Ireland's Child Care Institutions during the 20th. Century. Fo'T: The most vivid and passionate stories - banished babies, cruel orphanages, old abuses of power - have concerned things that went unnoticed, or at least unarticulated, at the time. News has often had to be redefined, not as the latest sensation but as that which everybody knew all along yet could not say.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Complaint Mr. Rory Connor REJECTED




Ref: 132/05

Station: RTÉ Radio 1
Programme
: Tonight with Vincent Browne

Date: 22 June 2005

Complaint Summary:


Mr. Connor’s complaint under Section 24(2)(a)(impartiality) and (b)(law & order, incitement to hatred) of the Broadcasting Act, 2001 relates to 'Tonight with Vincent Browne' programme. During this programme, Vincent Browne had a long interview with Kathy O’Beirne, author of the book “Kathy’s Story – a Childhood Hell inside the Magdalen Laundries”. She told him a long story of 12 hour working days, abuse, and rape in two Magdalen laundries. Mr. Connor states Vincent Browne did not attempt to question this story. His interventions were limited to single sentences such as “My God, what a story”. Vincent Browne allowed vicious and lying allegations to be broadcast concerning Catholic priests and religious. He made no effort during the programme to test these allegations or to present the other side of the story. Since he was specifically interviewing Kathy O’Beirne about her book, he cannot claim to have been taken by surprise. Mr. Connor queries whether RTÉ would broadcast similar allegations against a Jewish institution in Ireland? Would they broadcast without checking the facts beforehand and then claim afterwards that it is up to the Jewish community to prove its innocence? Would RTÉ set the claims of anti-Semites and Jews against each other and say both are equally valid? Mr. Connor believes it is self-evident that bogus allegations of child abuse and child murder tend to incite hatred against those accused. Accordingly RTÉ are also in breach of their statutory duties in relation to law and order and specifically the Prevention of Incitement to Hatred Act.

Broadcaster’s Response:
RTÉ in their response state that the production team responsible for the 'Tonight with Vincent Browne' programme was approached by a publicist working for the publishers of a book of interest to an Irish audience. The book, written by Kathy O’Beirne, was published by Mainstream Publishing, a reputable company and associate of the renowned publisher Random House. The team had no reason to question the bona fides of the company or indeed the author. The assumption is made that the publishers have authenticated the work of the authors. A decision was taken to invite the author on to the programme where she was afforded the opportunity of outlining the contents of her book. This happens on a very regular basis on RTÉ. If subsequently, in the particular case of Ms. O’Beirne’s book, evidence were to be produced which challenged the authenticity of Ms. O’Beirne’s claims, RTÉ would of course look at the possibility of revisiting the matter. Mainstream Publishing has informed RTÉ that it is standing over all claims made in the book. RTÉ believe the interview gave a harrowing account of institutional abuse and therefore a more interrogatory tone from the programme presenter would have been intrusive and offensive given the experiences being described. No institutions were identified in the broadcast. RTÉ rejects Mr. Connor’s claim that the programme breached its obligations under the Broadcasting Act. Furthermore, RTÉ cannot see how the programme could possibly be construed as inciting hatred. If anyone has evidence to challenge the author’s claim, RTÉ state there are means of drawing such evidence to public attention. None of this however, has anything to do with incitement to hatred.

Commission’s Decision:

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission rejected the complaint made by Mr. Connor. The Commission was of the view that RTÉ did not infringe the impartiality or the law and order regulations. In assessing this complaint, the Commission only took into account issues directly relating to the programme broadcast. References to comments made in the print and electronic media were not considered. This complaint relates to the section of the programme in which a guest gave an account of her life story as detailed in her biography. The listener was at all times aware that the account was from her own perspective, as she experienced and remembered it. Her tone was controlled and at no stage did she advocate hatred against any religious group. The presenter let her tell her story. Such subject matter is of public interest and its inclusion in a programme is a legitimate editorial decision. Following this piece, two further guests on the show spoke about the abuse of power in other types of institutions, perpetrated by other bodies and sections of society. The issue of abuse is an emotive one, which was dealt with in this programme in a grave and responsible manner. There was no evidence of incitement to hatred in this programme. Also, there were no individuals or institutions named. Therefore, no unfairness to any individual or institution could be discerned. The complaint was rejected.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

DE LA SALLE D-DAY

Judge backs victims in £10m abuse fight - By Marion Scott


THE Scottish Executive could be forced to pay £10million compensation to hundreds of children who were abused in Scottish care homes. A judge ruled last week that there is sufficient evidence to show the Government failed to protect victims of the De La Salle List D schools.

In the most significant legal victory for abuse victims, Lady Paton ordered the case to be heard by Scotland's top court. She ruled there was evidence that education bosses knew children were being abused - but did nothing about it. The Court of Session will now decide whether the Scottish Executive, who took over schools responsibility after devolution, will be held jointly liable, along with the De La Salle monks, school managers and governors.

The Sunday Mail can reveal that despite First Minister Jack McConnell's public apology to victims last year, the Executive is fighting to have the case thrown out on a timebar technicality.

At the time, he said: "Those children, adults today, deserve full recognition by us of what happened to them. They were badly wronged. Now that we know what has happened, it falls to us as representatives of the Scottish people to acknowledge it. "

Yesterday, a spokesman for the First Minister and the Scottish Executive would only say: "We are considering the judgment." Lady Paton heard evidence claiming education inspectors were aware of physical attacks against pupils. Legal teams argued monks and teachers admitted to brutal punishments and up to 20 boys at a time absconded to escape the nightmare regime.

They claimed Government inspectors should have acted to remove the victims. Records showed instances of abuse were recorded at St Ninian's De La Salle List D school at Gartmore as long ago as 1963. Lady Paton agreed there was "sufficient record" to entitle victims to a court hearing to examine the role of the then Scottish Education Department. Lady Paton ruled that the education department knew [enough to make them act to protect the children].

Legal victory: Lady Paton made ruling serious concerns about punishments, including one monk who beat boys with a ruler or stick. Colin McEarchran QC told Lady Paton: "The Secretary of State had a duty to take reasonable care to remove boys." The Court of Session hearing next year will also examine who may be held personally liable. A £50,000 claim for damages by Arthur McEwan, 52, of Sauchie, Clackmannanshire, against Brother Benedict was upheld.

Mr McEwan said: "Hundreds like me suffered appalling abuse, and are stilling suffering because no one is taking responsibility." Papers will now be served on Benedict - real name Michael Murphy - at his De La Salle retirement home in Hampshire. Benedict, 70, who was found guilty of torturing and abusing boys at St Ninian's, is appealing and has therefore spent only hours behind bars. Last night, lawyer Cameron Fyfe, who acts on behalf of almost 1000 victims, said: "I'm writing to the First Minister to ask him what the Scottish Executive now intends doing. The Executive's timebar stance goes directly against the spirit of everything Mr McConnell promised victims."

Hundreds came forward in response to the Sunday Mail's award-winning campaign for justice for the "lost boys". Police reported dozens more but the Crown charged only Benedict, teacher Charles McKenna, 83, and nightwatchman Jimmy McKinstry, 70, who were all sentenced to two years in jail Although there was enough evidence to charge seven others, the Crown Office failed to act and alleged victims are pressing ahead with a judicial review.

Two of the seven men still had contact with children.

Alan Draper, chairman of abuse campaign group INCAS said: "It is clear that abuse was covered up by all those involved

SOURCE:> KF

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Residence for Christian Brothers Abusers

A convicted child molester is living "at a Christian Brothers residence about 100 miles north of New York City." The man, Ronald Justin Lasik, is a former parochial school teacher at a Canadian orphanage who, the judge in his trial noted, showed "a lack of remorse for sexually assaulting and beating seven boys in the 1950s." The judge also rejected a bid for leniency because of his age and sentenced him to 10 ½ years in prison “more than any of the orphanage's other workers.' Lasik was deported from his home country after serving one-third of his prison sentence for sexual abuse. He is now a registered sex offender living at a residence for Christian Brothers in the town of West Park on the Hudson River in Ulster County. ..... Cardinal Edward M. Egan has been asked look into the matter and determine whether church officials in New York knew about Lasik's past. Also survivors want Lasik to be monitored and want Cardinal Egan to visit the parishes around Lasik's Christian Brothers residence in order to urge "anyone who witnessed, suspected or experienced abuse to contact law enforcement." In addition, to "notify those living in and around West Park, NY that a convicted child molester is residing in their community." More than 200 known, admitted, or suspected abusive Catholic clerics have quietly moved across national borders, often on the run from the law.

WELL WELL IT'S NO SURPRISE THAT THE christian brothers REALLY DO LOOK AFTER THEIR CHILD MOLESTING MEMBERS

Sunday, September 18, 2005

ARTANE PUBLIC HEARINGS


Reynolds: I Know Who Mental Case Brother Is...

First of all, obviously I know who the Brother was, I knew the Brother and I would not agree with the description of the visitor, but so be it.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Authoritarian

The term authoritarian is used to describe an organization or a state which enforces strong and sometimes oppressive measures against those in its sphere of influence, generally without attempts at gaining their consent and often not allowing feedback on its policies. In an authoritarian state, citizens are subject to state authority in many aspects of their lives, including many that other political philosophies would see as matters of personal choice. There are various degrees of authoritarianism; even very democratic and liberal states will show authoritarianism to some extent, for example in areas of national security.

Authoritarianism often arises from the governing bodies' presumption that they know what is right or wrong for the country and from intolerance of dissent.

The government then enforces what it thinks is right, often with use of considerable force and sometimes in blatant violation of human rights. Dissenting voices are ignored, or, more strikingly, are considered to be plotting against the best interests of the country. Such was, for instance, the case during the Reign of Terror in France; in Spain under Francisco Franco.


However, there can exist authoritarianism without any defining ideology or ideal of common good. Such is the case in dictatorships where the dictator maintains power more for the privileges associated with power than in the belief that he is conducting the right policies.

Authoritarianism is distinguished from totalitarianism both in degree and scope, authoritarian administration or governance being less intrusive and, in the case of groups, not necessarily backed by the use of force. For example, the Roman Catholic Church can be accurately described as authoritarian; however, in modern times it lacks the means to use force to enforce its edicts and is not a totalitarian establishment.

Typically, the leadership (government) of an authoritarian regime is ruled by an elite group that uses repressive means to stay in power. However, unlike totalitarian regimes, there is no desire or ideological justification for the state to control all aspects of a person's life, and the state will generally ignore the actions of an individual unless it is perceived to be a direct challenge to the state. Totalitarian governments tend to be revolutionary, intent on changing the basic structure of society, while authoritarian ones tend to be conservative.

Does This Sound Familiar to people ?

Monday, September 12, 2005

MY QUESTIONS 6

The Media

To his credit a former editor of the Evening Herald, Brian Quinn, stated the following in an article in the Irish Times on May 15th: As for journalists, we failed in our basic duties in the 1940s and 1950s. We allowed a strident Christian Brother to burst into the office of the manager to demand that a District Court case involving Artane be 'spiked' and not used in the Evening Herald. He would also invade the editorial room to announce the manager's decision. He got away with that one more time.

  1. To what extent was the media complicit in suppressing information about clerical abuse in industrial schools?
  2. Was the experience of the Evening Herald unusual or was the media as a whole reluctant to probe stories which might cast the Catholic Church in a bad light?
  3. How does the Catholic Church influence the media today? Are there important informal channels of communication between the Catholic Church and the important media organisations like RTE and the Irish Times? Is there or should there be a formal mechanism through which Church concerns can be conveyed to the media?

These matters deserve investigation as information does not become 'public' in contemporary society until it has been released through the media. Society cannot grapple with questions like the abuse of children in institutions unless the media report on them. As the media failed to perform its duty in the past, a mechanism of some sort should be put in place which would completely allay public fears that the Catholic Church enjoys a position of special influence.

*** ALL QUESTIONS FORMULATED BY AN IRISH SOCIALIST MAGAZINE.

MY QUESTIONS 5

A number of important judicial rulings handed down by High Court Judge Gavan Duffy between 1936 and 1951 reinforced the position of the Catholic Church as having a special status in Irish law. These included:

  • that the promise which the Catholic Church requires of the non-Catholic party in a mixed marriage, that all the children of the marriage will be brought up as Catholics, is a legal contract enforceable at law (the Tilson Case 1950--Duffy made this ruling as President of the High Court and it was confirmed by the Supreme Court).
  • that 'public benefit' for the purpose of charitable bequests includes what appear to be the purely private activities of enclosed religious orders (the Maguire Case, 1944).
  • that all communications of a priest with his flock are privileged, and outside the law, and not merely communications in the Confessional (Cooke v Carroll, 1944).
  • that private discrimination against Jews is lawful (Schlegel v Corcoran and Gross, 1942).
  1. How much of an influence did these rulings have in predisposing members of the judiciary towards being supportive of practices approved by the Catholic Church, such as the incarceration of large numbers of children in industrial schools?
  2. In the same way, how influential was the theocratic element in the 1937 Constitution?

MY QUESTIONS 4

The Judiciary

  1. When members of the judiciary ruled that children should be separated from their parents because of 'lack of proper guardianship', what evidence was required before such a ruling could be made?
  2. Was the word of a parish priest considered sufficient evidence?
  3. Were such rulings constitutional given the constitutional protection accorded to the family?
  4. How many children were incarcerated in industrial schools because of 'lack of proper guardianship'?
  5. The retired district judge, Mary Kotsonouris, has written that a play entitled 'The Evidence I Shall Give' by District Justice Richard Johnson, which was performed in the Abbey Theatre in the sixties, described what went on in the industrial schools. How much was known by members of the judiciary about the industrial schools?

MY QUESTIONS 3

Legal Adoption

  1. The introduction of legal adoption in 1953 had the effect of drastically reducing the number of children in industrial schools. Why was it delayed for so long?
  2. What reasons were put forward by the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. McQuaid, against the introduction of legal adoption.
  3. Why did the Fianna Fail Government decide against introducing legal adoption in 1944?
  4. Why did the Fine Gael led Coalition Government decide against introducing legal adoption during its term of office in 1948 - 1951?

MY QUESTIONS 2

Financial Matters

  1. States of Fear revealed that the State paid half of an agricultural labourer's wage for each child in the industrial schools. Was all of this money expended in the management of the industrial schools? - If it was, why were the children kept in a state of semi-starvation?
  2. If the funding was not expended in the management of the schools what was it used for?
  3. Some female inmates of the industrial schools graduated to the Magdalene laundries. What happened to the considerable profits of the laundries?
  4. Did the industrial schools or any of the other institutions make a financial gain from the child labour carried out in the institutions or away from the institutions?
  5. How much were the members of the religious orders paid and from what funds were their wages paid?
  6. How were the other institutions funded and was there any impropriety in their financial management?
  7. When officials of the Department of Finance requested to see the books and financial records of the industrial schools, what reply did they receive?
  8. Were such matters followed up?

MY QUESTIONS 1

  1. Given that the Catholic Church enjoyed a position of immense social influence in Irish society during the period in question, did members of the Catholic religious orders who ran the industrial schools believe that they could act with impunity? - In other words was there a conscious understanding among the religious that the State should be subservient to the Church?
  2. Why did inspectors fail to notice the harshness of the regime in the institutions---the semi-starvation, the excessive corporal punishment, the inadequate or non-existent education, the grievous bodily harm, the fear, the sexual abuse?
  3. Was there comprehensive deceit on the part of the religious? - Or were the inspectors complicit in protecting the religious orders from hostile publicity?
  4. If there was official knowledge of the abuses perpetrated in the institutions, was this knowledge conveyed to the senior ranks of the civil service, to members of the Cabinet?
  5. Under whose authority was the system designed so that the institutions were funded according to the number of children incarcerated?
  6. Was this system ever the subject of political criticism in the Dail or the Cabinet?
  7. Was there any awareness in the Department of Education or other Departments that the number in industrial schools was excessively high?

Friday, September 09, 2005

Help For The Genuinely Confused Taxpaying Public

Reference: L.O.V.E. Letter

quote: In whose interest does Colm O'Gorman, director of One in Four launch, such a petty attack on the Let Our Voices Emerge charity (September5th)?
I think Florence here is objecting to the command of the English language which Colm displays - the "petty attack" is nothing of the sort, it is a serious question that is being asked here: Is the charity L.O.V.E witholding evidence of massive fraud by survivors of Irish religous orders managed Child Care Institutions ? This charity HAS stated publicly that it has evidence of false claims - my feeble command of the English language (compared to Colm's articulation) urges ME to ask LOVE: PUT UP or SHUT UP please.


quote: And in whose interest does he imply the redress board system is working well?

Colm can only draw conclusions from what is in the public domain, his conclusion, as to how well the RIRB is working here is not based on hearsay,prejudice, the Sound of Music or idyllic childhood memories.


quote: Certainly not in the interest of those of us from the institutions who have had to stand back and watch our carers (both religious and lay) as well as our fellow inmates fall foul of a compensation system that requires such a low level of proof that it isvirtually impossible to prove innocence.

What the charity LOVE hates to mention is the fact of our detention was ILLEGAL AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL. The State had no right whatsover to detain the children of one particular class of children in Ireland. The State was wrong. It conspired with one religious denomination to target the children of one class of people and this conspiracy led to ALL the other abuses that WERE committed in the Institutions. How this can be classed by LOVE as "low level of proof" isdisingenuous, not straightforward, not being candid; insincere and calculating.


quote: I take issue with the statement: "There is no question of any individual being found guilty or responsible for an act of abuse and there is no question of a person's name being damaged publicly". The obvious question there would be, "Why, then, is compensation awarded, and why must a person be named?"

This isn't an obvious question to me and many other survivors of the Institutions, nevertheless it is asked. The simple answer is because it is the LAW, this is what is allowed by the Redress Act, isn't that so? If the LAW had been respected as to the constitutional rights of ALL people in Ireland from thefoundation from the State then the Redress Act would NEVER have come into being.


quote:Perhaps, not being from an institution, Mr O'Gorman may not be aware of the humiliation and frustration those accused (inmates accusing each other as well as carers) go through. Poor payment for the sacrifices the majority of them made for us.

As I am a former detainee of the Institutions may I restate that LOVE is being disingenuous here again, I know of no carer who made sacrifices for me, no carer stood in the way as I was being battered, no carer stood up for me as I was being humiliated, no carer took my place in any of the abuses I suffered. If I have in any way humiliated any of my abusers, or if any of my abusers have felt any frustration then may I say that the Redress Board has brought me closure and some kind of vindication. Thank you LOVE for passing on that snippet of information.


quote:The compensation system has already been proven flawed in Canada and Wales in that "the genuinely abused are seen as defrauding the state, the falsely accused are left with ruined lives, and the [ taxpaying] public left confused as regards to the extent abuse did or did not happen in the homes"(Kauffman/House of Commons report). To attempt to deny us the right to speak out is to deny those who did suffer abuse the right not to see defrauders using their real pain for financial gain.

You state here that the ""genuinely abused are seen as defrauding the state"" !! May I ask if LOVE is NOW publicly stating that people who HAVE been sexually and physically abused in the institutions in Ireland should NOT be compensated? That Institutional Abuse Victims are fraudsters? Are you NOW going to start a new organisation to help the "genuinely confused taxpaying public" ??


quote:If Mr O'Gorman is sufficiently experienced with the RIRB as to advocate it, he should be perfectly aware that it is formed in such a way as to make it impossible for us to take a criminal case against anyone making allegations.

There is an option here for LOVE ... PUT UP or SHUT UP.


quote:However, what we can and will be doing is fighting the redress system as the largest organised denial of a person's constitutional right to their good name, and one of the greatest (legalised) injustices our Government has ever perpetuated.

I completely disagree:> There were over 120,000 children incarcerated in the Institutions in Ireland, now THAT is the ""largest organised denial of a person's constitutional right"" and the ""greatest (legalised) injustices"" ever in Ireland.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Standing up to the tyrannical Sisters of Mercy

Sunday Business Post Reviewed by Dermot Bolger

If conditions in religious run institutions in 20th century Ireland were a badly kept secret, they were only a secret because of people's determination not to know, summed up by the late Brian Lenihan's comment when forced to visit Artane as a young minister: “Get me the fuck out of here'. Even in 1986 when Mavis Arnold and Heather Laskey began to unveil that terrible world in Children of the Poor Clares, their book was savaged or ignored in Ireland. It was 1988 before the public really took notice with the publication of Paddy Doyle's best-selling memoir The God Squad.

Speaking as the publisher of that book, I can testify to the difficulty I had in even finding a printer willing to print it. Times and revelations have moved on since then, with Mary Rafferty's famous television series States of Fear and her book Suffer the Little Children, plus a host of memoirs written by survivors of those institutions which have explored most aspects of daily life behind those walls. So much has been written that there might even be a danger of fatigue when confronted by another memoir that nails its colours firmly to the mast in its subtitle Growing Up Under the Cruel Regime of the Sisters of Mercy.

It is unlikely that many nuns, at whose hands Kathleen O'Malley suffered in Moate in the 1950s, are still alive, but the inheritors of the discredited franchise of Mercy nuns must have felt that O'Malley would surely be the last person to write such a memoir. Firstly, she had a nice middle-class life in England, constructed by her own admission by building a fortress around the shame of her past and creating a fantasy for strangers in which the harsh grind of beatings and starvation behind the high walls of a Mercy convent was replaced by a myth of having been educated in an Irish midlands boarding school.

Secondly, for years whenever she returned to Ireland, O'Malley barely had time to greet the mother who had fought so hard for her and her sisters before rushing down to Moate with presents for the nuns who had mistreated her as if only seeing some kindness in their eyes could imbue her with any sense of self-worth. Frank McCourt uses a nice irony when talking about nothing being more useful to a writer than a miserable Irish childhood, and yet O'Malley makes the point in this moving book (which has no room for irony, merely pain and genuine anger) that her family were never destitute like the McCourts.

O'Malley's mother led an unconventional, hard life as an unmarried mother in Dublin, with some early years of intense poverty. But she had managed to raise her first two children well before marrying and having a third child. When she was suddenly widowed, her first two children were snatched from her by the authorities under a court order for being “destitute'.

Yet if they were destitute, then surely their younger sister - born in wedlock yet living in the same conditions was equally destitute. But initially only the two “illegitimate” daughters had to face the horrors of Goldenbridge, from which starved and beaten they escaped and reached their mother who refused to give them back.

This escape was merely a reprieve. In 1950, aged eight, Kathleen was brutally raped by a neighbour in Bridge Street named Luke McCabe. Kathleen's mother might have kept her daughters had she not determined to press charges. But standing up to demand justice for her raped child gave the state and the NSPCC ammunition to pounce again. This time all three daughter were snatched by the state, brought before a Justice McCarthy and silently taken away to Moate without a chance to say goodbye to their mother who was left running after the police car screaming for her children.

When the Luke McCabe rape trial went ahead, it was a different eight-year-old who gave evidence. The nuns in Moate warned her to say nothing and arrogant barristers like Trant McCarthy (O'Malley is very good at naming names that deserve to be named) demanded to know why she had not cried out more when being raped. It surely never crossed the mind of confident adults in court like Dr Frances Bourke or Dr Bill McGrath or the tyrannical Sister Kevin that half a century later this terrified child (who actually became a magistrate herself) would seek out the court records and judge them in turn.

Childhood Interrupted is a judgment on an Ireland that readily permitted such cruelty. It is a hymn of love and belated vindication for O'Malley's mother. It is also a searingly honest examination of her own traumatised mindset, in the decades when she blocked out the past and viewed the world through the eyes of her abusers, before finally confronting her past in this fine testament, which deliberately leaves a few questions open. We may know more about these institutions, but this is Kathleen O'Malley's own story and no one has more of a right to stand up and be heard.

05.09.2005
Dermot Bolger's new novel is The Family on Paradise Pier published by Fourth Estate

Significant Legal Bill

"The Sunday Times - Ireland September 04, 2005 Dearbhail McDonald

THE Catholic Church has submitted a “significant” legal bill to the government for taking part in the first state inquiry into clerical sex abuse. The bill, which exceeds €100,000, has been put in by the diocese of Ferns in advance of publication of a damning report detailing clerical sex abuse in the Wexford diocese. The costs claim has taken some officials by surprise as the non-statutory inquiry, the first of its kind, was designed to eliminate the need for lawyers. No other party, including survivors of abuse, their families, gardai and health board officials who co-operated with the inquiry, has yet sought to recover costs.
“It is not unprecedented for a witness or a group taking part in an inquiry to seek assistance with their costs,” said one official from the health department. “But we thought the Church had some cheek. It is a significant bill and no one else has filed one. The whole point of the Ferns inquiry, which was a radical departure from all other forms of inquiry, was not to go down the costly state tribunal route. “It is a unique inquiry. It is held in private, is non-adversarial in nature and based on co-operation by all parties, which mitigates against the need for running up hefty legal bills. It came as a surprise, to be honest, as we haven’t even received the report yet.”
The Ferns inquiry, led by Frank Murphy, a retired Supreme Court judge, is the first state investigation into the Church’s handling of clerical sex abuse allegations. Due to be published later this year, its findings are expected to re-ignite widespread public anger against the hierarchy over its failure to respond adequately to abuse complaints against priests.
Victims claim there was a tacit agreement by all parties not to seek legal costs and said it was “extraordinary” that Ireland’s senior prelates expected the taxpayer to foot the bill for discovery of documents, retrieval of Church files and independent legal advice. “There was no cross examination, there were no legal hearings, so how has the Church amassed such costs?” asked Colm O’Gorman, director of One in Four, a support group for victims.O’Gorman was abused by Sean Fortune, a Wexford priest who committed suicide while facing 66 charges of abusing young boys. He said: “It was clear that, because of the co-operative nature of the inquiry, you did not need legal advice. If the Church did seek legal advice, that’s their prerogative, not the taxpayers.”
The Ferns report was due to have been published last March, but publication was repeatedly postponed for legal reasons. It will be sent to Mary Harney, the tanaiste and health minister, and Rory Brady, the attorney-general, before being read into the Dail record. “It has been difficult and lengthy, but we’re getting there,” said Marian Shanley, secretary to the Ferns Inquiry. “We always knew that the legal minefield represented by a non-statutory inquiry investigating criminal matters would be difficult, but each person must be afforded due process and we are taking account, as best we can, of all the legal pitfalls.” The report is expected to castigate senior church figures, including Brendan Comiskey, the former Bishop of Ferns who resigned three years ago over his handling of known and suspected priests. Gardai and health officials are also expected to be heavily criticised. In recent months, the bishops have warned diocesan priests to “steel themselves” and their parishioners for the expected fallout.
Last month Gerard Moloney, the editor of Reality magazine, said the publication of the report would be “devastating,” but would be welcomed by ordinary Catholics and lead to a more open, humble and transparent Church."

Friday, September 02, 2005

Vatican radio given legal rights to Pope Benedict's voice

VATICAN CITY, Vatican, September 2 - The Vatican announced today that Pope Benedict XVI has legally entrusted Vatican Radio with the copyright and intellectual property rights to all of his voice recordings--even those made prior to his election to the papacy.

Vatican radio will now hold exclusive rights to the broadcasting and protection of these and future recordings, with the exception however, of those already legitimately in possession of other organizations and groups.

As official radio station of the Holy See, Vatican radio, according to article 15 of its own statute, will have the duty to compile, store and administer the audio archive of the Holy Father's voice.

Vatican radio, which can be heard in some 40 languages around the world today, was founded under the oversight of Pope Pius XI in 1931 in an effort to help the Church evangelize with modern means to the contemporary world.

In June of this year, Pope Benedict made a similar arrangement with the Vatican publishing house, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, to be given legal rights over all of his written works before and after his election as pontiff.

Meanwhile in New Orleans


FOX NEWS - Sept. 1: Hurricane Katrina refugees begin to fill up cots on the floor of the Huston Astrodome.

American Red Cross

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