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 12, 2005


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.


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