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.