Letter to the Editor: Industrial school survivors still suffering

I am a survivor of the Irish State run Industrial Schools and I attended the event on May 11 in Trinity College. I observed that Mr Finlay was in attendance throughout but was unaware he was a columnist for your paper. 

Yes he was on the agenda to close the conference but at what price to state in his column of May 14 that “Survivors of abuse are often obstreperous (meaning unruly, noisy, uncontrollable, wild, rebellious, mutinous, undisciplined, unmanageable)”. All other media were not present during the conference.

I was not given an opportunity to read my words on how it has impacted me and my two children.

I personally am very upset, depressed having felt totally excluded from the whole event with no invite to participate. 

My son along with many other survivors who travelled from afar outside of Dublin were only made aware of this event two weeks prior while apparently it was a year in the making. This was a platform given to The Christine Buckley Centre acknowledging them and only them. 

While I accept she helped get the Aislinn Centre up and running it was only for survivors living in the Dublin area who could access. I tried many years ago but was shut out because I didn’t reside in Dublin. She was 1 survivor out of thousands and thousands of us. We have no services down the South and West of Ireland.

Many survivors are outraged at Mr Finlay’s piece and I personally would like an apology. 

I work fulltime and raise my kids as a single mother and I am most certainly not obstreperous. I hold a grade IV position in HSE and have put my son through college while he was excluded from the trust funds setup for survivors to enable us to educate ourselves and our children but that was not the case. 

I have a voice but I will not be defined as a survivor who is obstreperous. I take offence to this.

Shame on Mr Finlay. Did he walk my shoes for those 17 years I survived in Nazareth House enduring horrendous abuses, I doubt it. 

You don’t tarnish one’s reputation by categorising us all as obstreperous. We are angry because of failures since the 20 year apology as we are still suffering without services in place.

Mary Donovan

Supplied by email

This reader's opinion was originally published in the letters page of the Irish Examiner print edition on 17 May 2019.

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