THE current crisis facing the child abuse inquiry suits the agenda of people who didn’t want the Laffoy Commission to succeed, a leading abuse victims campaigner said yesterday.
Expressing concern for the future of the inquiry following the resignation of chairperson Justice Mary Laffoy, One In Four director Colm O’Gorman said it was no accident the commission’s work had come to a halt.
“I think there are people out there whose intention it is that this commission never reports,” he said.
Responding to Education Minister Noel Dempsey’s claim he had given half-a-million documents to the commission, Mr O’Gorman said there was no doubt the Department of Education had obstructed the inquiry’s work.
Another victims’ representative, Aislinn Centre spokesperson Christine Buckley, called on Mr Dempsey to resign. The only way to save the commission was to convince the judge to return with two other colleagues and extra staff, Ms Buckley said.
According to Mr O’Gorman, at this stage an international expert was the only person to head the commission transparently.
“I think that’s an interesting idea but we can’t possibly start to judge how we go forward before we work out what happened,” he said.
The minister appeared to be quite aggressive in his references in interviews to his dealings with Justice Laffoy, Mr O’Gorman said.
“If their relationship had got to that point, then there are huge issues there,” he said.
It was also a little bit rich for the Department of Education to be critical of the inquiry’s timescale when it was delaying its work, Mr O’Gorman said.
The fact that after three years the commission had dealt with only 40 abuse cases from a total of 1,700 was staggering, Mr O’Gorman said.
“It is an appalling indictment of how abjectly bogged down the commission has become. The Department of Education has to carry some responsibility,” he said.
The decision of religious orders to drag victims through prosecutorial inquisitions and hold up the commission on legal grounds went against the spirit of the inquiry, Mr O’Gorman said.
“Justice is continuously being denied. I just think it’s a disgusting approach for them to adopt,” he said.`