Wednesday, 12 June 2013
The High Court hearing took place yesterday in Dublin. The Judge asked for affidavits to be submitted and will convene another High Court hearing on 3rd July to make a decision on release of Chapter 20. The only way I can describe it is sheer disappointment and disillusion.
The Department of Justice refuse to engage in any kind of dialogue with me.
Thankfully, One in Four keep me updated with any developments. It makes such a difference to know that someone is on our side, and www.oneinfour.ie, an organisation within the Irish establishment, is not afraid to put it's head above the parapet and seek the truth.
Another 3 weeks of limbo.....and I don't mean dancing!
Saturday, 8 June 2013
My Email to Mr Alan Shatter TD, Minister for Justice, sent on my return from delivering the petition. I felt it was important for him to know:
A) Why the petition is of such importance for myself and many others.
B) Failure to communicate with me only serves to deepen my feeling of abandonment by the Irish state.
I have yet to receive a response.
"Dear Mr Shatter
I decided to write today to give you an insight as to why this subject is such a huge part of my life and the lives of those who love me.
I visited your office yesterday, with the support of family members, friends and Deirdre Kenny (advocacy Director of One in Four). We came with a petition and a message for the Irish Government to release chapter 20 of The Murphy Report. A few weeks ago I set up a petition to have Chapter 20 released and over one thousand people from Ireland and worldwide have taken time to sign it. Although it is very important to me, it is obviously important to many others.
As you are aware, The Murphy report was released in November 2009 after years of investigation and at a cost of 3.5 million Euros. Parts of Chapter 20 were redacted because of prosecutions before the courts. I am informed these cases have been dealt with and I trust there should now be no legal impediment to its immediate release.
With my parents love and support, I made a statement to Archbishops House 37 years ago and then to the Gardai 27 years ago giving details of my abusers. We, as a family never heard another word from Church or State. My parents were left to fend for themselves, lost, shocked and confused, as I was. We had no support or help, in trying to understand what had happened and no guidance as to the affects it may have on our family or me as an individual. We were told “not to talk about it and it would go away”. In effect, we were abandoned by the very institutions we respected.
When as a family or as a child, we are told not to talk about such life altering events these words stay with you and are imprinted on your mind. For years I couldn’t talk about it because of the shame, the fear and the guilt. I can now talk about it and I shouldn’t be afraid anymore. All I have ever asked for and what I am asking for now, is to be told by someone in authority that Chapter 20 will be released without delay. Two Months ago I wrote to you requesting if the High Court hearing could be brought forward? I had no response. Two weeks ago I wrote again and requested a five minute meeting with you, to just seek your reassurance that you are anxious to see Chapter 20 released; again I was saddened not to have had a response. I spoke to your office twice last week and was told you would respond by the end of last week as" there was quite a lot going on". This wall of silence gives me little confidence after 37 years. Is this the same silence I have lived with all my life? Is it the silence that has prevailed within Irish society for decades, the same silence that goes to the very heart of the clerical sexual abuse scandal? No-one can tell me not to talk about it anymore because it doesn’t go away. For me and thousands like me, including their loved ones, it never goes away. What happened to me had a devastating effect on my life and the lives of those around me. Chapter 20 is not just a chapter from some fictional work that’s left on a library shelf in the hope that someone will read it. This is about a chapter of Irish life and the lives of real Irish children, who were unfortunate enough to find themselves caught up in a society where it feels like innocence was dispensable, honesty was ignored, respect was ill-founded and the welfare of children was irrelevant.
My 1977 and 1987 statements were apparently discovered by the Gardaí in 2003. To this day I don’t know how they were acted upon or what investigations took place when I made them. If my statements lay undiscovered for all those years then I have a right to know why. Is it because I wasn’t believed, or was I believed but greater forces decided in their wisdom, that the truth was unpalatable.
Before she died, my Mother tried to speak to as many people in authority as she could, to tell them what happened to me and seek acknowledgement, she was ignored. Perhaps her dignity was perceived as weakness and if lip service was paid to her often enough she would stop looking for answers. If she were alive, she would have proudly stood beside us yesterday in the knowledge that as a Mother she did what was right. As one of so many clerical abuse victims, I did what was right 37 years ago by reporting what happened, in the hope that someone, somewhere, would listen, believe, and act upon the information with honesty and integrity.
The last redacted Chapter (19) was released within a week of final prosecution. It is nearly 3 months since the final prosecution in Chapter 20. It is of great importance to so many people that Chapter 20 is released without further delay.
As a family, we did what we could and did what was right in 1977, I trust the decision makers who gather in the Irish High Court next Tuesday 11th June, will also do what is right.
Wednesday, 5 June 2013
We arrived at the the Department for Justice and Equality on St Stephen's Green, Dublin to deliver the petition. We were accompanied by Deirdre Kenny - Advocacy Director www.oneinfour.ie, whose help has been invaluable. There was a photographer from the Irish Independent waiting to 'capture the moment'.
After 5 minutes I ventured up the steps, feeling nervous and went through the revolving doors to reception. The box containing the signatures felt very light but at times it felt like lead. To me it was much more than a box of papers. It was a box of memories, triggers, flashbacks, trial appearances, and other associated negativity. On the other hand it was full of love, support, encouragement and hope.
The receptionist accepted the box when I asked if it could be delivered to Mr Shatter. Who can say whether she had been expecting us? There was no sense of surprise or curiosity. The rest of the group arrived into reception and we asked if Minister Shatter was available but she said that we needed to write in for an appointment. I said I had written but had no response. I couldn't describe the exchange or the atmosphere as warm. After lots of blank stares and moments of awkwardness we did an about turn and the door started to revolve again as we exited.
I'm not sure if I was elated or deflated. Even now a couple of days later I am still not sure. The only thing I am sure of is, we did what we could. Every single person who signed the petition deserved to see that the petition reached it's destination and will find it's way to the person intended.
I may have been nervous whilst delivering it but I was surrounded by lots of love and support. I know my Mother would also be proud to have stood there as it would have been the culmination of much door knocking for her also.
So now we wait for the High Court hearing on Tuesday next and hope that this whole sorry saga will be viewed with one eye on history and the other on transparency.
Tuesday, 4 June 2013
I have written to the Irish Justice Minister a couple of times now and it saddens me that I have had no response. All I have ever asked for and all I am asking for now is for someone in authority to tell me that Chapter 20 will be published without any further delay. After 37 years what does someone have to do? However this is not to be and therefore we will travel to Dublin tomorrow, 5th June to deliver the petition in person. We won't get to meet anyone of note so it may just entail leaving the Petition at a reception desk and they can choose what to do with it. I imagine it will be taken very carefully, possibly by 2 or more security personnel and placed very delicately on the desk of Mr Shatter in readiness for him to read every signature at his earliest convenience!!
Boxing up the signatures this evening was strange in a couple of ways.Firstly that over a thousand people think it's as important as I do to see Chapter 20 published and they have shown so much support throughout the process. Secondly it's almost like most of what defines me is in a box. Maybe not most but certainly a considerable amount of what my life has been about for many years. It's like a 'coffin for a cause'. This in turn is a good thing because it means the last 4 months of pestering people and all the constant reminders can be buried and the soul of the petition is now in the hands of a greater power. I have nothing more to contribute as to whether or not Chapter 20 is released. 50 plus pages of signatures will hopefully bring some pressure to bear on whoever has that final decision.
So it's off to Dublin we go for the quickest trip known to man. We arrive about 3.30pm and leave again around 5.30pm but it's not a sightseeing tour we are going for, the emphasis must be on the task at hand.
This petition may seem as if it's all about me but there are many of us involved in Chapter 20. I however have chosen to speak out, both for myself, but also for the ones who for whatever reason, cannot speak for themselves. So on behalf of everyone involved a great big thank you for your support and kindness.
The petition is still running, and with every signature, an email is generated to both Alan Shatter TD, Minister for Justice and An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny. If you would still like to show your support click here to sign.