Irish News

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Campaigner Christine Buckley passes away after a long illness

Published 11/03/2014|11:06

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Christine Buckley was presented with the European Volunteer of the Award in 2009
10/06/2009
Members of the public hug Christine Buckley during a silent march in solidarity with survivors of sexual abuse on Molesworth Strret, Dublin.
Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Members of the public hug Christine Buckley during a silent march in solidarity with survivors of sexual abuse on Molesworth Street, 2009.
CHRISTINE BUCKLEY
Christine Buckley photographed in her home in the early 1990s.

Christine Buckley, the courageous campaigner for victims of institutional abuse, has passed away after a long illness.

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Christine was the director of the Aislinn support and education group for survivors of Industrial Schools in Ireland.

Her husband Donal Buckley told independent.ie: “She was a warrior for people’s rights, a warrior for education, a warrior for people trying to trace their parents. She was a warrior against injustice.”

Christine campaigned tirelessly on behalf of victims of institutional abuse for more than 25 years.

From the age of just three weeks, she was placed in care, and raised in St. Vincent’s Industrial School, in Goldenbridge.

She spoke privately about her own personal experiences in 1984, and then went public in 1992.

She is herself a survivor of several types of institutional abuse.

Ms Buckley dedicated a big part of her life to help others.

As a direct result of her intervention, a Commission [Child Abuse Commission] was set up to examine these organisations.

Thousands of victims came forward to give evidence.

She was named European Volunteer of the Year in 2009. Last December, she was conferred with a Doctor in Laws (LL.D) from Trinity College.

These traumatic experiences were put together in a film - Dear Daughter (director, Louis Lentin, 1996), with her as the central character.

RTE Radio 1 today played an excerpt from the Gay Byrne Show in 1992 of Ms Buckley speaking about her ‘horrific’ experience at Goldenbridge.

Director Louis Lentin: “It’s very sad. I’ve just heard it in the last half hour. She was an amazing woman, an emphatic fighter. She protested about her time in Goldenbridge and once she made up her mind she just kept on protesting.

I met her shortly after her interview with Gay Byrne. Because of her background she didn’t click with everyone immediately. But we remained until her death close friends.

“She took everything in her stride.”

He spoke about some of the negative feedback Christine had gotten as a result of her campaigning: “They accused of us of being anti-Semitic at times.”

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