Thursday, January 12, 2006

It never really happened? It wasn't that bad?

This week saw a rare public hearing take place at the Commission to inquire into Child Abuse. This Commission is charged with investigating abuse of residents in institutional care in Ireland in the 20th Century.

Given that we are not 2 months over the release of the Ferns report it is interesting to observe attempts by Catholic apologists to try and distance the church and religious orders from responsibility for the abuse.

On Tonight with Vincent Browne last night, Breda O’Brien and David Quinn attempted to explain away the litany of institutional abuse with what I can only term the ‘Ochon Ochon O’ theory. This is where we are reminded that Ireland was poor, miserable and depressed. There was no money to mind children, there was only 1 adult in charge of 30 children/inmates/residents. It was a dark dreary country, so no wonder children were being beaten and abused. I was waiting for the claim to be made ‘sure weren’t they lucky to be in there anyway’.

However Quinn and O’Brien continued by continually querying the reports of abuse and testimony that have been given. Another guest on the programme was Mary Raferty, the producer of States of Fear and co-author of Suffer Little Children. These are noted as the programmes/text which comprehensively documented some of the abuses committed, cover-ups by church and state and laid down the many questions that needed to be asked.

She was continually interrupted by Quinn and O’Brien and there was also a sneer thrown at her that she had had access to data that others had not. Well she is a leading authority on institutional child abuse in Ireland so one would expect her to have had access.

Colm O’Gorman (always so calm and collected) argues that the more that we argue about who is more responsible for the abuse that was suffered by those placed or taken into institutional care, the further away we move from discussing what actually happened.

You can listen to the show here; it is worth the effort as it shows that revisionism in all its forms is alive and well. And the secrecy of the Commission and the Residential Institutions Redress Board continues to assist the abusers and their organisations in querying that it ever happened at all.


At 10:43, Anonymous ainelivia said...

Its all beginning to sound like those who question the Holocaust.

I agree with Colm O'Gorman. If "institutional abuse/abusers" were the pebbles in the pool, what was happenning in the pool?

I'd recommend reading Alice Miller's work, where she writes on how early childhood experiences in the family contribute to behaviour. Those responsible for the abuse did not spring into abuse mode when they joined a religious order or became priests; what is being avoided here is looking at society's role in the abuse. What is being avoided is the role of ordinary people in allowing this situation to exist in the first place.


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