Acknowledgement of wrongdoing is critical factor…

Gladys is right. The focus on Adams in the child abuse story is utterly misplaced (if understandable):

The programme also detailed attempts over the years by Gerry Adams, and later by Fr Aidan Troy, to arrange a face-to-face meeting between Tyrell and Liam Adams. Although Tyrell ultimately felt let down by Gerry Adams and insulted by Fr Troy, her eagerness for a meeting was bound up with her wish for her father to admit – to her – what he had done. Watching the programme, I could almost imagine that she wouldn’t have come forward publicly now, and pursue a legal case, if she had had the chance to confront her father, and to hear him admit his deeds.

The need that many victims of abuse feel for acknowledgement of what has happened to them is well understood by scholars in this area and by the victims themselves. Aine Tyrell’s story throws this issue up in stark relief.

There is something very important wrapped up in this concept of acknowledgement. In effect it is a cornerstone of criminal justice system. It tells the victim that redemption is possible (in the most secular sense of the term). That there is light at the end of a very long and very dark tunnel.

Aine Tyrell tried to get it through a man (whomever he might have been) who could never have reasonably provided it to her: ie, her abuser’s brother. It is the remove of the system that serves a useful purpose. The question remains, is that system suitable for purpose.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty