Wall of silence about 60 years of child abuse still not entirely broken down

Partial new version. Anger and barracking reminiscent of the launch of Eames Bradley greeted the long awaited unveiling.

“The little comfort we have is the knowledge that it vindicated the victims who were raped and sexually abused,” said Mr Walsh, of the leading campaign group Irish Survivors of Child Abuse (Soca). I’m very angry, very bitter, and feel cheated and deceived. I would have never opened my wounds if I’d known this was going to be the end result.”

This is just a first bite at the final massive 2,600 page Report into Irish Child Abuse. It exposes in full detail a culture we fervently hope is truly dead and not merely moribund. If such institutionalised treatment is truly over, we may retain some hope in the possibility of progress. The website is under huge pressure but I managed to download the executive summary. Links to the full report will no doubt function in time. The whole terrible story unfolds in five volumes. Its presentation defies easy summary and being a judge’s work, help to highlight key points is limited. The chair Mr Justice Sean Ryan said the report “spoke for itself” and he took no questions. The Associated Press have made a good first cut. Update Cardinal Sean Brady said he was “profoundly sorry and deeply ashamed that children suffered in such awful ways in these institutions. The incoming leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, said : those who perpetrated violence and abuse should be held to account, “no matter how long ago it happened”. Interesting he says this: how can they be held to account if there are to be no prosecutions?

Key points

More than 30,000 children deemed to be petty thieves, truants or from dysfunctional families — a category that often included unmarried mothers — were sent to Ireland’s austere network of industrial schools, reformatories, orphanages and hostels from the 1930s until the last church-run facilities shut in the 1990s.

The report believed victims’ evidence. That was a great victory, not to be taken for granted.

But the compensation battle continues.

The Christian Brothers damned for institutionalised abuse and accused in one centre of living it up on State money intended for the children, are accused of stifling debate.

The report found that molestation and rape were “endemic” in boys’ facilities, chiefly run by the Christian Brothers order, and supervisors pursued policies that increased the danger. Girls supervised by orders of nuns, chiefly the Sisters of Mercy, suffered much less sexual abuse but frequent assaults and humiliation designed to make them feel worthless.

The report proposed 21 ways the government could recognize past wrongs, including building a permanent memorial, providing counseling and education to victims and improving Ireland’s current child protection services.

The Irish government already has funded a parallel compensation system that has paid 12,000 abuse victims an average of euro65,000 (£74,000). About 2,000 claims remain outstanding.

Victims receive the payouts only if they waive their rights to sue the state and the church. Hundreds have rejected that condition and taken their abusers and those church employers to court.

The Indo higlights the fact that the religious congregations have not accepted responsibility.
BBC wrap and Shane Harrison talks to victims here. Irish Times now has a fat summary by Patsy McGarry

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

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