Irish clergy child abuse: 'stain on the country far greater than the economic collapse'
It is heartening to see the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin call on the religious orders who carried out this abuse to do more to give compensation to the victims. Cardinal Sean Brady has also made the same call. Amazingly, the Irish government has stayed quiet.
The religious orders have obstructed and prevented full settlement in many cases. That is simply not allowable in the horrific circumstances.
Even more worrisome is that some of these same institutions are still in charge in many of the country’s orphanages and institutions where vulnerable children are placed. Let us hope there is much greater oversight these days.
In his extraordinary memoir, the late writer John McGahern related how his mother, dying of cancer, was forced to cycle several miles to the local priest’s house in order to resign her job as a teacher and allow a replacement to take over. It was unheard of for a priest to come to the house and bring the forms necessary.
Such was the exaggerated esteem the church was held in back in those days. The untrammeled power meant that their worst excesses were never reined in by a government that essentially abdicated its responsibility to the most vulnerable in society.
It is those children we must feel so sorry for today, but also to acknowledge that the silence has been broken, the truth has been told and Ireland will never be the same again.