Child abuse: the full story at last?

The frenzy over MPs’ expenses in the UK should pale by comparison with the public reaction in Ireland to the long-awaited report this week of the Commission to inquire into the horrific extent of 60 years of child abuse by Catholic priests and order members. At least it ought to: I expect it will, I’ve only observed the unfolding story from a distance. Or could it be that the public are becoming desensitised by the subject at last? Outrage and witch hunts are hardly the right response, but even now, shouldn’t people be on the alert for more evasion? Is it just me or has the coverage trailing the report been fairly muted? The Irish Times ran a substantial backgrounder yesterday by Mary Raftery, whose RTE doc sparked the decade-long investigation. Raftery recounts a tale of official obstruction and later compromise, in the interests of natural justice and handling an almost overwhelming volume of material. This weekend the BBC in NI and on networks trailed the report. So far though, I can’t trace any more in Google news Ireland or from RTE. Notoriously, in spite of more than a decade of exposures worldwide, foot dragging has dogged the whole subject for years, not only in Ireland. At least the current archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin was savvy enough to warn on Holy Thursday that the impending report would “shock us all.”. Further action from government and the Church will be keenly awaited.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London