Yes, the church did wrong on child abuse and Magdalene Laundries, but there were plenty of Irish in leadership roles who turned a blind eye.

The Irish, from their ruling class right down to the general populace, have created a convenient narrative about these abuses.

In this account, no Irish person bears any guilt or responsibility, save the clerics who carried out the abuse.

That, of course, is self-serving garbage. The mistreatment and abuse could not have occurred without the aid of a whole network of lay people and government officials and politicians. These institutions where the young were mistreated were subject to regular inspection by government officials.

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How many such officials shouted, "Stop!"? Not one.

796 babies were buried in septic tanks outside the Mother and Baby home in Tuam, Galway.

796 babies were buried in septic tanks outside the Mother and Baby home in Tuam, Galway.

Those places were serviced by a range of outsiders, from doctors and nurses to the electrician and the guy who brought the milk and the bread. These people, especially the medical professionals had ample knowledge of what was going on. Did any shout Stop!? Nope.

What about the judges, who without a further thought sentenced young girls to be locked up in these holes? Any calling to account of these bloated abusers? Nope. The police, who took the frightened girls off to those institutions? Silence from them too.

Nuns in charge at mother and baby homes.

Nuns in charge at mother and baby homes.

And what about the Irish parents, who willingly cast their daughters into the darkness of an unmarried mothers' home, abjuring her from ever darkening their door again? Have these people or their descendants, ever said: We did a grievous wrong to our girls? Nope.

And what about the lay teachers, who mercilessly beat young boys and girls. For 'fun', since there was no motive that any sane person could admit. The incidence of sexual abuse by these people was lower since they had outlets elsewhere, but they even exceeded religious teachers in viciousness and brutality.

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Young children photographed at the Tuam mother and baby home.

Young children photographed at the Tuam mother and baby home.

Most of these have gone to their judgment now, and I pray that it is a harsh one, but has any of the teacher trade unions ever recognized the despicable role of lay teachers in all this? Nope. There were even stores which sold leather strap-like objects to be used to beat six-year-olds. Somebody made those straps, somebody sold them. Perhaps they are dead, but why has their role been whitewashed?

No. If you look at modern Ireland you see hypocrisy and denial. It's as if the Germans had said, "Oh, the SS had nothing to do with us. We took no part in it."

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* George Dillon is a frequent contributor to the IC comments section.

Young girls working in one of the Catholic Church's Magdalene Laundries.