children...

Annual Remembrance for the Little Ones from The Bethany Home.
2.30pm on 7th September 2017
(We will meet at the McGowan pub.)

We are trying to get as many people as possible, survivors & friends, to come to Mount Jerome Cemetery to remember the little ones that lost their lives in The Bethany Home. This sad time will allow us to reflect on all of the Irish Children that suffered abuse while in the care of The Churches and The State.

Everyone is welcome. Will you please let me let me know ASAP if you can come and make it a big day of Remembrance for all the little ones of Ireland.

The Religious & Social Affairs Correspondent for RTE, Joe Little, is hoping to be there, with his camera, as he has done over the years.

It is important that we do this while we can because, as time goes by, there are fewer of us able to attend.

Please contact Carol on Mobile No. 0044 7496 973086.

Derek and Carol will be in Ireland from 2nd September 2017 for two weeks’.

Derek & Carol.

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1/2...Hiqa questions reliability of State data in relation to Garda vetting after foster care services inspection…

The reliability of State data in relation to Garda vetting and reviews of foster carers has been called into question by the health watchdog following an inspection of foster care services in the mid-west.

Data provided by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, to the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) indicated all foster carers in Clare, Limerick, and North Tipperary had been Garda vetted.

However, inspectors found no evidence on file of Garda vetting of 30 foster carers and 116 adults living in foster carers’ homes.

Some members of the foster care committee, whose job it is to approve foster care placements, had no updated Garda vetting.

There were also concerns over data relating to reviews of foster carers. The National Standards for Foster Care state that the first review should take place one year after the first placement and subsequent reviews at three-year intervals.

Data provided by Tusla indicated 96 foster carers had a review in the previous 12 months.

An examination of a sample of files found no evidence of a review for three of those identified as having had a review.

In its report, published yesterday, Hiqa said it was “subsequently confirmed by staff that the reviews had not been held”.

Therefore the data from Tusla was “not reliable”.

In one case, a review was carried out without a home visit to assess the foster family’s living circumstances.

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2/2Jim Gibson, Tusla’s chief operations officer, admitted the Hiqa report “had thrown up some issues for us”.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio’s News at One, Mr Gibson said the absence of Garda vetting on files where Tusla had claimed vetting had taken place was partly explained by members of the foster care family who had turned 16 and now required Garda vetting, but previously had not.

Hiqa also raised concerns around handling of allegations, saying claims of abuse “were not managed and investigated in a timely way”.

While there were 35 child protection and welfare concerns or allegations made against foster carers in the past 12 months, there were only three foster care reviews held following notification of allegations to the foster care committee.

Hiqa found long delays in the completion of assessments of relative foster carers, as well as failure to allocate a social worker to 30 general (non-relative) foster carers.

The standards require that foster carers be supervised by a social worker, known as the link worker. The foster child is also allocated a social worker.

Hiqa found there were seven foster care households without a link worker where the children were also without an allocated social worker. This “posed a significant risk”.

Mr Gibson said Tusla needed to “up its game” in terms of checks and balances. However, defending the agency’s performance, he said the report had highlighted “excellent practice in areas such as training and the quality of assessments of foster carers”.

In relation to areas in need of improvements, such as supervision and timely reviews, he said they were being “actively addressed through a comprehensive action plan which has been submitted to Hiqa”.

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Paedophile jailed after Newport train station sting…

A paedophile who travelled from London to south Wales has been jailed for three years.

Adrian Simut, 35, travelled to Newport train station, where he thought he was meeting a 14-year-old girl called Sam.

But he was confronted by so-called "paedophile hunters" and later arrested, Newport Crown Court was told.

He admitted attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and meeting a child after online grooming.

He also pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act.

The court heard Simut started messaging the teenager in an online chat room in June, saying she looked "cute and beautiful".

But she was in fact an adult belonging to a group called Petronus.
meet a child

The operation was captured on film by the BBC Wales Week In Week Out programme, which investigated the role of paedophile hunters in Wales.

The court heard that Romanian national Simut arranged to meet "Sam" in Newport and suggested she bring a friend for sexual activity.

Sentencing him, Judge Michael Fitton QC said: "You were the subject of an exchange conducted by those who are looking to attract paedophiles."

He was also made the subject of an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.

Paedophile hunting groups have drawn criticism from both the Home Office and police, who have said it was inappropriate for the public to conduct undercover work.

They have urged anyone with information to instead pass it to them instead

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2/2...In the report, Action for Children said it sent Freedom of Information requests to 152 local authorities in England.

It asked how many children had their case closed after assessment and whether they were referred to early help services, such as children's centres or domestic violence programmes, after their case was shut.

Richard Watts, chairman of the Local Government Association's children and young people board, and said the report "rightly recognises the increased pressures" facing local authorities.

"As a result of funding cuts and huge increases in demand for services, the reality is that services for the care and protection of vulnerable children are now, in many areas, being pushed to breaking point," he said.

"The number of referrals to local authority children's services has increased by almost 9% over the past decade, while the number of children placed on a child protection plan as a result of those referrals has increased by more than 90%."

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "Councils will receive more than "200 billion for local services up to 2020 and spent nearly £8 billion last year on children's social care but we want to help them do even more.

"Our £200 million Innovation Programme is helping councils develop new and better ways of delivering these services - this includes projects targeting children who have been referred and assessed multiple times without receiving support."

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2/2...In the report, Action for Children said it sent Freedom of Information requests to 152 local authorities in England.

It asked how many children had their case closed after assessment and whether they were referred to early help services, such as children's centres or domestic violence programmes, after their case was shut.

Richard Watts, chairman of the Local Government Association's children and young people board, and said the report "rightly recognises the increased pressures" facing local authorities.

"As a result of funding cuts and huge increases in demand for services, the reality is that services for the care and protection of vulnerable children are now, in many areas, being pushed to breaking point," he said.

"The number of referrals to local authority children's services has increased by almost 9% over the past decade, while the number of children placed on a child protection plan as a result of those referrals has increased by more than 90%."

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "Councils will receive more than "200 billion for local services up to 2020 and spent nearly £8 billion last year on children's social care but we want to help them do even more.

"Our £200 million Innovation Programme is helping councils develop new and better ways of delivering these services - this includes projects targeting children who have been referred and assessed multiple times without receiving support."

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Report would compel clergy to report abuse allegations heard in confession…

An Australian report into child sex abuse has recommended new laws to compel clergy to report sex abuse allegations they hear in religious confession.

Current laws in most Australian states uphold the confidentiality of the religious confession.

A government-sanctioned inquiry into child sex abuse said it heard that some perpetrators who confessed to sexually abusing children went on to reoffend and seek forgiveness again.

"Clergy should not be able to refuse to report because the information was received during confession," the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse said in a statement attached to the report.

"Persons in institutions should report if they know, suspect or should have suspected a child is being or has been sexually abused."

The government did not immediately respond to the report.

A similar rule, overriding the confessional privilege in Church law that prevents clerics from sharing information, was introduced here in 2012.

The Royal Commission had previously heard that 7% of Catholic priests working in Australia between 1950 and 2010 were accused of child sex crimes and that close to 1,100 people filed child sexual assault claims against the Anglican Church over a 35-year period.

A royal commission is Australia's most powerful kind of government-appointed inquiry and can compel witnesses to give evidence and recommend prosecutions, but it does not make laws.

"Priests are able to say that they didn't have to divulge anything in confessional because of this privilege this would change that," barrister Miiko Kumar, a legal academic at the University of Sydney, said of the commission's recommendation.

"It would make it absolutely clear that this should be an offence and a priest can't claim the privilege."

A spokeswoman for Australia's Catholic Church did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Michael Quinlan, a legal expert at Catholic University Notre Dame in Sydney, previously told the inquiry that confession is a sacrament "at the heart of the Catholic religious faith" and to change its legal status would undermine religious freedoms

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1/2...HSE mulls Grace staff probes…

A HSE-appointed independent barrister specialising in employment law has identified “a significant number of potential human resources (HR) investigations” into people who may be responsible for the Grace foster abuse scandal.

HSE director general Tony O’Brien has confirmed the development, saying that while a number of those involved have died or left the organisation, others remain in high-level positions.

In a four-page letter sent to the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last month, and seen by the Irish Examiner, Mr O’Brien said in light of the Grace scandal, the HSE has begun a detailed internal disciplinary investigation into what happened.

Mr O’Brien stressed that the investigation has not yet concluded and that officials are keen to only provide limited information so as not to negatively impact on the ongoing work of the State commission of investigation into the same scandal.

However, in the letter, he confirmed the HSE has appointed an independent barrister with expertise in employment law to review what happened, and that this individual has identified a “significant” number of HR investigations which should now take place.

“Earlier this year the HSE commenced an HR process whose objective is to achieve fair and appropriate outcomes in respect of any persons who have been identified in any of the relevant reports into the Grace case and related matters,” said Mr O’Brien.

“The independent barrister has identified a significant number of potential individual HR investigations, albeit that a significant number of the persons identified in the relevant reports are no longer subject to HSE HR procedures due to their death, retirement or transfer to different State agencies.

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2/2“...The second phase was for the HSE to determine which of the individuals remains an employee of the HSE. This phase is now complete. The HSE is taking further advice from the same independent barrister in respect of the timing of any potential HR investigations.

“The commission of investigation may disclose more relevant information than an internal HR process could disclose.

The HSE is therefore taking further independent advice in respect of the timing of when it can make further progress with the HR processes.”

The development is likely to place fresh pressure on the HSE to reveal the identities of the individuals involved, and to explain what if any disciplinary action has taken place to date.

At a previous meeting with the PAC in June, Mr O’Brien confirmed that an undisclosed number of HSE officials directly involved in the case are facing disciplinary action over their failure to prevent the scandal and allegedly trying to cover up it.

However, despite criticism from a number of TDs including Fianna Fáil’s Bobby Aylward, Labour’s Alan Kelly, the Social Democrats Catherine Murphy, and Independent Catherine Connolly Mr O’Brien declined to identify those involved.

As revealed by the Irish Examiner in March, a number of people directly involved in the Grace foster abuse scandal still work in the HSE, while others have transferred to State child and family agency Tusla and hold senior roles.

They include one individual identified by the code H3 in Grace-related reports, who retired from the HSE in 2012 before joining the State’s child protection agency Tusla in a senior capacity in December 2013; a second person [H7], who retired from the

HSE on October 17, 2010; a third [H12], who also retired on February 29, 2012; another individual [H6], who joined Tusla on December 9, 2013; and a fifth [H4], who resigned from the HSE for as yet unknown reasons on April 29, 2009.

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Govt criticised by UN over lack of Magdalene investigation …

The report criticises the UN for failing to ensure victims have an enforceable right to compensation

A United Nations committee has criticised the Government for failing to implement its recommendations to investigate allegations of ill treatment of women in Magdalene Laundries.

It has also called for urgent measures to improve the staffing of the Republic's prisons and to convene an independent review of the entire prison health care system.

The report underlines many achievements in the six years since the UN Committee Against Torture's previous review.

These include the creation of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the provision of community service as an alternative to imprisonment.

It also notes the 2013 McAleese Report on the State's involvement with the Magdalene Laundries and the ex gratia scheme to help women who worked in the Laundries.

However it criticises successive governments for failing to investigate allegations of ill treatment of the Magdalene women, to prosecute perpetrators and to ensure that victims have an enforceable right to compensation.

It has also called for urgent measures to improve the staffing of the Republic's prisons and to convene an independent review of the entire prison health care system.

It notes the continuing rise in the number of women prisoners and overcrowding at the Dochás Centre in Mountjoy prison, as well as in both the male and female sections of Limerick prison.

It says over 1,500 prisoners must use toilet facilities in the presence of another inmate in cells where they also eat their meals.

It also calls for an independent review of systematic deficiencies in the prison health care services, including serious understaffing.

The committee says solitary confinement must never be applied to a person with a psycho-social disability

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PLEASE COPY AND PASTE....http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/weve-been-left-to-rot-bethany-home-survivor-claims-he-is-ignored-by-the-state-because-hes-a-protestant-35997788.html

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1/2...Paedophile Priest With HIV who Raped 30 Children Forgiven by Church…

A Catholic Priest has been acquitted by the church after he admitted to raping almost 30 young girls aged between 5 and 10-years-old.

The priest, Jose Garcia Ataulfo, was cleared of any wrong-doing and won’t face any criminal charges, despite the fact that he knew he was infected with HIV when he sexually abused all the children he admitted to raping.

The mother of one of the priest’s victims wrote a letter to The Pope asking to meet with him in Rome to discuss the case, but was shunned by the Vatican who declared that “the matter is closed”.

Ataulfo admitted to sexually assaulting well over two dozen children, many of whom were indigenous young girls from Oaxaca, a state in southern Mexico known for its large indigenous population.

Due to the significant influence that the Catholic Church wields in Mexico, the priest won’t face any criminal charges, particularly for his crimes in areas populated by indigenous ethnic groups.

The report which first appeared on the Spanish-language news site Urgente24.com, says the priest, was absolved of any wrongdoing by the Archdiocese of Mexico.

According to Urgente24.com, only two out of the thirty rape victims have come forward to denounce the acquittal.

The website Anonymous Mexico reported that the mother of one of the victims asked to meet with Pope Francis in Rome, but she was rebuffed by the Vatican which wrote a letter stating that it considered the matter closed.

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2/2...Earlier this year, Pope Francis announced that the church would be reducing penalties for pedophile priests by relocating them to a different church and offering them support rather than punishing them.

The Pope said that the controversial measures were designed to create a “more merciful church”.

According to The Daily Mail, sexual abuse of minors by priests and the subsequent cover-ups by bishops and other Church officials have been widespread in many countries, including the United States.

The issue was thrust into the national spotlight in 2002 when the Boston Globe revealed the extent to which the local archdiocese shielded abusive priests from being exposed to the public even though it knew they posed a danger to young parishioners.

The Globe exposé, which detailed abuse cases that numbered in the thousands over a span of several decades, inspired other victims to come forward, leading to an avalanche of lawsuits and criminal prosecutions.

Not only did the floodgates open in the US, but the Catholic Church was also forced to confront cases in other countries, including Mexico.

In 2004, the Vatican re-opened a prior investigation against Marcial Maciel, who was accused of sexually abusing minors as well as fathering six children by three different women.

Though the allegations spanned decades and the extent of his crimes was known to church officials, it was only in 2006 that the Vatican forced Maciel, one of its most powerful clergymen, to retire from active ministry.

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1/4...The ever-evolving fight against child abusers…

Gardaí have learned from the management of sex offenders that ‘they are very controlling and find different ways to offend’, writes Cormac O’Keeffe.

Gardaí have warned that child sex dolls will come to Ireland, if they are not already here.

It follows a landmark case in England, in which a 72-year-old primary school governor was convicted earlier this week of importing the dolls, which are child-like in appearance, weight, and anatomy.

“There’s no doubt that they will come to Ireland at some stage, if they are not already here and we need to be prepared for that,” said Chief Superintendent Michael Daly of the Garda National Protective Services Bureau.

He said they were “fairly horrible items” and that his officers were “very concerned” about them.

Chief Supt Daly said they had “not come across them yet” but said there was no reason why the same would not happen here as in the UK.

The British trial was seen as a test case, as a court was asked to make a ruling as to whether or not a child sex doll was indecent or obscene, which it did.

Lawyers for the defendant, David Turner, argued that the doll was not covered by the law banning the importation of obscene items.

The British National Crime Agency said it was the “first ruling of its kind”.

The NCA took the prosecution under Customs laws which make it an offence to import obscene or indecent items.

British Border Force Police, which seized the item, said it had been labelled as a mannequin.

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2/4...When officers raided the home of Turner last December, they discovered two child sex dolls, which he kept in his study and seized a computer, tablets, external hard drives, and pen drives.

The charge against him related to a 3ft10in doll that was already in his possession, and which he had bought clothes for.

Analysis of his computers showed that he had viewed websites selling items advertised as “flat chested love doll” and “mini silicone sex doll 65cm little breasts”.
Turner admitted possessing more than 34,000 images of child abuse.

After he was arrested, he resigned as a school governor of St Ethelbert’s Church Primary School in Ramsgate, and from St Ethelbert’s and Gertrude Church, where he was a warden.

British police said they have seized 123 of the child sex dolls in little over a year.
The NCA said the dolls weigh around 25kg (around the weight of a seven- or eight-year-old child) and cost thousands of euro.

Manufactured typically in China, they are sold online, including on Amazon and eBay, and sent via courier, fast parcel, and other delivery services, the NCA said.

Chief Supt Daly said his officers have been examining the law in Ireland in this area, to see if it would cover these dolls.

“Our legislation appears to be wide enough,” he told the Irish Examiner. “It does seem to fall within child pornography laws.”

He said his staff in the various relevant sections, including the Online Child Exploitation Unit and the Sexual Crime Management Unit, had looked at the law and believed the dolls fell inside it.

Chief Sup Daly said, under the law, child pornography is described as “any visual representation that shows for a sexual purpose the genital or anal region of a child”.
Section 2.1 of the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998, amended by the Criminal Law Sexual Offences Act 2017, states that child pornography includes “any visual representation who dominant characteristic is the depiction, for a sexual purpose, of the genital or anal region of a child”.

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3/4...Chief Supt Daly said that while visual representation has tended to refer to pictures, cartoons, and drawings, the legislation was “reasonably broad” and seemed to include “3D visual representations” like a plastic child sex doll.

“I’ve received full images [of the dolls] from UK police and the dolls to show those regions [genital and anal],” he said. “They are fairly horrible items.”

He said that while they believed the dolls fall within the child pornography laws, he said “this has not been tested in the courts yet”.

Professor of Law at the University of Limerick, Shane Kilcommins, said he believed the matter “would be contested in court” by defendants.

He said that while the definition of child pornography in the Child Trafficking and
Pornography Act 1998 was “broad” and that it could be argued that it incorporated “3D visual representations” such as a plastic child sex doll, a defendant could also argue that it does not depict a child or that the doll does not equate with a child for the purposes of the legislation.

“Obviously the court will be the final arbiter on different legal arguments and interpretations,” said Prof Kilcommins. “If the conduct is not covered by the legislation, the obviously an amendment will be necessary to ensure that it is criminalised.”

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4/4...Chief Supt Daly said they would be referring the matter and the laws to the Garda Siochána’s Legal Section for further clarity and advice.

He said they have learned from the management of sex offenders that “they are very controlling and find different ways to offend”.

He said: “Anyone who is importing one of these child sex dolls obviously has a sexual interest in children.”

He said they would be liaising with the PSNI, British police, and Revenue Customs here in relation to the matter.

In a statement, Revenue said prohibited items, including obscene material, may be seized by customs.

“Depending on the facts and circumstances, possession of dolls of the type referred to may constitute an offence under the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998,” it said.

It said that, in such situations, a Customs officer may detain such goods and hand them to the Gardaí as evidence in criminal proceedings.

Mary Flaherty of Cari, which provides therapy and support for children affected by child abuse, said they shared the concerns of Gardaí.

“These dolls clearly do indicate a criminal interest in children,” she said.

Ms Flaherty said: “It will be important to ensure that we in Ireland are able to act to deal with the issues legislatively and that the gardaí are assured that the Irish legal framework is sufficiently robust to deal with this.”

She also pointed out that other preventative measures were needed to develop diversion and treatment programmes to prevent abuse along the lines of the Stop It

Now Campaign in the UK, which she said was recommended by the Ferns Report and the Ferns 5 Working Group.

She added: “When the level of inappropriate and criminal interest in children evidenced by acquiring of these life-size dolls goes unchecked and results in actual abuse of children, we in Cari see the devastating long-term effects as we support children and families through disclosure, forensic examination through therapy and the Irish courts.”

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Former Christian brother jailed for abusing young boys at Limerick school…

A former Christian brother who abused a number of young boys at a school in Limerick almost 40 years ago has been jailed for three and-a-half years.

Seamus Treacy (also known as James), aged 75, who has an address at Ashford Close, Swords, Dublin was convicted of 17 charges of indecent assault following separate trials at Limerick Circuit Court earlier this year.

Two of the charges related to one victim with the remaining 15 related to three other victims.

All of the offences happened at a school in Limerick in the late 1970’s where the defendant was a teacher at the time.

Most of the offences happened in the classroom at the school while one happened in the toilet area after Treacy found the victim smoking.

It can now be revealed that Treacy has a large number of previous convictions relating to similar offences all of which happened around the same time.

During a sentencing hearing this Friday, Judge Tom O’Donnell said the actions of the defendant were barbaric and that he had “effectively ruined” the lives of each of the victims.

“He left a deep trail of destruction,” he said adding that it was difficult to see grown men, now aged in their 50s, reduced to tears as victim impact statements were read in court on a previous occasion.

He noted that Treacy, who appeared to deliberately turn away from the victims as he sat in court this Friday, has not shown any remorse or empathy and that he disputes
Judge O’Donnell said the frequency of the abuse and the pre-meditated nature of his actions were aggravating factors as was the fact that he was in a position of trust.

Addressing the victims who were present in court he said: “You did nothing wrong. You should not be ashamed”.

The judge said the defendant’s previous convictions for similar offences were another aggravating factor he had to consider.

He imposed the maximum sentence of two years’ imprisonment in relation to the incident in the toilet while consecutive sentences of 18 months were imposed in relation to the other offences.

Treacy’s name has also been placed on the register of sexual offenders. 28/07/2017

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Top Vatican official Cardinal Pell in court on sex charges…

A massive media scrum greets Australia's highest-ranking Catholic as he arrives at court to face a number of charges.

The most senior Vatican official ever charged in the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal has denied the charges against him.

Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis's top financial adviser, made his first appearance at a court in Melbourne, Australia, since he was charged with multiple historical sex offences last month.

Full details of the charges faced by the 76-year-old have not yet been released to the public but there are multiple complainants in the case.

The Cardinal, Australia's highest-ranking Catholic, did not say anything during his court appearance and, although no formal plea was entered, his lawyer told the court that he planned to plead not guilty.

"For the avoidance of doubt and because of the interest, I might indicate that Cardinal Pell pleads not guilty to all charges and will maintain the presumed innocence that he has," lawyer Robert Richter told the court in comments reported by The Age newspaper.

A massive media scrum greeted Pell as he arrived at Melbourne Magistrates' Court, accompanied by more than a dozen police officers.

He had not been required to attend the hearing.

Pell took a leave of absence from his role at the Vatican so he could return to Australia and fight the charges against him.

The Pope has so far not passed judgement, saying that he wants to wait for Australia's justice process to run its course.

He has also not forced Pell to resign.

Pell must reappear at court on 6 October

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Father of tennis star Mark Philippoussis arrested on child abuse charges…

The father of Mark Philippoussis is suspected of sexually abusing two children including one under the age of 1.

The father of Australian tennis star Mark Philippoussis has been arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing children.

Nikolaos Philippoussis, 68, is expected to be formally charged on Wednesday. He is currently in jail in San Diego, on a bond of £1.9m ($2.5m).

He was booked under suspicion of crimes including sexual intercourse with a child under 10 and lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14, according the the San Diego County Sheriff's Department inmate tracking website.

The case has made headlines in San Diego, where Mr Philippoussis gives personal tennis lessons.

Mark Philippoussis, who retired from professional tennis in 2015, is not suspected of any wrongdoing.

The player is a star in his native Australia, and at the height of his career reached a top ranking of Number 8 in the world.

"There has been nothing in the investigation that would make us believe he has anything to do with this," Lieutenant Greg Rylaarsdam, of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, said.

Mr Rylaarsdam stressed that the investigation was in its early stages and said police were interested in speaking with members of the public who had knowledge about the case.

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1/2 Church has learned very little in the 20 years since evil Fr Brendan Smyth died, says victim…

One of the victims of paedophile priest Brendan Smyth has said the Catholic Church has learned nothing in the two decades since the notorious child abuser died.

Smyth was jailed for more than 140 offences in 1994, dying of a heart attack behind bars on August 22, 1997.

Brendan Boland was abused by the twisted cleric for two years, starting from when he was an 11-year-old altar boy serving in his home parish in Dundalk, Co Louth.

In 1975, when Mr Boland was 14, he reported Smyth's abuse of him and other children but was forced to sign a confidentiality agreement that prevented him from speaking about it to anyone.

Mr Boland told the Belfast Telegraph that the Catholic Church still had work to do to tackle clerical abuse.

Mr Boland said: "I don't think the Church has learned anything in these past 20 years. It might all look well and good on the surface with child protection policies but the Church is still fighting victims in legal battles.

"Until the Church stops that, I can't accept that they have accepted responsibility for the damage done, not just by the likes of Smyth, but by those who helped cover it up and there are still plenty of them working as priests.

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2/2" When I reported Smyth in 1975 I was taken into a room and stood in front of three priests which included Father Sean Brady (later Cardinal Brady) in an ecclesiastical court who interrogated me about what happened to me.

"I was sworn to secrecy and told that Brendan Smyth would never be able to hurt another child and he would be dealt with.

Years later it came out that Smyth kept on abusing and that had a bad effect on me, because I believed them when they said the abuse would stop."

Mr Boland said he cared nothing about Smyth's late admission of guilt but he is thankful for the awareness surrounding the issue that now exists.

He continued: "What happened me made me so protective of my own children when they were growing up.

"I wouldn't leave them on their own with anyone and so many times they asked me why, but they were too young at the time to explain.

"I found it so hard to trust anyone and when we had our children I worried about them.

"While I am yet to be convinced the Church has truly accepted its role in the abuse, parents are more aware and they are less trusting of people in authority be it the Church, schools, scouts, clubs whatever.

"It's not just the Church where abuse happens, it can happen anywhere, but parents today are clued in about it and so are the young people and that's a really good thing."

His book Sworn To Silence about the abuse he suffered at the hands of Smyth and its cover-up, published in 2014, is available on Amazon.

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Son of Disappeared victim Jean McConville loses cancer battle…

A son of IRA murder victim Jean McConville, who was abused in a care home after he was orphaned, has died of cancer.

Billy McConville passed away in the NI Hospice days after appealing to politicians to secure justice for institutional child abuse survivors.

His funeral will take place on Wednesday at St Paul's Church on the Falls Road. He leaves behind four children and is survived by eight brothers and sisters.

Fellow abuse survivor, Margaret McGuckin, said it was damning that he had died before a scheme to secure compensation for victims had been set up.

Political deadlock at Stormont had halted progress.

She described him as a "courageous and unselfish man" who had inspired those who met him.

Mr McConville's mother Jean was abducted, murdered and secretly buried by the IRA in 1972.

He was six when he was sent to Rubane House in Co Down where he said that he was abused by some De La Salle brothers and by a lay teacher.

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Court rules men cannot reopen abuse claims against State…

Five men who sued over alleged abuse as children in Christian Brothers’ schools have failed in their attempt to have their damages actions against the State restarted.

The men previously discontinued their actions against the Minister for Education and the State after the Supreme Court, in the landmark 2008 case of Louise O’Keeffe, found the State could not be held vicariously liable for the actions of abusers employed in national schools.

In 2016, the High Court said, as a matter of law, the men were not entitled to have the discontinuances set aside.

On Friday, Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan ruled, on behalf of the three-judge Court of Appeal, that this was the correct decision. Saturday 22July 2017.

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Babies as young as a year old treated for rape and sexual assault in Galway,,,

Babies as young as one have presented for treatment at a service for victims of rape and sexual assault in the west of the country.

The Child and Adolescent Sexual Assault Treatment service in Ballybrit in Galway reported 73 attendances of children in 2016.

According to figures reported in the Connacht Tribune, three of the patients were just one years old, five were aged two and seven were four years of age.

The remaining victims were aged between five and seventeen. Thursday 20July 2017

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1/2...Tusla guilty of litany of failings in child abuse cases – Ombudsman…

An investigation by the Ombudsman into how a number of allegations of child abuse by adults were handled has found a litany of failings.

The investigation into Tusla, the Child and Family Agency revealed:

:: Long delays in dealing with allegations of abuse

:: The rights of some people who were accused of abuse were breached

:: Tusla failed to follow its own procedures when keeping social work records

:: Some social workers lacked empathy

:: Confidential communications were sent to an incorrect address

Ombudsman Peter Tyndall said today:"My investigation has found that in some cases there have been serious failings in how Tusla carries out its role.

“ However, Tusla has accepted the findings in my report. It has agreed to implement the recommendations which are aimed at improving Tusla's procedures.

Tusla has already started to implement some recommendations and I will closely monitor how they are being implemented."

The’Taking Stock’ probe was prompted in 2014 after the Ombudsman expressed concern about how some cases were being handled by social workers, particularly cases involving historic allegations of abuse.

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2/2..Case studies highlighted in the report revealed:

:: It took five years to conclude that allegations of abuse against a grandfather were unfounded. He died without learning he was cleared.

:: A case where a statement provided by a woman who made allegations of abuse was misfiled.The allegations were examined fifteen months later and only after the woman contacted Tusla. In the same case a note of the woman's allegations which was to be sent to her was sent to the wrong address and a subsequent letter was also sent to a wrong address.

:: A case where an adult did not receive written notice of the allegations of abuse made against him before being interviewed by Tusla - contrary to guidelines set out in the 1997 'Barr judgment'.

In response Tusla said today: “External oversight and assessments such as the Ombudsman’s investigation into complaint handling, coupled with the experiences of those who use our services, provide us with valuable feedback and assist us to continuously develop and enhance our services.

“Tusla has been actively working to improve this area of work for the past 12 – 18 months. In addition, we have actively worked with the Ombudsman over the past year, during this investigation to progress the implementation of the valuable recommendations.”

The spokesman said “ Tusla has been working to continuously improve the complaints function within the agency, and set up its own complaints function independent of the HSE in 2016 called ‘Tell Us’.

“The recommendations in ‘Taking Stock’ and resulting actions will build on the improvements already completed or underway to further enhance the complaints function within the Agency.

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1/2...German abuse victims speak of 'hell' at choir school …

Teachers at one of Germany's most famous Catholic choir schools physically or sexually abused 547 pupils between 1945 and 2015, an independent report has found, with some boys likening the institution to a concentration camp.

The 440-page report chronicles teachers doling out physical violence including slapping boys in the face so hard that the marks could be seen the next day, whipping them with wooden sticks and violin bows and subjecting them to severe beatings.

Boys who tried to escape the "Regensburger Domspatzen", or Regensburg Cathedral Sparrows, were hauled back into the school and beaten and humiliated in front of other boys, it said.

Allegations of abuse at the school, which dates back over 1,000 years and now tours the world to perform choral music, surfaced in 2010.

After criticism of that investigation, the diocese, which acknowledged it had "made mistakes", commissioned lawyer Ulrich Weber in 2015 to put together the independent report.

Former Pope Benedict's brother, Georg Ratzinger, 93, led the choir from 1964 to 1994.

He acknowledged in 2010 that he had slapped pupils in the face but said he had not realised how brutal the discipline was.

Mr Weber said he was "to be blamed especially for turning a blind eye and not intervening despite having knowledge", adding the investigation did not show he was aware of sexual abuse.

Several testimonies said he was generally friendly.

It was not possible to contact Mr Ratzinger for a comment.

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2/2...Mr Weber said the system was focused on achieving musical excellence choral success and to that end, a high degree of discipline was commonplace.

That provided a basis for violence.

He found that a total of 547 former pupils had probably been victims of physical and/or sexual violence. Of those, 67 suffered sexual abuse.

He blamed 49 individuals, 45 of whom were physically violent and nine of whom were believed to have committed sexual violence.

"Victims described the institution as a prison, hell and a concentration camp," Mr Weber told a news conference.

"Many of them called the time there as the worst of their lives which was marked by violence, fear and helplessness."

Allegations of sexual and physical abuse in Catholic schools in Germany, in particular in the former pope's native Bavaria, have shaken the church and abuse scandals have also rocked it in Ireland, the United States, and Austria.

Choir school victims, many of whom implored their parents to let them come home, said they were still traumatised.

"These are not 547 cases where an individual was affected once. Rather, this was an ongoing practice over decades where 547 children were tormented, abused, mistreated and socially harmed," former choir boy and abuse victim Alexander Probst told Reuters TV.

"They are severely traumatised to this very day. This upsets me.

I thought I had gotten over it after a seven-year battle but in fact this greatly upset me today."

The Diocese of Regensburg acknowledged its past mistakes and said it wanted to find out what happened and deal with it.

"We all made mistakes and have learned a lot. We see today that we could have done things better and sooner," said Michael Fuchs, General Vicar of Regensburg Diocese.

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Man accused of raping boy is remanded in custody …

A man accused of raping a 12-year-old boy nine times has been refused bail at Cork District Court.

The defendant is accused of nine counts of rape between July 2011 and March 2012 and nine counts of sexual assault.

He is also charged with one count of child exploitation.

Objecting to bail at Cork District Court, gardaí described the man as posing a risk to young people.

The 30-year-old had applied to be released on bail pending his trial at the Central Criminal Court.

Judge Olann Kelleher said that having heard the application for bail and the State objection, he was remanding the accused in custody

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1/2...HSE chief treating foster care abuse victim with ‘contempt’…

HSE director general Tony O’Brien has been accused of treating foster care abuse victim ‘Grace’, and the general public, with “contempt”, for failing to release a damning report into €600,000 of cutbacks imposed on those who uncovered the sexual abuse scandal.

The Public Accounts Committee made the claim after being formally told, by letter, of the latest delay in publishing the report. The letter also confirmed the HSE has spent €185,984 on the case in legal challenges.

PAC chair and Fianna Fáil TD Sean Fleming said, in response to criticism about the delay last week in publishing the Deloitte cutbacks’ report, that Mr O’Brien had written to the committee to explain the latest holdup.

Stating “here we go again”, Mr Fleming said the HSE chief confirmed that while he told the PAC on June 15 that the report would be made available by the end of that month, it was now being delayed until at least the end of August, as revealed by the Irish Examiner last Saturday

Mr O’Brien attributed the delay to the fact that HSE officials and the whistleblower involved had, in recent weeks, provided further information to Deloitte’s investigators and that further meetings had not taken place, as people are on holiday.

However, dismissing the comment as an excuse, PAC members criticised the latest delay, with Independent TD, Catherine Connolly, saying “it would be easier to extract teeth without anaesthetic” than to receive information from the HSE.

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2/2...In a similar vein, Mr Fleming said that the PAC has “been promised this Deloitte report time after time, after time” in recent months, without any success, despite the fact that a draft version was largely completed in late March and formally finished on May 19.

The committee chair said Mr O’Brien had said he was seeking the permission of the commission of investigation in the Grace scandal to send the committee the report.

Ms Connolly said this was “totally unacceptable”, as the report was commissioned over a year ago: “This is adding insult to injury.

It’s appalling.”

She said that four of the five staff involved in the Grace case have been promoted, while the two whistleblowers in the case were “seriously impacted on”.

Deputy David Cullinane (SF) said the HSE boss had led the committee to believe the Deloitte report would be published “almost immediately”, but almost a month had passed.

“He is treating Grace with contempt, and the public with contempt,” replied Mr Fleming.

The PAC chair said he would write a stern letter, expressing the “gross dissatisfaction” of the committee regarding the reply and timeline.

He said that unless the PAC receive the Deloitte report, it would be expecting Mr O’Brien to appear before the committee again in September.

The stand-off came as the HSE letter to the PAC confirmed the publicly-funded body has spent a massive €185,984 in its legal defence, to date.

The HSE said that the State Claims Agency believes the final legal cost which excludes the €6.3m High Court settlement to Grace earlier this year “has not reached a final conclusion” and further expenses may occur.

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Former teachers at Horsham school charged with historical sex offences…

Four men who taught at Christ's Hospital School, in West Sussex, are accused of a range of offences dating back almost 40 years.

Four former teachers at a top independent school have been charged with a series of sex offences during the 1980s and 1990s.

The men taught at Christ's Hospital School in Horsham, West Sussex, and the alleged attacks took place between 1980 and 1996, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

Gary Dobbie, 66, is charged with seven counts of indecent assault on a male, one count of attempted indecent assault on a male and three counts of indecent assault on a female.

James Husband, 67, is charged with five counts of indecent assault on a female and four counts of rape.

Ajaz Karim, 62, is charged with nine counts of indecent assault on a female and one count of attempted indecent assault on a female.

Peter Webb, 74, is charged with six counts of indecent assault on a male.

The alleged offences were against 15 suspected victims.

Christ's Hospital School is a 16th century boarding school which also takes day pupils, with boarding fees of £10,930 per term and day fees of £7,110 per term.

Students wear a Tudor-style uniform which includes a long blue coat, yellow socks and a white neck band.

The school said in a statement: "Christ's Hospital is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of its pupils and continues to provide its full support to the police in their investigations.

"We would always encourage anyone who has been a victim of abuse to come forward.

As criminal proceedings are active, we are unable to share any further information at this time."

The men will appear at Crawley Magistrates' Court on 9 August

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Christian Brothers sell former Clonkeen College playing fields…

Order says sale is necessary to discharge €10m debt to redress board for child abuse.

The Christian Brothers have sold the 7.5 acres of land that was previously used as playing pitches by Clonkeen College in south Dublin.

It emerged last month that the school had been told on May 3rd a “legally binding” contract had been entered into with local homebuilder Patrick Durkan snr, to sell the playing fields for a reported €18 million.

Negotiations for the sale had been ongoing for 12 months, without the school’s knowledge.

Minister for Education Richard Bruton on Wednesday confirmed the land has been sold in response to a parliamentary question from Labour TD Joan Burton.


“The congregation has confirmed that the position is that the lands have been sold, that it has signed and exchanged legally binding contracts with the purchasers and that the Congregation cannot reverse this transaction,” he said.

Last month the board of management at the school sent a legal letter to the religious order demanding that it acknowledge there was an agreement in 2006, in which representatives of the Christian Brothers indicated the lands would not be sold as long as the school remained a school.

The Christian Brothers have said the sale is necessary to discharge their debt of €10 million to the redress board for historical abuse of children who had been in their care and for the future support of ageing brothers.

The sale was “not an easy decision” but was taken having made very substantial provision for the college’s reasonable future needs, they added.

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1/2...Ex-principal on child sex charges could face 'fact-finding' hearing…

A judge has refused to halt proceedings against a former Catholic school principal facing historical child sex abuse allegations.

Lawyers for Co Antrim man Richard Duffin (7Cool said he was too ill to stand trial on eight counts of indecent assault, two charges of cruelty to children under the age of 16 and two counts of common assault.

Judge Gordon Kerr QC said yesterday that although he was refusing to grant the abuse of process application, one remedy to the case instead of a trial could be to hold a "fact-find hearing'' in which it would be decided if Duffin had committed the acts as alleged by three male complainants.

The offences are alleged to have taken place on dates between June 1975 and June 1981 against three males while he was principal of St Joseph's Primary School in Ballymena. He denies all the charges.

Last week, Duffin's legal team advanced an abuse of process application stating the accused was not fit to stand trial due a number of medical conditions, and asked for a stay in the proceedings against him.

Defence counsel Neil Connor QC said Duffin, formerly of Ballysallagh Road, Cargan, Ballymena, faced charges dating back 42 years.

When the accused appeared in court last September he was able to attend with the help of a walking aid.

"However, he is now confined to a wheelchair and remains in that wheelchair throughout the day until he goes to bed," Mr Connor said.

He continued that, according to medical reports, Duffin suffered from a number of medical conditions, including Parkinsons Disease "which is at an advanced stage'', and also epilepsy.

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2/2...The reports also stated that he suffered a stroke in 2014 and had previously suffered three heart attacks.

Mr Connor added: "I can honestly say from the Bar I can scarcely understand much of what he said to me this morning. Mr Duffin's conditions are both mental and physical but more physical than mental.

"I fail to see how the accused could give intelligible evidence to a jury given his condition and, for those reasons, we say he is not fit to stand trial.''

Prosecution counsel Tessa Kitson objected to any stay in the proceedings, saying that measures could be put in place to assist Duffin with his trial, including a registered intermediary, his interviews could be played to the jury and he could be given regular breaks during the trial.

The prosecutor said that if he was not able to attend court, a live video link could be provided from his nursing home so he could follow proceedings and give his oral evidence to the jury.

Giving his ruling, Judge Kerr said the difficulty for the defence was that procedures exist to deal with the medical issues raised.

He added: "In considering the interests of justice, as I must in dealing with this discretionary remedy,

I have to have regard to the fact that a stay would be an end to the proceedings, leaving the complainants in this case practically without a voice.''

He said a 'fact-finding hearing' would not apportion guilt to the accused. Instead, a jury would decide whether or not the accused had "committed the acts'' as alleged by the complainants.

Refusing the stay, Judge Kerr adjourned the case until next month for mention at Antrim Crown Court

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Department of Children releases update on investigation of mother-and-baby homes…

The examination of the mother-and-baby home site in Tuam, Co Galway, has been complicated because human remains from different babies are intermingled with each other.

This has made it much harder to identify individual babies at the site.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs has released an update on mother-and-baby homes issue, as well as a paper that sketched out options on investigating the Tuam site.

The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes earlier this year announced that “significant” quantities of human remains had been found buried under the site of a former institution for unmarried mothers run by the Sisters of the Bon Secours.

The remains belonged to children aged from about 35 foetal weeks to three years.

The commission was set up in February 2015 after a Galway-based historian, Catherine Corless, published research that revealed death certificates for 796 children at the Tuam mother-and-baby home with no indication of their burial places.

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone has said she will release a monthly update on the issue, and the first one was sent out on Friday evening.

It said that further geophysical surveys of the Tuam site would be conducted later this month. The non-invasive surveys “may assist to identify any further burials or anomalies on the areas”.

A separate options paper on what to do with the site was also released. It said “complexities include the commingled/inter-mixed juvenile human remains, which were found in significant quantities in a subsurface chambered structure with limited accessibility”.

“The probability that the commingling/inter-mixing of human remains has occurred is a significant complication to individual identification.

This is more acute in the case of juvenile human remains due to their fragile nature, compounded by the potentially significant quantities involved.”

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1/2... An 81-year-old former Koran teacher who was convicted of a string of child sex offences has been jailed for 13 years….

Mohammed Haji Sadiq taught for 30 years at Cardiff's Madina mosque and abused four girls as a form of punishment.

He was found guilty of eight sexual assaults on a child under 13 by touching, and six indecent assaults after a trial at Cardiff Crown Court.

The court heard Sadiq, of Cyncoed, "took advantage of his position".

:: Koran teacher guilty of child sex abuse

:: Koran teacher denies pupil sex assaults

:: Mosque tutor used 'physical punishment'

Being abused by paedophile Koran teacher Mohammed Haji Sadiq 'felt normal eventually', says victim

He had denied the charges involving four girls aged between five and 11 and blamed "politics" in the mosque for the accusations.

But sentencing him, Judge Stephen Hopkins QC told Sadiq: "Children called you 'uncle' as a mark of respect. You are a man in my judgement of some cunning."

He added: "Beneath the veneer there is a dark and deviant side."

Sadiq, who was a part-time Imam, sexually assaulted two girls under the age of 13 by touching, and indecently assaulted two other girls over a decade between 1996 and 2006 at the Woodville Road mosque.

He abused them if they made a mistake while reciting the Koran and would use a stick as a form of punishment in class, hitting people over the hand or hard on the back.

Some of his victims said they were afraid to attend the mosque because of his abuse.

One said she had attempted to take her own life because of the abuse.

In victim impact statements read to the court, others said they felt they could not tell anyone about the abuse because of the culture they grew up in.

The court heard one victim feared the consequences of speaking out following Sadiq's conviction.

She said: "Due to my religion it was very difficult, almost impossible to tell anyone what had happened".

She added: "In the Muslim religion we do not talk about personal matters".

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2/2 'Family honour'…

Another victim said it was "not acceptable" in her culture to talk about what was happening at the mosque.

She said: "I remember the relief I felt when I told my mother, and she believed me and went to the police.

"In my family honour is very important, but my family have been very supportive".
Sadiq has had no involvement in the mosque since 2006 when it burnt down and was re-sited elsewhere in the city.

He was cleared of one indecent assault after his trial last month.
In addition to his jail sentence, he was issued with a sexual harm prevention order and will have to register as a sex offender.

Det Ch Insp Rob Cronick of South Wales Police praised the "immense courage" of the victims who came forward.

"As a result of the verdict and today's sentence I believe there may be members of the community who may now feel confident enough to speak to the police or our support agencies," he added.

A spokesman for the children's charity NSPCC said: "This was an appalling breach of trust and Sadiq has rightly received a significant prison sentence for these heinous offences."

A Muslim Council of Wales spokeswoman said: "We applaud the bravery and courage of the young women who now, as adults, pursued the case and pursued justice.

"Mr Sadiq was not an imam but a volunteer teacher at the former Madina Mosque.
"All mosques in Wales now have Child Protection Policies in place, and teachers and volunteers alike are all vetted and closely monitored."

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Skipton children's home carer jailed for child sex abuse…

An ex-carer who sexually abused three boys and a girl at a children's home in North Yorkshire has been jailed.

Stuart Thornton, 65, of Cross Street, Cowling, near Keighley, West Yorkshire, carried out the crimes at the now closed Burnside House Children's Home in Skipton, between 1971 and 1976.

Police said his youngest victim was aged just five years old.

At Bradford Crown Court, Thornton was jailed for 19 years after which he will be on licence for three years.

He was convicted in May of a series of sex offences including indecent assault, gross indecency with a child and a serious sexual crime in May.

North Yorkshire Police said Thornton, who denied all the charges, started volunteering at the home on Carleton Road before he was employed as carer.

Det Con Gillian Gowling said: "He abused his position in the most horrific way possible and his victims have had to live with that abuse for years before seeing justice being done.

"I hope it gives them a small degree of comfort, knowing that he has finally been held accountable for what he did to them."

She praised the victims' bravery and said "their courage means that Thornton is now facing the consequences of his sickening crimes".

Thornton was also placed on the sex offenders register for life, barred from working with children abide by the terms of an interim sexual harm prevention order.

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Dublin man who raped niece and molested her sister jailed for 10 years…

Victim told court she went from ‘playing with dolls to planning her death’ after abuse began

A man who raped his young niece and molested her sister has been jailed for 10 years.

Francis Rafferty (6Cool admitted the sexual assault of his nieces but said he believed his behaviour was harmless.

Rafferty, of Botanic Avenue, Drumcondra, Dublin pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting one girl when she was aged between nine and 12 years old between 2005 and 2008.

After a trial at the Central Criminal Court a jury convicted him of two counts of raping this victim and of sexually assaulting her older sister.

He was acquitted of two other counts of raping the younger girl. He had denied these charges.

The victims, now adults, gave permission for their uncle’s name to be published. One victim told the court that she went from “playing with dolls to planning her death” after the abuse began.

Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan noted a report from the Probation Service which stated that Rafferty has no understanding of the hurt, trauma or long term effect of his actions on his victims.

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Largely finished Grace report won’t be published until August…

A HSE-commissioned report into claims that officials drained resources from the Grace sex abuse whistleblowers will not be published until at least the end of August five months after its initial deadline.

The Irish Examiner has learned that the report by accountancy firm Deloitte into serious concerns over sudden funding cuts to the agency the whistleblowers worked for between 2009 and 2016 is continuing to face ongoing delays despite being mainly completed by late March.

The report is understood to outline how up to €600,000 in HSE funding was cut from the agency in the years after the whistleblowers raised the Grace case concerns, and specifically relates to staffing and therapy funding reductions.

In addition, it is believed to have raised serious questions over why the funding cuts took place and who authorised them, issues which were outside of the original terms of reference the HSE set down for the report.

However, despite the fact the report has been largely complete since late March and draws many of the same conclusions that were confirmed as part of the €6.3m High Court award for Grace against the HSE earlier this year, the document has yet to be released due in part to concerns from individual HSE officials.

As previously reported by the Irish Examiner, the Deloitte report was commissioned by the HSE director general, Tony O’Brien, in February 2016 amid claims that the whistleblowers’ agency which has not been named to protect their identities saw its funding cut by €600,000 in the immediate aftermath of raising concerns about Grace’s treatment.

At a PAC meeting in late March, Mr O’Brien said the Deloitte report was mainly drawn up and would be published “imminently”.

After a near-three month delay, in mid-June Mr O’Brien told the committee he had been “misled” about the deadline and promised the report would be published by the end of June.

It is understood that Deloitte contacted the whistleblowers’ agency to say it would like to meet to discuss the “draft” report on August 10 meaning the document is unlikely to be concluded until late next month at the earliest, five months after the initial deadline.

Asked about the delay, a HSE spokesman said it would be more appropriate to tell the PAC first as to when the report will be delivered.

Benson

Benson

The Independent Jersey Care Inquiry was set up to establish what went wrong in the Island's care system over many years and to find answers for people who suffered abuse as children. --- here is the final report: http://www.jerseycareinquiry.org/Pages/Final-Report.aspx

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1/2...UN to hear about ‘denial’ over Magdalene laundries…

Government’s refusal to accept liability violates survivors’ dignity

The continuing “denial” by Government that the State has any liability for the Magdalene laundries continues to violate survivors’ dignity, compounding their “torture”, the United Nations will be told on Monday.

In a submission to the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT), the Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) group said there had never been “an independent, thorough and effective investigation” into the experiences of women and girls in the laundries and no person or institution held accountable.

It said Government had failed to deliver on key commitments made to survivors, including on the provision of services and rights, and to consult with them on a memorial.

Ireland comes before the UN Committee in Geneva at the end of the month for questioning on compliance with the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

More than 10,000 women and girls spent time in Church-run Magdalene laundries from the early 20th century, until the last was closed in 1996.

Most were sent and held against their will, usually for the “crime” of being unmarried and pregnant, where they worked in laundries without pay.

Many State-run bodies, hospitals and hotels had contracts with Magdalene laundries.

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2/2...Legal liability..

Though an interdepartmental committee, headed by Senator Martin McAleese, found substantial State involvement in the Magdalene system in its 2013 report, the State has rejected legal liability.

Last year it told the UN CAT it knew of “no factual evidence to support allegations of systematic torture or ill-treatment of a criminal nature”.

The JFM group said this “absence of accountability” amounted to “continuing dignity violations, compounding the torture or ill-treatment which the women suffered while incarcerated in Magdalene laundries”.

Among their experiences, as documented by the McAleese report, were involuntary detention, being given no information about why they were held or when they might be released, being stripped of their identities, forced to work constantly and unpaid, denied contact with the outside world, subjected to humiliating and degrading punishments, subjected to routine verbal denigration, denied education, gender-based discrimination, and being buried in unmarked graves sometimes without their deaths being registered.

The State played a role in the laundries in several ways, including that at least 26.5 per cent of admissions were recorded or made by State actors; the State legislated for the use of the laundries as places of detention; and the State had laundry contracts with them, according to the submission.

In May 2013 an “ex gratia” scheme was established to make “restorative” payments to survivors. However, according to the JFM, the women had to sign legal waivers, abandoning all rights of legal action, denying them accountability.

It also means, says JFM, religious orders have not had to produce archival evidence about the laundries.

Among the calls in the submission are for an independent evaluation of the State’s response to the Magdalene women; consultation on and funding for a memorial; release of all religious and State records on the laundries; and amendment of the statute of limitations to enable survivors bring civil claims.

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1/3...Zappone critical of HSE failings on mother and baby homes…

Senior HSE staff highlighted concerns five years ago but these were not fully investigated

It was a “pity” the HSE did not fully investigate mother and baby homes in 2012 when senior staff warned about probable “criminal” activities in two of them from the 1920s, Minister for Children Katherine Zappone has said.

She said it was “not good” that the call for an inquiry by senior HSE staff five years ago were not heeded.

The staff had called for “a fully fledged, fully resourced forensic investigation and State inquiry,” into the Sacred Heart mother and baby homes at Tuam, Co Galway and Bessborough, Co Cork.

A Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes was established in February 2015.

It was in response to public outcry at the findings of historian Catherine Corless that up to 800 infants’ bodies may have been buried in a septic tank at the Tuam home.

However, HSE documents from October 2012, marked “strictly confidential”, show social workers were warning of the “possibility that illegal actions took place” in the Cork and Tuam homes from the 1920s.

Consultant in public health at the HSE’s health intelligence unit, Dr Declan McKeown, prepared a briefing paper for his line manger, Dr Davida De La Harpe, and Phil Garland, assistant national director of the HSE’s child and family services, in October 2012.

He outlines findings by investigating social workers in the south and west who had been preparing documents for the forthcoming report from an interdepartmental committee into Magdalene laundries.

The social workers looked at referral pathways to and from mother and baby homes.

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2/3...Possible trafficking...

He refers to “protracted detainment” of women in the homes, “in some cases against their expressed will”; the possible trafficking of women between institutions; the fact that institutions were being paid for the upkeep of women who had left, and “infant mortality rates in the homes in 1950” which were “equivalent to [rates] in Ireland in the 1700s.”

“This may prove to be a scandal that dwarfs other, more recent issues with the church and State because of the very emotive sensitivities around adoption of babies, with or without the will of the mother,” warns Dr McKeown.

According to the minutes of a conference call between Dr De La Harpe, Mr Garland, and Dr McKeown, in October 2012, it was agreed that Dr McKeown would “draft an early-warning one-to-two pager” for the HSE’s national director of quality improvement, Philip Crowley, “suggesting that this goes all the way up to the Minister”.

The minister for health at the time was James Reilly.

“A concern is that, if there is evidence of trafficking of babies, that it must have been facilitated by doctors, social workers, etc, and a number of these health professional may still be working in the system.

It is important to send this up to the minister as soon as possible with a view to an interdepartmental committee and a fully-fledged, fully resourced forensic investigation and State inquiry.”

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3/3...Magdalene inquiry...

In October 2016 Mr Crowley wrote to a mother and baby home survivor saying because the 2012 material did not relate to the Magdalene inquiry, it was given to the director designate of Tusla.

This was Gordon Jeyes who became the first chief executive of Tusla when it was established in 2014.

Mr Jeyes has told The Irish Times, that while the files may have been transferred to Tusla upon its creation, the decision about whether to investigate their contents was one for HSE in 2012.

This was not something Tusla had the forensic capabilities or resources for, he said. “The buck did not stop with me, or Tusla.”

A spokeswoman for the HSE said the 2012 report was “not brought to Minister’s attention at that time”.

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Limerick court hears abuse victim ‘limped home bleeding, battered and broken’…

Indecent assault: ex-Christian Brother in court hears four victim impact statements

A man has opened up in Limerick Circuit Court about how he contemplated killing himself after being subjected to “dirty, perverted” abuse by a former Christian brother at a local school.

James (also known as Seamus) Treacy, aged 75, who has an address at Ashford Close, Swords, Dublin, was found guilty of fifteen charges relating to three different victims last week.

Treacy appeared at the city court on Friday afternoon for sentencing, but Judge Tom O’Donnell remanded the ex-cleric in custody until July 28.

Treacy was convicted last month of two separate counts of indecent assault, which involved a different victim in the toilets and in the classroom.

A number of victims, who were in 5th class at the time, were “fondled in the classroom which happened a number of times throughout the school year”, the court heard.

Four victim impact statements were read out.

One statement, which “particularly struck” Judge O’Donnell, said the victim was treated like a “piece of meat” in his “sick fantasies”.

“You knew my mammy was ill, and you used it to frighten me into keeping your dirty, perverted little secret.

You told me that my mammy would die if I told anyone because it was my fault. From the day I limped home bleeding, battered and broken by you,

I was scared that my mother was going to die.

For the next four years, until my mum passed away, I became an introvert, frightened to stray far away from home in case anything happened her.”

He said that he “still has nightmares to this day”.

Andrew Sexton SC, defending, that the publicity surrounding the cases was “beyond the norm” and that Treacy has had a number health issues. He argued that Treacy was in custody for four years, without a conviction, from 2005 to 2009.

Judge O’Donnell said that it was an “extremely difficult case” and that he was not going to give his final judgement until July 28.

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HIA inquiry chairman repeats plea to politicians…

The chair of a major inquiry into child abuse in Northern Ireland has repeated his plea to politicians to act on his recommendations to compensate victims.

Sir Anthony Hart chaired the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry which gave its report to Stormont in January.

Stormont's government collapsed later that month before any action was taken.

Sir Anthony has written to Secretary of State James Brokenshire urging him and Stormont party leaders to implement the recommendations as a matter of urgency.

The inquiry recommended that a tax-free compensation payment should be made to all survivors of institutional child abuse, with lump sums ranging from £7,500 to £100,000.

The panel, led by Sir Anthony, had been tasked with investigating allegations of abuse and neglect in children's residential home, run by religious, charitable and state organisations.

Its remit covered a 73-year-period from 1922 to 1995.

The panel found that there had been "widespread abuse" and mistreatment of young residents.

Sir Anthony Hart's recommendationsCompensation to survivors of abuse, including in homes/institutions not covered by HIA inquiry, and relatives of deceased::

:: Permanent memorial erected at Stormont

:: Public apology to survivors

:: Establishment of a commissioner for survivors of institutional abuse

:: Specialist care and assistance tailored to needs of victims

The inquiry's findings were to be brought before the Northern Ireland Assembly but progress stalled because of the collapse of the devolved institutions.

Sir Anthony has written to Mr Brokenshire to notify him that the HIA inquiry has "fulfilled its terms of reference, and as a result has now officially come to an end".

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