Letters to the Editor Irish Times 4th January 2010
The scale of the crimes against children and against humanity committed by priests and other members of the religious orders over many decades is now a matter of historical record. Thanks to the extraordinary dedication to finding out the truth by journalists such as Mary Raftery and the courage of Colm O’Gorman and many others the lies and deceit we have as a society been fed for so long continues to be exposed. Most offensive and hurtful of all was their inhuman disregard for the children and young people whose lives they destroyed forever.
Those who suffered don’t need to and probably won’t read Chapter 19 of the Murphy report (Opinion, December 18th), nor did they read the Report on the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. They know what happened. It happened to them.
I have heard it said by well- meaning people that the “victims can now hold their heads up high”, they have been vindicated. It’s not that easy. Lives have been destroyed, spouses, partners and children compelled to live daily with the impact of recurring nightmares of rape, sodomy and assault inflicted on their loved ones over and over.
I have seen men and women now in their 60s and 70s suffer such mental anguish that they have never been able to work and hold few friends dear. They are just living out their days, waiting “for the time to come” when the nightmares will be over for good. They are not even angry any more, just beaten and defeated by the sheer weight of the pain, the hurt and the humiliation they suffer every day.
Many live out lost and desperate lives in the cities of London, Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool. They came to these cities hoping to forget their past and start new lives. Some did, but they were very few.
They have a right to justice and to be compensated by the Catholic Church. They and the Garda and other State institutions should be compelled to tell the whole truth. We must not let those who still suffer feel abandoned. The burden of fighting for justice and for reparation must not fall on them but it must fall on the rest of us in Irish society today.
It is the legacy of our parents and grandparents who stood by and let it happen, but mostly it is the legacy of a corrupt and amoral Catholic hierarchy where the child and young person who suffered was of no consequence.
This was no Hidden Ireland, nuns, priests, teachers, doctors, dentists, politicians school inspectors and the all other pillars of our society knew.
We, all of us in Irish society wherever we live, have a moral duty to remember all who suffered and to fight for justice for them and for their long-suffering, hurting families. For those who emigrated from Mother Ireland, thoughts of the country bring only pain, memories of violent deprived and depraved childhoods, where their parents were powerless and poor – the power of the Church always ensured they were unable and prevented from coming to the aid of their children.
I see those who suffered every day in the streets of London and I rage inside against the injustice, the unbearable cruelty and sexual violence inflicted on so many innocent Irish citizens. It destroyed not just their childhoods but their entire lives. It cannot be right that those who committed such degrading crimes and those working in state institutions that colluded in the cover-up of these crimes should go unpunished.
I have reflected a lot on Pope Benedict’s calls for a renewal of the Catholic Church in Ireland, and more and more I believe that is not the path to justice and truth.
We should instead dedicate our lives in pursuit of justice for those the Irish State and the Catholic Church failed to cherish. The pursuit of truth, rather than self- seeking internalised renewal of dubious spiritual benefit, is the only kind of renewal that has any relevance to Irish society today.
Cllr SALLY MULREADY,
Irish Women Survivors Support
Categories: Child Abuse