December 30, 2002
Connell meets abuse victims

Cardinal Desmond Connell is meeting two survivors of clerical sexual abuse who have called for his resignation as Archbishop of Dublin.

Last week the Cardinal invited Marie Collins and Ken Reilly to meet him hours after they announced they were organising a protest march calling for his resignation over his handling of clerical abuse cases in his diocese.

The march was originally organised to start from the Pro-Cathedral at 1.30pm on the afternoon of 5 January. It remains to be seen if the organisers will press ahead with the action in light of today's meeting.

Posted by Colm at December 30, 2002 01:03 PM
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One In Four - Run For and By People Who Have Experienced Sexual Abuse
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I am absolutely amazed that after five hours of discussion between Ken Rielly, Marie Collins and Cardinal O Connell and other SELF INTERESTED parties that years of antagonistic argument about the rights and wrongs of Child Sexual Abuse can be resolved in such a short time.

The two things which appear to have come out of this meeting are that files which the Church held on victims are to be handed over to the Police. History has shown the Catholic Church is unable to deal with the perpetrators in a satisfactory way or the victims in a humane way.

This is the second time this promise has been made. The Cardinal promised to hand over all files last October.

After years of trying to get my own files from the Catholic Church and the State UNDER THE SO-CALLED FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 1977. I know the complete files will not be handed over and as for Marie and Ken going on a committee for child abuse with the Catholic Church, In my opinion the Catholic Church should have nothing to do with protection of children. Child protection should always be the domain of the Police.

May I suggest that the Irish Government send Ken and Marie to have talks with George Bush in Washington. After five hours they will be able to stop world war three and save the whole world they might even be offered a position on a committee.

Posted by Mary Mc Cartan at January 5, 2003 01:20 PM

Posted by: Mary Mc Cartan on January 5, 2003 06:45 PM

Hi Mary
I totally agree that child protection should be the responsibility of the Gardai and the State...the catholic church has shown itself to be totally unwilling and uninterested in dealing witht he issue with any real sense of integrity. That is why One In Four has always sought responses and action from the State rather than the church. It is obvious to me that the reason why all of this abuse was able to happen in Ireland was ultimately becuase the State and wider Irish society failed to take the protection of children seriously and allowed the church to be supreme in these matters.

As we all know only to well for may years there was any suggestion of sexual molestation or abuse then parents would often go to the local parish priest rather than the gardai....enough said!

I do know that Ken and Marie went to that meeting as private individuals who still feel a sense of connection to the catholic church...the Dublin archdiocese is their diocese and they felt that they wanted to be part of any response...Marie has said that she is not someone who believes everything that has been said by the church but that she wants to see what can be achieved...that is her view and I believe she in entitled to it...even if personally I believe that the church has never shown any real desire to deal with this issue on an institutional level...

That is why when Connells resignation was being sought I said that I didn't believe that any single resignation served any purpose as it was the institutional church that was corrupt and not just that one individual...his resignation would have let the wider church off the hook...a sacrifice to save the institution and a deflection for the true picture of a church that institutionally is wholly responsible for its policy of protecting itself from scandal and challenge by allowing and covering up the rape and abuse of children...

As for the State...there is no doubt that they have failed us all in many ways and equally that our society...us all...carry some of that responsibility...but we have to try to be part of the response...we have to be in there challenging the response thus far and offering some kind of proposals for what we want to happen...we have to be part of the solution. One In Four is NOT the voice for victims or survivors...we do NOT claim to speak for all those who have been abused...we can only speak for ourselves and those that we support. We are eager to be as inclusive as possible and eager to have as many people be part of that work...it is also worth noting that One In Four is NOT a lobby or campaign group. We are a support and therapy agency that primarily seeks to provide individual support and responsed to individual experiences of abuse, where ever they have happened. We work with people who have been sexually abused in any setting by any person. Men and women abused as children by men and women..whether they were abused by clerics, peers, parents, friends, teachers, doctors, babysitters etc etc...

We do not have a scale of victimhood, each persons experience is unique to them and the imapct on them is equally individual. We believe that ther eis little to be served by denying the experience of any other person who was abused, by claiming that the experience of abuse was worse for one rather than another..each persons pain is their own and IT MATTERS!! My hope is that we can all work together to ensure that we achieve the vision statement laid out above...if we dont we will ALL have simply failed again...

Thanks for your comments....I wholeheartedly agree with many of them and hope to see you here again soon....

Many thanks and warmest wishes

Colm

Posted by: Colm on January 5, 2003 08:45 PM
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