Thursday, May 21, 2009

Decades of Child Abuse in Ireland

©2008 Robert Mecea/Ap Images

A nine-year investigation revealed the suffering of Ireland’s poorest children in orphanages. The investigation covered decades of abuse from the 1930s to the 1990s. Some of these victims have spent a lifetime trying to have their story heard and believed. While the results of this research verify their horrific claims, many are still angry because their abusers names cannot be revealed to the public.

The Christian Brothers’ leader in Ireland, Brother Kevin Mullen said they wanted to keep names out of Wednesday’s report in case there are mistakes in the investigation. He says they are not trying to protect the abusers.

But many of the victims are anxious to see justice served. They say they suffered starvation, beating and rape without any way out or anyone to tell.

“I didn’t have a childhood,” said Buckley, one of the victims.

More than 30,000 children were taken away from their families because of petty theft, truancy or coming from an undesirable household-which included unmarried mothers. Victims say that they were then hidden away from society at these orphanages to suffer in silence. Buckley once tried to send a letter out discussing the abuse at the orphanage in Dublin. She was caught and severely beaten. Many children did not survive the day to day abuse.

A government appointed panel has paid abuse survivors an average of $90,000 each and about 2,000 more claims are pending. The decision for compensation was made by individual churches, not by the Irish Catholic Church as a whole, said Cardinal Sean Brady, leader of Ireland’s 4 million Catholics.

The Irish government issued a formal apology back in 1999 for its role in permitting decades of this abuse to happen.

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