Redress could have been far easier for abuse victims

OPINION: Was an adversarial legal approach the best way to handle applications to the abuse redress board? I don’t think so, writes RACHEL FEHILY

LAWYERS SOMETIMES forget how intimidating the legal process can be for people outside the profession. I have no doubt that applying for redress, negotiating settlements and appearing at hearings before the Residential Institutions Redress Board was an extremely difficult ordeal for many of the survivors of abuse in residential institutions.

The survivors who prepared cases for their applications were the most vulnerable people I have ever met. Many had serious problems, including homelessness, alcoholism, drug addiction, depression, mental illness, psychological distress, medical conditions and physical injuries. Some were poorly equipped to prepare themselves and engage in the process. It was important that they were well represented, guided and advised by their lawyers throughout.

I wonder was it right that they had to interface with the State via an adversarial legal forum? Was such a forum able to meet their needs? Were lawyers, however well-meaning and sympathetic, the ideal people to guide survivors through this process?

Photograph. The Irish Times. 5th April 2010

A Child hangs childs shoes on the railings of the Pro Cathedral, Dublin, to the memory of children abused by religious.

Therapeutic jurisprudence is a school of law that developed in America in the 1980s. It concentrates on the law’s impact on a person’s emotional and psychological well-being, and regards law as a social force that produces therapeutic or anti-therapeutic consequences. It sees the role of lawyers as being capable of expanding to guard the psychological well-being of their clients.

The design of the redress board follows a legalistic model and the process was not intended to be therapeutic, although I’m sure that many applicants found the experience of telling the board about their abuse cathartic. However, the aim of lawyers who represented applicants was (quite properly) to maximise the size of their awards, not to improve the psychological well-being of their clients.

Applicants and their legal advisers were required to prepare statements, gather evidence, negotiate and communicate, and in some cases applicants were subject to probing questions or cross-examination.

In preparation for their cases, applicants told their stories and many were assessed for physical and mental injuries for the first time by lawyers, psychiatrists, psychologists, doctors and dentists. The purpose of telling their stories and describing their injuries was so that comprehensive evidence of their injuries could be presented to the board at a hearing or settlement meeting. It was not done for therapeutic reasons, although I am sure for many it proved to be a first step on the road to dealing with some of their injuries.

The process bore a strong resemblance to an assessment of a personal injury action, although it was less formal, and the standard of proof was lower. Even so, at each hearing, a chairperson, board member, stenographer, registrar, and opposing legal counsel were present. While it was necessary to conduct the applications this way because taxpayers’ money was being paid to applicants, and the board had to guard against fallacious claims, I have no doubt some applicants were intimidated by the formal setting, were hurt that their evidence was minimised, or upset due to robust cross-examination or impatience from their hearers.

There have been media reports that some of the applicants were unhappy with their experience of appearing before the board, and feel that after they accepted financial awards they were effectively gagged. Many think they cannot talk about their experience of appearing before the board, or cannot subsequently describe to the media the abuse they suffered in institutions because the proceedings are privileged under Section 18 of the Residential Institutions Redress Act, 2002. This privilege is necessary because the board cannot make a finding of negligence, and must protect individuals mentioned during hearings who have not been found guilty of negligence or any criminal act.

The provisions of the Residential Institutions Act 2002, and the function and design of the board, ensure that it is limited to providing the applicants with sympathetic statements of acknowledgement and financial awards. It does not and cannot fulfil all the needs of the applicants, which may be multi-faceted. Applicants who need medical or psychiatric treatment, addiction counselling or education must go to other agencies to have those needs addressed. Lump sum payments to vulnerable applicants with chaotic lifestyles may even have been detrimental. For those applicants, I am sure a treatment programme or pension would have been of greater assistance.

The process of mediation, which is an alternative dispute-resolution mechanism, allows parties to a dispute to design and participate in the resolution of their dispute with a neutral third party. The aim of the process is to allow the parties to tell their stories, discover underlying needs, transform relationships and find a resolution that is creative and not limited to a financial award. Applicants who appeared before the board were treated as individuals who had a private dispute to resolve with the State. They were not given an opportunity to design or engage in a public, political forum that would have assisted them to interact safely with the State and representatives of the institutions via a neutral third party. Such a forum might have helped the parties to find a narrative that would collectively redefine their positions.

The Laffoy Commission gave survivors a forum within which to safely tell their stories. Its report was hugely important, as it recorded and described the horrific abuses that occurred in residential institutions, and gave recommendations. Unfortunately, no forum has been set up to enable survivors to engage with the State and the institutions in a way that might allow them to express their emotional needs, have those needs fulfilled by way of mediated meetings with government representatives or representatives of the institutions, and allow them to transform the narrative of their experience from passive victims to active agents for social change, truth-telling, justice, reconciliation and healing for the whole of Irish society.

Would it have been better for the survivors to have been assigned trained counsellors to help them through the process of collective healing? Would lawyers trained as mediators have been better equipped to help the survivors gain a meaningful resolution? It is impossible to know, as this did not happen.

If the Government and the residential institutions had set up and financed a centre for healing and reconciliation that allowed survivors and their families to come together with trained counsellors and mediators, it might have helped them to start a dialogue (where appropriate) with government representatives and representatives of the institutions where the abuse occurred.

All the necessary help could have been located in one holistic centre, and specially trained lawyers could have acted as assessors and mediators, and been given powers to quickly award lump sum payments and pensions. Other professionals at such a centre could have treated medical, psychiatric, psychological and dental problems, and helped with addiction, educational needs and other therapies. Many of the survivors lived abroad but they could have been invited to the centre to stay for an assessment of their needs, and been referred on to other professionals at or near their homes.

Now that the work of the board is nearly over, €1.4 billion has been spent and 14,667 applications received, I hope the current Government is planning to write to all the applicants when the work of the board is complete. It would be useful to ask the applicants what effect the process and award had on them, in order to discover whether or not it was therapeutic or anti-therapeutic. Did the financial award they receive address their needs? Was the process stressful? Cathartic? Did it provide an opportunity for healing or reconciliation? Were they intimidated? What did they want the State or residential institutions to do in response to the wrongs they suffered? Did they want or receive an apology? How important was an apology to them? Has their identity been transformed, or do they still see themselves as victims?

Lawyers and judges have always played an important role in protecting human rights and ensuring the punishment of criminal behaviour. However, mass human rights violations demand a unique response. If the Government and the residential institutions responsible for those violations had been imaginative, they might have created an impressive centre for meaningful redress. Then, we as Irish people would have been able to offer a model to other countries that will no doubt be going through similar collective traumas, as more evidence of institutional and clerical sexual abuse emerges worldwide.

Rachel Fehily is a barrister and mediator. She represented abuse victims at the redress board


44 Responses to “Redress could have been far easier for abuse victims”

  1. Barbara Richards says:

    “They gave Babies and young children a Criminal Record for life. MAD is not the word.”

    They did this to us Staffordshire Pindown childrens home abuse victims as well.

    I wondered why I was being treated in such a strange way by GPs, and when I read what they had put in my medical notes I was horrified. They called me “Lolita”, and slandered me. Stafford Police have conspired with social services and my GPs to cover up the Pindown child abuse.

    The church is also involved in the Staffordshire Pindown abuse and cover up, not just the Catholic church by Protestant as well, they put a Jesuit priest in charge of St Marys Church Market Drayton, a Protestant church with the Catholic church directly accross the road, well in Market Drayton you had the choice of Catholic and Catholic, and Michael Hayes the vicar, he tried to stop me praying for other victims and whistleblowers of the abuse, Hayes was educated at Maynooth and his main concern as a vicar seems to be to cover up institutional child abuse as much as he possibly can!

  2. notsilencedanymore says:

    Brave Men who fought in the Muddy,(up to their knees in Mud,) Rat infested ,Soaking, Freezing,horrific dark days of the first World War for our freedom’s,??????many Killed ,Many Injured , Those Brave Men who Fought in WW2 many were killed many were left maimed and traumatized how many of their Grandchildren and children were then grabbed by the Irish State ,Taken to the Criminal Court and sentenced to detention in child Prisons for either all or most of their childhoods ,The Garda were involved in taking us children to the child prisons, How those Judges could have sat in a criminal court and charge ,sentence children to Detention to child prisons , The Judges must have all been Insane. don’t forget many of the children were still only Babies. or very young. It Beggers Belief. They gave Babies and young children a Criminal Record for life. MAD is not the word.

  3. Anne says:

    I hope you support him paddy, and highlight what he is doing through your website. We are willing to go on hunger strike with him.

    Please could you give me his contact details paddy, so we can support him, and join him in his protest. That’s if you do have a contact number, e.c.t???..

    This money is ours and how dare the likes of Christine Buckley support Brian Cowen in how they’d like to feed us drips of penny’s until we are dead. shame on you who was a survivor but did good and forgot you fellow survivors.

    Now I will fight.

    Seanie, Robert..anyone who’s interested. My number. 07895479387.


  4. Paddy says:

    I didn’t get the chance to talk to Michael. He did say that he was going to go on hunger strike outside Government Buildings. He didn’t give specific dates. We shall wait and see. Paddy

  5. robert says:

    we must protest very very strongly against cowen’s robbery of survivors once again.
    this is disgusting filthy dirty underhanded by this government. if they think they will not hear the last of this they are mistaken. we have thousands and more of survivors, survivor’s families, survivors friends, survivors supporters and so on. their votes will crush this party in power and the voice of the people will always remind this government they have done NOTHING for irish people.
    they should never be seen in power ever again neither should the so called church. for they have the same title
    that will and should stick to them both
    how can they do funding for survivors when you are not allowed to speak.
    where are they going to get their names from for the so called funds the redress? the so called survivor groups?.
    or the usual selected few who no one knows? just the words ( met with some survivors)

    the tax payer payed back then in those days to the church but like the church this government kept most of that taxpayers money. so we could be abused.

    he can pay the banks by robbing children.

    its like the fathers and mothers who cannot afford their luxuries so they steal the money from their child’s piggy bank.



  6. Raymond says:


    Today’s offering from Confederate Hans Kung to the “Venerable Bishops” of the world.

    One for All
    All for One

    ” Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, and I were the youngest theologians at the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965. Now we are the oldest and the only ones still fully active. I have always understood my theological work as a service to the Roman Catholic Church. For this reason, on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict XVI, I am making this appeal to you in an open letter. In doing so, I am motivated by my profound concern for our church, which now finds itself in the worst credibility crisis since the Reformation. Please excuse the form of an open letter; unfortunately, I have no other way of reaching you.

    I deeply appreciated that the pope invited me, his outspoken critic, to meet for a friendly, four-hour-long conversation shortly after he took office. This awakened in me the hope that my former colleague at Tubingen University might find his way to promote an ongoing renewal of the church and an ecumenical rapprochement in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council.

    Unfortunately, my hopes and those of so many engaged Catholic men and women have not been fulfilled. And in my subsequent correspondence with the pope, I have pointed this out to him many times. Without a doubt, he conscientiously performs his everyday duties as pope, and he has given us three helpful encyclicals on faith, hope and charity. But when it comes to facing the major challenges of our times, his pontificate has increasingly passed up more opportunities than it has taken:

    Missed is the opportunity for rapprochement with the Protestant churches: Instead, they have been denied the status of churches in the proper sense of the term and, for that reason, their ministries are not recognized and intercommunion is not possible.

    Missed is the opportunity for the long-term reconciliation with the Jews: Instead the pope has reintroduced into the liturgy a preconciliar prayer for the enlightenment of the Jews, he has taken notoriously anti-Semitic and schismatic bishops back into communion with the church, and he is actively promoting the beatification of Pope Pius XII, who has been accused of not offering sufficient protections to Jews in Nazi Germany.

    The fact is, Benedict sees in Judaism only the historic root of Christianity; he does not take it seriously as an ongoing religious community offering its own path to salvation. The recent comparison of the current criticism faced by the pope with anti-Semitic hate campaigns – made by Rev Raniero Cantalamessa during an official Good Friday service at the Vatican – has stirred up a storm of indignation among Jews around the world.

    Missed is the opportunity for a dialogue with Muslims in an atmosphere of mutual trust: Instead, in his ill-advised but symptomatic 2006 Regensburg lecture, Benedict caricatured Islam as a religion of violence and inhumanity and thus evoked enduring Muslim mistrust.

    Missed is the opportunity for reconciliation with the colonised indigenous peoples of Latin America: Instead, the pope asserted in all seriousness that they had been “longing” for the religion of their European conquerors.

    Missed is the opportunity to help the people of Africa by allowing the use of birth control to fight overpopulation and condoms to fight the spread of HIV.

    Missed is the opportunity to make peace with modern science by clearly affirming the theory of evolution and accepting stem-cell research.

    Missed is the opportunity to make the spirit of the Second Vatican Council the compass for the whole Catholic Church, including the Vatican itself, and thus to promote the needed reforms in the church.
    This last point, respected bi
    shops, is the most serious of all. Time and again, this pope has added qualifications to the conciliar texts and interpreted them against the spirit of the council fathers. Time and again, he has taken an express stand against the Ecumenical Council, which according to canon law represents the highest authority in the Catholic Church:

    He has taken the bishops of the traditionalist Pius X Society back into the church without any preconditions – bishops who were illegally consecrated outside the Catholic Church and who reject central points of the Second Vatican Council (including liturgical reform, freedom of religion and the rapprochement with Judaism).

    He promotes the medieval Tridentine Mass by all possible means and occasionally celebrates the Eucharist in Latin with his back to the congregation.

    He refuses to put into effect the rapprochement with the Anglican Church, which was laid out in official ecumenical documents by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, and has attempted instead to lure married Anglican clergy into the Roman Catholic Church by freeing them from the very rule of celibacy that has forced tens of thousands of Roman Catholic priests out of office.

    He has actively reinforced the anti-conciliar forces in the church by appointing reactionary officials to key offices in the Curia (including the secretariat of state, and positions in the liturgical commission) while appointing reactionary bishops around the world.

    Pope Benedict XVI seems to be increasingly cut off from the vast majority of church members who pay less and less heed to Rome and, at best, identify themselves only with their local parish and bishop.

    I know that many of you are pained by this situation. In his anti-conciliar policy, the pope receives the full support of the Roman Curia. The Curia does its best to stifle criticism in the episcopate and in the church as a whole and to discredit critics with all the means at its disposal. With a return to pomp and spectacle catching the attention of the media, the reactionary forces in Rome have attempted to present us with a strong church fronted by an absolutistic “Vicar of Christ” who combines the church’s legislative, executive and judicial powers in his hands alone. But Benedict’s policy of restoration has failed. All of his spectacular appearances, demonstrative journeys and public statements have failed to influence the opinions of most Catholics on controversial issues. This is especially true regarding matters of sexual morality. Even the papal youth meetings, attended above all by conservative-charismatic groups, have failed to hold back the steady drain of those leaving the church or to attract more vocations to the priesthood.

    You in particular, as bishops, have reason for deep sorrow: Tens of thousands of priests have resigned their office since the Second Vatican Council, for the most part because of the celibacy rule. Vocations to the priesthood, but also to religious orders, sisterhoods and lay brotherhoods are down – not just quantitatively but qualitatively. Resignation and frustration are spreading rapidly among both the clergy and the active laity. Many feel that they have been left in the lurch with their personal needs, and many are in deep distress over the state of the church. In many of your dioceses, it is the same story: increasingly empty churches, empty seminaries and empty rectories. In many countries, due to the lack of priests, more and more parishes are being merged, often against the will of their members, into ever larger “pastoral units,” in which the few surviving pastors are completely overtaxed. This is church reform in pretense rather than fact!

    And now, on top of these many crises comes a scandal crying out to heaven – the revelation of the clerical abuse of thousands of children and adolescents, first in the United States, then in Ireland and now in Germany and other countries. And to make matters worse, the handling of these cases has given rise to an unprecedented leadership crisis and a collapse of trust in church leadership.

    There is no denying the fact that the worldwide system of covering up cases of sexual crimes committed by clerics was engineered by the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Cardinal Ratzinger (1981-2005). During the reign of Pope John Paul II, that congregation had already taken charge of all such cases under oath of strictest silence. Ratzinger himself, on May 18th, 2001, sent a solemn document to all the bishops dealing with severe crimes ( “epistula de delictis gravioribus” ), in which cases of abuse were sealed under the “secretum pontificium” , the violation of which could entail grave ecclesiastical penalties. With good reason, therefore, many people have expected a personal mea culpa on the part of the former prefect and current pope. Instead, the pope passed up the opportunity afforded by Holy Week: On Easter Sunday, he had his innocence proclaimed “urbi et orbi” by the dean of the College of Cardinals.

    The consequences of all these scandals for the reputation of the Catholic Church are disastrous. Important church leaders have already admitted this. Numerous innocent and committed pastors and educators are suffering under the stigma of suspicion now blanketing the church. You, reverend bishops, must face up to the question: What will happen to our church and to your diocese in the future? It is not my intention to sketch out a new program of church reform. That I have done often enough both before and after the council. Instead, I want only to lay before you six proposals that I am convinced are supported by millions of Catholics who have no voice in the current situation.

    1. Do not keep silent: By keeping silent in the face of so many serious grievances, you taint yourselves with guilt. When you feel that certain laws, directives and measures are counterproductive, you should say this in public. Send Rome not professions of your devotion, but rather calls for reform!

    2. Set about reform: Too many in the church and in the episcopate complain about Rome, but do nothing themselves. When people no longer attend church in a diocese, when the ministry bears little fruit, when the public is kept in ignorance about the needs of the world, when ecumenical co-operation is reduced to a minimum, then the blame cannot simply be shoved off on Rome. Whether bishop, priest, layman or laywoman – everyone can do something for the renewal of the church within his own sphere of influence, be it large or small. Many of the great achievements that have occurred in the individual parishes and in the church at large owe their origin to the initiative of an individual or a small group. As bishops, you should support such initiatives and, especially given the present situation, you should respond to the just complaints of the faithful.

    3. Act in a collegial way: After heated debate and against the persistent opposition of the Curia, the Second Vatican Council decreed the collegiality of the pope and the bishops. It did so in the sense of the Acts of the Apostles, in which Peter did not act alone without the college of the apostles. In the post-conciliar era, however, the pope and the Curia have ignored this decree. Just two years after the council, Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical defending the controversial celibacy law without the slightest consultation of the bishops. Since then, papal politics and the papal magisterium have continued to act in the old, uncollegial fashion. Even in liturgical matters, the pope rules as an autocrat over and against the bishops. He is happy to surround himself with them as long as they are nothing more than stage extras with neither voices nor voting rights. This is why, venerable bishops, you should not act for yourselves alone, but rather in the community of the other bishops, of the priests and of the men and women who make up the church.

    4. Unconditional obedience is owed to God alone: Although at your episcopal consecration you had to take an oath of unconditional obedience to the pope, you know that unconditional obedience can never be paid to any human authority; it is due to God alone. For this reason, you should not feel impeded by your oath to speak the truth about the current crisis facing the church, your diocese and your country. Your model should be the apostle Paul, who dared to oppose Peter “to his face since he was manifestly in the wrong”! ( Galatians 2:11 ). Pressuring the Roman authorities in the spirit of Christian fraternity can be permissible and even necessary when they fail to live up to the spirit of the Gospel and its mission. The use of the vernacular in the liturgy, the changes in the regulations governing mixed marriages, the affirmation of tolerance, democracy and human rights, the opening up of an ecumenical approach, and the many other reforms of Vatican II were only achieved because of tenacious pressure from below.

    5. Work for regional solutions: The Vatican has frequently turned a deaf ear to the well-founded demands of the episcopate, the priests and the laity. This is all the more reason for seeking wise regional solutions. As you are well aware, the rule of celibacy, which was inherited from the Middle Ages, represents a particularly delicate problem. In the context of today’s clerical abuse scandal, the practice has been increasingly called into question. Against the expressed will of Rome, a change would appear hardly possible; yet this is no reason for passive resignation. When a priest, after mature consideration, wishes to marry, there is no reason why he must automatically resign his office when his bishop and his parish choose to stand behind him. Individual episcopal conferences could take the lead with regional solutions. It would be better, however, to seek a solution for the whole church, therefore:

    6. Call for a council: Just as the achievement of liturgical reform, religious freedom, ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue required an ecumenical council, so now a council is needed to solve the dramatically escalating problems calling for reform. In the century before the Reformation, the Council of Constance decreed that councils should be held every five years. Yet the Roman Curia successfully managed to circumvent this ruling. There is no question that the Curia, fearing a limitation of its power, would do everything in its power to prevent a council coming together in the present situation. Thus it is up to you to push through the calling of a council or at least a representative assembly of bishops.

    With the church in deep crisis, this is my appeal to you, venerable bishops: Put to use the episcopal authority that was reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council. In this urgent situation, the eyes of the world turn to you. Innumerable people have lost their trust in the Catholic Church. Only by openly and honestly reckoning with these problems and resolutely carrying out needed reforms can their trust be regained. With all due respect, I beg you to do your part – together with your fellow bishops as far as possible, but also alone if necessary – in apostolic “fearlessness” ( Acts 4:29, 31 ). Give your faithful signs of hope and encouragement and give our church a perspective for the future.

    With warm greetings in the community of the Christian faith,

    Yours, Hans Küng ”

    (New York Times Syndicate) © Hans Küng

  7. Anne says:

    Thanks Paddy,

    Micheal O’brien has said he is gonna go on hunger strike outside Governments buildings next week. Did you get to speak to him Paddy?
    I have never had the honour of meeting him but have decided myself and my daughter are willing to go on hunger strike there with him next week. My daughter is going to do this of her own will to show support for the children of us victims that have suffered as a result of damages to us. That should be taken into account. It’s not just us but our children who have/do suffer.

    Brian Cowen has no right to take that money as the state along with the religious are as much to blame and let families be torn apart, children to be abused e.c.t


  8. Paddy says:

    I don’t know anything about the meeting in Birmingham on Sunday of this week. I was at the government meeting last night at Government buildings. The situation regarding contributions by religious orders are as far as I can see, accurately reported in the papers of today. No doubt contributors to this website will have a lot to say about the offers from the religious orders. Paddy.

  9. Anne says:

    Check this out Paddy, from the Irish papers today.

    There is fury from some clerical abuse survivors regarding Government plans for a reparation scheme.

    They were told by the Taoiseach last night that they will only get €110m of the €348m provided by religious orders named and shamed in the Ryan report.

    The balance is to be kept by the State in a bid to achieve a 50-50 split between Church and taxpayer for the €1.3bn redress scheme.

    Some survivors have accused the Government of “robbing victims” of compensation.

    In a statement, Brian Cowen insisted he still wants another €200m from the congregations for the State, with the cash to be used towards the new national children’s hospital.

  10. Anne says:

    Has anyone else heard about the meeting at the Irish centre in Birmingham this Sunday? There was a big advertisement in the Irish post asking all survivor to come and discuss how the dispersal of further contributions from the congregations should be disbursed.
    Also, they apparently held a meeting at the Government in Ireland yesterday with “Group leader’s ” to discuss this!!!
    shouldn’t we have been told about this before hand Paddy??? or are they just doing what they usually do behind our backs, without our permission!

    I’d be grateful of any feedback or knowledge on what’s going on.
    Regards everyone..

  11. robert says:

    Thanks Anne for your comment never mind so called support groups
    The newspapers must ask the government and religious orders what they have done regarding their so called promises to help survivors. Paddy Doyle is the only person has stood up for survivors.
    if only we had someone we can trust ( if that is possible) to legally represent us for what we believe is our right for a better life than what we were dealt by these thugs.
    We ARE alive and a lot of us who are poor need that support in government offices, such as welfare housing health never mind just the basics like educational funds and counselling we tried them and they have so much red tape with cues as long as the unemployment office for the whole of Ireland, my son is nearly finished college and the educational fees are still not paid yet this was set aside for us huh and redress is seen as sufficient savings huh
    The bull up top has shat a lot on all of us long enough and these groups who are so called support groups need to be ignored and banners made stating THEY ARE NO SUPPORT GROUPS. JUST LIVING SURVIVORS



  12. Anne says:

    Robert, that’s a great idea but the likes of the certain “support” groups are being paid enough to deter everyone…every day it’s becoming clearer and clearer!
    We need to do what you said..surely it can be done. It has to be.
    I’ve decided to write a few letters, including some famous people.. I will keep going again until something gives.

    Anne O’ Flaherty

  13. robert says:

    martin you are one of the very best sir.
    very well put and deserves the truth.
    i just wonder if every survivor decided to actually do what they really want in their hearts, without fear of the threat for making known the truth would we get anywhere?
    i believe so.
    this unjust is going on far too long.
    if you are on welfare/dissability you are to tell them of your redress but they are to ignore.
    now this may be true
    but if they do not ignor it and say you have sufficent savings, who do you see?
    there is no guide/rule book for any welfare office or any government office at that, where it declares to them you are to be supported. no name to report to if your appeals are turned down.
    how many survivors out there are telling the truth because they feel they have to and are getting penilised for having redress?
    the redress has been nothing but a stumbling block.
    a certain survivor group would send out hundreds and hundreds of letters, documents and useless information and when you ask a question on your rights they say you should read the info we send out. HELLO do they think for one moment we received a great education? some support eh? for who? oh of course they got PAID BY … ……
    ( but no written rights for the individual survivor regarding welfare support)
    like you martin there are a lot of us out there trying to live a life we do not know or understand.
    we have kids who need our support and a helping hand that can cost a lot of money as every parent knows.
    money does not put this abuse right but this abuse is still happening the fear of telling the truth or else.
    this government must love the support groups as they are but a handful to deal with.
    just imagine for one moment every single survivor demanding their rights to a better life for once and for all, outside each church and government building at the same place and time. day after day week after week and months if need be.
    what a headache they would have.
    we want our rights now not later we deserve the right to speak, to have a better life than what we have experienced so far.
    each and every single survivor should recieve a letter from this government declairing the records are now cleaned and destroyed as we were children not criminals.

  14. Anne says:

    Wow. Martin, thank you for the time, passion, energy and knowledge you have just enlightened us with. My god it sure brings it all back.
    The Irish state/Education/Government/religious must be sued/arrested what ever it takes for the injustice, lies, corruption, damages and for the cruel and twisted way they have treated us all.Who will stand up for us?…
    Every single survivor should gather at a venue big enough to fight. We shouldn’t be represented by so called rep groups who are lining their pockets and leaving many suffering, homelessness, debt, addiction, missery!

    What will it take???.. God bless Sinead O’Connor for doing her best highlighting it all. I know Stephen Fry has commented and maybe if more famous people like Bono-from U2 got involved and helped us, maybe then the world would listen.

    Anne O’Flaherty

  15. Martin John Petty-O'Callaghan says:


    What was the point in applying for Redress if it did not rectify the Illegal Conviction heaped upon you. All it did was let the State off the hook.

    Having read the article “Sex abuse victims call for lifting of ‘crime slur’” by Henry McDonald, Sunday March 21, 2004, The Observer, I was appalled to discover that along with so many other survivors of the Industrial School System, I also (possibly) have a “Black Mark” still documented against me for being incarcerated at the age of 3 and I most certainly wish this to be wiped from all records.
    To achieve this I have done some research and found that it is possible (legally) to do just that and that the authorities have no choice but to comply. However, my research seems to imply that only those survivors who were detained under Section 58 of the 1908 and 1922 Children Act (as amended) under the charge of ‘Improper Guardianship’ will be in a position to insist on the lifting of this charge if they are still blighted by it today as follows.
    Discharge of child committed to industrial school. 5.—(1) Where—
    (a) a child has been committed to an industrial school under section 58 of the Principal act, and
    ( b ) an application is made to the Minister for Education by a parent or guardian for the release of the child, and
    ( c ) the Minister is satisfied that the circumstances which led to the making of the committal order have ceased and are not likely to recur if the child is released, and that the parent or guardian is able to support the child, the Minister shall order the discharge of the child.
    (2) The Minister may, if he so thinks proper, refer the application to the court.
    (3) If the Minister refuses the application, the parent or guardian may refer it to the court.
    (4) The court, if satisfied in regard to the matters referred to in paragraph ( c ) of subsection (1), shall have jurisdiction to order the discharge of the child.
    (5) A reference to the court under this section shall be made to the District Court in the District in which the committal order was made or, if the applicant resides in another District, in that District.
    (6) The order for the discharge of the child, whether made by the Minister or the court, shall operate to revoke the detention order.
    (7) ( a ) Where the District Court or, on appeal, the Circuit Court, orders the discharge of a child, the court may award costs and expenses to the successful applicant and the Minister shall defray out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas such sum as the court may certify in respect thereof.
    ( b ) The costs and expenses which may be certified by the court shall not exceed the maximum amounts which may be awarded as between party and party in an action for tort in the District Court.
    Sub Paragraph (6) above is particularly interesting when it says “The order for the discharge of the child, whether made by the Minister or the court, shall operate to revoke the detention order”. In other words, if one reads the definition of the word “revoke”, one would be as surprised as I was to read, annul by recalling or rescinding, countermand, lift, overturn, renege, repeal, rescind, reverse, vacate, cancel, error, fault, go back on, mistake. It is as if to say that nothing happened at all and if that is the definition as is the case, backtracking through events that led up to that point has the same result, which is that the charge of ‘improper guardianship’ should never have been brought against children incapable of properly mounting a defence, let alone fully understanding what was taking place.
    Indeed, most of you will find that the authorities were approached by family members for assistance who, only when there was no family members present, brought these charges against you fully knowing that it was wrong, indeed illegal, since, having agreed to help in the support of families in need (by taking you into their care) ultimately became the legal guardian and that being the case renders the authorities at the time at fault in bringing false charges against children who could not possible resist, a bit like charging your own children with an offence, ludicrous don’t you think?
    I am in possession of a document, which shows that asking the authorities for assistance is just what happened in my case by my Grandmother and, as you, myself being in possession of a copy of the District Court Order which sent me to 2 of these institutions am not at all happy that I as a 3 year old at the time, now (possibly) have a criminal record. I am now calling on the relevant Minister to “Blanket Cancel” these charges for everyone where Section 58 is concerned forthwith if justice is to be seen to be done, at least on this issue. Also, for those who do not fall into the Section 58 category, I say that they too were in all probability dubiously convicted in so far as a fair hearing with proper defence is concerned. Ask for a copy of the transcript of the hearing if in doubt.
    As to Section 35 of the Redress Act 2002. Having read it several times I find that it is somewhat circular (like a ring) in its wording and seems to start off by removing disqualification and other restriction only to insert it right back in again by its reference to a “conviction for an offence” – have the authorities not already deemed “improper guardianship” as an offence in taking children to the District Courts in the first place. Section 35 is non-committal in categorically saying that no offence exists as can be seen.
    • Criminal records. 35. —For the avoidance of doubt, a person who was detained in an industrial school pursuant to the Children Act, 1908, other than a person who was so detained as a consequence of a conviction of a conviction for an offence, shall not be subject to any disqualification or any other restriction that is a consequence of a conviction for an offence.
    If you read the above several times you will soon see the ring effect and that the restrictions and disqualifications are still there by the reference to “an offence”. The words “separate offence” should have been included. Perhaps an amendment to the Act, Sect 35, would clarify the situation.
    It is my hope for myself and all survivors that the powers that be will instil a belief in all of us that the apologies of several high profile Ministers and Clergy were uttered in good faith and that they will ultimately do the right thing now in order to finally put the past behind us with confidence in their sincerity.

    Email: Martin John Joseph Petty-O’Callaghan, Bradford, West Yorkshire, England


    Last Updated: 1-June-2009
    Having been a resident at two of these institutions from age three to twelve, and subsequently spent the rest of my life trying to make sense of what these people had done to myself and 3 other members of my family and having the privilege of being able to read (on the Internet) the various articles/reports etc I am not at all surprised that in spite of Mr Aherns’ apology, that the Church and the powers that be still try to find ways of distorting the truth by clouding the waters to the extent that in the end, the real reason for the very existence of the Commission in the first place fades into oblivion and the victims are (yet again) abused in a more cunning manner by the very department that is guilty of the Physical, Emotional and Psychological torment inflicted years ago.
    It is my view that the Department of Education and Science should never have been allowed to play a part in any aspect of this enquiry since it has its own (bad) reputation to (somehow) salvage.
    Justice Mary Laffoy was right in her resignation and is, in my view, the only Honourable member of the original higher echelon of the Commission.
    What I do not seem to be able to understand is – if now people are refuting what we say – why would Mr Ahern and the Church elders (The Pope Included) find it necessary to apologize in the first place? I for one will be expecting some sort of apology on a personal basis when my time comes to appear, though I read that even the Investigation Commission is to be albeit scrapped as too costly, why am I not surprised.
    As far as false allegations go, I am of the opinion that due to the passage of time etc, people dying etc it becomes ever easier to refute what people such as I say.
    Yes Mr Dempsey should go and go now before he does even more damage to the very people he is charged to now help.
    Let me conclude by saying that although I am now nearly 48 years old I have (through the actions or negligence of his department) spent 45 years living as someone other than the person I was born as.
    I only know this by studying the people my children are becoming as they grow and I realise, yes (in my Sons case) there go I but for what other people changed me into.
    I lost all of my family, and I mean all, we are strangers and those that I never got to meet are no longer living.
    My only hope for the future is my children who have never and will never experience what I and many thousands of others had so to do.


    The state, from 1949 to the present day was, and remains, in breach of Articles 1 to 13 (inclusive), 19,22,23,25,26,28,29 and 30.
    When one reads the declaration it becomes very clear why. What is going to be done to rectify this situation for all of us unjustly treated?
    Email the author.


    Two Institutions left me the following Legacy
    For those of you who have already gone through Redress, and those yet so to do, the following paragraphs will be of enormous interest, horror, bewilderment and anger. Of interest to you since a lot of you, (including me) until recently, were not aware of the consequences of a bad diet when we were growing up in Institutions. Horror due to what is foreseen to occur in later life as a consequence of Malnutrition. Finally, anger. For those of you who have signed the document which disbars one from taking any Court action in the future, it is only then that you will realise why. It will become clear to you when you are in agony from Arthritis or some other debilitating disease which was just waiting to appear as a direct consequence of the really bad food we were given in early life by the religious people, anger at the state for hiding these facts from you, fully knowing what would happen in later life and finally, anger at oneself for not stopping to ask the question – If I am being held equal before the Law – why is there a need to (1) not disclose the settlement figure, and (2) Why sign away any future litigation? People held equal before the law do not need to sign away their rights.
    You are signing away your right to future litigation for 2 reasons. 1, you were short changed in the monetary sense at Redress, and 2, it is going to cost the individual and or family or both an absolute fortune in Doctors, Hospital visits and drugs etc, the government have known this for some time and want to save the enormous expense that this will incur. Of course, there will be those of you who are already incurring these costs.
    The bottom line is the government, in giving Redress is not actually living up to the true meaning of Redress, since at some point in the future you will actually give the money back (via Doctors etc) to the state in some form or another.
    Read the following paragraphs on Malnutrition, a few of many from an 83 page document on just that subject.
    Malnutrition: Causes, consequences
    Violates children’s rights in profound ways
    Compromising their physical and mental development
    Sound nutrition can change children’s lives, improve their physical and mental development, protect their health and lay a firm foundation for future productivity.
    Malnourished children often suffer the loss of precious mental capacities. They fall ill more often. If they survive, they may grow up with lasting mental or physical disabilities.
    This human suffering and waste happen because of illness – much of it preventable. Its ravages extend to the survivors who are left crippled, chronically vulnerable to illness – and intellectually disabled.
    Malnutrition is not, as many think, a simple matter of whether a child can satisfy her appetite. A child who eats enough to satisfy immediate hunger can still be malnourished.
    Research indicates a link between malnutrition in early life – including the period of foetal growth – and the development later in life of chronic conditions like coronary heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure, giving the countries in which malnutrition is already a major problem new cause for concern.
    Among children, malnutrition is especially prone to strike those who lack nutritionally adequate diets, are not protected from frequent illness and do not receive adequate care.
    Illness is frequently a consequence of malnutrition.
    There is no one kind of malnutrition.
    Vitamin A deficiency, which affects about 100 million young children worldwide, was long known to cause blindness. But it has become increasingly clear that even mild vitamin A deficiency also impairs the immune system, reducing children’s resistance to diarrhoea. At its most basic level, malnutrition is a consequence of disease and inadequate dietary intake, which usually occur in a debilitating and often lethal combination. But many more elements – social, political, economic, cultural – are involved beyond the physiological.
    Malnourished children, unlike their well-nourished peers, not only have lifetime disabilities and weakened immune systems, but they also lack the capacity for learning that their well-nourished peers have.
    In young children, malnutrition dulls motivation and curiosity and reduces play and exploratory activities. These effects, in turn, impair mental and cognitive development by reducing the amount of interaction children have both with their environment, and with those who provide care.
    Robbed of their mental as well as physical potential, malnourished children who live past childhood face diminished futures. They will become adults with lower physical and intellectual abilities, lower levels of productivity and higher levels of chronic illness and disability.
    And investments in basic education by governments and their partners are compromised by malnutrition’s pernicious effects on brain development and intellectual performance.
    Some 67 million children are estimated to be wasted, which means they are below the weight they should be for their height – the result of reduced dietary intake, illness, or both.
    The effects of malnutrition also cross generations. The infants of women who are themselves malnourished and underweight are likely to be small at birth.
    The power of good nutrition.
    The devastation of malnutrition is hard to overstate, but so is the countervailing power of nutrition. Not only is good nutrition the key to the healthy development of individuals, families and societies, but there is also growing reason to believe that improving the nutrition of women and children will contribute to overcoming some of the greatest health challenges facing the world, including the burden of chronic and degenerative disease, maternal mortality, malaria and AIDS.
    The most obvious proof of the power of good nutrition can be seen in the taller, stronger, healthier children of many countries, separated by only a generation from their shorter, less robust parents, and by the better diets and more healthful, nurturing environments they enjoy.
    Stronger children grow into stronger, more productive adults.
    Well-nourished girls grow into women who face fewer risks during pregnancy and childbearing, and whose children set out on firmer developmental paths, physically and mentally. And history shows that societies that meet women’s and children’s nutritional needs also lift their capacities for greater social and economic progress.
    The right to good nutrition.
    However far-reaching the benefits of nutrition may be, ensuring good nutrition is a matter of international law, articulated in variously specific language in international declarations and human rights instruments dating back to the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1924 (Panel 4).
    Under the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, for example, States parties must ensure that women receive full and equal access to health care, including adequate nutrition during pregnancy and lactation. And the 1990 World Summit for Children, with a Plan of Action that recognized the devastating effects of malnutrition on women and their children, set specific nutritional goals for children and women, including access to adequate food during pregnancy and lactation; the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices; growth monitoring with appropriate follow-up actions; and nutritional surveillance.
    But the right to nutrition receives its fullest and most ringing expression in the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, whose 191 ratifications as of late 1997 make it the most universally embraced human rights instrument in history.
    Under the Convention, which commits States parties to realize the full spectrum of children’s political, civil, social, economic and cultural rights, virtually every government in the world recognizes the right of all children to the highest attainable standard of health, to facilities for the treatment of illness and for the rehabilitation of health – specifically including the right to good nutrition and its three vital components: food, health and care.
    Under the Convention’s pre-eminent guiding principle, good child nutrition is a right because it is in the “best interests of the child.”
    Article 24 of the Convention specifies that States parties must take “appropriate measures” to reduce infant and child mortality, and to combat disease and malnutrition through the use of readily available technology and through the provision of adequate, nutritious foods and safe drinking water.
    The world is obligated to ease child malnutrition on the basis of international law, scientific knowledge, practical experience and basic morality.
    The ravages caused by malnutrition on individuals, families and societies are preventable. The measures needed to reduce and end it are becoming increasingly well understood. And the gains for humanity from doing so – in greater creativity, energy, productivity, well-being and happiness – are immeasurable.
    Email the Author


    The Order of The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent DePaul, an order of Nuns is nothing more than an order of fraudsters and I can prove it.

    I was (on 9th November 2005) absolutely flabbergasted when I accidentally happened upon the following:

    Can. 96 By baptism one is incorporated into the Church of Christ and constituted a person in it, with the duties and the rights which, in accordance with each one’s status, are proper to Christians, in so far as they are in ecclesiastical communion and unless a lawfully issued sanction intervenes.
    Can. 97 ß1 a person, who has completed the eighteenth year of age, has attained majority; below this age, a person is a minor.
    ß2 a minor who has not completed the seventh year of age is called an infant and is considered incapable of personal responsibility; on completion of the seventh year, however, the minor is presumed to have the use of reason.

    I can justify making the accusation I have because, given that at just under age 3 I was, on a voluntary basis, accepted by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent De Paul at Drogheda Industrial School for Junior Boys.
    From documents, I have discovered that I was there for some 5 weeks before I was hauled in front of a Mullingar District Court Judge and charged under the Children Act 1908, Guardianship, and ordered to be detained until the age of 16. I was transferred to Artane at age 10 and remained there until age 12, at which point I was discharged in 1968.
    If the Daughters of Charity are not liars and fraudulent, they may wish to explain the following:
    1. As stated above in Can 97, B2,
    A minor who has not completed the seventh year of age is called an infant and is considered incapable of personal responsibility; on completion of the seventh year, however, the minor is presumed to have the use of reason.
    2. Why did they allow the Courts to charge me fully knowing that “I am incapable of personal responsibility”? – they needed the conviction to secure the child allowance.
    3. Why did they wait until after the court appearance to have me Baptised at St Peters Church in Drogheda? – I cannot stay with them if I am not Baptised, they would lose the funding for me.
    4. In documents in now in my possession from the Courts (Detention Order) it clearly states “And whereas this child appears to the Court to be a Catholic” – Who told the court this, given that I am not yet Baptised? – The Daughters of Charity, who else.
    How many of you out there were unjustly accused, based on the fact that you were under age 7? – A lot I should imagine. How many Religious Orders had a hand in your detentions?
    Keep in mind, if these people say they did nothing wrong, why did they not fight the judicial system for the younger children on the grounds of being incapable due to age?
    I think I have made my case.
    Writers email address:


    Newspaper Articles
    Well-fed priests left brutalised school boys cold and hungry
    Wednesday May 10th 2006
    A RELIGIOUS order admitted yesterday that boys at two of its industrial schools were left cold and hungry while priests dined in comfort.
    The clerics further admitted boys in their care were brutally beaten although the State banned corporal punishment in 1982.
    Beatings continued at the Ferryhouse Industrial School in Co Tipperary until 1993 despite a letter from the Department of Education sent in 1989 warning that the ban also applied to industrial as well as national schools, the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse heard. The commission was told that the boys lived in an atmosphere of constant fear and anxiety, and were punished excessively, sometimes brutally.
    Fr Joe O’Reilly, of the Rosminian Institute of Charity which ran Ferryhouse and the St Patrick’s Industrial School in Upton, Co Cork, admitted that its boys who were from unstable or troubled backgrounds went from “the frying pan into the fire”. Lawyers for abuse victims described the schools as Dickensian-style workhouses and paupers’ prisons.
    Fr O’Reilly said that boys were beaten for a wide range of reasons – including bedwetting – and that the punishment meted out were at times “spontaneous”, “excessive” and “brutual”.
    Such punishments or the fear of punishment kept the boys constantly on edge, Fr O’Reilly stated.
    “I accept that the boys experienced enormous anxiety and fear. Certainly there was a sense in most of the institutional schools that punishment could come at any time,” he said.
    And despite the pervasive fear, anxiety and sex abuse that was rife in the institutions at the time, boys who ran away were “dealt with severely”.
    “But I don’t think that savage punishment was the norm,” he told the inquiry. But he admitted that “far more corporal punishment was given out than should have been”.
    While he agreed there were beatings he denied there was “a culture of brutality” in the schools. However, Fr O’Reilly said that due to financial and other constraints, the institutions’ goals of providing care, education and control to the children invariably amounted to simply exerting control over them.
    “I would accept that care and education wasn’t the priority it was at a later time. The first priority was control.”
    Fr O’Reilly also admitted that the food was both inadequate in quantity and quality even though priests and administrators at the institutions dined well.
    He added that heating at the schools was also insufficient leaving the boys cold and hungry most of the time. “It was so much better for the people who lived and worked there,” he said.
    © Irish Independent
    Dail Eireann – Volume 194 – 05 April, 1962
    Ceisteanna-Questions. Oral Answers – Control of Industrial Schools.
    42. Mr. Mullen asked the Minister for Education if he will state exactly what control he exercises in relation to industrial schools; and what responsibility he has in regard to the protection and well-being of the inmates of these schools.
    Dr. Hillery: I must be satisfied as to the conditions, rules and management of industrial schools and for their fitness for the reception of children or youthful offenders sent there under the provisions of the Children Acts and for their regular inspection.
    Questions from the author; – If these institutions were properly maintained, how did you miss the abuse now being admitted to? Further, is it not now the case that as the Minister responsible for the protection and well-being of these children, you were negligent in your duty of care, given the revelations?
    Dail Eireann – Volume 250 – 16 December, 1970
    Ceisteanna-Questions. Oral Answers. – Industrial Schools.
    113. Dr. Fitgerald asked the Minister for Education if he will make available in the Library of the House the scale of dietary drawn up by the medical officers of industrial and reformatory schools and approved by his inspectors;

    Mr. O’Kennedy: Diet charts which are kept in these schools are available for inspection in the schools. Inspections which have been carried out have revealed that the scale of diet is satisfactory and is being adhered to. The very substantial increase in grants to these schools which was made in 1969 has enabled the schools to improve the scale of diet accordingly.
    I do not feel that any useful purpose would be served by seeking diet charts from individual schools and placing them in the Library of the House.
    Dr. Fitzgerald: That was not what I asked. I am not asking what is actually done. I am asking what is the scale of dietary laid down under Rule No. 6 of the Rules and Regulations for Certified Industrial Schools.
    Mr. O’Kennedy: The Deputy will find in the reply to one of his later questions that these rules and regulations about which he has only recently become aware are very old. In fact much of what they recommend is a minimum requirement and much of what is being provided at present is far in excess of these minimum requirements. I appreciate the Deputy’s point but the practice now is that dietary charts are kept in the schools themselves. If he wants any information on them I suggest he communicate with the schools concerned.
    Dr. Fitzgerald: The Parliamentary Secretary has examined these and is quite satisfied?
    Mr. O’Kennedy: Perfectly so. If either Deputy Fitzgerald or any other Deputy knows of any instances that they are not satisfactory, we shall be glad to hear about them.
    114. Dr. Fitzgerald asked the Minister for Education whether he considers it reasonable under the regulations for certified industrial schools that children of 14 years should have not less than three hours literary instruction plus up to six hours industrial training; and whether we will take steps to ensure that the total daily hours worked will not exceed seven.
    115. Dr. Fitzgerald asked the Minister for Education whether the punishment book referred to in clause 12 of the regulations for certified industrial schools is maintained in these schools; if so, whether he will enable Members of the House to inspect these books.
    116. Dr. Fitzgerald asked the Minister for Education what training is now given in industrial schools in accordance with clause 9 of the regulations for certified industrial schools.
    [1273] Mr. O’Kennedy: With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 114, 115 and 116 together. The Deputy’s questions derive from Rules and Regulations for Certified Industrial Schools which were framed many years ago and which in relation to the matters raised by him are no longer being operated. For example, with the exception of four institutions, three of which cater solely for boys, all industrial school children go out to local schools for their education and there is now no industrial training for such children. In the case of schools which cater for delinquents, the emphasis is on rehabilitation through education by means of a specially prepared curriculum. No industrial school now keeps a punishment book.
    Dr. Fitzgerald: It is one thing to say that the rules do not apply because the children go out to school-that may be a reason for the rule about the amount of literary instruction not being applicable any more-but I do not understand about the punishment book. Is it suggested that no punishments are inflicted in industrial schools any more?
    Mr. O’Kennedy: It is not so suggested. Apparently for one reason or another, which I cannot explain to the Deputy here, they are not and have not been kept for some time.
    Dr. Fitzgerald: Does the Parliamentary Secretary not think this is a very serious abuse? These rules were laid down to protect the children in various ways. Rule No. 12 was laid down to protect them from unsuitable or improper punishment. It states that all serious misconduct and the punishments inflicted for it shall be entered in a book to be kept for that purpose which shall be laid before the inspector when he visits. Can the Parliamentary Secretary explain to the House how his inspectors have failed to insist in this and how they have allowed this practice to fall into disuse?
    Mr. O’Kennedy: As I indicated to the Deputy earlier, many of these roles are a carryover from the last century.
    [1274] They relate to minimum standards which were in operation from Dickensian times. I can assure the Deputy that at visitations and inspections the inspectors go into all aspects including the treatment and discipline of the children. The keeping of a book, which I think the Deputy will accept might not always be infallible, has been disregarded for many years.
    Questions from the author;
    1. Can the Minister for Education now explain to those of us “interested parties” (who were in these institutions) why are the Rosminian Institute are only now in 2006 admitting to countless abuses of children, if the Ferryhouse Industrial School (like others) was properly inspected?

    2. Can the Minister for Education explain why if corporal punishment was banned by the State in 1982, it went on in Ferryhouse for a full 11 (Eleven) years unchecked and unreported?

    3. Can the Minister for Education explain why if corporal punishment was banned by the State in 1982, it took 7 (Seven) years to advise the Industrial Schools that the ban also applied to them, that is to say, how could these institutions possibly have been properly inspected given the 7 year delay in this very important aspect of the inspection?

    4. Can the Minister for Education explain why if “very substantial grants were given to these institutions” in 1969, it is only now in 2006 that it comes to light that the administrators of the institutions say that “due to financial constraints”, the children could not be properly fed, if the institution was properly inspected?

    5. Can the Minister for Education explain why if Ferryhouse was properly inspected, the Rosminians’ are now saying that they could do no more with the children than “control them” – depriving them of every right in the book, and worse, kicking them around like animals?

    6. Can the Minister for Education explain why, if these institutions were properly inspected, the Rosminians’ were still beating children in 1993 for Bedwetting, (a condition brought on by fear) if (as stated by the Christian Brothers) Child Psychologists were available in various hospitals to tend to troubled children suffering from “fear and anxiety” up to recently?

    7. Can the Minister for Education explain why the Rosminians’ were able to get away with completely disregarding all the Rights of the Children in their care for many years, if the institution was properly inspected?

    8. Can the Minister for Education explain why children are still being abused in institutions in 1993, if a Government Report in 1936 said that Industrial Schools were not coping and catering for the needs of Children?

    9. Can the Minister for Education explain why even after several adverse reports in relation to Industrial Schools 1936 and 1970 (to mention just 2) still nothing was done to eradicate the suffering being endured by children?

    10. Will the Minister for Education now consider applying for a “Specimen Charge” of Assault, to be levied against each and every Religious Order who ran an Institution on the books (past or present) and engaged in Corporal Punishment without a punishment book? To punish people without adhering to the relevant regulations is, in itself, an offence, and renders the punisher just as guilty of an offence as the original offender.

    11. Will the Minister for Education now concede that it was the department of Education which was at fault in all that transpired in the various institutions, given that the institutions were never actually properly inspected to the extent as to ensure the safety, welfare and security of person of the children so committed?

    12. Will the Minister for Education now concede that it was the department of education who acted in “Loco Parentis” – and not the religious orders, since all committal documents to the various institutions simply say “To be Detained in Reformatory or Industrial School?

    13. Will the Minister for Education explain why it allowed children (a good many of tender years) to be placed in institutions run by individuals not qualified to care for children?

    14. Will the Minister for Education explain how it is sure that the diet in the various institutions was the correct one for the various age groups, if it will concede that the personnel of the religious orders were not qualified to care for children in the first place. How could they possible know the correct diet required for healthy growth of the various age groups?

    15. Will the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse now concede that it has more than enough material to formulate a Report on this whole sorry saga and stop wasting millions of Euros on meaningless and repetitive inquiries which have become so transparent to the point that the public knows in advance the opening lines of each one? After all, what we are getting is not what was initially promised some years ago. It becomes clear why Justice Laffoy resigned, does it not?

    There is a lot more in the way of Questions and Answers in Parliament on this subject. However, I merely wished to hammer home my thoughts on this subject as I was one of the many of you who had to endure the wrath of the religious at a young age with no conception that even when one was finally free of them, one would simply be starting out on a journey, never initially designed for you, but one that became uncontrollable until one was awakened, only to be forced to re-visit one’s life and realise that you had not lived it at all in the way one should have, but as a consequence of conditioning by religious people who destroyed your personality to the point of no return and endless self regret.

    A new report from UNICEF and the Micronutrient Initiative finds that lack of basic vitamins and minerals in the diet is damaging the health of one-third of the world’s people and holding back the economic development of virtually every country in the southern hemisphere.

    Few outside specialist circles are aware of what vitamin and mineral deficiency means for individuals and nations. But the report, released today at the World Economic Forum, finds that a lack of key vitamins and minerals is responsible for impairing intellectual development, compromising immune systems, provoking birth defects, and consigning some 2 billion people to lives below their physical and mental potential.

    The report summarizes the findings of nutrition “damage assessment” studies in 80 nations, throwing new light on vitamin and mineral deficiency levels that are almost impossible to detect without laboratory tests.

    The report finds that:

    Iron deficiency impairs mental development in young children and is lowering national IQs. It also undermines adult productivity, with estimated losses of 2 per cent of GDP in the worst-affected countries.

    Vitamin A deficiency compromises the immune systems of approximately 40% of children under five in the developing world, leading to the deaths of 1 million youngsters each year.

    Iodine deficiency in pregnancy is causing as many as 20 million babies a year to be born mentally impaired.

    Severe iron deficiency anaemia is causing the deaths of an estimated 50,000 women a year during childbirth.

    And folate deficiency is causing approximately 200,000 severe birth defects every year and is associated with roughly 1 in 10 adult deaths from heart disease.

    The report states that the effects of vitamin and micronutrient deficiency on adults, particularly on women, are subtle and insidious. The effects on nations, and on economic development, are only just beginning to be measured. But at the heart of the VMD problem is the fact that it is in the vital, vulnerable, earliest months of life when poor nutrition has its most devastating and durable effects.

    “It’s no longer acceptable to simply identify symptoms of micronutrient deficiency in individuals and then treat them,” said UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy. “We have to protect entire populations against the devastating consequences of vitamin and mineral deficiency, especially children. In the industrialized world we’ve been doing it for years. There is no excuse for not reaching every human being with these simple but life-saving micronutrients. We know what needs doing – we just have to do it.”

    The Solutions

    The report says that whole populations can be protected against vitamin an micronutrient deficiencies by tested and inexpensive methods. Those solutions include:

    Food Fortification: Adding essential vitamins and minerals to foods that are regularly consumed by most people (such as flour, salt, sugar, cooking oil and margarine). Costs only a few cents per person per year.

    Supplementation: Reaching out to vulnerable groups (particularly children and women of childbearing age) with vitamin and mineral supplements in the form of tablets, capsules and syrups. Costs only a few cents per person per year.

    Education: Informing communities about the kinds of foods that can increase the intake and absorption of needed vitamins and minerals.

    Disease Control: Controlling diseases like malaria, measles, diarrhoea, and parasitic infections can also help the body to absorb and retain essential vitamins and minerals.

    These are the methods that brought the VMD problem under control in the industrialized nations decades ago. But UN goals to bring vitamin and mineral deficiency under control in the developing world will not be achieved, the report concludes, without a more ambitious, visionary, and systematic commitment to “deploy known solutions on the same scale as the known problems.”

    That’s why the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) was set up to foster private-public projects to fill the micronutrients gap. UNICEF is a founding member of GAIN.

    According to Jay Naidoo, Chairman of the Board of the Development Bank of Southern Africa as well as the current chair of GAIN: “The nutrition gap is one we can close immediately, simply and relatively cheaply.” For example, Naidoo said if wheat flour was fortified in the 75 most needy countries with iron and folic acid, iron deficiency could be reduced by 10%, and birth defects could be lowered by a third. Such fortification would cost a total of about $85 million (£46.4m), which is about 4 cents per person.

    “As a result, we estimate these countries would gain $275 million (£150m)in increased productivity and $200 million (£109m) from the enhanced earning potential,” Naidoo said. “There are many other examples to emphasize that public-private partnerships to invest in food fortification are investments not only in health, but also in national economies.”

    After a decade of dramatic developments, the facts are known, the solutions are available, and the cause is one in which many individuals and organizations – governments, the private sector, the medical and scientific community, civil society – can all become involved.

    “When so much could be achieved for so many, and for so little, it would be a matter of global disgrace if vitamin and mineral deficiency were not brought under control in the years immediately ahead,” the report concludes.

    View the report: Vitamin and mineral deficiency, a global damage assessment

    For further information please contact:

    UNICEF UK Media Relations Team on 020 7405 5592 or

    Martin John Joseph Petty
    BRADFORD, England


  16. robert says:

    Respected Christy yep understood, and agreed.
    I am so f…en fed up with these parasites we need something but not another groupie with big pockets.
    there is just no truth in them.
    I wonder who the dope oops Pope is going to meet next when they constantly mention survivors. another group?
    Who wants to meet him?
    If he has something to say let him dare advertise it where when how why and who.
    Buses, coaches, trains, boats and planes should be paid for if ALL SURVIVORS are welcome to this so called meeting and any other meeting at that.
    Close the groups down and let all survivors unite as one voice.
    No one is to say they represent any survivor if they are having private meetings.
    all meetings should be open to each and every single survivor.





  17. christy says:



  18. CHRISTY says:



  19. robert says:


  20. robert says:

    The Pope the bishops the priests the Christian brothers the nuns the staff have destroyed so many lives.


    When is the news going to come on what can be done for SURVIVORS of their abuse?
    Survivors are not being supported by any government office to date.

    How dare a certain support group in cork call themselves a survivor support group when he actually believes the religious orders payed out enough.

    (i would love to know )

  21. Raymond says:

    Oh Anne !

    I’m so sorry to hear about your troubles and aches. Your letter is heart-breaking.

    Forgiveness is far too good for them. And a dangerous word. Don’t let yourself be entrapped by it.

    I hope you find some comfort(s), somewhere, sometimes.


  22. Catherine says:

    Reading this article confirms the legal system is clueless to the human nature and has NOTHING TO DO WITH JUSTICE.

    How many of those lawyers, doctors judges, psychos etc HAD ANY ACTUAL EXPERIENCE OF THIS ABUSE???


    Justice must not only be done, but SEEN to be done.

    This Redress chirade was all done in SECRET with the victim gagged from speaking their truth.

    The Barrister needs to call Dr Ali in London, so he can explain to her how the gagging order and legal abuse affects victims and then DO SOMETHING.

    I will tell her for FREE, if she has the balls to lower herself to our level.

    The truth lay in the word ACT.

  23. Catherine says:

    Lawyers are only interested in the money.££££££££££

    How many of the victims now suffer LEGAL ABUSE SYNDROME because of the trauma created by so called learned lawyers, barristers and judges?

    It was more like lambs thrown to the wolves to be ripped apart all over again.

  24. Catherine says:

    Rachel is asking all these questions – IN THE FULL KNOWLEDGE THAT THE VICTIMS ARE GAGGED FROM SPEAKING???
    What colour is the sky in her world.?

  25. Portia says:

    What must not be overlooked is that the Irish State government and the psychiatric profession colluded in, condoned, and asissted in the years of abuses of women and children by the RC Church in Ireland.

  26. Anne says:

    I sat and thought about what I remember of my mother today, or rather why the cruelty men would come and rip families apart for no crimes?!?!..I was 3 when I went to St Joseph’s and cried every day in that convent waiting for her to come for us, all 6 of us. I have very vague memories of our tiny little cottage in Galway, and our tabby little cat that would sit with us in the garden. Oh how my heart aches, the physical pain I actually feel in my glands, head, heart and soul when I yearn for what my life could have been if we were left in our home. My home. In Galway, Ireland.

    Anne O’flaherty

    P.S. Your so right paddy, the more I think of how that Redress was set out, premeditated rather! I realise it was more of an injustice as was the abuse we suffered. They saved a lot of money by not having counsellors and proper support for the victims. I felt like cattle being prodded from room to room and you know what Paddy? There wasn’t one warm, comforting person there! Even my solicitors didn’t console me when I felt intimidated and broken. I looked in all their eyes and saw nothing but money. The way Sean Ryan treated me I’ll never forget, and when I realised the nun’s at the table were there making me still feel frightened I had to get out and was broken for a while.
    I’m not afraid to speak about the Redress Paddy, I’m in my 60’s!! What are they going to do, lock me up?!?!.. I believe “prisons” today our quite comfy! Compared to the institutions we were in. I’m dead already, have been for years and quite looking forward to meeting our Lord, I believe the welcome will be warm.
    Anne O’Flaherty

  27. Anne says:

    Paddy, Kathleen, well said! My God I’ll never forget the traumatic experience me and my family put ourselves through by going to explain truths in my life after 10yr in St Joseph’s. I blocked it out for many years but hid all the nightmares away from my see my late husband who was my first and only boyfriend I met when I escaped to England was in a serious car crash in 1974. He was in a coma for some time and I had to learn him how to walk, talk and feed himself all over again. He was never the same man again and like many, life has been one long painful, confusing battle.
    Paddy, thank you for your kind words. Your such a good man, fair and real. I’m glad you accept our apologies for all the crap in the build up to the march. What an anti climax that was, but I admire Barry for what he tries to do, as I do you paddy. I’m weary and tired now. Too old for all this. The Redress did more damage to my body and mind, and the pain and hurt my kids went through caused so many problems. As you know Paddy, I was homeless for two years and that’s what pushed us to fight. They really did make meals and fools out of us did them caring brothers and nun’s didn’t they Paddy?? Oh they made us fight and dragged it out into what should be our twilight years!
    God forgive them.
    Anne O’Flaherty

  28. robert says:

    The government saved a lot money, the Pope made a lot of money, lawyers made a lot of money and the media sold the whole thing for a lot of money.
    This really shows who cares.
    We got the penny leftovers as per usual to shut up or else

  29. Kathleen O'Malley. "Childhood Interrupted". says:

    I agree entirely, they should be made accountable for their double dealing as they were paid by the State who challenged us the Survivors. The Tax Payer allowed the Government to dole out their money. We were committed to Industrial Schools by the Courts, yet the Government did not exercise a duty of care. The Police, the then N.S.P.C.C. behaved in a fraudulent manner taking a Bounty FOR EVERY CHILD DELIVERED BY ORDER, from Religious Orders in my case “SISTERS OF MERCY” WHO HAVE AS YET NOT BEEN SINGLED OUT.

  30. Paddy says:

    I wasn’t suggesting anything of the sort Kathleen. Indeed, on reflection it might be a good idea if some of the solicitors etc who represented survivors of abuse, did come on board and give an account of their conduct, before, during and particularly after the hearings in Clonskeagh and elsewhere.

    If it is the case that Ms Fehily is looking for work then I’m certain that many people who appeared before the dreaded Redress Board would be happy to offer some suggestions. I know I would. Paddy.

  31. Kathleen O'Malley. "Childhood Interrupted". says:

    Surely you are not suggesting that any Law Firm in Ireland or else where who represented the Survivors should be allowed to come on board to counteract their conduct. Please remember the majority of Solicitors are only interested in the financial outcome.
    As I have stated previously perhaps M/s Fehily is looking for work. Be careful and choose wisely.
    Kathleen O’Malley.

  32. Paddy says:

    I welcome the piece/remarks made by Ms Fehily regarding the Redress Board. With respect to the various members of the legal profession there can’t be one among their number that doesn’t believe the way in which the Redress Act was drafted, flies in the face of all natural justice. I’ve always held the view that the Redress Board should have been overseen by an international panel of judges with NO connection whatever to Ireland. It seem to have escaped many thinking people that the Redress Board was set up by the Department of Education to investigate the Department of Education. That’s like getting the Mafia to investigate the Mafia or drug barons to investigate drug dealing in various places through Ireland and the rest of the world.

    The legal profession have done financially well out of the Redress Board. The time has come, I believe for them to put something back. For example, is there a lawyer/solicitor out there prepared to take a case to the European Court of Justice? I doubt it, but I won’t and don’t rule it out. Paddy.

  33. christy says:


    Would I be very far away from the realities if I were to say that Ms Fehily statement should be welcomed by survivors after all she is the first to come out and say that the realities are that the Redress Act and Redress Board were further abuses of survivors of the Industrial Schools? Will her colleagues in the legal profession who have made great financial gain from the Redress Act also come out in long awaited legal support of survivors? I suppose Paddy that one can always live in hope!


  34. christy says:

    Right on Angry,

    The Redress Act was just an act by Woods, Ahern, McAleese and the Dail and has no substance in European Law. The gagging order is not legal and the Indemnity Clause is not legal, that’s right is it not Ms Fehily. I would suggest Ms Fehily gets in touch with Barry Clifford; he has funds contributed by survivors for legal representation.

    Just think what a legacy for any lawyer to acheive justice for 14,800 survivors of the Child Brothels of the Catholic Church of Ireland.

    By the way, shame on you Cowen, McAleese and Martin for still abusing the Children of the Industrial School Child Brothels of Ireland.

    P.S Are the Legal Eagles starting an arse covering exercise regarding their complicity with the Redress Act? Maybe you could tell us Ms Fehily.


  35. FXR says:

    The shoes outside the Pro have gone missing. There were at least 600 pairs of brand new baby shoes. One the protesters went back to check about 3pm after I got a call from a Catholic fundamentalist.

    If there are any markets or boot sales where you live look out for them.
    The shoes have TINYZONE on the back heel and they are made of soft leather. They came in various colours and sizes though most were bright pink.

    You can see photos on this thread.

  36. FXR says:

    The shoes outside the Pro have gone missing. There were at least 600 pairs of brand new baby shoes. One the protesters went back to check about 3pm after I got a call from a Catholic fundamentalist.

    If there are any markets or boot sales where you live look out for them.
    The shoes have TINYZONE

  37. Kathleen O'Malley. "Childhood Interrupted" says:

    What is this March you talk about. I am not affilated to any group therefor rely on Paddy’s site to bring me up to date.
    I would not be surprised if M/s Fehily is missing the income she and other Law Firms received through the Survivors from the Government. Ireland still has a rotton core within.
    Kathleen O’Malley.

  38. Angry says:

    The REDRESS ACT , was just that , AN ACT.

  39. Angry says:

    “The process of mediation, which is an alternative dispute-resolution mechanism, allows parties to a dispute to design and participate in the resolution of their dispute with a neutral third party. The aim of the process is to allow the parties to tell their stories, discover underlying needs, transform relationships and find a resolution that is creative and not limited to a financial award.”…………. The above coming from Ms. Rachel Fehily’s “article”.

    I’m glad to be availed of the knowledge that Ms. Fehily is an avid fan of Enid Blyton.

    Up to the 19th of May, 2009, the day prior to publication of the RYAN REPORT , the religious orders were STILL issuing STANDARD LETTERS OF DENIAL to this Redress Board, which sinks Ms. Fehily’s “dispute resolution mechanism”.

    I’m sorry to say, but reading her “article” is in many way`s similar to reading one of the many “profuse” apologies and the “healing” rhetoric we have become accustomed to by Sean CLING-ON Brady. It bears all the “gravitas and sincerity” of a bear about to wipe it’s arse with an unsuspecting rabbit. Alice-In-Wonderland stuff.?

  40. Raymond says:







  41. Raymond says:

    Wow !

    I don’t know when I last read an article that was so FULL OF CONTRADICTIONS !

    What is it? Did Ms Fehily step out of the Pro-Cathedral yesterday following the Easter Mass, only to be confronted with this child tying a pair of little shoes, to have her conscience rattled and juggled about the issues she raises?

    Or is she planning a new book, or maybe rights to a (future) set of statistics?

    The biggest contradiction comes in right at the end:



  42. mary says:

    I agree the Redress scheme was a joke, and I would look forward to a letter to see how many people were happy with the way it was done

  43. FXR says:

    That photo by the way is from the 24th of March not from the protest yesterday.

  44. Kathleen O'Malley. author "Childhood Interrupted" says:

    One does not require a Law degree to come to the conclusion of the above article. Interestingly, Ms Rachel Fehily represented many Survivors and was paid handsomely, probably her wages as with all Legal Representatives involved with the Redress Board, earned more than the “Awards” made to the Victims. They should not have been required to prove anything as it was the Courts who sentenced us to Prison. Ms Fehily your article is logical and only requires common sense. What a pity you did not exercise this thought process many years ago. How is it now that you have decided to speak out surely it has not taken your Ten Years to wake up and smell the coffee. Injustice continues to reign in Ireland. Shame on the Legal Profession.