Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Is patience always a virtue?

After 37 years of waiting and the degree of recent press exposure, I thought there would be a modicum of understanding from the Irish authorities toward my situation. I would class myself as a patient person in many ways. I always try to give the benefit of the doubt to others even when there is a voice somewhere within, telling me to do otherwise.

Since Patrick McCabe was sentenced on 22nd March, it has been a complete whirlwind of emotion and I have tried to underplay it as best I can in the interests of self preservation, selfishly. Everywhere I turn there are triggers. Some self inflicted because of running the petition and because triggers of past experiences are now part of my DNA.

I have been patient since I gave my first statement to Archbishop's House in 1977. I was patient when I saw my mother crying so often in pure frustration because she didn't know what to do for the best and there was no help or support for her. I was patient for the 10 year period from 2003-2013 whilst McCabe was extradited from the U.S. and brought to Justice. I was patient when the Irish authorities told me that there was nothing more could be done to prosecute my other abuser. I was patient throughout my 5 trips to Dublin (within a six month period) for the trial. I was patient when McCabe's plea was accepted by the Director of Public Prosecutions. I am now TRYING to be patient whilst waiting for Chapter 20 of the Murphy report to be released.

Lots of dates and numbers, lots of gaps and timelines. They don't mean very much to anyone except me. This has been my life. Of course I have had good times and I am tired of measuring moments in my life against abuse triggers such as arrest dates,extradition dates, court appearance dates, sentencing dates and scheduled dates for the release of Chapter 20. I was 12 when I was first abused. The day of my 50th birthday was spent travelling to Ireland for McCabe's sentencing. Unacceptable.

All I ever wanted was to believe that someone, somewhere, had my best interests at heart and what happened to me was wrong and it mattered. After all the fury and disgust displayed by the Catholic Church and the Irish Government over the past 10 years, someone would demonstrate that although I was a very small cog in a very large wheel, someone, somewhere cared.

However I feel the exact opposite.

I am proud to be Irish and although I live in Britain I will always be a proud Irishman. The funny thing is my pride is being eroded as time goes by and the feeling of abandonment becomes more apparent. I am not seeking any grand gestures, just acknowledgement of simple requests or at the very least acknowledgement of my existence.

I have written to the Justice Minister in Ireland on three occasions. I had a response to the first and no response to the last two. I am not jumping up and down demanding the impossible. I am requesting answers to simple questions and if they cannot be answered then just tell me or at least acknowledge that I have asked them. Please don't ignore me. Please don't ignore any of the victims of sexual abuse, especially now because all we hear is how things have changed. Really? ......Really?

I am patient, but after 37 years of patience and being ignored, I am getting tired of feeling unsupported, uncared for and worst of all an Irishman unimportant to Irish State.

Basically what I am trying to say is that every citizen of every country has a patriotic streak, to a greater or lesser extent and if a citizen wishes to ignore it - that's a choice. I however love Ireland and the Irish. The fact I am the product of my past is something for me to deal with, albeit painful.

I didn't choose to be Irish but am proud to be. It feels like I have been running away from it, crying about it or fighting it all my adult life. Insane as it may sound, I suppose I yearn for the day when I feel Ireland is proud of me. Something tells me that's the impossible dream. What I want to talk about is not some fictitious story from a dark and distant past, a past that lots of us would rather forget. Believe me, I would rather forget it, but my memories don't afford me that luxury.

I will not be making any further requests or asking any further questions of the Irish Government at this stage.

My email correspondence is shown below:

My first email to the Minister for Justice
My email asking for an earlier hearing -  Ignored

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Thank you for your comment on this blog entry, James