Year delay before abuse inquiry decides on documents

IT will be another year before it will be known if the Ryan Commission’s one million written documents and oral testimony will be destroyed.

The oral testimony, while of potentially enormous historical value, is at greater risk of being destroyed as it was made to a confidential committee who by statute have an extra layer of legal confidentiality. Victims were given assurances that all testimony would be confidential. However, historians have argued that it should be retained for posterity. Last July, the Dáil voted for all the Ryan Report documentation to be preserved.

Secretary to the Ryan Commission, Brenda McVeigh said it is up to the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse chairman Mr Justice Sean Ryan and commissioners to decide what happens to the evidence.

She warned however that the audio testimony is highly confidential “untested evidence” and the alleged perpetrators were never given the right of reply. Commission staff are cataloguing the millions of written documents so they can give them to the chairman and commissioners. These documents obtained by discovery relate to individuals and institutions.

The bulk of work being done at present by the commission’s four full-time and three part-time staff relates to the examination of claims for legal costs. Most claims have been successfully negotiated by the commission but recently Ms McVeigh said a few have “broken down” and will have to be sent to the Taxing Master at the High Court for independent assessment.


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