Thursday 26 April 2018

Why voices of those brutalised in our nation's care must be heard

'No Escape' is a searing testament to generations of inhumanity, writes Emer O'Kelly

THERE is a reverberating, almost apocalyptic conclusion that we must come to after watching and listening to No Escape on the Peacock Theatre stage: let us salute the man called Sean Ryan.

Appointed to a thankless task where the civil and religious authorities both seemed determined upon blocking the work of the Commission into Child Abuse, Judge Sean Ryan produced a 2,500-page report into institutional abuse, every measured word a howling indictment of Ireland's care for its children. His finger pointed unwaveringly at the might of Church and State, becoming a towering allegory for justice denied and delayed, proven horribly and irrefutably by the commission.

Mr Justice Ryan would not allow the living or the dead to be brushed into the filth of a terrible history. Slowly, patiently, he carried out his investigations, using testimony before his own commission and testimony which had gone before. And he shone the relentless light of compassion and humanity into the sewers and corners of Irish life where the men and women whose lives were supposedly dedicated to god claimed that the torture chambers and slave labour institutions they ran were "committed and progressive".

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