Ryan Report did not deal with false allegations

I REFER to the letter from Mr Tom Hayes published on November 2 regarding the Ryan Report on child abuse, and in particular the following:

Referring to “victims having been portrayed as guilty of exaggeration”, surely Mr Justice Ryan does not include those who gave evidence to the investigative part of the Child Abuse Commission and whose well-publicised, loud and exaggerated claims (so exaggerated as not to have been suitable for inclusion in his final report) were not proven when challenged under oath?

“What are we to make of these claims and those who made them? Can all survivors claim that ‘Ryan vindicated them’?... [Authorities] must be prepared to separate childhood abuse experiences, given confidentially and recorded within Mr Justice Ryan’s report, from some of the many clearly false stories that were omitted and which were challenged in the investigative part of the report.”

In the period 1996 to 2003, leading members of four victims’ groups made allegations that the Christian Brothers and the Sisters of Mercy were responsible for the deaths of children in their care. Some of these claims relate to periods when no child died of any cause.

Accordingly I coined the phrases “murder of the undead” and “victimless murders” to describe them.

I made representations to the Ryan Commission both personally and as a member of a delegation from Let Our Voices Emerge — a group representing those falsely accused of child abuse — during an official meeting with representatives of the Commission.

We requested them to investigate those allegations.

The report of the Ryan Commission published in May 2009 makes no reference to these claims of unlawful killing. Originally I thought that the commission had ignored them completely. It now appears that the commission did investigate the allegations in private session, found no evidence to support them and took a deliberate decision to omit them from its published report. I find this reprehensible.

Allegations of child abuse, made decades after the alleged events, cannot be properly investigated. Claims of unlawful killing can be investigated and their truth or falsehood determined. This is especially true when no child actually died at the time the accusation refers to.

When the people who made those claims also allege that they were sexually abused, then we can also judge the credibility of the latter allegations.

The Ryan Report is gravely deficient by failing to include the results of the Commission’s investigation of these claims.

Rory Connor

11 Lohunda Grove

Clonsilla

Dublin 15

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