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Stop this slaughter now!


Denmark’s hidden shame!.

The sea is stained in red and in the mean while it’s not because of the climate effects of nature.

It’s because of the cruelty that the human beings (civilised human) kill hundreds of the famous and intelligent Calderon dolphins.

This happens every year in Feroe Iland in Denmark . In this slaughter the main participants are young teens.


A celebration, to show that they are adults and mature!

In this big celebration, nothing is missing for the fun. Everyone is participating in one way or the other, killing or looking at the cruelty “supporting like a spectator”

Is it necessary to mention that the dolphin calderon, like all the other species of dolphins, it’s near extinction and they get near men to play and interact. In a way of PURE friendship

They don’t die instantly; they are cut 1, 2 or 3 times with thick hooks. And at that time the dolphins produce a grim cry like that of a new born child.

But he suffers and there’s no compassion while this magnificent creature slowly dies in its own blood

Stop this slaughter now!

We will send this mail until this email arrives in any association defending the animals, we won’t only read. That would make us accomplices, viewers.

Take care of the world, it is your home!

Assine contra essa crueldade:

Sign Against this cruelty:

1.- Ana kARINA Rivas (m) Mexico DF

2.- Carlos Enrique Bulle-Goyri. DF

3.- Alejandra Nabarro ( Mexico Cuernavaca )

4.- Esteban criz mejia. Mexico DF


6.-González Alvarez Victor Rodrigo

7.-Ines Garcia Perez (México)

8.-Stella Morales (México)

9.-lgarcia (México)

10.-Leticia Cuéllar (México)

11.-Salma Urbina Aguilar (Quintana Roo, México)

12.-DIANA LUCELLY POOT PUC (quintana roo, mexico )

13.-Josue Acero Gonzalez ( Quintana Roo , Mexico )

14.-Micaela Medina ( Argentina )

15.-sofia bidondo( Argentina )

16.- Ma. Marta Soruco ( Argentina )

17.- Cyntia Mariela Roitman ( Argentina )

18.-Aldana Martínez ( Argentina )

19.- Adriana Salomon ( Argentina )

20.-fernando valussi( argentina )


22.- Leyes Alberto Fabian ( Argentina ).-

23.- Augusto Patricio Mateos ( Argentina – Chaco )

24.- Maria Alejandra Bury ( Argentina – Chaco )

25.- Claudio Alexis Agnesio ( Argentina – Chaco )

26.- Cesar Abel Falcon(Argentina-Chaco)





31- NATHIA JUDKEVICH ( Argentina )

32-MARINA JUDKEVICH ( Argentina )


34- Bogado Espinoza, Lorena Abi ( Argentina )

35- Ortiz, Natalia Muriel ( Argentina )

36- Marcelo Rodrigues de Rezende (Sorocaba-Brasil)

37- Thais Chenchi Santana (Sorocaba-Brasil)

38- Lilian Yoshie Kato ( Sorocaba – Brasil)

39 – DIOGO CRISTO ( Sorocaba – Pindorama – Gaya )

40 – DANILO GOMES ( Sorocaba – Cidade de Mentiras)

41- Tiago Holtz Guerreiro (Sorocaba- Brasil)

42 – Laura Nunes Garcia Vieira ( Sorocaba – Brasil)

43 – Anderson Schmitt Junkes (Jandira – Brasil)

44 – Eronides Santos Filho (Jandira – Brasil)

45 – Suzana Lopes Ribeiro ( Jandira – Brasil )

46 – Paulo Henrique Ferreira (Cotia/SP Brasil)

47 – André Luiz da Fonseca Roberto ( Carapicuiba/ Brasil )

48 – Jean Paulo Camargo Costa (CARAPICUIBA/ BRASIL)

49 – Rodrigo de Jesus Ferreira (Jandira – Brasil)

50- Bárbara Tabain Seslija de Sá (Jandira – SP – Brasil)

51 – Ana paula Morina Ferreira (Barueri – SP – Brasil)

52-Bárbara Louise (São Paulo-SP-Brasil)

53-Diego Lima (Carapicuíba-SP-Brasil)

54 – Wanda leila de Oliveira marra ( Osasco – SP –Brasil )

55 – Joilva Duarte (Osasco-Brasil)

56 – Patricia M. Dias ( São Paulo – Brasil)

57- Eduardo M. Dias ( São Paulo – Brasil)

58 – Wagner R. Franco (São Paulo – Brasil)

59- Ruth Cristina Serafim (São Paulo – Brasil)

60- Thiago Silva (São Paulo – Brasil)

61 – Cristiano S. de Moraes (Rio de Janeiro – Brasil)

62 – Kelly Lopes Dias (São Paulo – Brasil)

63 – Fábio Ferreira / São Paulo – Brasil

64- Fábio Araujo / São paulo – Brasil

65- Marcia Stevaux/ São Paulo – Brasil

66 – Débora Gisele Ferraz – Brasil

67- Andrea Alexandre de Carvalho

68 – Adilson dos Santos Pinto (Cruzeiro SP)

69 – Francisco ReZende (Lorena-SP)

70- Mislane Souza Prates( São Paulo-Brasil)

71 – Janderson Dutra (Rio de Janeiro-RJ – Brasil)



74- Maria L Lima – (Rolândia – Brasil)

75 – Marilise G.Z. Solle (Rolândia-Brasil)

76- Luis Fernando Silva de Almeida (Rolândia Pr- Brasil)

77- Adriana Amaral de Souza (Rolândia Pr – Brasil)

78 – Carlos Alberto Ferreira do Amaral (Rolãndia PR – Brasil)

79 – Lilian Carla de Souza Gonzalez ( Londrina – Pr. – Brasil)

80 – Ailton Valdivino da Silva – (Uberlândia – MG – Brasil)

81 – Heliza Piosiadlo (Uberlândia – MG – Brasil

82 – Patrícia Cordeiro ( Joaçaba-SC-Brasil)

83 – Danielle Argenton (Herval D’ Oeste – SC – Brasil)

84 – Valdirene Soares ( Joaçaba – SC – BRASIL )

85 – Luiz Sérgio Belló – Joaçaba SC Brasil

86- Eduardo Wieser -SC- Brasil

87- Julio Pancera ( Navegantes , SC – Brasil)

88- Fredi Goede ( Pomerode , SC Brasil)

89 – Mario L.Fanton

90 – Valério Littig ( Curitiba – Brasil )

100-cassia cavalheiro

101 – Paulo Terumitsu Ishii [ Curitiba – Paraná – Brasil]

102- Caroline Niro ( Curitiba – Paraná – Brasil

103-Alexandre Batista(Londres-Inlaterra)

104-udson bergues de almeida

105 – Inês Calazans, Alemanha

106 – Anabela Martins – Portugal

107 – Luisa Sequeira – Silves / PORTUGAL

108 – Alzira Rodrigues – Silves / Portugal

109 – Cremilde Ribeiro – A.. de Pêra / Portugal

110 – Augusto Miguens – Elvas / Portugal

111 – Natália miguens – Elvas / Portugal

112 – Manuela Santos – Carcavelos / Portugal

113 – Carla Santos – Oeiras / Portugal

114 – Maria Carlos Barreto de Carvalho – Carcavelos / Portugal

115 – Eliete Mendes – Lisboa / Portugal

116 – Conceição Oliveira – Lisboa / Portugal

117 – Mariana Domingues – Portugal

118 – Joana Murtinha – Portugal

119 – Filipa Almeida – Portugal

120 – Iolanda Fontes – South Africa

121 – Kalen Viljoen – South Africa

122 – Wendy Golding – South Africa

123 – Inge Strugnell – Botswana

124 – Philippa Lee – Botswana

125 – Ilse Swart

126 – Miche de beer

127 – Celeste Smit

128 – Jeneane Fourie

129. Stefnie de Beer (SA) Human beings ? How can we call ourselves that !

130 Corné van Staden

131 Anna-Marié van Staden

132. Sheralee Scott ( South Africa )

133 Bev Hindmarch ( South Africa )

134. Ian Pardy (SA)

135. Dominic Porter (SA)

136. Carl Bennett (SA) Sick Bastards!!

137 Dieter Rossler South Africa uncivilised idiots

138. Vigie Naidoo, Johannesburg South Africa (how far western man??)

139. Rodney Reddy S.A. — lily-livered, sure they’l never dare try this with some tiger or bull sharks

140. Mira Naidoo, Johannesburg South Africa (shameful specimens called humans)

141. Rocco Steffannelli, Bari Italy (senseless killing)

142. Christian Hoffer, Mank Austria (Neanderthals!)?

143. Sarah Caine (SA)

144. Lorraine Caine (SA)

145. Elaine Caine (Sa)

146. Lorraine Isaac (SA)

147. Ronnie Isaac(SA)

148. Angelique Mason(SA)

149. Alysha Isaac (SA)

150. Mary Joe Emde (SA)

151. Nalisha Gangadien SA)

152. Charlene Gangadien (SA)

153. Cordelia Soobramoney

154. Nicholas Soobramoney

155.. Gabriela Pillay

156. Sarah Pillay

157. Jaeden Chetty

158. Sam Chetty

159. Dean Prinsloo

160. Nicole Pillay

161. Janine Geldenhys

162. Noeleen Pillay

163. Vigie Naidoo, Johannesburg South Africa (Nordic barbarism!! – Climate Change?- go figure?)

164. Colette Boyd

165. Tanya Scheffel

166. Rob Armstrong

167. Megan Adriaanzen – Jhb S.A. This is the most appallingly, disgusting thing I have ever seen!!!

168. Gareth Adriaanzen

169. Aldorette Swanepoel

170. Steve Maree – Durban , South Africa

171. Karen Robjant – and they are supposed to come from a civilised country – very sick people

172 Gerhard Janse van Rensburg – Durban South Africa

173 Keagen Janse van Rensburg – Durban South Africa

174 Trent Janse van Rensburg – Durban South Africa

175 Graham Robjant – Durban South Africa

176 Tamaryn Robjant – Durban South Africa

177 Beryl Robjant – Durban South Africa

178 Joan Austin – Durban South Africa

179 Simone Heijmans-Durban South Africa


















197 Janice Wittrup SA

198 Tempest Hindman (Aus)

199 Gary Hindman (Aus)

200 Eben van der Watt (UK)

201 Jeandre van der Watt (UK)

202 Armand van der Watt (UK)

203 Jetro Smith ( UK )

204 Morne du Preez ( UK )

205 Joey Wasiliew ( USA )

206 Willie Olivier, Cape Town (uncivilized barbarians)

207 Andre’ Groenewald, Durban (SA)

208 Chris Goldmann Carvoeiro, Portugal

209 Gary Fonternel – Australia

210 Simon Lewis – Australia

211 Scott Wetherall – New Zealand

212 Jeremy Cusiel – Perth

213 Victoria Verity – Perth

214 Karen Stockin – New Zealand

215 Monika Merriman- NZ

216..Linda Jennings Sydney , Australia

217. Margaret Burgess , New South Wales , Australia

218 Merrill Duffy Australia

219. Margaret Ward – Australia

220 Sandy Jones, NSW Aust

221 Jacqui Bright N.S.W. AUST.

222 Penelope Chambers, Qld , Australia

223 Kim Grant, Sydney , Australia

224 Pua Soliola, Sydney , Australia

225 R’Chee Saipele, Auckland , New Zealand

226 Kim Watts, Auckland , NZ

227 Jenny Korff

228 John Baker, Auckland , New Zealand

229 Paul Baker Auckland New Zealand

230 Jocelyn Dutton Auckland New Zealand

231 Michael Dutton Auckland New Zealand

232 Susan Mann Auckland New Zealand

232 Brian Mann Auckland New Zealand

233 Philip Harris Auckland

234 Eden Moss, Auckland , New Zealand

235 John Moss Auckland New Zealand

236 Pat Moss Auckland New Zealand

237 Mel Orange, Wellington , New Zealand

238 John HOLLAND , South Australia

239 Pauline Macdonald South Australia

240 Helen M south Australia

241 Deidre Coulthard Sth Australia (gee some humans can be sick-bastards alright…..you wonder what planet they come from??…..WE ARE DOOMED!!)

242. Veronica Coulthard , South Australia (sick alright, poor dolphins)

243. Rachel Salmon , South Australia , Australia (how can anyone be called a human to do such senseless acts to such beautiful creatures!!)

244. David Salmon , South Australia , Australia

245. Deb Frank , South Australia , Australia …….absolutely disgraceful!

246. Kathrine Kosmina , South Australia , Australia …words fail me!!!

247. Leanne Mudge , South Australia , Australia

248. Sandra Martin

249. Linda Raison , South Australia , Australia

250 Peter Dorsett, South Australia

251. Helli Meinecke , South Australia

252. Clair Marslen , South Australia

253. Frank Aarts , Australia

254. Deanna Dorward , Australia

255. Thea Aarts , Australia

256. Margie Aarts , Australia

257 Maree Bath , QUeensland , Australia ..

258 Jennifer Walker , Queensland , Australia

259 Jan Deacon, Queensland , Australia – so very very sad!

260 Judy Dixon , Queensland , Australia – unbelievable

261 Susan Jenkin, currently NT, Australia .

262 Del Aulich, Melbourne , Australia- This is unacceptable- must be stopped!w

263 Judith Shapland Melbourne Aust: Who the hell are these so called human beings I am outrages that this should be happening as a global community we need to ban together to stop it!!!!!!!!

264 Deborah Chubb

265 Ray Robinson, Melbourne , Australia . This will not stop until our tears of outrage mingle with the blood of these beautiful creatures.

266 Christina Higgs Melbourne Australia. Unbelievable and so horrible, this has to stop.

267 Diane Beck, Mansfield Australia

268 Christine Davis Redcar England

269 Maureen Tosh, Redcar, England

270 Sandra O’Shea, Nunthorpe England.

271 Moyra Gibb, Kirkcaldy, Scotland

272 Alan Gibb, Kirkcaldy, Scotland

273 Margaret Smith, Kirkcaldy, Scotland

274 Ian Smith, Kirkcaldy, Scotland

275 Anne Ward,Edinburgh, Scotland

276 G V Ward, Edinburgh, Scotland

277 D Johnstone, Sanquhar, Scotland

288 Janet Brown Edinburgh, Scotland

289 morag mccall ,scotland

290 Laura cowan Aberdeen Scotland

291 Marx Murdoch Aberdeen Scotland

292 vicki keraghan invergordon scotland

293 Mieke Horsburgh, Invergordon, Scotland

294 David Horsburgh, Invergordon Scotland

295 Moira Adam, Blackisle, Scotland.

296 Claire Russell, Daviot, Inverness, Scotland

297 Heather Sutherland-Fraser – Black Isle, Scotland

298 Alison McMillan – Inverness, Scotland

299 Gillian MacAskill, Nairn, Scotland

300 Lesley Moore, Nairn, Scotland

301 Davy Orr, Inverness, Scotland

302 Eleanor James, Johnstone Scotland – Once again males (not men) prove how cruel and idiotic they are. I’m ashamed to be human.

303 Dot Spragg. England

304 Barry Spragg. England

305 Sally Moorey, England

306 Paul Wallace, England

307 Trudi OConnor, England

308 Elaine Grayson, England

309 Elaine Whitehead, England

310 Lynn Chapman, England

311 John Moutrey, England

312 David Webb, England

313 Trevor Clayton, England

314 Paul Bowring, England

315 Paul and Jackie Edwards, Shropshire, England

316 Jeremy and Marie Ransom

317 Chris Barrow

318 Aileen Robertson, Edinburgh, Scotland

319 Nina Porter, Inverness-shire, Scotland

320 Margaret Le May, Nairn, Scotland

321 Iain & Kirstine McKenzie,iEast Linton, Scotland

322 Jim Merry,Dunbar,Scotland

323 Ken Riva, Livingston,Scotland

324 Brenda Riva, Scotland

325 Graham Parker, Scotland

326 Anne Morgan Scotland

327 HJ Kerr

328 T M Birch Wales

329 Charlie Kavanagh Ireland

330 Thomas Clarke Ireland

331  Lauren Clarke   Wicklow Town /Ireland

332 Stephen Clarke   Wicklow Town /Ireland

Anybody who loves the sea cannot ignore this cruelty; this is truly shocking behaviour coming from the country that hosted the world’s largest climate change conference.

 Shame on Denmark!

I call upon the Minster of the environment Mr John Gormely and the Irish Government to immediately call upon the Danish Government to ban this barbaric activity

No sane person could condone this slaughter

Please help stop this madness!

Deputy Joe Costello

Deputy Joe Costello

Speaking on the Adjournment Motion in Dáil Éireann Deputy Joe Costello said that the Department of Education and Science should open a Book of Condolences for the victims of child abuse.

Virtually all the children in the Reformatories, Industrial Schools and Marlborough House were of school going age. The Department of Education had a statutory responsibility to fund, inspect and supervise the welfare and the education of those children while they remained in these institutions up to the age of sixteen.

Quite clearly they were negligent and failed to do so as the needs of the institutions were put before the needs of the children.

Consequently the educational provision and the educational attainment of the children in the words of the Ryan Report were deplorable. Indeed, the Department of Education was for decades a major obstacle to children and their parents obtaining any redress or satisfaction when they made complaints in relation to the treatment experienced by the children in the institutions under the supervision of the Department of Education.

I believe that the Department of Education which has failed the children entrusted to their care should now as a State institution in its own right make a symbolic statement of apology and atonement by opening a Book of Condolences in its main office in Marlborough Street in Dublin 1.

Dear Mr. Costello,

As a survivor of the institutional abuse by the Christian Brothers in St Josephs school in Tralee and as the Last registered inmate to Artian Industrial school I call upon you to support me and all others who wish now to obtain the education that was deprived of us in our youth .

As a 53 year old now I have No hope of obtaining any employment without any formal educational qualifications.

It makes no sense for me to do a Fas Course and then end up back on the dole

Many others want to go back to full time education (as mature students) and I believe that the State should now support this without any means testing


Tommy Broughan T.D.

Dear Thomas,

Thanks again for your email and comments on the Ryan Report and its implications for the Irish State today.

The Labour Party is to publish a Bill today the Institutional Child Abuse Bill, to deal with a number of issues of concern to victims of abuse in religious run institutions. Please be assured that the Labour Party will continue to do everything possible both inside and outside Dail Eireann to address all of the very important issues that you raised in your email.

Please keep in touch,

Very Best Wishes,

Tommy Broughan T.D.

Thank you again

Thomas Clarke

dail debate 8

Batt O’Keeffe
(Minister, Department of Education and Science; Cork North West, Fianna Fail)

As Minister for Education and Science, I want to apologise unreservedly for the way the Department of Education and Science failed children in residential institutions.

Róisín Shortall
(Dublin North West, Labour)

What will you do about it? That is the question. It is not the apology; it is what the Minister will do about it now.

Brendan Howlin
(Wexford, Labour)

Please allow the Minister to make his contribution.

Batt O’Keeffe
(Minister, Department of Education and Science; Cork North West, Fianna Fail)

The report clearly shows how the Department failed to protect these children for whom it had a duty of care. Had the Department done its job properly, thousands of children would not have suffered the way they did. We failed them. We are all united in our abhorrence at the findings of this report and the sheer scale of the abuse which children experienced in these institutions over a long period of time. The then Taoiseach apologised in 1999. My Secretary General acknowledged the Department’s failures at the commission’s public hearings in 2006. I unreservedly reiterate that apology today.

I can only imagine the frustration of survivors up to this point when they tried to speak out and their claims were rejected or denied. This report unequivocally supports the stories told by those who were abused and highlights the pain, suffering and abuse to which they were subjected for most of their young lives. For many, the continuing pain has remained with them and blighted their lives to this day. The report lays bare the reality of life in these institutions and the neglect, fear, and abuse experienced daily in an environment which, in the main, did not even provide them with their most basic needs.

I commend all victims on their bravery in coming forward to the commission and divulging the most painful and traumatic events of their lives.

Róisín Shortall
(Dublin North West, Labour)

For goodness sake spare us this. What are you going to do about it?

Batt O’Keeffe
(Minister, Department of Education and Science; Cork North West, Fianna Fail)

I commend them on their persistence in ensuring the story was told, heard and, most importantly for the victims, that it was believed. Without them, this report would not have been possible nor could we have ever hoped to learn from the mistakes of the past. Their bravery and determination is a lasting tribute to those former residents who are no longer with us and whom we should remember at this time.

Today, above all other days, we must be humbled and contrite for the wrongs that have been inflicted on innocent lives. The American author, James Baldwin, once said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed but nothing can be changed unless it is faced”. We have now faced the reality that thousands of young people lived in a regime that was harsh, severe and abusive. There is no denying it—–

Joan Burton
(Dublin West, Labour)

It was savage.

Batt O’Keeffe
(Minister, Department of Education and Science; Cork North West, Fianna Fail)

—–but now, as a society, we will be judged on how we respond to this reality, learn from the mistakes of the past and ensure our children are protected and cared for.

Michael D Higgins
(Galway West, Labour)

And how we can reform the Department that covered it up.

Batt O’Keeffe
(Minister, Department of Education and Science; Cork North West, Fianna Fail)

The Taoiseach, together with myself and other Ministers, met representatives of the survivors of abuse on 3 June during which the Taoiseach reiterated the Government’s full acceptance of all the recommendations in the commission’s report and that it is committed to their implementation. The groups were also advised that the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs will develop an implementation plan to be brought to Government by the end of next month.

In respect of my own Department, the erection of a memorial dedicated to all survivors, living and dead, has been already the subject of discussions with survivor groups and of consultation with the Office of Public Works.

Róisín Shortall
(Dublin North West, Labour)

The Minister still does not get it, just like the religious orders.

Batt O’Keeffe
(Minister, Department of Education and Science; Cork North West, Fianna Fail)

It is proposed to hold further discussions with the survivor groups to advance the implementation of this recommendation.

The report also made recommendations relating to education, counselling and family tracing services. Funding for education grants is available from the Education Finance Board which is funded by €12.7 million of the religious orders’ cash contribution. At the end of last year, some €7.35 million of this remained to be spent on education for former survivors and their families.

Funding has been provided to some survivor groups primarily for information and referral during the commission and redress processes.

Róisín Shortall
(Dublin North West, Labour)

Put a price tag on that too.

Batt O’Keeffe
(Minister, Department of Education and Science; Cork North West, Fianna Fail)

Last year, the Department provided funding to these groups as follows: Irish groups – €143,239 and UK groups – €428,312.

Róisín Shortall
(Dublin North West, Labour)

That is an insult to the people in the Gallery.

Batt O’Keeffe
(Minister, Department of Education and Science; Cork North West, Fianna Fail)

They will continue to be funded by my Department in the current year. Barnardos is being funded to provide a family tracing service for former residents, which is highly valued by them.

My Department will continue to consult with the survivor groups on the recommendations relating to education, counselling and family tracing services.

At the meeting on 3 June, the survivor groups paid tribute to the residential institutions redress unit of my Department. That unit will continue to be available to them as a point of contact as we pursue implementation of the report’s recommendations.

Joan Burton
(Dublin West, Labour)

Many people do not have trust in that.

Batt O’Keeffe
(Minister, Department of Education and Science; Cork North West, Fianna Fail)

Deputies have raised the issue of the commission’s records. While, under the Act, decisions on the commission’s records are a matter for the commission, the commission has assured my Department that no action will be taken on these documents for some time. I assure the House that the Government supports the desirability of preserving, in so far as possible, these records for posterity.

A range of issues were raised by the survivor groups including contributions by the congregations, redress, future needs of the former residents, criminal records, counselling, therapy services and a memorial. Some of the issues raised by the survivor groups have been also raised—–

Róisín Shortall
(Dublin North West, Labour)

What about responsibility?

Batt O’Keeffe
(Minister, Department of Education and Science; Cork North West, Fianna Fail)

—–by Deputies in the course of this debate. These and all of the other issues raised by them will now be given further consideration.

I do not want to move from focusing on the needs of the survivors. However, a number of comments were made by Deputies relating to my own Department with which I must deal.

Michael D Higgins
(Galway West, Labour)

That is right.

Róisín Shortall
(Dublin North West, Labour)


Batt O’Keeffe
(Minister, Department of Education and Science; Cork North West, Fianna Fail)

In a recent “Questions & Answers” programme on RTE, Michael O’Brien, a former resident, implored all of us to stop making a political football of this issue. I ask the same of Deputy Ruarí Quinn. Deputy Quinn has every right to engage in robust debate about current policies and structures and changes he considers are desirable. I would welcome such a debate. Deputy Quinn also has every right to express his views in this House on my performance as Minister or that of my Department. Deputy Quinn is right to point to areas where improvement is needed. I and my Department would agree with him in regard to some of that.

I accept it is a problem that the information sought by the Deputy is not readily available because of information technology and database inadequacies. I have already asked my Department to go through individual school files and compile the ownership information for all schools into an accessible format for presentation. However, I do not accept that Deputy Quinn has the right to use the privilege of this House to impugn the personal integrity and motivations of civil servants working in my Department or any other Department. His language and personal allegations about those civil servants would be risible if it were not for the serious context in which they were made.

Michael D Higgins
(Galway West, Labour)

But in the past senior civil servants hid this abuse. The Minister knows that.

Batt O’Keeffe
(Minister, Department of Education and Science; Cork North West, Fianna Fail)

I want to put on the record of the House that in my year as Minister—–

Michael D Higgins
(Galway West, Labour)

A former Secretary in the Department of Education said everything was wonderful in Daingean.

Brendan Howlin
(Wexford, Labour)

Deputy, allow the Minister make his contribution.

Batt O’Keeffe
(Minister, Department of Education and Science; Cork North West, Fianna Fail)

dealing with my Department’s civil servants, I have always found them to be motivated by a strong desire to make the best choice in the public interest.

Róisín Shortall
(Dublin North West, Labour)

What does the Minister intend to do about the problem in his Department? Will he ask any questions?

Batt O’Keeffe
(Minister, Department of Education and Science; Cork North West, Fianna Fail

Far from the laziness and destructiveness Deputy Quinn alleges, I have found a huge commitment to their work and willingness to go the extra mile but I will not dwell on that matter today.

The focus of this all-party debate is on the serious issues covered in the Ryan report—–

Michael D Higgins
(Galway West, Labour)

That is right.

Batt O’Keeffe
(Minister, Department of Education and Science; Cork North West, Fianna Fail)

—–and our responsibilities to those former residents whom we failed in their childhood.

Róisín Shortall
(Dublin North West, Labour)

What about the Minister’s responsibility and the role of his Department?

Brendan Howlin
(Wexford, Labour)

Please Deputies, allow the Minister to make his contribution.

Batt O’Keeffe
(Minister, Department of Education and Science; Cork North West, Fianna Fail)

However, I could not let such an unprecedented attack on the personal integrity of my staff lie unchallenged on the record of this House.

Michael D Higgins
(Galway West, Labour)

And nothing about the past.

Dail debate 7

Mary Harney
(Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)

I wish to share my time with Deputy Mary White.

Brendan Howlin
(Wexford, Labour)

Is that agreed? Agreed.

Mary Harney
(Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)

The publication of the report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, under Mr. Justice Seán Ryan, is the most important social event in Ireland in recent decades. It is a truly profound moment in the life of the nation. It confronts us with an awful truth, the fact that we should be ashamed of our past when it comes to our treatment of children. It is tempting to believe that our shame relates to events long ago, but the sad and disturbing truth is that the hurt inflicted on the survivors of abuse has continued to this day. In the ten long years since the then Taoiseach, Deputy Bertie Ahern, apologised for the abuse of the past, we have, until now, collectively failed to fully appreciate the injustices of the past. Nothing less than a full appreciation must now be displayed by society and must inform the actions of the State.

The Ryan report forces us to confront the true scale of the savage inhumanity that has devastated so many young lives, and the awful inertia and neglect of people in authority that allowed the abuse to continue when it should have been rooted out. For too many decades we chose to turn away from this hidden misery. But now we have a solemn duty to face it, to digest its significance and to act in a manner that provides justice to the survivors and protection against such abuse ever happening in the future. While there have been many scandals, and reports on scandals, on child abuse and other evils – some yet to come – this time, it is different, and it will be different. This report is our truth commission.

We owe a great debt to Mr. Justice Ryan and the many people who have served on the commission. Without flinching, the report covers the worst of human depravity and abuse of children. The terrible truth that this report unveils, in the most thorough, judicious, and razor-sharp analysis, calls for the deepest, sustained reflection, so that all that can be learned from it will be learned. It raises profound issues of justice, redress, crime and punishment, the ethos underlying the laws we enact, questions of good and bad authority, the hideous corruption of the values and ideals of founders of religious orders, and the failures and neglect of the State, and agents of the State, purporting to act in the name of the people. In recounting the testimony of the abused children, it finally gives voice to the truth of their suffering. In so doing, it recognises the injustice and hurt of this truth having been suppressed in their childhood, and for most of their lives.

In all the darkness, there are points of light, that final recognition of the truth for those who were abused, the clarity and balance shown in the report, the acknowledgement of good done by some people, even where abuse was institutionalised and systemic, the understanding it helps us reach of what did go on, and of the need for vigilance to prevent such abuse ever occurring again.

Brendan Howlin
(Wexford, Labour)

I know people are very deeply involved in this debate but I ask that Members could be heard without any interruption from the Gallery. I understand how deeply people feel about this matter but it is important that what is being said is heard.

1:00 am

Mary Harney
(Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats

Most importantly, this report is compelling because it puts the abused children of decades past, and the vulnerable children of today, at the very centre of its concerns and compels our entire society to do the same. It is fundamentally about their story and their welfare, and it demands that we, as individuals and particularly as public representatives in Dáil Éireann, ask ourselves the hard questions and deliver a response that fully meets the challenges.

For so many victims of abuse set out in this report, there has been and can be no real balancing of the scales for lives lost, psychological trauma and childhoods starved of human warmth, love and trust. The survivors live in Ireland, England and right around the world. I hope that wherever they live, and in whatever circumstances, whatever their status, health or well-being, they hear the message the Irish people and this House is sending today – you are not forgotten and we are determined to do justice, to repair damage as far it can be repaired, and to honour your lives and your human dignity.

We are determined to ensure that survivors of abuse are provided with full access to the entire range of health and social services they need. Many have ongoing and particular needs in the areas of housing, health care, education, counselling and support services, areas which cut across a number of public service providers. Our job is to align our services so that we are proactive across public services in meeting their needs. Nor will we forget those who live outside the jurisdiction whom we can also help with better services.

We are also determined as a House and as a Government, as the Taoiseach has said, to ensure Ireland reaches the highest standards of child protection. I am confident the Minister of State, Deputy Barry Andrews, will present the Government with a comprehensive set of practical measures needed to implement fully the recommendations of the report. That work is already well underway. The Minister of State, Deputy Andrews, set out yesterday some of the challenges that this will pose for him and for all of us involved in the design and implementation of public services. The challenges presented to us are nothing to the suffering of the survivors. Our challenge is to make sure we put the survivors first in designing the public services they now require.

Redress and compensation is one small part of justice, and an entirely appropriate part. However, our response as a society also demands a greater financial contribution from the religious orders involved to right the wrongs of the past and to take all possible measures to prevent abuse now and in the future. The Government is reflecting the interest of our society in requiring far more from the religious orders, and the Government and the House expect they will meet their responsibilities, which are grave indeed.

We are all thinking again about the agreement on redress in 2002 and the capping of the legal liability of the orders involved. They might well reflect that, while it sought to limit the damage to their finances, it has had the effect of causing immeasurably more damage to their reputations. It is a lesson for all organisations and institutions that catastrophic reputational damage is caused by allowing injustice to persist and by failing to act, and that damage is only exacerbated by legal or financial moves to deny or evade full responsibility. Reputations are much more difficult to repair than balance sheets. Lest there be any doubt, damaged lives are the hardest thing of all to repair.

Criminal prosecution and punishment is another necessary part of justice and redress. Our response as a society to evil and injustice includes criminal sanction; that is what our laws provide. There cannot be any reason the due process of criminal law should not take place in regard to those who have a very serious case to answer. There is every good reason it should.

In 1999, the Taoiseach, Deputy Bertie Ahern, rightly and unreservedly apologised on behalf of the State for the failures over decades to protect children. Often, when we mention “the State” in these matters, it can sound like a cold, legal construct, an entity we all own but that somehow is above, beyond and detached from us as individuals. The State is all of us, and in a particular way those of us who are now, or were in the past, Members of the Oireachtas. In this debate we can recount all the horrors and the appalling incidents of abuse, reading out parts of the Ryan report. However, the public, and more importantly, the abused, can rightly ask of those of us speaking today, “What about you? Your institutions? Your role?” Let us address this. The failure of the State included our failure. Let us acknowledge that fully. The elected representatives of the people, ourselves, even in this generation, and our predecessors, did not adequately scrutinise, question and call to account the system that caused this abuse of children. The institutions of the State – the Oireachtas, this House and Departments – all failed.

For example, year after year, Estimates for the Department of Education were proposed, analysed, discussed and passed. That process provided an opportunity for a closer scrutiny of the workings of the industrial schools, in particular of the financial incentives underlying them. How often did we and our predecessors raise the question of abuse or the system of industrial schools? Clearly, nowhere near enough.

The report comments tersely on what happened in the 44 years between the Cussen commission’s report into reformatories and industrial schools in 1936 and the Kennedy report in 1970. It states:

The Cussen Report endorsed the system contingent upon the implementation of its 51 principal conclusions and recommendations, but the implementation of these recommendations by the Department of Education was inconsistent and intermittent. Consequently, the system continued largely unchanged until the late 1960s. By the time the Kennedy Report was published in 1970, the system had greatly declined and the report itself was more of an obituary than a death sentence. The events that led to the ending of the system had little to do with policy decisions by the Department of Education, and that also is part of the story.

One of the many lessons in this is surely that we should question more and better, not less or superficially. Whether as Ministers or TDs, we must be constantly vigilant to allow the possibility that there can be another truth other than the traditional line or that which supports the status quo. By this, I mean responsible, considered, deep and balanced questioning. As we know from some parliamentary inquiries, it is only a high standard of questioning and a high standard of ministerial and administrative response and accountability that will ensure scrutiny actually works to prevent failures, including what are often called systemic failures. A lesson of this report is also that any institution, be it religious, political, administrative or professional, can – indeed, will – end up being self-serving and abusive of power if it does not question itself and is left without effective external accountability.

What we mean by “the State” is also all those who run and administer the institutions and arms of the State. Many people advise and act in the name of the State and, ultimately, there is political control. However, there is no small measure of administrative responsibility either. In fairness, the report records the statement of the Secretary General of the Department of Education accepting its failures. However, as important as recognition, acceptance and apology is to learn and fully apply the lessons as quickly as possible.

High standards of public sector management must mean the public service carries within itself the ability to question its own methods and processes so that failures and deficiencies are addressed, not suppressed. The challenge of this report is not just about the past, but about the ability of an administrative system now and in future to question and improve itself constantly. Otherwise, self-preservation, the status quo and even illegality and deep injustices can become institutionalised. The price of not doing so may be hidden in the short term but the long-term consequences can be appalling for individuals.

There often can be unsettling and deeply challenging new facts, or new legal or financial advice, presented to Ministers and Departments. We must listen and apply considered judgment to what we hear. As Ministers, we must never abandon our critical faculties. In this case, the damage to children and the liability of the State simply accumulated over decades. It never went away because not enough people listened, heard and acted. Had we acted earlier, we would have saved both. So, it is a lesson for public administration, Government, Ministers and the Oireachtas to deal with issues when they arise, no matter how awkward, difficult or revealing they are. It is about the courage to speak the truth, as well as the courage to listen and to act. As the report states, “…openness would probably have reduced the level of abuse: sunshine is the best disinfectant”.

The report also offers lessons on what it calls “agency capture”, that is, organisations funded by the State which dictated terms even though one would imagine that he who pays the piper calls the tune. These agencies argued that they were unable to meet standards because they were not receiving sufficient funds. They claimed, for example, they did not have the money to provide meat to children. This turned into a form of blackmail against the State and a means of excusing injustice, wrongdoing and the failure to meet standards. Echoes of these arguments can be heard today. To avoid this danger, a clear and accountable governance system is needed for agencies and organisations which receive substantial State funding so that resource limitations are not used as excuses for bad practice or management.

The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse was a truth commission for Ireland. It revealed a truth that is both disturbing and shameful but it is infinitely better that the truth be told and the lessons learned for the sake of the abused and all our children, particularly vulnerable ones. If we could give to the born the level of care and concern rightly shown in some quarters to the unborn, we would serve this country better.

As a pupil of the convent in Goldenbridge, I was treated very well and had a good experience. However, I went home to my parents every evening. Many of my teachers were the same people who inflicted such awful pain and suffering on those held in their care. It is difficult to understand how these teachers could treat two students so differently simply because one went home every evening.

Mary White
(Carlow-Kilkenny, Green Party)

Today’s debate addresses a truly horrific chapter in our country’s history and the lessons we must learn as a nation, a country and a human race. The Ryan report documents systemic abuse in industrial schools, reformatory schools and other institutions spanning a period of decades. It chronicles shocking physical and emotional abuse, a climate of fear in the institutions concerned, the endemic sexual abuse of boys by abusers who were protected by their congregations and a catalogue of crimes against the most vulnerable of children, including the emotional abuse that disadvantaged, neglected and abandoned children suffered at the hands of staff in these institutions.

Children with learning and other impairments were even more powerless in the presence of those in authority. The report states:

Children with intellectual, physical and sensory impairments and children who had no known family contact were especially vulnerable in institutional settings. They described being powerless against adults who abused them, especially when those adults were in positions of authority and trust. Impaired mobility and communication deficits made it impossible to inform others of their abuse or to resist it. Children who were unable to hear, see, speak, move or adequately express themselves were at a complete disadvantage in environments that did not recognise or facilitate their right to be heard.

Neglect and emotional abuse were widespread but the Department of Education took a deferential and submissive attitude to the religious orders and failed in its duty to inspect or regulate them. There was a lack of response to the complaints of those who were abused from either the congregational authorities or the Department. Complainants were not heeded, secular authorities were not alerted to cases of abuse by members of the religious orders and the Department generally dismissed or ignored their complaints.

Two industrial schools were located in my constituency of Carlow-Kilkenny, St. Patrick’s and St. Joseph’s. The report states in regard to St. Patrick’s that men who were employed in the school appeared to have ready access to small boys and that awareness was lacking about the risks posed by this. In St. Joseph’s, two periods of serious sexual abuse were not adequately addressed. In the first period, the perpetrator was not reported to the Garda even though the Department confirmed the cases and no comfort was offered to the girls who were abused. In the second period, the Sisters of Charity were found to have failed to deal decisively with two abusers of boys. Both men went on to abuse again after leaving St. Joseph’s.

I cannot help contrasting my own happy childhood in County Wicklow, sitting on haystacks beside my brothers and sister or doing my homework at the kitchen table in the expectation of cocoa and Marietta biscuits with the butter oozing out the little holes, with the horrendous beatings, floggings, sexual abuse, lack of love and lives full of terror experienced by the children in these institutions. The contrast is grotesque but this happened at the hands of the so-called guardians and pillars of the church who wore the soutane and the biretta and wielded the cane to abuse their positions of power and destroy lives.

However, we must recognise the parallel failures of the State during the period in question. The 1936 Cussen report, which recommended integration into the community of those in industrial schools, was not implemented until the 1960s. The Ryan report states that the industrial training afforded served the needs of the institutions rather than the children. This failing was only one of many.

The Ryan report’s recommendations on child care policy and methods of evaluating the success or failure of services are all the more important when we consider that the Government is in the process of reforming early child care policy and provision. The findings of this report confront us with an enormous challenge in terms of examining the relationship between church and State both then and now. The report’s final recommendation on the implementation of national guidelines for the protection and welfare of children is crucial. While I welcome the Government’s commitment in this regard, it must also engage the Catholic church on its currently inadequate child protection guidelines. Guidelines which offer no input from the victims of abuse cannot be deemed adequate. Finally, I suggest that a day of remembrance be called by the Government. This would be an important occasion for us to remember what happened and to listen without interrupting and learn from those who for so many years never had a voice.

Brendan Howlin
(Wexford, Labour)

This is a very important debate. I ask people in the Gallery to allow Members to make their contributions in this national Parliament on this most important issue without applause.

Róisín Shortall
(Dublin North West, Labour)

I am glad to have several minutes to make a short contribution on this motion. Unfortunately, the limited amount of time allocated to the debate means that many Members who would have liked to make contributions do not have opportunities to do so.

I hope the publication of the Ryan report heralds an honest and sincere response from the State and the religious congregations which were responsible for the gross depravity and savagery inflicted by many of their members on the most vulnerable in our society. I am not sure, however, whether the current debate on this all-party motion is the correct way to deal with the issue. A lot of breast beating is going on, accompanied by talk that I find difficult to stomach. We should have dealt with the issue differently and I would have liked more honesty in the debate.

Regrettably, we continue to await a full acceptance of responsibility on the part of the State. The rewriting of history which Deputy Woods engaged in this morning is not helpful. Time does not allow me to provide the details but I utterly refute many of the Deputy’s assertions. The agreement reached with the 18 congregations was grubby in the extreme. It entailed the State stepping in and taking on legal responsibility for clerical abuse not just in the distant past but up to 5 June 2002. Essentially, it was a cheap insurance policy for the perpetrators of criminal abuse and the fact the State was party to that is a disgrace. It flew in the face of modern day thinking on the need for those perpetrators to take responsibility for their actions and it is not until this requirement is satisfied that people can begin to recover. How can the survivors of abuse ever start to move on if the perpetrators of abuse continue to refuse to take responsibility for their actions?

The State, in reaching this deal with the 18 congregations, facilitated that avoidance of responsibility on the part of the congregations. The religious fought tooth and nail to limit their financial liability for this open-ended indemnity provided by the State. They succeeded in including in the deal many properties that had nothing whatsoever to do with redress. They put a €10 million price tag on their counselling services and that is a measure of the hard-nosed approach they took to this. This was not about atonement or seeking forgiveness or facing up to responsibility; this was about striking the toughest bargain they possible could. They had the State and the then Minister, Deputy Michael Woods, over a barrel and God did they strike a tough deal.

Seven years after that deal in the middle of 2009 they have yet to honour it. Incredibly, many of the properties have not yet been transferred and as of December last year less than 50% of those properties had been transferred. I am glad to say the Committee of Public Accounts continues to monitor this issue and we are seeking six-monthly reports from the Department of Education and Science to ensure the congregations live up to their responsibility and to ensure the Department ensures they live up to their responsibility. We will continue to do so until each and every one of those properties is fully transferred. Worst of all, the congregations are still more concerned with saving their own faces than in honest atonement. As recently as two weeks ago, some of those orders were still apologising “if” they caused hurt; in spite of all the money they spend on public relations and all of the spin in which they are engaged, they are still talking about apologising “if” they caused hurt. This country has serious questions to ask itself on the morality and legal liability of continuing to allow our education services and large parts of our health services to be controlled by organisations which have been proven to be systematically and systemically abusive, depraved, criminally violent and which have not yet faced up to that culpability.

We know that down through the years at political and senior official level in some Departments too many people were prepared to turn a blind eye. Worse than that, some senior officials facilitated and were complicit in the abuse. This was not just in the distant past; up to very recent years certain officials with responsibility in this area were moved around by more senior and political figures in those Departments, much in the same way as abusing priests and other religious were moved around by their superiors. Will the Taoiseach undertake to carry out an investigation into the manner in which senior officials in the Department of Education and Science in particular, but also within the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, handled complaints about systemic abuse in our education and health services over the years up to the present? People who are still alive, some of them still in positions where they are paid by the State and others who have recently retired, have serious questions to answer in this regard. If we are serious about dealing with this, the Taoiseach will be determined to get to the root of it and to find out who are those officials responsible for facilitating this abuse. This is not something that happened in the long and distant past; it continued up to very recent years and there is an onus on the Taoiseach to take responsibility to root out that attitude at certain levels in certain departments of the Civil Service . Will the Taoiseach give a commitment to ensure this happens?

I will ask three questions which members of the survivors’ groups in the Gallery asked me to pose and they relate to an entirely different aspect of the issue. They are very anxious to find out the answers to them. Who decided to add a gagging clause to the redress board scheme? Who decided to add the threat of imprisonment if people spoke about their experience after having been before the redress board? Was it the former Attorney General, Michael McDowell, who was responsible for adding those two provisions? He is not in a position to make a statement in this House but I call on him to make a public statement on those provisions.

Dail debate 6

Dan Neville
(Limerick West, Fine Gael)

Some of these people have nowhere to go when they are discharged. There was some discussion about the usefulness of a nursing home or halfway house for survivors who have to leave hospital but are not well enough to return to independent living in the community.

I will quote from a professional who identified suicidal behaviour among survivors. Speaking about a married woman, the professional stated:

I do not think she will ever tell him because when he hears the [television] programmes, he says “look at all those dreadful people lying just to get money”, so of course she is never going to. “That never happened,” he says, so she will never tell him now. Well, she says she will not. So, all her life this was a piece kept away. Her deepest friends do not know … and her husband knows nothing.

John Perry
(Sligo-North Leitrim, Fine Gael)

From 2002 to 2004, which covered the period in question, I was Chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts. We began our consideration of the matter by examining Chapter 7.1 of the 2002 report of the Comptroller and Auditor General. The committee under Deputy Noonan examined Chapter 9.1 of the 2003 report. During its deliberations, the committee also met the representatives of the religious congregations involved, with officials from the Department of Education and Science and the Office of the Attorney General. The committee considered the matter five times. I received the record in question from the committee yesterday, but it is important to put it on the House’s record in the aftermath of Deputy Woods’s contribution.

The committee first met the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science, his officials, a Second Secretary General of the Department of Finance and his officials on 2 October 2003, a meeting that I chaired. Following the first meeting, the Department made available to us a large set of documents supporting the negotiation of the agreement with the congregations. In light of this additional information, a second meeting was held with the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science, his officials, a Second Secretary General of the Department of Finance and his officials on 4 March 2004, a meeting that I also chaired. To achieve a full consideration of the accountability issues involved, the committee held an in-depth all-day meeting with a delegation from the congregations on 8 July 2004. The delegates appeared as voluntary witnesses.

The committee considered Chapter 9.1 of the 2003 report, itself a consideration of Chapter 7.1 of the 2002 report, and Vote 13 – Office of the Attorney General on 25 November 2004. This meeting was chaired by Deputy Noonan. The consideration of the accountability issues was achieved through an in-depth examination of the three audit objectives covered by the Comptroller and Auditor General’s office. The Laffoy inquiry, which had powers of compellability, was running in parallel to the committee’s inquiry.

The specific accountability issues covered by the then Comptroller and Auditor General, Mr. John Purcell, followed the chronological sequence of events. They were the State’s potential financial liability arising from the redress scheme, the negotiation of the agreement with the congregations, the mandate and the negotiating position, the early negotiations, the agreement in principle, the finalisation of the agreement, the role of the Attorney General’s office, the involvement of the Department of Finance, the implementation of the agreement and its concluding perspectives.

The committee’s findings and recommendations regarding redress were important. It found that a significant contingent liability existed in respect of victims of child abuse, suffered in institutions where the State had a regulatory or inspection function, who sought compensation through the courts. On 11 May 1999, the Taoiseach issued a public apology on behalf of the State to the victims of such abuse. A redress scheme was launched to facilitate the compensation of victims. The final cost of the redress scheme must be viewed in the light of the substantial costs that would have been incurred in any event if no such scheme had been established and if the cases had been processed in the normal manner through the courts.

The Government’s decision on the establishment of the redress scheme was informed by estimates of the scale of the likely claim load by the Department. However, it did not use all the data available in estimating the potential ultimate liability from the scheme and did not update its estimate of the liability as new information came to light. Mr. Purcell was vigorously challenged in committee in 2004. The latest estimate of the final cost of the redress scheme was €800 million, a figure given by the Comptroller and Auditor General. The initial estimates were prudent and sought to take account of the ultimate number of claims that might be filed and the appropriation accounts of the Department for 2002 and 2003, which were certified by the Comptroller and Auditor General. The Department stated, “The amounts involved cannot be determined at this point”, yet at the time it was aware of the position.

A mandate, which was approved by the Minister for Education and Science for pursuing an agreement for a contribution from the congregations, was drawn up by the Department, in consultation with the Department of Finance and the Office of the Attorney General. The mandate was to provide to congregations contributing to the scheme an indemnity in respect of all civil actions arising from acts of abuse against people who were eligible to make a claim to the compensation scheme. In return, a minimum contribution of €128 million towards the costs of the redress scheme was expected from the congregations.

The mandated minimum contribution bears little relation to the negotiating position that was favoured by the Department of Finance. Insufficient use was made by the Department of the information held about the likely final liability in establishing the mandate and the negotiating position. The underestimation of the final liability had implications for the negotiating mandate adopted by the State side.

The State negotiating team had no prior knowledge of the ability of the congregations to pay the contribution expected and should have pressed for contextual information about the extent of available assets. It is acknowledged that pursuit to a negotiation strategy based on ability to pay would have had implications for the likely time required for the finalisation of the agreement. The State adopted a negotiating position to seek a 50:50 sharing of the ultimate cost of the redress scheme. The congregations viewed this position as unfair.

The initial offer of the congregations of €50 to €60 million, made in June 2001, was considered unacceptable by the Minister and was not taken to Cabinet. In October 2001, the State’s negotiation team believed the negotiations had stalled and underestimated the desire of the congregations to be part of the scheme. Media coverage of the negotiations affected the trust and confidence of the congregations in the State’s negotiation team.

A letter issued by the Department on 6 November 2001, supported by two meetings between the congregations and the Minister and Secretary General of the Department, enabled agreement in principle to be reached on all main issues, in particular, the amount of the contribution to be made, the extent to which property already transferred could be included and the indemnity.

Written documentation of the original negotiation mandate of April 2001 exists. The documentation of the meetings with the Minister in November 2001 and January 2002, when agreement in principle was reached, was not good. No contemporaneous minutes were kept by the State. The congregations wrote to the Department in January 2002 to ensure a record of its understanding of what had been agreed was available.

Regarding the question of indemnity, a Government decision in principle to approve the Minister’s proposals for a deal with the congregations was made on 31 January 2002. When the Government reached this decision, the detailed terms of the proposed indemnity or the value of the previously transferred properties were not known. Formal documentation of policy positions and the progress of the negotiations left a lot to be desired, as reflected by the uncertainties raised by the Office of the Attorney General. There was a considerable difference of understanding over the agreed extent of the indemnity on the State’s side. Between January and March 2002, the Attorney General wrote two letters seeking details of the agreement. Officials in the Attorney General’s office were not sufficiently aware of the original mandate agreed in April 2001. This was only clarified by a letter from the Minister to the Attorney General in April 2002.

While resort to the indemnity has been low to date, the court award of €370,000 on 1 March 2005 could lead to a change of approach by some claimants, which would favour recourse to the courts rather than the redress board. A substantial change of this kind could have implications for the ultimate cost of the redress issue. The State’s power to enter into such indemnity agreements has been based on the premise that the Executive branch of Government has exclusive powers to do so. The Department of Finance was satisfied that the original mandate for reaching agreement with the congregations was met.

Regarding implementation, the full cash element of the contribution has been paid. The Department has been diligent in pursuing the transfers of property and in following up the counselling and education fund elements of the agreement.

It is important to discuss the recommendations, which is where the real problems arise. The strength of the State’s negotiation team should be equal, at all times, to that of those with whom they are negotiating. Departments involved in significant negotiations that commit large amounts of money should provide appropriate training and development for staff expected to serve on negotiation teams.

The Civil Service  should aim to ensure its capacity to negotiate on significant issues is maintained at a sufficiently high level to match the negotiating strength of the opposing side. Where required, the facility to import the required specialist skills and expertise should be available. To remove any potential doubt about the State’s authority to enter into indemnities of this nature, the committee considered that there may be merit in having the law officers of the State review the appropriate measures, statutory or otherwise for authorising indemnities or material financial commitments of this kind.

The Department of Finance accounting procedures for contingent liabilities should be reviewed and brought into line with good practice. The general approach to identifying, recognising and measuring contingent liabilities should be reviewed and updated in light of the experience of the redress scheme. Guidance on suitable approaches to estimating contingencies should be developed so that departments can estimate and report on contingencies in a more realistic way.

A statement of good practice for the formal documentation of policy positions, negotiating positions and mandated positions should be developed by the Department of Finance. There should be a practice note regarding the involvement of the Office of the Attorney General in major negotiations with a legal dimension, particularly where the legal dimension is complex and where large amounts of money may be involved. Further guidance on negotiation strategies should be developed where more than one department is involved. This should include appropriate standards for the documentation of meetings and key decisions and of the information to be provided to Cabinet. The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of 2002 details the appalling deal which was negotiated and the lack of accountability, such as notes not being taken by the Secretary General of the Department. It has had an impact on many people, regardless of the transfer and value of the assets of the religious to the State. It was poorly done, there was a lack of knowledge and we are now dealing with the current situation.

James Reilly
(Dublin North, Fine Gael)

I welcome the opportunity to participate in this debate. I welcome the Ryan report as the first meaningful exposure of a system that inflicted systematic abuse on generations of children in this country. I hope today can be the start of the healing process, for us as a nation and for the victims.

The abuse was sexual, emotional, psychological and physical and was endemic. The report confirms the culpability and failings of the State, of the congregations, of gardaí, of professionals, of educators and our broader society. As the report points out, surely people knew what was happening and could see the state of these children as they supplied whatever goods or services were needed to the institutions, and yet nothing was done and any attempt to do anything was stifled.

The fact that religious orders allowed their Christian ethos to be so savagely subverted that they could inflict such cruelty and then go on to protect those who had inflicted that cruelty is mind-boggling. The report reflects a terrible shame on a nation that turned its back on its children and allowed a system evolve where a mini industry could exist, where capitation payments were made and the more heads in beds, the more money the orders got.

A stark reminder is stated in one chapter of the report. The committee concluded that large, mainly boys schools, with big productive farms and industrial training geared to the needs of the school rather than the children, and sufficient numbers to allow economies of scale to apply were well-resourced. It also states these schools should have been able to provide a good standard of care, however the evidence indicates that the children in these schools were some of the most poorly provided for. This was noted by the Department of Finance, but the resident managers association did not and would not co-operate, and, thereby, condemned many children in the less well-resourced institutions to needless poverty.

I wish to read one case of the many that struck me. It relates to the Rosminians. There was a pattern of systematic, severe, physical and sexual abuse of the boys in Ferryhouse extending over many years. Perhaps the worst effect of gratuitous and capricious punishment was its unpredictability. No matter what the boys did, a punishment was still a possibility. The result was a climate of fear. A witness who was in Ferryhouse in the late 1960s vividly described the kind of fear he experienced every day. He told the Investigation Committee:

I cried most days in that school. I was so scared when the next beating was going to come, whether it would be me. I mean I cried for my friends, my friends cried for me. We didn’t deserve this stuff, we really didn’t deserve this…It was the beatings that was given and dished out in there was savage, man, savage…I was a child you know, a child. I’ve walked landings with hard men in the Joy [prison], in Cork, wherever. I was never afraid. I would stand eye to eye with people that killed people. I wasn’t afraid. But I was afraid when I was in that school, every day of my fecking life. That is what I want you to understand.

We need to understand that. Let us look at the inspectors and their position, which was compromised by a lack of independence from the Department and a statutory obligation to inspect more that 50 residential schools. That was clearly too much for one person. Inspections were supposed to be carried out at random, but they were well flagged and the institutions could prepare for them. The inspector rarely spoke to the children in the institutions. The appalling emotional hardship that was virtually universally applied is underscored by the line in the report which says “more kindness and humanity would have gone far to make up for poor standards of care.”

The report is damming of the Department of Education and Science that knew that violence and beatings were endemic within that system and the upsetting truth that children who ran away were subjected to extremely severe punishments. Schools that were known to have very high rates of absconding associated with chronic sexual or physical abuse were ignored. Complaints made by parents and others to the Department were not properly investigated. Some laypeople who were accused of abuse were reported to the Garda but members of congregations were protected and moved elsewhere to continue their barbaric ways.

Sexual abuse was endemic and the recidivist nature of sexual abuse was known to the religious authorities but the danger to children was never taken into account, only the risk to the order, the institution and its reputation. Often children were beaten and punished severely for reporting sexual abuse even where it was acknowledged that it happened. The victims were viewed as corrupted by the orders. In more recent times the fact that the religious orders sought to protect themselves all the way down the line and used the legal niceties of law to fight their case is something that can no longer be tolerated. In summary the report is a damming indictment of the religious orders, of the Department of Education and Science and of broader society. It is the clearest evidence ever to support the contention of Edmund Burke that, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”.

Having suffered humiliation, hardship and abuse those victims went to a redress board where they were re-victimised by barristers who browbeat them. I met many victims on Wednesday, including Michael O’Brien, Christine Buckley and many others who might not want their names mentioned. They all felt belittled and dehumanised by the redress board and the manner in which its adversarial approach demeaned them. The only authority any church has is a moral authority and until it acts in a moral fashion it has no authority. Those religious congregations did not do that, but I hope they have now turned the corner. They now wish to atone in a meaningful way. As State legislators and leaders of our community we must atone as well for the dreadful shame and stain that is on our nation.

All this is meaningless if it does not bring change, if the culture of secrecy is not removed. That culture still lives strong in many parts of Irish life. On the same day we began this debate there was a press conference across the road in Buswell’s hotel. Patients 4 Dignity outlined how a medical consultant abused young men for 30 years, yet was found innocent in a court of law, but subsequently guilty by the Medical Council. The fact that man could operate for 30 years without being stopped is another black mark against society and against my profession in particular. There is a common theme here, namely, that perverts, abusers and psychopaths will be always with us, but what we must do and what must come of the debate today is a system that catches them early, punishes them and protects the vulnerable, whether they be children in institutions or any other area of State care.

Three principles must underline everything we do, namely, transparency, accountability and fairness. Even as we speak, there is no independent inspectorate for approximately 450 children with disability who are in institutional care. How ironic it would be if, having had this great national outpouring, we allow that situation to continue and find that in five years’ time those children too were left unprotected. Further, the abuse of intellectually disabled children in the Brothers of Charity residential home in Galway has not been properly investigated. That must be done.

I wish to finish by saluting the bravery of all those such as Michael O’Brien, Christine Buckley and the thousands of others who have exposed the deep, dark wound at the heart of Irish society. I thank them for giving us the opportunity to correct the wrongs and to ensure it cannot happen again. If there is a bright light that shines, it is theirs. I salute them. I commend the motion to the House.

Irelands walk of shame!(part 2)

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