Britain 'treated equally' those failed by State


TRIBUTE WAS paid to Britain for “treating equally” Irish people who went there when they failed to get equality in Ireland.

Frankie Feighan (Fine Gael) said “as a country we always aspired to a united Ireland but failed to unite our people. We blame Britain for most of our ills but for this we can only blame ourselves.”

Speaking during the Dáil debate on the Ryan report, he said: “This country has never been equal, not since the foundation of the State . . . There was a hierarchy in this country. We had deference towards the church but also towards intellectuals, doctors and solicitors.

“Often we heard it said: ‘God, he’s a complete alcoholic and boor but he’s a great doctor.’ We needed to grow up.

“Over the years we had the Irish solution to divorce, namely the husband living in the UK. We exported all our difficulties to the UK and Australia. On the record, I wish to thank the people and the governments of the UK for treating equally the Irish people who went there to work. We failed to do that in this country.”

Kathleen Lynch (Labour) warned that “we are still treating the children of the poor differently than we treat the children of other classes. We definitely treat Traveller children differently. In 20 years’ time, will people knock on our doors and ask us whether, thanks to the Ryan report, we knew that other children were being treated badly? We know, but we choose to ignore the issue.”

She said “people who feel justified in complaining so as to ensure that children are protected, should be protected” by whistleblower legislation, which the Government “has buried” in committee.