Abuse,torture and neglect

Amnesty International Ireland commissioned a report into the abuse of children in this State, in light of revelations from the Murphy and Cloyne reports. The amnesty report attempted to explore why these abuses occurred and what can be done to ensure they never happen again.

Colm O’Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International Ireland, said that children in this country had been “brutalised, beaten, starved and abused” and that “much of the abuse described in the Ryan Report meets the legal definition of torture under international human rights law”.

The Ferns, Ryan, Murphy and Cloyne reports have brought to the public domain details of the levels of abuse, torture and neglect that occurred in many religious run institutions aswell as the extent to which some went to cover up these abuse claims. Public anger has been further heightened by what many see as a refusal by the catholic church to acknowledge the extent of the abuse and cover ups that had occurred. Statements by clergy such as Fr. Paddy Banville of New Ross have done little to aid the Church’s cause. Banville had stated recently in an article for the newspaper The Irish Catholic that “wives and mothers” had “failed miserably to deal with the abuse of their children”.

However, Mr. O’Gorman also believes that blame cannot be placed solely at the feet of the clergy and thata “the institutionalised lack of accountability in the Irish State” should not be overlooked either, he said:

“This abuse happened, not because we didn’t know about it, but because many people across society turned a blind eye to it.”

This is a search for accountability for what O’Gorman describes as “ perhaps the greatest human rights failure in the history of the State”.

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