Advocacy groups call for meeting

 

An alliance of advocacy and victim support groups has called on the leaders of the main political parties to meet them in order to personallly convey their apologies to those who were abused in institutions.

In a joint statement today, Barnardos, Cari, the Children's Rights Alliance, Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, ISPCC and One in Four, sought a meeting in advance of the Government’s planned meeting with 18 religious congregations to discuss the Ryan report.

The groups welcomed a motion passed in the Dáil today, supported by party leaders, that apologised to the victims of childhood abuse for the failure to intervene.

The motion accepted all the recommendations of the report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, and called on the congregations to commit to making further substantial contributions in reparations.

The groups’ statement welcomed the Dáil resolution and the “expressed intention by the Government to meet the religious congregations, and to press for a major additional contribution to an independent trust”.

“We call on the four party leaders, who signed this morning’s motion, to meet with the survivors’ groups together, prior to any meeting between the government and the congregations.

“The purpose of this meeting would be to enable the party leaders personally, to convey the terms of the apology to survivors, and critically, to consult with survivors about their demands in advance of the Government’s meeting with the religious congregations.”

Taoiseach Brian Cowen has asked the advocacy groups to meet Minister for Children Barry Andrews tomorrow.

“We have now had a useful and positive set of meetings with party leaders on the issues we raised in our ‘Never Again’ statement issued on May 26th.

"We have met the leaders of Fine Gael, Labour, The Green Party and Sinn Féin, together with their colleagues, in that order,” the groups said in their statement.

“At each of these meetings we have pressed for a referendum on the rights of children, for the State’s child protection standards to be given the force of law, for an independent body to monitor the implementation of standards, in particular where there are no standards and no inspection at present – children with disabilities in residential settings, children in St. Patrick’s Institution and separated children, and for a range of other critical measures including out-of-hours services.”

They said they had been “heartened” by the report they had received from the political system so far and that they were “determined to achieve fundamental change so that the children of Ireland can be assured that the systemic abuse of the past will never be allowed to happen again”.

Counselling for survivors of abuse is available from

  • One in Four: 01-6624070
  • Dublin Rape Crisis Centre: 1800-778888
  • HSE National Counselling Service: 1800-235234
  • Samaritans: 1850-609090
  • Faoiseamh: 1800-331234 and from Britain and the North 0800-973272