Protesters gather at Dublin Castle to condemn treatment of abuse victims

Protesters gather at Dublin Castle to condemn treatment of abuse victims
Protesters outside Dublin Castle condemning the Catholic Church's treatment of abuse victims

Survivors of clerical sex abuse and their supporters have gathered outside Dublin Castle where Pope Francis has been meeting politicians and other representatives of civil society.

Carrying banners and placards condemning the Catholic Church's treatment of abuse victims, they said the time for polite diplomacy was over and action was needed.

Cllr Mannix Flynn, a former industrial school resident, flew the Papal flag upside in protest.

"Everyone's waiting to see what message the Pope has for us. I don't want a message from the Pope - I want to give the Pope a message," he said.

"I don't want to see an end to the Catholic Church. I want to see an end to the deference shown the Catholic Church when it comes to the abuses it inflicts.

"I want a State response, a civil response, not just a church response. The gardai could go in with warrants and take all church documents and prosecute all abusers and those who covered up for them. That's what I want to see."

Leila Said-Gutowski, a survivor of abuse in her native Pennsylvania who now lives in Dublin, carried a banner with pairs of baby shoes dangling from it.

She said the recent grand jury report in abuses and cover-ups in Pennsylvania had brought up a lot of difficult memories for her but it also had a healing effect.

"Every disclosure, every step closer to the truth is a moment of healing for us and that's what we now need from every diocese across the world," she said.

Richard Duffy from Artane, Dublin carried an "Arrest The Pope" placard which he had earlier brought to Dublin Airport.

"I'm just a citizen who is angry about what the church has been allowed to do in this country.

"I love many things about this country but the history of abuse - and not just the history but the ongoing cover-ups - is not one of them."

"What I do love is the fact that when I held up my placard this morning, a got a lot of cars honking and thumbs up signs of support."

Pope Francis is due to meet survivors of abuse during the weekend but details and the timing of the meeting have been kept private.

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