Sunday, 28 May 2017

'I'm a former child resident of a mother and baby home. We want truth and justice'
“Institutional Ireland” is still failing survivors of residential institutions, writes Conrad Bryan.
Thejournal.ie
Image result for conrad bryan

AS A FORMER child resident of a mother and baby home in the 1960s, I am very concerned at how “Institutional Ireland” is still failing survivors of residential institutions.
The announcement by the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, that he is planning to give ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital to the Sisters of Charity order is deeply disappointing. This Order was named in the 2009 Ryan Report on child abuse which stated that they “never issued a general public apology in respect of child abuse” and it still has not fully paid its 5 million debt to the redress scheme.
The Minister for Children, Katherine Zappone, also said recently that she would not consider redress for survivors under the 2002 redress scheme. This is despite there being unaccompanied children who spent their whole childhood lives in these and other institutions, after exiting mother and baby homes, who were not in the previous redress scheme.
Others were in institutions that are being excluded from the list for investigation. Mothers of forced/illegal adoptions also have genuine grievances.
Transitional Justice
The Minister for Children also said that she is considering “Transitional Justice” as a means of giving voice to former residents of the mother and baby homes and to raise public awareness and understanding of this sad period in our history. While I welcome this initiative, I am not aware of anyone who simply wants to give “voice” to their stories in public. They just want truth and justice.
Presently, there seems to be a deep frustration with institutional Ireland who simply do not know how to deal with survivors and the trauma and legacy of institutional abuse and neglect. There seems to be a “them and us” mentality between State and survivor, leading to a real sense of hopelessness as to what to do and how to move forward.
The reason I welcomed the transitional justice idea is that I know it means much more than just giving victims a “voice”. Historically, it has always been about seeking truth and justice for past wrongs and human rights abuses. More importantly, it has also been about accountability, healing and reconciliation. We can learn a lot from the transitional justice model of the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRC) in Canada and South Africa.
This proposal reminded me of my black grandparents in South Africa. During the Apartheid regime they were forcefully removed from their home in Sofiatown, Johannesburg, as their township was regarded by the State as a “black spot in a white area”.
The TRC raised many questions for me about the long-term value of it to black people in South Africa. Some of my relatives feel too many people got away with impunity as the TRC granted amnesties and some people are still looking for the remains of their loved ones even to this day. However, the TRC has been credited with bringing stability and enhanced understanding of the human rights abuses in South Africa.
In Canada, the Truth and Reconciliation commission made significant recommendations about how to deal with national reconciliation with their aboriginal people. Many were placed in residential institutions where they were abused or neglected. Their cultural identities were erased as a way of assimilating them into a European Christian culture. Stories of our own Irish children of African/mixed-race and Traveller heritage who were put into institutions resonate.
I believe we too could benefit from some form of national reconciliation process. One that would include all parties: the State, the Church, and family relatives and the public. Many knew what was happening back then.
What would this reconciliation process look like?
If we look to the Canadian experience, we would set up the Irish Museum for Human Rights to reflect stories and histories of mother and baby homes, Magdalene laundries, industrial schools etc. The design and management of it would take full account of the views and sensitivities of survivors. It would also include a separate space for histories of other human rights struggles like Traveller, LGBT, and women’s rights. The Church and State would also be reflected, for example I would like to know stories from nuns about pressure to enter convents, and stories about the role of politicians.
This museum would act as a space for public learning and reflection so these abuses do not happen again. It would also hold death registers and information on cemeteries at the institutions around Ireland and provide genealogy service for relatives and descendants. The design of the museum  would take full account of the wishes and views of survivors.
There would also be a National Research Centre or Truth and Reconciliation centre where people and former residents can do research on residential institutions. It would hold archives from all investigations. It would also act as a learning centre. There would be a commitment from State and Church authorities that this past would be written into the history books at schools, colleges and seminaries.
Finally to show it is serious about this issue, the government could take ownership of the last Magdalene Laundry site on Sean McDermott Street in Dublin for the above Museum, T&C Centre and memorial. This would go some way towards healing and mutual understanding as well as putting human rights at the centre of Irish life.
Image result for magdalene laundry sean mcdermott street dublin

Conrad Bryan is a board member and treasurer of the charity Irish in Britain which represents and supports the Irish community across the UK, particularly vulnerable groups. He is also on the board of AMRI , the Association of Mixed Race Irish, which works to raise awareness of this small community of people with mixed parentage. Outside his charitable activities Conrad is employed in the travel technology sector and is currently living in London. He was born in Ireland of Irish South African heritage.

PAT SAYS:

All victims of abuse deserve truth and justice.

They also deserve generous compensation and the counselling that helps them to recover, as much as possible, from their past sufferings and horrors.

One of the most worrying aspects of the abuse that took place in Church owned and operated institutions is that after agreeing with the Irish State to pay for part of the compensation some Catholic religious orders have not paid up. The still owe the state hundreds of millions.

And its not because these religious orders do not have the money. Most of them have millions and millions in cash and property.

I think that the Irish Government should give these religious a date by which they have to pay up - and then if they do not pay up the government should start seizing their assets until the compensation bill is paid.

Ireland has a criminal assets bureau to take the proceeds of crime off criminals who made money from their crimes.

Many crimes and horrors were committed in religious institutions and the people who ran these institutions made a lot of money out of running them.

Maybe it is time a criminal assets bureau included defaulting religious orders in their activities?

40 comments:

  1. Here we go again. Now you want to strip us of all our money.

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    1. Indeed I want to strip of no one, no organisation, no church of all their money.

      All I am saying is that the Irish Religious Orders promised to pay, with the government, their share of the abuse costs.

      The Orders have failed to pay up - not because they cannot, but because they do not want to.

      If you or I owed the state money and did not pay they would take legal action against us and take what they are owed through the courts.

      They would do the same for any company or organisation.

      The Orders should pay to the state what they agreed to pay.

      And if they don't the state should pursue.

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    2. The state need to compensate the many Religious of Ireland who provided schools, hospitals and many other social services free of cost! It is time for the families of many hero Religious to become aggressive with your and others control of the narrative which is motivated by hatred, bias and Anti-Catholic prejudice. You are wrong, your narrative is wrong and your musings are poison. Our Religious were and are hero's who made Ireland the country it is today. Parasites like you live of their sacrifice in many ways.

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    3. The religious did not provide these services FREE OF COST.

      They were paid by the state for doing this work.

      How else would they have amassed their multi million empires?

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    4. @14:55
      Here is a challenge for you: join a religious order. You will find you are required to sign a disclaimer refusing any payment for your work. Any families of ?Hero religious will find these claims will never even make it to court.
      And before you accuse me of being anti-Catholic, I'm merely telling you how religious life functions, because you don't know.
      The church has made sure it receives payment from the state but gives little beyond bed and board to its labourers.
      In fact many 'hero' religious have paid for the privilege - right up to Vatican 2 you would have to come with a sizeable dowry to many female orders if you wanted to be choir nun, because obviously all that praying doesn't put food on the table. If you didn't have the money you would have to be a lay sister and labour (literally) for your keep.

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    5. I don't think many women join a religious order as a means of skiving out of work! This is particularly true if the order is one specially dedicated to teaching or nursing or working in a challenging foreign mission environment--and yes, the convent does have to balance its books and know there will still be slates on the roof and food on the table next year.

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  2. Funny how money makes everything right for the so called 'victims'. People perjured themselves at the redress board to up the compensation amount. Quite disgusting.

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    1. Cynicism.

      No money will ever heal an abuse victim.

      But in justice it will help them to get counselling and to have the resources to live better.

      What price would YOU put on a child's innocence?

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    2. To be fair, I have met some very impressive nuns. The Little Sisters of the Poor, the Carmelites and a fantastic Presentation sister who worked for the UN.
      I am not against religious orders. I don't know how it happened in Ireland. Perhaps the horrendous trauma of the famine wounded people. People were very damaged by some religious orders in Ireland and Australia. If these orders are now rich, they have a duty of care to look after those they damaged. "All our money"!... If this was acquired by using unpaid(slave) labour...it does not really belong to you. It belongs to the people who earned it. It is a great sadness that the reputation of generations of heroic nuns should be tarnished by some.

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    3. I think the fear of famine is behind all this. Everyone was worried that surplus babies were bad as it could lead to starvation. The government dumped the problem on the religious orders. Ireland was poor and the nuns were cheap (slave) labour. I don't think the nuns had any idea what to do with hundreds of young children. Some of these nuns will be elderly and sick now. They will need to be cared for. It has to be sorted out in an unemotional detached way. Suffering is always bad, whether it is survivor from the homes or a little old nun, who did her best with few resources.

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    4. Jane, in Ireland many religious orders of nuns abused girls in institutions and Magdalen Laundries.

      The Great Famine happened in the 1840s.

      The abuse happened right up until the 1970s.

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  3. Yes, I understand all that. Why was the attitude of the Irish to unmarried mothers so different than the UK? Why did the Irish live so far in the past?

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  4. Kevin Connolly ordained in Gaynooth today Pat. Meath is not his diocese why is he ordained for that diocese?

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    1. There can be many innocent answers to that question ? No ?

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    2. Presumably Meath had the greater need for a new priest.

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    3. Or the priest had a "greater need" for Meath?

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    4. Sounds like someone trying to make a story out of nothing by posing that question. Also sounds like one of the Maynooth Sisters trying to stir up trouble. Maybe wanting another fight lol.

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    5. I have received messages today - maybe from "Maynooth Sisters" (?) that I am not happy to publish just now.

      They will require further investigation.

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    6. That sounds very worrying Pat if it is the "Maynooth Sisters" up to their tricks. They did blame you for causing that fight in the Seminary a few days ago but then they would have to blame someone. They were probably gunnning for you today when the Ordination was taking place there today and getting pissed at the Celebrations afterwards.

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    7. It's not wildly unusual for a man to be ordained for a diocese other than the one he comes from, surely? Frankly a reason is often that your face doesn't fit in your home diocese so you either get turned down flat or get the little obstructions which clearly indicate you're not welcome.

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  5. I am a practising catholic I would like to know If the ordaining bishops are as corrupt as the deacons, are the ordinations valid?. Also it is widely reported that some formation team individuals are dysfunctional.Why dont the bishops see that this will result in further damage to the church. I think Pat is right "wolves in sheeps clothing, ravaging the poor ejits of sheep like myself.What is one to do? on 

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    1. As long as the form (the rite used), the matter (the man being ordained), and the intent (to ordain a priest) are correct, then yes the ordination is valid.

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  6. Pat, when are you going to name Father X?

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    1. Why should Pat name anyone? Are you another one from Gaynooth stirring things up today?

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  7. Oh Darling Pat, I stumbled across your blog today. All this time a supply of handsome gay men in Maynooth and I never knew! I'm off the visit ASAP

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  8. Who are the Maynooth Sisters?

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    1. They're a group of poisonous old women who cloak their nastiness in apparent piety. The French have a wonderful phrase for people like that: 'grenouille de benitier' - a frog in the holy water stoup.

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  9. They are the bitches that inhabit Gaynooth. Nasty and venemous, turn on them at your peril.

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  10. Mother Inviolata28 May 2017 at 23:32

    The term 'Maynooth Sisters' is a collective term for seminarians in Maynooth.

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  11. Did some digging today about you Buckley. The most interesting fact is that in law you are considered and registered as a VULNERABLE adult! So funny. Nothing you say is treated seriously as you are VULNERABLE. Keep running my little VULNERABLE FRAUD. Best news I have heard. The coward you are will ignore or edit my truth, but still you are a VULNERABLE FRAUD! Well done Noel. You know not the reality of yourself. Breen self-harms himself..... whilst acting as your PR guru.

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    1. MourneManMichael29 May 2017 at 01:10

      I normally refrain from any 'argumentum ad hominem', but make this comment in relation to Anon @ 23:54.
      I think the comment so full of unsupported disjointed negative opinion as to render it simply a biased rant unworthy of any serious consideration.
      It would considerably assist us to understand your contention Sir/Madam @ 23:54 if you could kindly share with us in some coherent fashion the basis of your belief.
      MMM

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    2. 'Nothing you say is treated seriously as you are VULNERABLE. '

      So, bright spark, why did you take him seriously enough to post a comment? (Dear God! I swear some of the people who post here have less intelligence than an an amoeba.)

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    3. I think we are all aware nowadays that cyber bullying (ie by retrievable electronic means) of a child or vulnerable adult is a serious offence in law. Yes?

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  12. So once again when you want to use a term of denigration, you describe the seminarians in female terms - - as women. That is insulting to the female sex and is not acceptable. It is clearly indicative of a very backward thinking mindset.

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  13. 23.54 What a poisonous vicious post.

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    1. Hi Jane / Everyone, Yes it is poisonous and if 23:54 has an official position or aspires to one within the institutional RC Church, this confirms my suspicions that many regard safeguarding issues as a means to further demean, ignore and sideline people. 2 Corinthians 12 v9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
      People differently enabled, bring a vast range of gifts, let alone the gift of their presence and knowing them that if we engage with can so contribute to our own personal growth and insight. Candidates for Priesthood and Religious life are often required to declare mental stability. This would appear to be only a particular variety of mental stability given the narcissistic psychopaths that without check or balance appear, or have for centuries, joined the Church and risen quickly to high office seemingly with little regard to those they damage along the way. The deep questioning challenging insight of those considered unstable, that could so inform and contribute developing learning, not to mention compassion, so often lost. If you are reading this and have been rejected from seminary or religious order or in any other way demeaned or rejected by the Church due to disability / mental health issues / gender or sexuality etc, a warm welcome awaits you in the ICC! http://www.independentcatholicchurch.co.uk/

      23:54 It matters not a jot to me whether or not what you say about +Pat and others is true or not, in fact, it only leads me to admire them more and to be concerned for their well being finding themselves at the receiving end of such bile. Truly, You should be ashamed, but no doubt your cloak of self righteousness will assuage the promptings of your conscience.

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    2. Dear Tom, thinj carefully before you go much further? You are not innocent Bro!

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  14. To Tom Wood. I love your term "differently enabled."
    That's exactly what some people are and if truth be told, all of us in some aspect of our abilities fall into that category. We are a unique blend of strengths and weaknesses. We are however, all equally valuable and due respect. (This is the reason, of course, why euthanasia is against the moral law, but I won't digress.)

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  15. 22:02 I assume you are one and the same 23:54 and therefore seem to believe that mental health issues and other disabilities that might lead to someone being described as vulnerable relegate said person, their feelings, ideas, experience and validity of any testament as not credible and worthless. Yes, I suffer with depression and anxiety and probably have a lower esteem of myself than others might objectively / do objectively perceive. Still, in dealing with others of a similar disposition I often find an honesty in stark contrast to the indulgent self deception of narcissists. My own mother has suggested to me that failure to declare extant mental health issues before I entered Farnborough Abbey was somehow My / Our fault for what happened! Bless her, she's still very much in the cult, I am not, however, though post trauma exists, I know that there is only one person responsible for grooming and abusing me. I suggest that both by the suspension or subjugation of reason that faith implies and the submitting in obedience to a superior, a novice in a religious order such as the Benedictines is regardless of any other issues, vulnerable, and this should dictate a special set of safeguarding protocols!
    As previously discussed on this blog, not only was there nothing of the sort back in the eighties, but the governance in the monastery at the time was weak and ripe for exploitation by narcissists and then in walked David Brogan (Abbot Cuthbert!)
    So it would appear from your question? and veiled threat that the added vulnerability I had, which, perhaps if declared, I would not have been admitted as a postulant?, but seeing, as in common with the zeitgeist, better to just get on with it and hope for the best, I did! Obviously then, it was my fault that David Brogan / Abbot Cuthbert abused me?

    Farnborough was not the first religious house DCB tried. He was with the Passionists. He told me the reason he left was because he desired a more monastic style religious life, questions and suspicions hint at less noble circumstances. I cannot say, only that I am utterly convinced he knew exactly what he was doing very shortly after we met if not immediately!

    If this is the subject matter to which you refer 22:02, then I refer you and he again to my story and challenge him to defend his reputation in Court!
    http://anotherabbotextraordinary.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/another-abbot-extraordinary.html

    If you refer to something else, then go ahead...I challenge you... get it off your chest!

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