Concern over abuse victims' time limit


VICTIMS OF abuse cannot be expected to fit “our neat box of recovery”, Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan said as she expressed concern about the deadline for applications for compensation by former residents of State-linked institutions.

Ms O’Sullivan said it was “somewhat disquieting that a time limit for compensation is being imposed given that there is no time limit on the pain and suffering of victims”.

People coped in different ways and “need varying lengths of time to deal with their grief and pain”.

That pain did not stop with those who directly experienced abuse. The Dublin Central TD said “in the north inner city we are seeing the impact on the next generation, with the children of abused survivors equally turning to drugs, alcohol and suicide”.

Speaking during the debate on the Bill to wind up the Residential Institutional Redress Board, Ms O’Sullivan said the board’s findings were disturbing that children were “put into these institutions for the most flimsy of reasons such as being born out of marriage, being orphaned or having missed school”. She questioned the “mindboggling” daily rate of €800 for board members.

Fianna Fáil education spokesman Brendan Smith said one clear message emerged from the report on clerical abuse in Cloyne diocese; that “the State must find a way of hearing victims across the entire country”.

He added that the HSE audits of dioceses and the national reviews by the boards for safeguarding children in the Catholic Church had been “under way for some time”. He called for the evaluations of the review to be undertaken as quickly as possible so that any “further investigation, if necessary, should be initiated without delay”.

Sinn Féin education spokesman Sean Crowe said the deadline for applications did not take account of cases in the Cloyne report, including one woman who took “40 years to come forward and tell her story”.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said the Government’s response to the Cloyne report “is starkly at odds with its response to the abuse of women and children in the Bethany Home and at Magdalene laundries”.

“The continued exclusion of Bethany Home from the redress board is wrong”, and the “recent rationale” by Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn “for maintaining this exclusion does not stand up to scrutiny”.