“They Don’t Want The Files And Testimonies To Be Kept Secret”


This morning.

At 10am on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour

The Irish government is proposing that important documents about industrial schools should be sealed for 75 years. But some women who stayed in them, like Rosemary [Adaser], pictured above when she was a baby, say they don’t want the files and testimonies to be kept secret.

They say they’re crucial, historical documents. The government disagrees, believing it’s about confidentiality and preservation. We hear from Rosemary and Elizabeth, women in their 60s and 70s, who describe what it was like living in these places.

Listen live here

Meanwhile at 11am…

This morning.

The Retention of Records Bill 2019 will be discussed at a meeting of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Skills.

The draft of this bill proposes to seal millions of abuse records from survivors and the public for at least 75 years.

These records include every document gathered or made by the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, Residential Institutions Redress Board and Residential Institutions Redress Review Committee.

The Minister for Education Joe McHugh asked the committee to examine the issue.

Those attending today’s meeting include survivors, lawyers, historians and archivists including Carmel McDonnell-Byrne, Eileen Molloy, Dr Mary Lodato, Catriona Crowe, Dr Fred Logue, from FP Logue Solicitors; Dr Maeve O’Rourke, lecturer in human rights law at NUI Galway; and Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, lecturer in history at NUI Galway.

The meeting will get under way at 11am (see link above).

After the meeting, there will be a press conference at 1pm in The Gandon Boardroom at The Davenport Hotel, 8 – 10 Merrion Street Lower, Dublin 2.

The written submissions made to the committee by those taking part can be read here

Among those written submissions are two from members A.P and E.A., of the Association of Mixed Race Irish.

A.P. wrote:

“I made a special trip to London to give my submission to the Committee in person. I did not do this for the State to lock my testimony away for 75 years. I am now left wondering what it was all for and what is the State trying to hide.

When such a Bill is put in place it is usually to protect the State. Locking away our records is most certainly not for benefit or the protection of survivors.

My submission was given in good faith. As my submission is my own “words” I do not give the Irish State permission to lock away my ‘words’ for 75 years or any records related to either to my submission or my time spent in institutional care.

This move will always leave the State open to criticism and conspiracy theories as to why the need for such a veil of secrecy that the State really shouldn’t be so comfortable with.”

E.A. wrote:

“I wrote two statements touching on some of my experiences in state institutions and enormous suffering and unhappiness.

Before submitting statements I was never informed that my testimonies would be kept secret for any number of years, or that by submitting I had given copyright of my testimonies away.

I am a victim of institutional abuse afforded to me by state institutes, a state initiative. Those experiences were endured and issued through religious silence.

Shame needs exposure, yet another blanket of silence is now being proposed.

I am present, living alongside those experiences. In order to heal, and heal I must, I need my experiences aired, shared, scrutinised and acknowledged in my lifetime!

Knowledge will help ensure those atrocities are never again repeated. Besides, I’m not history, yet.”

Report containing submissions from abuse survivors will not be made public (Ronan McGreevy, The Irish Times)

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7 thoughts on ““They Don’t Want The Files And Testimonies To Be Kept Secret”

  1. Conksi

    how does this work with GDPR as a matter of interest?
    AFAIK if a company has information on you you can request this information, is this info held directly by government, or by the orders, do the orders (or whatevah u call em) have copies?
    And would EU GDPR legislation trump this very scared looking Irish proposal?
    Legal Coffee?

    1. Cian

      I’d be careful with GDPR. A company cannot hold personal data for longer than necessary…. so if you went down the GDPR path the company may decide to delete everything!!

  2. Bebe

    Surely this is so topical with such impact on our understanding of this recent period it should be a public session ? Appears to be a private hearing … were participants aware it would be held in private ?

  3. Jonner

    and far more important than the distraction that was €1m jizzed away on a printer.

    surely they won’t get sesy with this?

  4. some old queen

    This is of course a move to prevent legal actions by the victims- in other words its about money. It is also repeating the abuse on these poor people all over again- disgraceful.

    1. some old queen

      Nonan done a deal with the church to destroy the records? That wouldn’t surprise me- absolute lizard.

      Why was there nobody from the department of Education in attendance?

      What possible justification can be made for attempting this?

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