Horrific abuse in Catholic children’s homes in Ireland has been condemned in a government report, with authorities slammed for doing nothing to stop it.
After a nine-year inquiry investigators say there was “endemic sexual abuse” and a “climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment”. Justice Sean Ryan, the Chairman of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, said: “This is the end of a long journey for us and the commission but that is little when set against the long search for justice and recognition by victims of institutional abuse.” Victims groups say they feel some vindication, but they’re angry the report did not probe the judges or officials responsible for sending children into care. John Kelly from the Irish Survivors of Child Abuse group said: “These courts who violated their (the children’s) constitutional rights weren’t even inquired into. And because of that this inquiry is deeply flawed, it’s incomplete, and many might call it a white-wash.” The commission has not named the nuns, brothers and priests who carried out the abuse, which included starvation, severe beatings and rape. But it does slam the Education Department for failing to act, saying it was “deferential and submissive” to religious orders. The commission was set up by former prime minister Bertie Ahern, who apologised for the abuse in 1999. Children were often sent to industrial and reformatory schools because of truancy, petty crime or because they were unmarried mothers or their offspring.