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Campaigner: Christine Buckley with son Conor. Photo: Mark Condren

Campaigner: Christine Buckley with son Conor. Photo: Mark Condren

Campaigner: Christine Buckley with son Conor. Photo: Mark Condren

INSTITUTIONAL abuse survivor and renowned campaigner Christine Buckley (67) has died.

The co-founder of the Aislinn centre passed away at St Vincent's Hospital this morning following a lengthy battle with cancer.

She is survived by her journalist husband Donal, daughter Cliona, sons Darragh and Conor.

Tributes have been pouring in for the late humanitarian as news of her passing emerged.

Paying tribute to his inspirational wife, her heart-broken husband Donal said that while she felt "vindicated" by the Ryan Commission, but she had always felt that it "didn't go far enough."

VINDICATED

"Some of the cross examinations were too gentle on the Sisters of Mercy. But she was pleased that she was vindicated," he said.

The journalist recalled how one of the proudest moments of her life was in December 2012 when she received an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Trinity College Dublin.

He told The Pat Kenny Show how it was a "very proud day" as her father had gone to Trinity and she had always wanted to be in the legal or medical profession and he joked how now she could say she was in both.

"She could now be called a doctor, not that she used the title but she was thrilled," he added.

A spokesperson for the Aislinn Centre told the Herald they were "still in shock".

"It's absolutely devastating for us. We still can't believe it," she said.

Her son Conor is well known in social circles in Dublin, having previously been the co-manager of celebrity haunt Krystle. He now works as a manager in Everleigh Gardens on Harcourt Street and is good friends with rugby champ Brian O'Driscoll.

Conor revealed on the same day as the Six Nations triumph over Italy last Saturday how O'Driscoll had taken time out of his busy schedule to personally call his mother.

He added that the big-hearted gesture meant so much to his mum and buoyed her spirits immensely.

"We all know how good Brian O'Driscoll is on the pitch," he said. "But the true mark of this legend is what he does for others. He dedicates so much time to Temple Street hospital and other charities. Last night summed him up for me. He heard my mum was in hospital and he rang her to cheer her up.

GESTURES

"Four months ago, he surprised her and called up to our house to have a cup of tea and a chat. Both these gestures completely transformed my mum's spirits."

A former winner of the Person of the Year Award, she was the main subject of an RTE documentary called Dear Daughter.

She was born to a Nigerian medical student and a married Irish woman and was placed into care when she was just three weeks old.

The 1996 programme saw her recount her life as a child growing up in the notorious Goldenbridge orphanage in Dublin, run by the Sisters of Mercy. It was one of the first revelations of institutional child abuse in the Catholic Church in Ireland.

She subsequently gave evidence about her personal experiences to the Ryan Commission which was established in 1999 and prompted thousands of victims to come forward and give their accounts.

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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