Thursday 30 March 2017

We just want to be normal kids, abused child told judge

Sarah Stack and Brian Hutton

ONE of the children abused in the Roscommon case told a High Court judge: "We just want to be normal kids."

It was clear the simple but moving remark had impacted on Mr Justice John MacMenamin as he described his meeting with the youngsters.

After speaking with the siblings informally and away from lawyers, the judge gave a touching description of their fears and their remarkable dignity.

"What they wanted was that their voices be heard," he told his courtroom after ruling a report into their case should be made public.

"I should place on record that I consider that the children both individually and collectively are remarkably brave and resilient.

"Most importantly, they wished it be known that they wanted to be able to lead their own lives in a normal way."

The judge told the court that despite their bravery the children remained vulnerable.

Fearful

They are also fearful about the publicity the report's release would spark and of some sensationalised media coverage surrounding their case.

"Some are reconciled to this, some are not," said the judge.

One was so disturbed by reliving the nightmare they thought it would be better to live at home than go through the coverage again. "I can't do it again," the child said.

Another thing that haunted them was why they were being listened to now when their voices were ignored for so long during their ordeal.

"They asked why they hadn't been taken seriously. One said: 'I didn't want this to happen to me. I now feel scared and frightened,'" the judge said.

Mr Justice MacMenamin said it was "simply impossible to convey in words their sense of anger, hurt, frustration, betrayal and fear".

"The children should not be asked, as they put it, to relive the experience. They want it understood that they are normal young people," he said.

Irish Independent

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