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After reading Victoria White’s excellent column last week, I must say the documentary, The Fairytale of Katmandu, resonated with me because the children depicted reminded me of the children I met during my employment as an out-of-hours social worker on the streets of Dublin, through the night, between 1992 and 2007.
The majority of the children, were like the children in the documentary, from the other side of the track, and therefore not one of us. After all we wouldn’t walk their streets at night nor would we let our children mix with them. Many of them were sexually and physically exploited while in our care, locus parentis, many were already known to the social services.
As far as I could see the children mentioned were being willfully neglected by those we elected to represent all the citizens of this State, and also by those we employed to manage our so-called child protection system. It wasn’t that they didn’t know. They were told every week by those of us on the frontline, and recent reports on the deaths of children in care only serves to illustrate the extent of their negligence.
Also, in a Dáil debate in 2010 on the deaths of children in care there were less than 20 TDs present. There were far more TDs present for the debate on payment for septic tanks.
The hurried response of some of the artistic community in support of Mr Ó Searcaigh disgusted me but didn’t surprise me. I admire Neasa Ní Chianain for standing up to be counted. I wish we had more people like her.
We have a long history of shooting the messenger regardless of the veracity of the message. We seem to have a deficit in our national psyche that prevents us from dealing effectively with child sexual abuse. All the talk about the children’s referendum making a difference, and the development of a proposed new child protection system leaves me cold. I despair.
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