Religious must break silence on indemnity ‘deal’ with the State

WE in the Let Our Voices Emerge (LOVE) charity challenge CORI (Congress of Religious in Ireland) to stop protecting the State by keeping the promise of silence requested by the State on the so-called indemnity deal on child abuse.

By sticking to the agreement to stay silent on the matter it is allowing politicians to attack the deal - and CORI - with ridiculous statements. They are relying on the religious to stay silent on the matter. We say they must now break this silence.

Michael McDowell (attorney general at the time the religious congregations made the offer), Mary Harney and Bertie Ahern know perfectly well there was no deal. They accepted the indemnity when it was offered.

Mr McDowell’s role as AG was to stop a line antagonistic to the Government. The deal was accepted because the Government knew their abdication of responsibility for funding in the past was a catastrophic failure on their part.

Could the revelations of the ‘indemnity deal’ bring about the collapse of the Government? We believe it could.

The State has documentation which shows time and time again that the Government failed to provide desperately needed funding. Yet some of the ministers who know the truth of the matter persistently refuse to acknowledge the failure.

No State official has come before the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse or attended the public meetings to account for the State’s abdication of responsibility.

The congregations met and decided they would make the contribution to the Redress Board scheme based on their calculation of overall cost and level of responsibility for the conditions of the institutions. There was no State involvement in this decision.

The State’s gross underfunding (19 shillings per child in the Republic compared with £4 and £5 in Northern Ireland and the UK) contributed to the hardships suffered both by children and religious in the institutions.

Continual appeals for more funding from the State were for the most part refused.

The attacks now on the religious congregations must be answered by CORI who must break their silence and speak out. We are appealing to Fr Michael Drennan, CORI chairperson, and spokesperson Sr Helena O’Donoghue to reveal to the public the full truth. They must stop the scapegoating of the religious.

If the State representatives were not afraid of what would be revealed, why did they ask for a promise of silence from CORI, and why won’t they release the report on the indemnity under the Freedom of Information Act?

Florence Horsman Hogan

PRO

LOVE

Seaview Wood

Shankill

Co Dublin

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