Victims criticise initial report response

 

Victims' groups today criticised the Government's initial response to the Ryan report but said they were "finally beginning to see and hear" what should have taken place a week ago.

In an open letter to the Government, the organisations also accused the Church of continuing "the patterns of emotional bullying, protectionism and self-preservation" in the wake of the report's publication.

"The State initially showed little leadership and clarity about its role and there were elements of deference to the Church in their responses over the past week. These responses must themselves be reflected upon and lessons learnt. Let these initiatives not be watered down, let survivors not be betrayed again, let old patterns not reassert themselves," the letter said.

The victims' groups also said it "remains unclear" how the State would assess the resources of the orders, and that transparency through the records of the Charities Commissioners may not be sufficient.

"We call on Government to take control of this situation rather than to depend on the initiative of the congregations. We call on the Government to make clear how the substantial assets recently put in trusts are to be audited and included in an assessment of an order’s resources," the statement said.

"Many of the congregations and Cori, after a week of resistance, have acknowledged that their part in restitution is far from over. They have indicated that they will hand over all files to the State. This is essential," the statement said.

The groups welcomed the appointment of the Minister for Children to take charge of the implementation of the 24 recommendations and the deadline of the end of July set by the Government for an implementation plan.

The call by the President and the Minister for Justice for criminal actions to be instigated against perpetrators who are still alive was also welcomed but "should not have had to be fought for".

"We call on the Taoiseach as a matter of urgency to address the question of the criminal convictions of the children who were committed by the courts to these institutions."

Among the signatories to the letter were Christine Buckley, Director of Aislinn Education and Support Service and a former inmate of Goldenbridge Institution; John Kelly, co-ordinator of Irish Survivors of Child Abuse (SOCA), former resident of Daingean, Co Offaly, and Fiona Neary, director of the Rape Crisis Network Ireland.