Belfast Telegraph

Children 'tortured' in institutions

The abuse of thousands of innocent children in state and church-run institutions in Ireland amounted to torture, a scathing report from Amnesty International says.

Youngsters suffered decades of inhuman and degrading treatment by being brutalised, beaten and starved, the human rights watchdog said.

The horrific details of neglect, physical abuse and rape have been revealed in recent years in four sickening state ordered reports - Ferns, Ryan, Murphy and Cloyne.

Colm O'Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International Ireland, said: "The abuse of tens of thousands of Irish children is perhaps the greatest human rights failure in the history of the state.

"Much of the abuse described in the Ryan Report meets the legal definition of torture under international human rights law. Children were tortured. They were brutalised, beaten, starved and abused.

"There has been little justice for these victims. Those who failed as guardians, civil servants, clergy, gardai and members of religious orders have avoided accountability."

Mr O'Gorman - a survivor of clerical abuse - said the Ferns, Ryan, Murphy and Cloyne Reports told what happened to children, but not why.

Amnesty International Ireland commissioned a new report, carried out by Dr Carole Holohan, to explore why it happened to ensure it never happens again.

In Plain Sight was launched by Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald in the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin.

Mr O'Gorman continued: "This abuse happened, not because we didn't know about it, but because many people across society turned a blind eye to it. It is not true that everyone knew, but deep veins of knowledge existed across Irish society and people in positions of power ignored their responsibility to act."

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