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We owe it to abuse victims to fight for justice

Published 23/12/2010

The scale of the crimes against children, and against humanity, committed by priests and other members of the religious orders over many decades is now a matter of historical record.

Those who suffered don't need to read Chapter 19 of the Murphy report - nor did they read the report on the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. They know what happened. It happened to them.

I have heard it said by well-meaning people that the 'victims can now hold their heads up high', they have been vindicated. It's not that easy. Lives have been destroyed, spouses, partners and children compelled to live with the impact of the nightmares inflicted on their loved-ones.

I have seen men and women now in their sixties and seventies suffer such mental anguish that they have never been able to work and hold few friends dear. They are not even angry anymore, just beaten and defeated. They have a right to justice and for the Catholic Church and other state institutions to tell the whole truth.

The burden of fighting for justice and for reparation must not fall on them; it must fall on the rest of us in society.

It is the legacy of those who stood by and let it happen, but mostly it is the legacy of a corrupt and amoral Catholic hierarchy where the child who suffered was of no consequence.

I have reflected a lot on Pope Benedict's calls for a renewal of the Catholic Church in Ireland, and more and more I believe that is not the path to justice and truth.

We should instead dedicate our lives in pursuit of justice for those the state failed to cherish.


Irish Women Survivors Support Network

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