The Shame of Ireland

The Shame of Ireland

Survivors call for reopening of Redress Board PDF Print E-mail
by Rebekah Commane   
MONDAY, 30 APRIL 2012 18:15

SURVIVORS of institutional abuse are calling for the reopening of The Redress Board and for more transparency on plans for a €110 million trust fund. The Right of Place/Second Chance Group believes that many people were not ready to come forward to the Board and apply for compensation while it was open, but they may now want to do so. In its recently published annual report, the group also called on the government to publish plans for the trust fund contributed to by 18 religious congregations. Right of Place/Second Chance Outreach Co-ordinator for HSE West, Val Groarke, said the group is worried that the government are dragging their feet in coming up with criteria for recipients of the fund.
He urged the government to supplement the fund on an annual basis to allow survivors who have not yet come forward, to access it.
“I believe that there are a lot of people out there who didn’t get the redress,” Mr. Groarke told the Limerick Post.
“Because the government had it shut down, we’re pushing for them to reopen it and leave it open for another few years.
“Just because some of us were ready, it doesn’t mean that everyone was”.
He said that while some survivors of institutional abuse in Limerick may have received compensation from the Redress Board, the damage inflicted continues to resonate.
Mr. Groarke also called for the children of survivors to be able to access the Trust fund, explaining that what happened to survivors also affected the quality of lives of their families.
The Galway/Limerick and western offices of the support group were contacted by clients 693 times from March 2011 to February 2012, and in one-fifth of these incidents, approaches were made by the dependent of a survivor.
“Money doesn’t give you back what you lost, like an education,” Mr. Groarke continued.
“A huge amount of our people have not worked for most of their lives and a lot would have got ‘low class’ jobs.
“A lot of survivors wouldn’t be able to read or write”.
Right of Place offers outreach and support to survivors in education, health, housing, employment, welfare, social issues and much more.
“If they have a problem we want them to know that there is a service here. They can just lift the phone”.

The Right of Place Limerick office is based in the Friends of the Elderly premises Carey’s Road, and is open to anyone who wishes to avail of its support

Meetings are held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings and are open to all to call in for a cup of tea and a chat.

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From my point of view the Redress Board was a complete farce. There is no doubt that there are many like me in the UK who knew nothing about the Board. I was made aware of it more by accident than design. Even then, I was unable to attend because I was a lone full-time carer for my terminally ill wife with Alzheimer's. Because of that I entrusted my case to solicitors to handle on my behalf. My main disadvantage was that I lacked the information as to why I'd spent my entire childhood in two Industrial Schools. In fact I was under the misapprehension that the first School I was at, was an orphanage.

  I supplied the solicitors with all the facts as I knew them regarding my time in both St. Patrick's, in Killkenny and Artane. The legal team representing the Religious orders disputed many of the facts and told half truths and outright lies. One fact they disputed was my description of the nun's habit: all black with the forehead, ears and chest covered in white and gold cross on the chest. They insisted that the nuns wore an all white outfit. Fortunately I was able to produce a photo and sent it as an attachment to my Email as evidence. Their reply: 'the nuns wore all white in doors and all black outdoors!'.

  They did however produce new information that I was unaware of, i. e. that I had been sentenced to 14 years for 'receiving alms' and that my father deserted the family. That information was supplied in the form of photo copies of original documents of the case. The nuns and Brothers were in denial of the abuses inflicted whilst in their custody. It became an impossible fight by mail from a distance. My main concern was for my wife who passed away during my fight for justice. Finally I lost interested and just wanted the whole business to finish and settled for a small sum.

In the past couple years my research uncovered the true facts relating to my case. Those facts show that my father did not desert his family and in fact was arrested, charged and appeared in court. The charges were dropped as he was proved innocent. Lies were proved to have been told at my original case, yet nothing was done to rectify the injustice. I've learned that my father spent years fighting to regain custody of me, but to no avail. My evidence shows that he was blackmailed and lied to by the authorities.

 Worse of all, I was left unaware that I had any relatives during my full fourteen year sentence and grew up in the belief that I was nobodies child. By age seventeen I tracked down an older sister, then my father. By then it was too late as I could never trust an adult or form a bond with a family member, so left Ireland for good.

With reference to help and support I say; what help and support? The above is just a brief glimpse from part of my story, there's far worse and there's nothing I can do about it. How could a society be unaware of the pain and suffering they inflicted on each member of a family to which I was denied access?

hello Patrick. me also. i too was made aware of the Redress board by accident or by design. made inquiry about getting passport and asked if i had been to Redress board?  no i had not (applied).oh orphanages can be prisons! guess what?  alot of children in orphanges are NOT orphans!  the government well aware of the DECEPTION and major VIOLATION of human rights. NO place for a child! Patrick your description of a nun's habit is spot on! must thankyou for sharing your story here! i hope other members will read and realize that now is indeed a good time to talk!  we are all the pieces of the jigsaw!  

"The Right of Place/Second Chance Group believes that many people were not ready to come forward to the Board and apply for compensation while it was open, but they may now want to do so." ... that rings a bell!  my position! 



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