Victims ask Pope for €1bn

On February 9, 2010, in Child Abuse, by Paddy

By John Cooney and Breda Heffernan

Tuesday February 09 2010

A LETTER calling on the Vatican to provide a €1bn compensation package for survivors of clerical child abuse in Ireland is to be hand delivered to Pope Benedict by Cardinal Sean Brady, when the Irish bishops hold summit talks with the Pontiff.

The letter from Irish survivors will also contain a request for a meeting with the Holy Father during his visit to England in September.

The breakthrough came at private talks in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, yesterday involving four survivors’ groups, Cardinal Brady and bishops.

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, who on Sunday told the Irish Independent that he was engaged in his own consultations with survivors abused by diocesan priests, did not attend the Maynooth meeting because of other engagements.

But Dr Martin was present at the first meeting last December in Maynooth between the four groups representing survivors of abuse in residential institutions run by religious orders, and has voiced his support for a bigger compensation deal.

A statement after yesterday’s meeting said that four bishops — Colm O’Reilly of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise, John McAreavey of Dromore, John Buckley of Cork and John Fleming of Killala — would liaise with the survivors’ representatives.

Attending the Maynooth talks were representatives of the Alliance Support Group, Irish SOCA, and the Right to Peace and Right of Place groups.


The statement added that the talks were part of a process of informing the bishops of the views of survivors in their preparations for their summit in the Vatican next Monday and Tuesday with Pope Benedict.

Bishop McAreavey said the meeting was constructive and focused on the ongoing concerns of survivors.

“We intend to relay these concerns to Pope Benedict, both verbally and in the form of written submissions, which were presented to us by survivors and which directly represent their views,” added Bishop McAreavey, a former professor of Canon Law.

Michael O’Brien, of the Right to Peace support group, said it was now time for the Vatican and the religious orders to match the money paid by the Irish State. The orders paid just €128m of the total compensation bill of €1.2bn.

“He (the Pope) must come up with a substantial amount of money to help the victims of the institutions,” added Mr O’Brien. “The Vatican is as much to blame because the religious orders were under their auspices.”

Tom Hayes, secretary of the Alliance Support Group and a former inmate of St Joseph’s Industrial School in Glin, Co Limerick, said survivors wanted a face-to-face meeting with the Pope in September.

“We will be pointing out that when he visited America, he met with some of the victims,” Mr Hayes added. “Although he met them in private, it was a gesture universally well received and we hope he will do the same when he visits England.”

– John Cooney and Breda Heffernan _Irish Independent.


14 Responses to “Victims ask Pope for €1bn”

  1. Got it in one….The teaching in the Bible ” Suffer little children to come unto me” was never meant to suggest that children should suffer…we were advised to be as little children…

  2. corneilius says:

    I need to clarify my point above.

    What we are looking at there is the NEED for a profound change in the way Society operates.

    The actions of The Catholic Church and State, and of many National Governments, Lawyers, Barristers, Experts and ‘well meaning people’ reveal an abiding concern for protecting their power, prestige and image that often exceeds their concern for the victims, for the survivors and their helpers..

    The best way to assess a society is in how that society treats all it’s children, and all children………

    This society is failing so many children, and because it’s caused by things people do, by human action, it can stop by human action.

    Can we please stop the lies, the games, the prevarications, the marketing, the selling, the conditioning and indoctrination.

    Are we strong enough to face the truth, to step into the light.

    Do we care enough about ALL our children to act as their advocates, to listen to them?

  3. Hanora Brennan says:


    I see that St. Luke’s has now been closed and the patients are to be transferred to our Psychiatric Unit at St. Luke’s here in Kilkenny. I can’t imagine what you went through in those particular ‘dark’ places but I’ve met quite a number of former detainees and could recommend a number who could do with a spell in the ‘horse box’ as an allusion to the padded cell! Yes, it still goes on Folks! Vulnerable people locked up and CCTV watching their every move! No human nor civil rights are accorded them. We’re merely emerging from the neanderthal cave in evolution terms and have a LONG LONG way to go! Hopefully, not to Tipperary!

  4. I started the new group called Templemore Forgotten Victims, to support ex detainees like myself who were locked away as children in these big out dated Institutions like St Luke`s Clonmel.The Catholic Church were involved there was a church on the grounds and the nuns came in to give injections then they were gone. So called nurses employed by the state were there day and night. An Inspector`s report was published and said that the nurses food was kept in the toilet – God knows where patient`s food was kept…I resigned from Irish S O C A years ago because there was no way John Kelly would have understood what went on in these mental institutions and I did not wish him to speak on my behalf because of this…Doctor Rosaleen Rogers

  5. corneilius says:

    This dirty grubbing for cash has to come AFTER a full disclosure, a series of prosecutions and prison sentences for all those involved, both in the initial abuses and the subsequent cover-ups.

    One the one hand there is a criminal issue, and on the other reparations and healing….

    The healing cannot happen until the facts are faced – this society is founded on abuse, sustains itself by abuse and is identifiable by it’s abuse more than by any other factor.

    Without this, the ‘healing’ will be merely an adjustment to a sick society.

  6. Hanora Brennan says:

    Hi Kate,

    These are the people who ‘promised’ survivors they would receive 300,000 plus 64,000 aggravated damages all through last summer at meetings up and down this country. I’ve sent out a global email with the world and his wife copied in to our GREAT AND GOOD ONES to explain these figures. If you do the maths. we would be needing to ask for 6 billion if these sums are to be realizes. For some, it is only the money but plenty of us have the bigger picture in place and mind!

    Hope you all have a good Valentines’ Day!

  7. Hanora Brennan says:

    The mentality of these ‘Group Goys and Gals’ is so offensive to others that do not toe their party line. John Kelly is currently hosting a meeting in LIberty Hall to ‘explain ALL to survivors’ so it will be interesting to see what emerges from our esteemed GREAT ONE!

    He has told others that the March on 24 March is nothing and to ignore it! I think Big John and Co. will have a rude awakening on the day.

  8. Peter Quinn says:

    I see from yesterday’s Irish Independent the Clonmel Bellows doesn’t want that €1b from the Pope after all – he just wants to glad hand him and perhaps kiss his feet – so does Christine Buckley. What do they expect from an encounter with the German Pope besides tons of photographs to hand to their friends? What can’t they say to the Bishops that can only be said to the Pope? I supposs this is what they call jiggery Popery up North.I hope its not catching.
    There is a British Army expression “arse in cake” for all this sort of carry on. Mark my words, nothing good will come of it.

  9. Jim Beresford says:

    Patrick: yours 10.02.10

    You suggest that the Irish child prison survivors forgive. I’m not sure what you mean by that.

    Ireland illegally imprisoned me at the age of 13 back in the 1960s. I escaped from the abusive Dublin prison (Artane) and fled to England. The Irish authorities issued a warrant for my arrest and tried to drag me back to prison. I managed to avoid re-capture and I have lived as a child prison refugee ever since. I could never return to Ireland for fear of State persecution.

    In 1999 the Irish State offered what it called a “sincere apology” to its former child prisoners. I asked the Irish government, pursuant to that apology, to issue me a piece of paper invalidating the illegal detention order and the illegal arrest warrant that still stood against my name. I explained that the State has a Constitutional duty to restore my good name and that I would accept the piece of paper as fulfilment of that duty.

    For the past eleven years the Irish government has stubbornly refused to issue that piece of paper. So long as those illegal documents stand against my name I remain a second class Irish citizen and would be subject to discrimination by State and people alike were I ever to take up residence in Ireland or even visit the country.

    By refusing to issue the piece of paper the Irish government has effectively condemned me to permanent exile from the country of my birth. There are thousands of Irish child prison refugees like me in the UK.

    Does forgiveness in my case mean dropping my legitimate demand for justice and resigning myself to second class citizenship? You surely don’t think I should forgive the delinquent Irish State while it still has its jackboot on my neck, do you?

    Jim Beresford, former Artane child prisoner 14262, Huddersfield, England

  10. patrick bentley says:

    Hi Paddy.The greatest fear I’d hold for survivors is when this money is handed over and people get what they should have got from the state. What then? Will survivors move on with the help of therapy and forgive and find a life for themselves. That was Don Baker’s point on the “Late Late Show” some time back. We need to find a line and cross it and move on. It’s sad to say but Christine Buckley looks like a woman whose soul is so wrapped up in this on going fight for justice that when its over they will have nothing healthy to fall back on in life. She needs to take more care of herself or her anger will be the death of her. My prayer is that there will be true healing from God himself and that we’ll stop needing people like the Pope and co to say their empty sorrys..Patrick

  11. Paddy says:

    Kate. I’ve never met anyone who could honestly tell me that any of these so called organisations represented anyone – they’ve never been able to show that they were given a mandate. As someone who was abused while in institutional care, I am sickened to see these people running off to have “confidential meetings” with bishops and doing shady deals for very large amounts of money. I too think this whole thing is appalling. The real shame seems to me to be that everything is reduced down to what really amounts to nothing more than a few miserable Euro. These organisations would do well to remember that ‘money is the root of all evil’. Out of sheer decency they MUST consult with the people they purport to represent before taking actions such as they have taken over the past days and indeed months. Paddy.

  12. FXR says:

    Meet with Herr Ratzinger and hand him a PR tool he can use.

    Classic Stockholm syndrome.

  13. Charles O'Rourke says:

    The bishops facilitated the attacks on minors through a cunning mechanism of silence and deceit, true, but the orders who operated child prisons such as the Irish Christian Brothers carried out attacks on children on an unimaginable scale for the best part of a century are not mentioned in that billion euro letter to Ratzinger. Should not the disbanding of that order be a priority in that letter. How could survivors at that meeting miss the one golden opportunity to rid the land of this criminal sect. Were they blinded by the shining Euros?

  14. Kate Dowling says:

    Hi Paddy,
    I’m wondering who do the four organisations really represent? Does anybody know? What is their agenda? Is it just money?
    Is it possible that when this 1b euro is granted it’ll be buying silence and then all the abuse will be hidden away again? I don’t know Paddy. I think this is appalling – certainly looks like these four organisations are only interested in money!!!

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