Friday 15 December 2017

Stories of survival should not be hidden in 'shame'

It was wrong to give a guarantee of anonymity to both victims and abusers

Mr Justice Sean Ryan
Mr Justice Sean Ryan

Emer O'Kelly

IT IS exactly five years since the Ryan report into the residential institutional abuse of children was published. When he presented his report, Mr Justice Sean Ryan said categorically that the State authorities had been systematically and continuously "submissive and deferential" to the religious orders which ran the hellholes that were industrial schools (and also the Magdalene laundries, although they were not included in the scope of the report).

When his commission of enquiry had originally been set up, it had been headed by Ms Justice Mary Laffoy; she resigned in despair because she found herself faced with a brick wall in attempting to get co-operation from the religious orders involved.

Judge Ryan stuck with it; and he gave us a report which proved in the face of every attempt at denial and justification, that children were denied their rights, denied an education, physically abused, frequently sexually abused, half-starved, and terrorised. Thirty five-thousand children were committed to industrial schools over the years.

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