Monday 17 June 2019

Stars sing at rally in support of abuse victims

Francis accused of 'paying lip service' to issue of abuse

Protesters at the gathering in solidarity for victims of clerical sex
abuse at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin. Photo: Arthur Carron
Protesters at the gathering in solidarity for victims of clerical sex abuse at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin. Photo: Arthur Carron
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

A crowd of around 5,000 attended the Stand 4 Truth rally to highlight the plight of those affected by clerical abuse. The event was timed to coincide with the Papal Mass at the Phoenix Park.

Stars including Hozier, Mary Black, Mary Coughlan and Liam Ó Maonlaí performed at the rally, which was held at the Garden of Remembrance in the heart of Dublin's north inner city.

Hozier told the Irish Independent that he had felt compelled to attend the event and "stand with" those who had suffered due to clerical abuse.

"This is an important time in Irish history. It's a time for us to stand together in solidarity with those who have experienced the other side of the Catholic Church and the legacy of that.

"I came here today to perform as an act of conscience, I'm not here against the Pope's visit, I am just here to show support to those who have suffered.

"I am from a Catholic upbringing and I have experienced faith in my own time. I do not have any gripes with faith, but there has to be a lot of changes made to face up to the wrongs that have taken place."

Colm O'Gorman, a survivor of abuse and the executive director of Amnesty International Ireland, had organised the rally.

He said it was an example of "love in the face of deceit".

Mr O'Gorman continued: "I sent a tweet out a couple of weeks ago for people to get involved in the Stand 4 Truth event and I could never have envisaged that so many people would turn up. There is a real outpouring of love here."

Mr O'Gorman said the Vatican had become the home of "deflection and obfuscation".

Róisín O at the gathering in solidarity for the victims of clerical sex abuse at the Garden of Rememberance in Dublin. Photo: Arthur Carron
Róisín O at the gathering in solidarity for the victims of clerical sex abuse at the Garden of Rememberance in Dublin. Photo: Arthur Carron

"I'm just a bloke in Ireland, who has been asking different Popes to tell the truth for 20 years. This is about justice. How can the Church take action on abuse if it is refusing to act?

"The only thing the Pope needs to do is tell the truth."

Mr O'Gorman accused the Church hierarchy of choosing to protect "the clergy and money" and "cover up" clerical abuse.

"I hope the Pope has the capacity to forgive himself. He said those who covered up abuse were 'caca' - or poo - but I want to know who's poo? Was it Benedict? Was it himself?"

Hozier at the gathering in solidarity for the victims of clerical sex abuse at the Garden of Rememberance in Dublin. Photo: Arthur Carron
Hozier at the gathering in solidarity for the victims of clerical sex abuse at the Garden of Rememberance in Dublin. Photo: Arthur Carron

Singer Brian Kennedy told the Irish Independent that as a gay man, it was important for him to perform at the rally and that he was adding his voice "to the voiceless".

"The Pope is here in Ireland for the World Meeting of Families, while not recognising all the different types of families in Ireland. I myself don't feel welcome by the Catholic Church because I am a gay man.

"I sing in church and at weddings and I love the whole thing of having a faith and going to church, but I can't feel a part of it because gay people aren't accepted by the Catholic Church."

Mary Coughlan, who sang 'Magdalene Laundries', said she had not been a practising Catholic for many years due to clerical sex-abuse stories.

She accused Pope Francis of merely "paying lip service", adding: "Sorry isn't enough.

"These people, these priests, bishops who covered up sex abuse, they need to be in prison."

Following the rally, the crowd marched to the former Magdalene Laundry on Seán McDermott Street.

Another rally, entitled Say Nope to the Pope, took place outside the GPO and attracted 5,000 supporters.

Irish Independent

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