Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Child abuse in Ireland - the Christian Brothers and CORI

Made famous in the hymn Jeruselum, in his preface to Milton, William Blake wrote about 'Dark Satanic Mills'
The expression is sometimes interpreted as the destruction of nature and human relationships in the early Industrial Revolution.

I cannot think of a more apt term to describe Irelands Industrial schools and institutions where such staggering abuses took place.

I am rarely moved to tears, but the heroism and honesty of Mr. Michael O Brian on RTE’s Questions and Answers was something nobody could not be moved by.

His courage in the face of such savagry and his decency in search for redress is readily apparent.
The same qualities of decency and morality are sadly lacking in the legal, political and spiritual establishments on this Island.

As an aside, with his record of public service I feel Mr. O Brian should be appointed to the Seanad, if he is willing to serve a State that has failed him so abysmally - he owes the State nothing – but that perhaps in such a position he could help steer the implimentation of legislation and needed constitutional change.
The numbers involved are so staggering there is no question of constituancy.

The state, education system, legal structures and clergy all failed these people, as did in many cases the general public.

Mr. O Brian has not.

He has already served the country that failed him as a child when an adult as a Mayor and Councillor.
He has also shown himself to be a man of honour, conviction, bravery and determination in his work for other survivors.

Mr. O Brian and others who survived have been failed again by this country.
Their treatment during the legal inquiry is nothing short of a continuation of abuse.
The cowardice of the political establishment further abuse.
The weasel financial chicanery of the orders is further abuse.
The lack of accountability and a credible apology further abuse.

Mr. Ahearn and his Governments deal with the Orders is an absolute abomination.

Of the Orders involved in the endemic and systematic abuse of innocents, the Christian Brothers are among the largest.

The Christian Brothers speak of review resources for reparations, and as investment in child education and welfare for present and future generations.
They speak of maintaining resources to maintain their community, as well as commitments at home and overseas.

The continuation of the Christian Brothers as an entity is, I believe, not tenable, and any connection to any education system is completely unacceptable.

The Brothers have been down this road before. After similar horrific systematic cases in Canada and the US they transferred or attempted to transfer assets and properties into complex trusts to protect against liability.
Brother Garvey, the current spokesperson for the Brothers, was then world leader of the orginisation.

This patern is being repeated in Ireland. The reason given is to protect Catholic Education.
I believe this Island and the world has seen enough of the Christian Brothers concept of education.
It is time for them to disclose, divulge, deliver and disband.

They and their colleages in CORI have continued to drag their feet, and the Government acting like Pontius Pilate have decided to wash their hands of any further responsibility in the palace, while the crucifiction of the Nation, morally, emotionally and financially goes ahead.

It is time for them to show some backbone, be less Catholic and more Christlike.

And what can we do as a Nation?
I do not know, but I would suggest that we consider using our unprecedented connectivity - the internet, social networking sites, forums, emails, our mobile phones to arrange to go to our churches every Sunday - not to enter, but to stand outside and hold silent protests or even prayer meetings, until the clergy understand that without the solution to the problem to the satisfation of Mr. O Brian and other survivors, that without our participation and support - that they cannot ignore our wishes.

We as a nation failed to stand up for children in the past, let us not fail to stand by the survivors today and tomorrow.

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