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One in Four comment upon the recent evidence given to the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse

It is almost 7 years to the day that An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, apologized on behalf of the citizens of Ireland for the abuse and hurt perpetrated upon our children. It was and remains to be an inspiring apology:

“...The starting point for this is simple, but fundamental. We must start by apologising….

…Too many of our children were denied … love, care and security. Abuse ruined their childhoods and has been an ever present part of their adult lives, reminding them of a time when they were helpless. I want to say to them that we believe that they were gravely wronged, and that we must do all we can now to overcome the lasting effects of their ordeals….

….But we cannot truly advance unless we acknowledge and deal with the more uncomfortable elements of our past….

For the past three weeks we have heard the evidence of four religious congregations – the Presentation Brothers, the Rosminian Institute of Charity, the Sisters of Mercy and the Christian Brothers; in the third phase of the Commission to Investigate into Child Abuse. These religious congregations were ultimately responsible for the care of the most vulnerable in society – our children. These religious congregations were charged with the education and wellbeing of our children and managed some 14 industrial schools for decades, taking care of thousands of our children.

Deirdre Fitzpatrick, Advocacy Co-ordinator, of One in Four attended a number of these hearings. Speaking today she said

“We are appalled by the manner in which these congregations have responded to these hearings. In our opinion, they have used these hearings as an opportunity to deny, minimise and justify the abuse and hurt perpetrated upon thousands of children placed in their care.

Allegations suggesting that financial gain was a motivation for those coming forward to tell the truth of their experience, has in our opinion, further compounded the hurt and pain already caused.

It is our absolute hope that those remaining to give evidence at this point in the Commissions work: the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the Daughters of Charity, the Department of Education and other bodies involved, honours the validity of the experience of those children placed in institutions and remains true to the integrity of the apologies given in the past by our state and the church. “


Contact information

Support and resources for people who have experienced sexual abuse and/or sexual violence.