Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin paid tribute to journalist and documentary maker Mary Raftery, who passed away on Wednesday.
Raftery famously made the 1999 documentary “States of Fear” and the “Cardinal Secrets” in 2002.
Her work was widely viewed as having led to the establishment of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. The Commission reported its findings in May of 2009.
Speaking to RTE radio Archbishop Martin said “Bringing the truth out is always a positive thing even though it may be a painful truth.
“I believe that through her exposition of sins of the past and of the moment that the church is a better place for children and a place which has learned many lessons.”
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The national broadcaster RTE, Raftery’s former employer, also paid tribute. Director general Noel Curran said “Mary Raftery's journalism was defined by determination and fearlessness…She has left an important legacy for Irish society, particularly for some of our most vulnerable citizens."
Abuse survivor Andrew Madden wrote in his blog that Raftery had been an instrumental force in helping victims of abuse find their voice after years of a nationwide silence.
He said “Mary understood that the Catholic Church's concealment of the sexual abuse of children was systemic, but that it could best be exposed by helping survivors share personal experience and through her work provided a way for some of us to do that.
"The Ryan and Murphy reports (which were commissioned in the wake of her investigations) are now part of the public record of this country and will remain there and continue to inform us for many years."
Ireland’s National Union of Journalists also praised her as a fearless member of the profession.
Irish secretary Seamus Dooley said, “Mary's death, following an illness borne with characteristic courage, will be mourned by all who knew and respected her as a fearless journalist who was always willing to ask awkward questions, to seek out uncomfortable facts and to shine a light in the darkest corners of Irish society."
Miriam Duffy, chairwoman of the Rape Crisis Network Ireland, told the Irish Independent “Through her tenacity, integrity and courage, (she) has made an extraordinary contribution to changing Ireland for the better.
"It is because of her work that survivors in Ireland today live in a community more open, understanding and accepting of survivors and increasingly robust in challenging the tolerance of abuse."
Ireland’s Tanaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) Eamon Gilmore praised Raftery’s work saying she had made an outstanding contribution to the area of human rights and justice.
Her last documentary ,“Behind the Walls”, was aired in September 2011. In this documentary she chartered the history of Ireland’s psychiatric hospitals, their appalling conditions and the resulting damaged lives.
Raftery died aged 54 after a battle with cancer. She is survived by her husband David Waddell and their son Ben.
RTE’s “Prime Time” also released a tribute, a retrospective of her work:
Patsy McGary, The Irish Times Religious Correpsondent’s tribute to Raftery: