Tag Archives: abuse

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From top: The results of a poll on last night’s Claire Byrne Live which was attended by Colm O’Gorman and David Quinn (third pic) and Michael O’Brien, above

Last night.

On RTÉ One’s Claire Byrne Live.

Colm O’Gorman, of Amnesty Ireland, and Irish Independent columnist David Quinn, of Iona Institute, joined Claire Byrne for a debate on the Catholic Church and the State.

Members of the audience also spoke, including Michael O’Brien, who, in 2009, spoke on Questions and Answers about the abuse he suffered at an industrial school and how he was told he was telling lies at the Laffoy/Ryan Commission.

Last night, Mr O’Brien accused Mr Quinn of telling him, in a Dáil committee room, that ‘it didn’t happen as bad as you’re saying’. Mr Quinn said he never met Mr O’Brien in a Dáil committee room.

Donald Clarke, of The Irish Times, also spoke from the audience recalling a column he wrote on June 7, 2014, headlined: ‘If you don’t approve of the church then don’t take part in its rituals’.

Readers may wish to note that the latest Census figures for religion won’t be available until October 12.

From last night’s debate.

Michael O’Brien:All we have is denial, denial, denial. And the one thing that I will propose: that the assets of the Catholic Church be frozen and frozen now. Until the mother and babies, the institutional abuse, the clerical abuse and the magdalene laundries – all that is sorted out for once and for all so that this country can move, as it did years ago, as a peaceful country. And not for us to be listening, day after day, day after day. Because when you talk about abuse, I feel, as if it only happened to me a few minutes ago. And this is the problem we have.”

“The Catholic Church has denied and denied and covered up, from the first day. And not one Bishop, not one who covered it up has been brought into one of our courts.”

Claire Byrne: “Michael, do you not feel that things are moving? When we have the Taoiseach saying, only yesterday, that the church must measure up to the responsibilities that they accepted. Do you not feel that that’s a fundamental shift?

O’Brien:I can’t believe the Taoiseach any more because I remember when they removed the ambassador from the Vatican – a big hullaballoo. What did he do? He sent him back again. He put an ambassador back in there again. And went soft on the church. And because the mother and babies [story] came, this disgrace upon all of us, a shame upon all of us, that this thing happened, he now, again, is battering, shouting at the church.”

“I’m shouting at the church because I know what the church done to me and what two or three individuals of the church done to me. It’s easy to stand there, you, David [Quinn]. You know nothing about being raped and buggered. You know nothing about it. I do. I do. And four of my brothers and three of my little sisters – the same thing happened to them. Eight of us from the one family.”

Byrne: “Ok, Michael, I just…”

O’Brien: “So don’t…”

Byrne: “I just don’t want to put David in a position where he’s seen as a denier because he is not.”

Gorman: “It might be useful for me to say something and I completely understand where Michael’s anger and upset and I think it’s quite righteous where it’s coming from. But I do just want to say David [Quinn] and I were talking earlier on about the first time we were in a  television studio and on that occasion David was advocating for the church to sell off every asset the church possessed until it properly compensated and dealt with these issues. So…”

David Quinn: “Thank you.”

Gorman: “So, to be fair, David’s been clear. David and I don’t agree on a very significant number of things but, to be fair, he’s also looked for, he’s generally looked for accountability on these issues.”

Byrne: “And I’m glad you made that point. We did ask out Claire Byrne Live/Amarach research panel: should the Government seize church land and property to compensate victims of clerical or institutional abuse – 69% said yes and 17% said no, 14% don’t know. Which is interesting. Because only in the last couple of hours, Minister Leo Varadkar says that property cannot be seized and that, if we ran a referendum on it, that that referendum would be lost. I know that Simon Harris suggested that, over the weekend, that perhaps we could do that. I don’t know, David, if you have a view of that.”

Quinn: “I mean it’s extremely likely it would be lost because you, you’d have to change the constitution in such a way that you make it easy for the State to seize property and, you know, it wouldn’t just be the church that would be affected. Basically, you’d give the State incredibly sweeping powers to seize property. Obviously, in terms of the compensation scheme,  the 18 orders around the institutions must contribute their fair share and so the Comptroller and Auditor General released a report and so, if they’re not paying their fair share. Mind you, it also showed, of the 18 orders, most have paid what they said they’d pay and it’s important to put that on the record. The two, which are the biggest ones, which are the Christian Brothers the Mercy sisters, who ran most of the country’s institutions, they have yet to meet their obligations. I hope that happens in time. It ought to happen in time.”

Later

Donald Clarke: “…People who do not believe in the Catholic doctrine, do not believe in all the things that are being said, should not take part in its rituals. These seems a very, very modest proposal to me…”

Previously: Did Your Nan Leave Money To The Nuns?

“These Are Just Tactics”

Watch back in full here

football

The Sun reports:

Police have revealed there are more than 500 alleged victims and 248 clubs named in the football sex abuse probe.

The scandal emerged last year when a string of top footballers claimed they had been abused while at clubs’ youth systems and academies.

Police chiefs today announced Operation Hydrant, the UK-wide investigation into non-recent child sexual abuse, has now received 1,016 referrals.

This is up from 819 before Christmas.

Cops are now looking into 184 suspects, 526 potential victims, and 248 clubs.

This is an increase of 100 clubs, professional and amateur, since the last update four weeks ago.

Footie abuse scandal: 526 alleged victims, 184 possible suspects and 248 clubs named in football sex abuse probe (The Sun)

Previously: The Net Widens

Pic: Yahoo

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A look at the social welfare system in Ireland, from the eyes of Roos Demol, a Belgian writer/blogger resident in the country for eighteen years, as posted in Migrants in Ireland, her blog dedicated to stories of the Irish immigration experience.

The last thing I ever wanted to do was to become dependent on social welfare. But things happen. I had to quit my job a few months ago because I needed to be with my daughter who had several health problems, so money was already scarce, then my estranged husband decided to cut the maintenance in half and I was left penniless.

As any mother would do, I got into protection mode and did everything possible to get some kind of income. While looking for jobs, I also signed on for social welfare in the hope it would keep me going.

Ireland has an extremely outdated signing-on system., the endless paperwork, the old fashioned standing in line, the grumpy people in the social welfare office, it was all very unpleasant to experience, but I took it on and went through it, because I had no choice.

Nothing, however had prepared me for the meeting with the social welfare inspector.

Of course, I do understand why an inspection could be necessary, especially since I noticed that in the social welfare office and the community office every document you produce is considered to be fake, and everything you say is considered a lie, even my birth certificate was looked at with suspicion. ( I had to point out to the lady in the SWO that ‘September’ in Dutch means ‘September’ in English. I keep forgetting that Anglophones find understanding other languages very difficult).

I went to the appointment with the inspector as instructed on a Monday at 12. I was a bit taken aback by the office doors that each had a lock and an entry code. What was going on?

The man, blond with little piercing blue eyes, let me into his office, as always I smiled and said hello. He didn’t smile back.

He took my file and looked through it, then he said ‘So are you going back home?’ I looked puzzled. He repeated ‘why don’t you go back home to your family?’. I then realised that by ‘home’ he meant Belgium.

I looked at him in disbelief. I said ‘I’ve been living here for 18 years, my children are Irish, why on earth would I go back to Belgium?’

Then he said ‘So I guess you’re not then’. ‘Because you are going to get money off the state here’ he shouted out loud with a menacing look on his face.

I was bewildered, from then on I knew this was not just a talk about what happened and about the steps I should take, etc. this was an interrogation. I had to keep telling myself I was in Ireland, land of the thousand welcomes. I have borne children here, I have paid taxes, I pay taxes every time I buy something, I pay road tax, I delivered very intelligent and talented children to this country, I organised charity events for Action Breast Cancer , I am a cultural ambassador for the Irish In Europe Association, promoting Irish businesses in Brussels, I did workshops with teenagers from disadvantaged backgrounds, I fundraised money for the local school, brought choirs to small churches in the country side and many more things. but here was a guy telling me I am taking money off the state and telling me I should go ‘home’.

That meeting lasted around an hour. I was treated like a criminal all the way through, everything I said was either ridiculed or sneered at.

I could only think of one thing. What if I was black? What has this guy been saying to other people?

I did not sleep that night, I was completely traumatised. I made a complaint, we’ll see what happens.

I thought about the movies I saw, the books I read about the Magdalen sisters and the industrial schools, Angela’s Ashes and the way poor people were treated in the old days. It was always just fiction, but now I had experienced it myself, it is still happening.

I used to work in the employment office in Brussels, I met people like me, I also worked in prison for six years as a nurse. Never in my entire life have I treated anyone with such disrespect. I am totally disgusted.

I am in bad luck and working hard to get out of it. I am not taking social welfare because in the end I am not yet reaching the (very low) threshold for job seekers allowance, and the thought of ever having to see this man again, makes me sick. I think I’d rather go ‘home’ indeed.

Migrants in Ireland

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Last night.

On RTÉ’s Six One, anchor Brian Dobson introduced a news item, by RTÉ’s political correspondent, saying the following:

The Ceann Comhairle has said additional measures may have to considered by the Oireachtas for deputies who abuse Dáil privilege and name individuals unfairly in the chamber. “

The news item included footage of Ms Fitzgerald interviewing the Ceann Comhairle, Seán Ó Fearghaíl and, while it didn’t broadcast the full interview, the report presented Mr Ó Fearghaíl’s responses.

Martina Fitzgerald (voiceover): “While he says it’s important that deputies raise issues of public importance under Dáil privilege, he says they may also have to have a look at new regulations for those who abuse the privilege.”

Seán Ó Fhearghaíl: “The new Committee of Procedures, I would hope, will draw up a set of measures to deal with such eventualities.”

Fitzgerald (voiceover): “And what about fining them?

Ó Fhearghaíl: “I don’t know, I don’t know. It would seem to me, to be a pretty crude instrument but it might be an effective instrument. I’m willing to consider that. If that’s proposed and agreed by the CP, I’ve no difficulty with that approach.”

Hmm..

Watch back in full here

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From top: Bill Kenneally, Former Superintendant in Waterford Sean Cashman

In February Bill Kenneally was jailed for 14 years, after he pleaded guilty to 10 sample counts of indecent assault on 10 boys between October 31, 1984 and December 31, 1987, in Waterford.

Kenneally, whose grandfather and uncle were Fianna Fáil TDs, used his position as a sports coach – basketball, soccer and tennis – to lure and abuse boys.

He was eventually charged – 25 years after Kenneally himself admitted to gardaí that he abused a boy in 1987.

Yesterday, it was reported that Kenneally lodged an appeal with the Court of Criminal Appeal against his sentence.

Further to this, several men who were abused by Kenneally spoke to Damien Tiernan on RTÉ’s Prime Time – with several of them saying some adults in Waterford at the time were aware of the abuse but did nothing about it.

In addition Mr Tiernan spoke to former superintendent Sean Cashman about when Kenneally admitted the abuse in 1987 – after a father reported that his son had been abused.

Mr Cashman recalled:

“He [the father] told me that his son, who was a student at De La Salle, aged about 15, that he was one of a number of students who were being lured to the house of a man named Billy Kenneally and that this man was coming in to the schoolyard and that he was giving them basketball lessons. In a short time, he had started to interfere with them and that there was a sexual contact, content to it and he just wanted to report it to me.”

The father told Cashman his son could not be interviewed so Mr Cashman contacted Kenneally’s uncle, the former Fianna Fáil TD, Billy Keneally, who died in 2009.

The TD arranged for Kenneally to go to the garda station when he met the then Supt Cashman and Inspector PJ Hayes.

Mr Cashman recalled:

He was a broken man, he was absolutely emotional, he was shaking like a leaf, he was in terrible shape, I thought. He said, ‘I know why I’m here lads and I’m glad to be here because I want to be looked after’ – or words to that effect now. He might have said, ‘I want to be looked after’ or ‘I want to be treated’.”

Mr Hayes recalled:

“And he went on then to tell me that he had placed handcuffs on this young boy and I asked him, ‘where did it take place?’ and he said it was in his own home.”

Mr Cashman added:

“We did not have evidence to charge him now if I… ah, he admitted it, I’ve known a case where a man came through the station at one time and admitted murder that he hadn’t done. So you know the fact, he did admit it and I’ll have to say, I knew he was the culprit, it wasn’t a question of his imagination, I knew he was the culprit but I didn’t have a statement from an injured party.”

“And I know, I know people were talking about it, you know, it was a political family and it was a cover-up, well there was no cover-up at all. And the irony of the whole situation really is that the best help I got to try and put him where he should have been, before the court, was from his uncle.”

I got absolutely no help from any injured party. None.

After this, Kenneally was no longer allowed to coach at De La Salle and he was told to get counselling. He wasn’t questioned by the gardai again. He continued to live in Waterford.

Twenty five years later, one of boys who had been abused by Kenneally discovered that Kenneally was still involved in coaching basketball but not in a school capacity.

Jason Clancy went to the gardaí in 2012 to tell them about the abuse he suffered as a boy. After waiving his right to anonymity, other victims came forward.

There were originally 74 charges against Kenneally.

Watch back in full here

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Above: Sunday Times journalist Justine McCarthy (above) on Tonight With Vincent Browne last night and (centre) former Children’s Ombudsman Emily Logan

You may recall a post from last September regarding a report by the Children’s Ombudsman into allegations of physical and sexual at an unidentified primary school in Co. Kilkenny.

The school’s child-abuse prevention policy which applied at the time of the alleged abuse states:

“The Stay Safe programme has been approved by the board of management as a teacher’s aid to be used in accordance with the Catholic ethos which demands that the law of God and of the church, and not the child’s feelings, be the guiding principle.”.”

Further to this, Ms McCarthy spoke about the case on Tonight With Vincent Browne last night.

Her appearance followed Fianna Fáil leader Mícheal Martin raising the matter with Taoiseach Enda Kenny during Leaders’ Questions yesterday in which he claimed the Education Minister and the Department of Education have refused to meet with the parents of the children concerned.

Ms McCarthy told viewers:

“In 2006, a child came home from her rural school in Co. Kilkenny and she had a bruise on her arm and when her parents asked, ‘what had happened?’, she said that, ‘a teacher had done it’.

This was the start of what turned out to be a series of disclosures by children, 10 children, aged mostly 5 and 6, who were in a national school, against 3 female teachers in their school.

They alleged that all three had been physically abusive and that two of the teachers had been sexually abusive. The parents contacted the school and, to this day, they really have got no proper response.”

The allegations were investigated by the guards and the HSE and the Board of Management in the school also investigated them. The Children’s Ombudsman, Emily Logan, the first Children’s Ombudsman, she never actually published this report.

She released it to the relevant parties on the day that she left the job as Children’s Ombudsman. The reason it took five years to complete that report is that it was blighted by legal considerations. First of all, the need to keep the identities of children private. But, secondly, because there are serious issues about people’s reputations. And I have to make it clear that these are just allegations.

But the Children’s Ombudsman found very serious, made very serious findings in relation to the HSE and the school found that these allegations were never, in effect, investigated because they were never properly investigated.

Now the report was released to the school, to the Department of Education and to [child and family agency] Tusla and they were all given time to respond to it. That time is up. I believe that the Tusla and the department have responded.

I wrote a story myself some time ago that the chairman of the board of management, who is a priest, held a meeting with the parents of the children who are currently in the school and told them that the report [Children’s Ombudsman’s report] is riddled with errors, he wants it withdrawn and an apology made.

Since this all happened, new complainants and new allegations emerged. These are now being investigated by the guards on Harcourt Square in Dublin. There’s a more serious attitude being taken this time.

That means you have guards investigating this at the moment, Tusla has also appointed a child law solicitor to do a review of how the original allegations were handled.

And that’s probably a good sign that the solicitor I believe is Catherine Ghent, who has a very good reputation. I don’t think she would have taken this on if she felt she wasn’t going to be able to do a proper review.

The teachers against whom the complaints were made are still teaching in the school, even as these two investigations are going on and I think, most significantly, one of the teachers against whom allegations were made, is the principal of the school.

She’s the designated recipient of complaints of child abuse for the school and she continued to sit on the board of management when the board of management was handling these complaints. So there are a lot of questions to be asked about the whole process and about the fairness of the procedures”

[Later]

“When Louise O’Keeffe met the Taoiseach, and I think it was the Minister for Children and the Minister for Education, before Christmas…you remember she came to meet them to discuss how the Government was going to respond to the European Court judgement.

She actually brought a letter with her that was written by that first child, who came home with the bruise on her arm and that child wrote that letter to Enda Kenny, asking him to do something about this.

And I think it’s very interesting that, in fact, the Government’s response to the judgement in the Louise O’Keeffe case is to exclude anybody who was abused in school where no previous complaint had been made.

Now, if you were to apply that to  this current case, and to think these are still children, they would not qualify because there had been no, that I know of, no complaint made before that child came home in 2006 with the bruise on her arm.

Watch in full here

Previously: ‘Any Minister In that Cabinet Meeting Should Be Ashamed’

The ‘Law of God Not the Child’s Feelings Is The Guiding Principle’