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UNITED NATIONS WORKING GROUP ON CONTEMPORARY FORMS OF SLAVERY

28th Session: Geneva, 16-20 June 2003

Agenda Item 5 (a) (iv) Economic Exploitation – Forced Labour

FULL REPORT

SUBMITTED BY COLM O’GORMAN DIRECTOR OF ‘ONE IN FOUR’ IRELAND

                                                                       

CONTENTS

Paragraghs
INTRODUCTION
1-9
THE IRISH INSTITUTIONAL CARE SYSTEM FROM 1922 TO 1984
10-11
THE INSTITUTIONS
12-13
CHILDREN IN CARE & THE UN CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
14-16
CHRISTY’S STORY
17-19
ECONOMIC EXPLOITATION
19-32
THE RESPONSE OF THE IRISH STATE
33-38
THE REPSONSE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE HOLY SEE
39-43
CONCLUSION
44-46
Pages
          APPENDIX A - THE LAFFOY COMMISSION
14
BIBLIOGRAPHY
15

INTRODUCTION

1.      In making this submission to the Committee on Contemporary Forms of Slavery One In Four seeks to speak from the perspective of the Irish experience of child abuse, focusing in this submission on forced child labour in the institutional care system in Ireland up to the mid 1980’s. We will, in a separate submission, address the Irish experience of child sexual abuse and exploitation.

2.      What is perhaps unique about the Irish experience is that it has been shaped largely by two State Parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: The Republic of Ireland and The Holy See. The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland has played a central role in the provision of education and social care. There has historically been very few education or social care institutions that have not been governed by the Catholic Church. In many ways Irish society has benefited from this input but there are also significant problems associated with the ways in which social care and education have operated especially in the context of child protection. From the foundation of the Irish State in 1922 the Catholic Church has had a primary role in the provision of social care and education and the formation of legislation and social policy. In reality the Catholic Church has in the past been as powerful a political body as the State Government in the Republic of Ireland.

3.      This has presented particular challenges and difficulties as Ireland attempts to face some of the darker aspects of our past and how we have “cared” for our more vulnerable citizens, in particular our children. In recent years our society has begun to face up to some of the appalling human rights abuses perpetrated upon our children, often within Church and State controlled agencies. The experiences in particular of those children confined within the “Industrial School” system and in reformatories and orphanages, some 130,000 children, has shocked and horrified Irish society into action. We now know that many thousands of these children were horrifically sexually and physically abused and further abused through neglect and the denial of the most basic rights as laid down in the UNCRC.

4.      The right to safety, protection from exploitation and abuse, the right to an identity and to know ones parents, the right to education and to freedom. Such rights were routinely abused within the Irish Child care system, however given the position of power and authority held by The Catholic Church and the religious orders that ran such institutions and the failure of successive governments to respond to their plight children abused in institutional care in Ireland have been even more invisible, more silenced than in other jurisdictions.

5.      One In Four is a charity provides therapeutic support and advocacy to people who have experienced sexual abuse. As many of our clients in Ireland have been victims of abuse within the institutional care system we have worked with a significant number of people who have also experienced physical and emotional abuse as well as neglect and economic exploitation within that system. In making this submission to the Committee on Contemporary forms of Slavery we will focus on the exploitation of children through forced labour and its impacts on the lives of those children into adulthood.

6.      The UNCRC sets out the rights guaranteed to children and young people in all areas of their lives and imposes obligations on parents, family, the community and the state in this regard. Ireland signed the convention on 30th of September 1990 and ratified it two years later. Much has been done since that time to ensure the rights of children as laid down in the convention. The Holy See signed and ratified the UN Convention in 1990.

7.      The convention protects the rights of the children of today and provides remedies when their rights are denied or abused. But what of those children whose rights were denied in the past, children who were not protected but abused and exploited?  Too often the focus of state party responses to historical rights abuses is directed towards prevention of future abuse, an essential aim, but there is little response to historic abuse. In many ways the rights of those abused children, who are now adults, continue to be ignored, they continue to be abused through neglect and further exploitation. Essentially you cannot prevent what has already happened. Any state party to the convention has an obligation under article 39 of the convention on the rights of the child to vindicate the rights of children who have been abused. It is not enough to act to prevent future abuse, state parties have an obligation to vindicate the rights of those of their citizens who they have historically failed to protect.

8.      It is essential to recognise that these children who are now adults are entitled to an appropriate response and to the same level of response as laid down within the convention. It cannot be acceptable that state parties abandoned and neglect such child victims as soon as they reach adulthood.  Article 39 states that: “States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of: any form of neglect, exploitation, or abuse; torture or any other form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; or armed conflicts. Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment which fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child.” It does not state that in cases where children reach adulthood prior to receiving care and support that they no longer matter. The fact is that the impacts of child exploitation and abuse are long lasting. Simply because the traumatized child now exists inside a 30, 40, 50 or even 90 year old adult does not mean that they are not worthy of or entitled to the same level of response as laid down in article 39.

9.      So what of those children? What are their stories and what are the impacts and consequences of their experiences whilst in the “care” of the Irish State, administered as it was by the Catholic Church?

The Irish institutional care system from 1922 to 1984.

10.     The Irish state was founded in 1922 and the new state inherited much of its system of government from the outgoing British administration. The system of institutional care that existed in Ireland prior to 1922 was based on orphanages, reformatories and so called industrial schools. None of these institutions were under secular control; all were run by religious organisations, which were paid by the state to care for those in need. Catholic religious orders established a large number of institutions with the specific aim to ‘save the souls’ of those committed to them. Many of the institutions were designed and developed to be inter-linking and children who entered the system for whatever reason often remained in the system for the remainder of their lives. For instance a girl from an industrial school who became pregnant in care would be sent to a mother and baby unit: often a workhouse called a “Magdalene laundry” where she would work through her pregnancy. This practice continued until the late 1960s when the Kennedy Report was to discover that there were then about seventy girls between the ages of thirteen and nineteen confined within Magdalene laundries.  The Report described it as “a haphazard system, its legal validity is doubtful and the girls admitted in this irregular way and not being aware of their rights may remain for long periods and become, in the process, unfit for re-emergence into society”

11.     Many women were confined to Magdalene Laundries for the remainder of their lives, simply because they were unmarried mothers. Tragically the child she bore would often then end up within the same system and be placed in an industrial school. Many such children remained in one institution or another for decades often well into adulthood, many never left institutional care.

The Institutions

12.(a) Industrial schools - Children were committed to industrial schools by the courts because the state had decided that their parents were either unsuitable or unable to look after them. Catholic religious congregations managed all but two of the fifty-two industrial schools; parish priests managed the remaining two. As such the Roman Catholic Church directly controlled the whole system of Industrial schools in Ireland.

(b)    Reformatories - These were institutions for children who were convicted of criminal offences. Children in these institutions were also expected to work for their keep. The crimes committed: minor acts of delinquency, and the sentences imposed are by today’s standards shocking. In 1908 a boy was incarcerated for 5 years to Glen Cree Reformatory for vagrancy – selling papers on the street. One reformatory, St Anne’s in Kilmacaud, took girls under 17 who were “convicted of legal sexual offences or are placed in dangerous surroundings and have marked tendencies towards sexual immorality.”[1] Many of the children confined to this institution were actually victims of sexual exploitation and abuse.

(c) Orphanages - These were generally outside the state system and were defined as being for children of “good character from respectable families.” There was little regulation of these private, fee-paying institutions; however, children did not have to be an orphan to be boarded in such institutions.

13      A number of both statutory and voluntary bodies continuously argued for the development of non-institutional systems to deal with destitute children. However, such was the domination of catholic congregations in this area that no alternative care system was allowed to develop.

Children in Care & the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

14.     Article 20(1) UN

“A child temporarily or permanently deprived of his or her family environment, or in whose own best interests cannot be allowed to remain in that environment, shall be entitled to special protection and assistance provided by the State.”

15.     What is abundantly clear from the evidence that has emerged in recent years is that children placed by the courts and the State in such institutions did not receive any such special protection. Inspection systems existed but were ineffective. Institutions prepared for inspections ensuring that they received favourable reports and when damning reports emerged these were dismissed by the Church and ignored in the main by the state. This system of childcare ended in 1984 when the Department of Health took responsibility for children in care, this responsibility previously was held by the Department of Education. Many of the institutions where appalling abuse took place were only closed in the 1980’s, this was despite a recommendation made in 1970 when The Kennedy Report[2] recommended closure of industrial schools, as Justice Kennedy was “appalled” by the “Dickensian and deplorable state” of industrial schools.

16.     The most telling evidence of the catalogue of abuses experienced by children in institutions in Ireland comes from personal testimony. Stories from the adults who somehow managed to live through such horrific experiences and now struggle to have their stories told. In terms of economic exploitation and forced labour Christy’s story is one of many powerful examples:

Christy’s Story

17.     I was 8 years old when I attended Westland Row Christian Brother’s school. At the age of 8 because of poor eyesight I was unable to do schoolwork or study like the other boys.  I was constantly beaten for not completing homework. The constant fear of beatings and the humiliation of sitting at the back of a class in lessons with children 2 years younger then me resulted in truancy from school for long periods.  I was approx 13 years of age when I was finally brought to the children’s court in Dublin Castle.  I know this because I remember the Judge saying I was to be sent away to Greenmount Industrial School in Cork city for 3 years until my 16th birthday. I was taken away from my home and my family to a place where I was beaten and brutally raped by priest, brothers and laymen. 

On my first night in the institution I was given 4 whacks of a leather strap on each hand for something I didn’t do. I was further beaten across the shoulders and back by the strap because I denied wetting my bed. 

I was only a few weeks in the school when they realised my low level of education so I was removed from classes and put to work in the kitchen. I worked from 7.00am to 7.00pm seven days a week. I never complained because I knew I couldn’t catch up at classes being so far behind and my eyesight was so poor.  I was in Greenmount School for approx one year until they sent me to Upton Industrial School Co Cork.  In that short period in Greenmount I escaped twice and the police caught me each time. 

I was constantly beaten to the body leaving black and blue bruises on most parts of my body except to my face.  I was beaten with a leather strap; sometimes a cane and many times they used their fists and feet to beat me.  All punishments would start with the strap or cane to the hands.  Kicks and punches always followed to the body including the back and sides of the head.  I can remember trying so hard to protect my head from punches by blocking with my arms.  There were times when I actually got close to unconsciousness from punches to the head.  I started to get very bad pains to my head and the pains became a regular occurrence.  One of the brothers caught me smoking in the toilets and beat me senseless with his feet and fist.  I was so dizzy from the blows to the head I couldn’t get to my feet without falling again.  Because I escaped on two occasions I was classed as a runaway risk and my head was shaved so everyone knew I was a runaway.  When we were transferred to Upton Industrial School in Co Cork I was put to work in the boiler room with another boy.  My day would commence at 5.30 am and finish at 8.00 pm seven days a week.  My work included keeping the steam pressure up to feed the school heating and the kitchen steam pressure-cooking boilers.  The boiler fire was fuelled with old bus and lorry tyres that had to be cut up and strips of waste leather from a leather factory in Co Waterford.  It was very hard physical work especially cutting out the wired rings from large old bus tyres and then cutting the tyre into small pieces.  I had to do this daily and struggled with blunt knifes most of the time.  Being placed to work in the boiler room meant I was separated from all the other kids and my friends from Greenmount.  I hated working in the boiler room I was always so tired and hungry and continued having really bad headaches and vomiting a lot. The boiler room was some distance from the school building and I always felt isolated and vulnerable when certain Brothers would visit to check that the steam pressure was at the correct level….

ECONOMIC EXPLOITATION

18.     Article 32

1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's education, or to be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.

19.     Work and not education was the day-to-day experience of most children. Always at the cost of education and the experience of normal, healthy childhood development. Children worked maintaining the buildings, grounds and farms of what were extensive complexes. They were also hired out as labour as domestic workers or picking fruit for the brewing industry, for example. The legislation that governed child labour in institutional care were the 1868 Rules and Regulations that remained in place until 1968. Under the heading “The Spirit of Industry to be Cherished”, these rules stated that “children should be constantly employed” and that they “are taught to consider labour as a duty, to take kindly to it, to persevere in it and to feel a pride in their work”. It is hard to understand what pride Christy was meant to feel in his fourteen and a half hours a day burning tyres in a furnace. Another example is St. Joseph’s Industrial School in Co. Cavan where one of a tiny number of girls was given the privilege of attending secondary school but was forced at the end of her classes to clean the entire secondary school building from top to bottom including washing out the toilets.

20.     At Letterfrack Industrial School, managed by the Christian Brothers, on its letterhead the services that it offered for sale included “Orders received in tailoring, boot making, carpentry, bakery, cart making, smith work. Also wire mattress, hosiery, hearth rugs, motor repairs, petrol and oils supplied”. Whilst the institution did employ some outside workers much of the labour required to supply this extensive range of commercial services was child labour. Inmates worked and worked hard for their keep.

21.     That children in industrial schools and institutional care in Ireland were economically exploited is beyond doubt. They were exploited on two levels: firstly, as child labourers who were forced to work often in hazardous conditions and with little emphasis on their need for education or a normal childhood experience and secondly as a source of income for the institutions themselves. A line of defence of the Catholic Church is that if it were not for the dedicated work of the religious in Ireland few education and social welfare services would have been provided. Luddy (1995) argued the primary concern of these church bodies was ‘moral and spiritual neglect and abuse’. In 1868 state began to fund these institutions. There is no conclusive evidence by the religious order to demonstrate the inadequacy or other wise of state funding.  No accounts from the religious have been made public that could show that they were under funded. It is clear from Department of Education files that several were making a profit.

22.     The cost of such labour was the total neglect of education, most children left the care system illiterate and un-educated, ironic when you consider that many were placed in institutions for non-attendance of school.

23.     Article 28(1)

States Parties recognize the right of the child to education and with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity, they shall, in particular:

(a) Make primary education compulsory and available free to all;

(b) Encourage the development of different forms of secondary education, including general and vocational education, make them available and accessible to every child, and take appropriate measures such as the introduction of free education and offering financial assistance in case of need;

24.     Education was not a right in institutional care, in many cases it did not exist. Children were supposed to receive three and a half hours “scholastic instruction” but in effect this rarely happened. Many of the clients One In Four has worked with received little or no formal education in care. The whole area of adult literacy has been a major focus of work for many of the NGO’s working to support people who survived the care system in Ireland. 

25.     Formal education was clearly lacking but so also was education for life skills. Children were not prepared for leaving care and for life outside the institutions. It was reported in 1970 that children ‘...had little contact with the outside world that they were unaware that food had to paid for or that letters had to be stamped’(Kennedy report, 1970,15)

For many of the children, release from industrial school at the age of sixteen was not to mean an end of their abuse.  Having lived for so many of their formative years cloistered away in such a highly unnatural environment, they were disastrously unprepared for life outside the institution.  They had no concept of their rights, or that they even had any.  Many were ignorant of the most basic necessities of life, such as dealing with money, public transport or even feeding themselves. 

26.     Many were placed in employment, girls as domestics and boys placed as farm labourers. Most were placed with families but were not formally fostered or adopted; they were instead “boarded out”. Many experienced lives of virtual slavery within these families.  They speak of working non-stop often from six in the morning until midnight.  During the 1940s, 1950s and even into the early 1960s, girls working with these families were paid only about £1 a week, in addition to their board and lodgings. The boys sent out from Industrial schools were grossly unprepared for life out in the world into the world.  These boys had no idea of their rights.  Very often, their life working on farms was not dissimilar to that in the industrial schools. In some cases they continue to live and work on the same farms to this day.

27.     Article 37

States Parties shall ensure that:

(a) No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age;

(b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time;

(c) Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age. In particular, every child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults unless it is considered in the child's best interest not to do so and shall have the right to maintain contact with his or her family through correspondence and visits, save in exceptional circumstances;

(d) Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action

28.     Many children were held under warrants issued by the courts. What has become clear however is that many were held beyond the time allowed by their “sentence” and with no means to challenge their continued confinement. Many people left as young adults, at the age of 18-21 whilst many more did not posses the skills or knowledge to even recognise their right to liberty and remained in institutional care indefinitely.

29.     Article 39

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of: any form of neglect, exploitation, or abuse; torture or any other form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; or armed conflicts. Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment which fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child.

30.     For children abused and exploited in institutional care there was no rescue, no relief and certainly no “appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration”. As adults they have struggled to cope and function in the world. The response of the state and the church was for many years obvious only by its total non-existence. These were the forgotten generation of Irish children.

31.     Many of those eventually released from institutions were unable to cope in the world. The impacts of such abuse and exploitation were severe and extensive. These children, now adults, remain enslaved by their experiences in institutional care and many continue to struggle to find a place in the world free of abuse and exploitation.

32.     The ongoing impacts on their lives were, and continue to be extensive. It is estimated that there are 30,000 women and men still alive who were held in institutions as children. Whilst many have survived and achieved a level of success in their lives, many thousands continue to live with the consequences of their abusive experiences. Many have suffered ongoing emotional and psychological difficulties and given their experiences of state and church have not been able to engage with health and social care agencies in any meaningful way. Their experiences of forced labour, abuse and exploitation may have ended in the physical sense but they remain trapped and enslaved in and by those experiences.

The response of the Irish State

33.     In the late 1980’s Irish society became aware of this appalling history as a number of courageous and determined women and men who had lived through such abuse emerged to tell their stories. The response from the State was initially slow and reluctant but in time the State did respond and attempt to put in place effective responses. In 1999 the Irish Prime Minister, the Taoiseach Bertie Aherne made an historic apology to victims of abuse in institutional care. His statement of May 11th 1999 read:

“On behalf of the State and of all citizens of the State, the Government wishes to make a sincere and long overdue apology to the victims of childhood abuse for our collective failure to intervene, to detect their pain, to come to their rescue.”

34.     The Irish Government moved to establish a tribunal of inquiry to investigate abuse in institutions and to provide victims with a forum through which they might finally achieve justice. The Laffoy Commission was established in May 1999 (information on the Commission can be found in appendix A). The Commission continues to work to investigate this scandal though many now doubt its effectiveness particularly as it has been subject to legal challenge by the religious orders who managed the institutions.  Most recently the Christian Brothers, the order that managed Letterfrack Industrial School amongst others has taken a high court action to prevent the commission from naming members of the order; living or dead that it judges are guilty of abuse.

35.     The Irish Criminal Justice system has struggled to respond to the litany of crimes committed against children in institutional care. There have been numerous prosecutions and some severe penalties have been imposed but in the majority of cases there is no prospect of successful prosecution as it has been judged that too much time has passed or the alleged offender is too old or infirm to stand trial. In cases of forced labour no crime was committed so there is no response from the criminal justice system. Victims have instead turned to civil litigation for recompense and justice.

36.     Redress Board

In 2003 the Irish Government established the Redress Board, a body charged with compensating victims of abuse and exploitation in institutional care. The board is designed to avoid long and adversarial court civil actions. The State entered into a deal with the Catholic Church, in the guise of the Congregation of Religious in Ireland (CORI) to provide redress to victims. There has been considerable anger amongst victims and wider Irish society as this deal has indemnified the Church and the religious orders against suit. Many victims now feel that there is no real avenue open to then to face their offenders and abusers and achieve justice.

37      National Counselling Service

The National Counselling Service was established as a dedicated counselling service set up by the Department of Health and Children and provided through the regional Health Boards to provide counselling and psychotherapy for victims of abuse and exploitation in institutions. 

38.     The Irish State has also acted to introduce legislation to meet their commitments under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in relation to forced labour and children’s rights, namely the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act, 1996.

The Response of the Catholic Church and the Holy See

39.     The response of the Catholic Church must be examined both in the context of the response from the religious orders, who are themselves governed by the Holy See, and the response of the Holy See itself. The Holy See as a state party to the UN has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It did so with reservations but nowhere did it reject the rights of the child not to be exploited or abused. In fact the response of the Holy See to the convention expressed clear and definitive commitments to those aspects of the convention.

40.     What is therefore difficult to understand is the absence of any acknowledgement from the Holy See of the experiences of children held within its institutions in Ireland and exploited through forced labour. The Holy See has in recent years acknowledged its pain and distress at the suffering of children sexually abused and exploited by its priests but it has thus far failed to acknowledge the economic exploitation of children perpetrated by sections of the Catholic Church itself. In March 2002 Pope John Paul II, in his annual letter to priests, the Pope denounced the "sins of our brothers" which brought scandal upon the Church and made the laity suspicious of even the "finest" priests. He said:’ We are personally and profoundly afflicted by the sins of some of our brothers

41.     It is our assertion that the Holy See has therefore failed to live up to its responsibilities in the case of economic exploitation and forced labour as described above but also has continued to fail such children, now adults, under article 39 of the Convention.

42.     It may be argued that the Holy See is not required under the convention to respond to abuses that were perpetrated prior to its ratification of the convention on April 20th 1990. The Holy See was however a state aprty to the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child in 1959. Given the Holy See’s “singular nature within the international community[3]” we believe it would be against the spirit of the convention to make such an argument and would also be against the principles of the Catholic Church itself. As a State party to the United Nations the Holy See was party to the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child made in 1959. This declaration also seeks to address similar rights as the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In relation to forced labour the declaration states in Principle 9:

“The child shall be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty and exploitation. He shall not be the subject of traffic, in any form. The child shall not be admitted to employment before an appropriate minimum age; he shall in no case be caused or permitted to engage in any occupation or employment which would prejudice his health or education, or interfere with his physical, mental or moral development."

43.       It is clear that organs of the Catholic Church have failed to apply that principle in relation to children in institutional care in Ireland.

Conclusion

44.     In Conclusion our assertion is that the Holy See and the Irish Republic failed to protect children against a wide range of abuses under both the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child and the UN Convention on the rights of the Child. In this submission we have dealt in particular with the area of economic exploitation and forced labour: covered by Principle 9 of the Declaration on the Rights of the Child and article 39 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

45.     Whilst there have been responses from both State parties to such abuses it is our assertion that the Holy See in particular has failed to live up to its responsibilities and obligations under the declaration and convention.

46.     One In Four wishes to emphahise strongly our belief that the convention should apply not simply to protect against future abuses but also to respond to past failures and abuses of the rights of children. We urge both State parties to honour their commitments under the convention and to urgently act to vindicate the rights of those who were abused by its institutions, organs, personnel and governments.


Appendix A

The Laffoy Commission

The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, chaired by the Honourable Ms. Justice Mary Laffoy of the High Court, was first established by the Government on an administrative basis in May 1999.  This was one of a range of measures introduced by the Government to address the effects of abuse in childhood on the victims. The first objective set for the Commission was to consider the broad terms of reference then provided to it, determine if these needed refining and recommend to Government the powers and protections it would need to do its work effectively.  The Commission reported to the Government in September and October, 1999.  The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Act, 2000 (the Act) was enacted on 26th April 2000. The legislation follows closely the recommendations in the reports of the non-statutory Commission.  

The Statutory Commission established under the Act has three primary functions:-  

·        to listen to victims of childhood abuse who want to recount their experiences to a sympathetic forum;

·        to fully investigate all allegations of abuse made to it, except where the victim does not wish for an investigation and

·        to publish a report on its findings to the general public.

The Commission will, through a Confidential Committee, provide a forum for victims of abuse to recount their experience on an entirely confidential basis. The purpose of this Committee is to meet the needs of those victims who want to speak of their experiences but who do not wish to become involved in an investigative procedure. This Committee will provide the Commission with a general report on the issues encountered in its work.

The Commission will also have an Investigation Committee. This Committee will facilitate victims who wish to both recount their experiences and to have allegations of abuse fully inquired into. This Committee will also report to the Commission.


Bibliography

Ireland (1996), United nations Convention on the rights of the Child: First National Report of Ireland, Dublin: Stationery Office.

Committee on Reformatory and Industrial Schools (1970).  Reformatory and Industrial Schools Systems Report. Dublin: Stationary Office.

Luddy, M. (1995) Women and Philanthropy in Nineteenth Century Ireland. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 85.

Raftery, M. & O’ Sullivan, E., (1999).Suffer the Little Children: the inside of Ireland’s industrial schools. Dublin: New Island Books.



[1]  Establishment of new reformatory Kilmacud. This reformatory was specifically legislated for by the Children (Amendment) Act of 1949

[2] The Kennedy Committee’s,Chaired by Justice Mary Kennedy carried out an investigation into children in care in Ireland. It was hugely critical of the Irish child care system. It argued that the Irish child care system had evolved in a haphazard and amateurish way, with an absence of structural change throughout the decades. It provided a number of recommendations for the improvement of the Irish child care system.

[3]. As the highest organ of government of the Catholic Church, the Holy See is recognized as a sovereign subject of international law. It is nevertheless distinguished by its particular nature, which is essentially of a universal religious and moral character.

 
 

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