No more reports on Irish clerical abuse
By Evin Daly, CEO of One Child International
Ireland can't afford any more reports documenting the abuse perpetrated by members of the Catholic Church on the children of Ireland. Costs so far for reviewing just a tiny slice of the State's parishes has amounted to over €140 million. To expand that, as Maeve Lewis of One in Four has suggested, to cover the rest of the country would cost an estimated €3.5 billion. That's a lot of money. Money spent which does little else other than tell us what we already know; that Catholic clergy raped and molested Irish children for generations and their superiors covered it up.
We get it. We know what's going on. We also know that all the reports in the world will not lead to one member of the clergy's hierarchy gracing the halls of justice this side of Heaven's gate. 'Reports' (and tribunals) are the default Irish response to difficult societal problems. They are a transparent attempt to intellectualise crimes that should be dealt with harshly and swiftly by our justice system. Instead, by authorising a report or investigation, the problem is put at arm's length until the topic cools down. In the process copious amounts of cash are transferred from the taxpayer to the preparers of said reports.
The net result is a large pile of paper; hours of stern language broadcast in the media; the perpetrators get a thoroughly good giving out to, and the matter is put to rest. Getting back to the reports on the clerical crimes, none of the money spent on these reports helps past or current victims. Not a cent. Nor will any of the additional funding needed to continue the discovery process find its way down to those who actually need it, children.
The National Board for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC) board members Elliott and Morgan have - rightly - refused to step down in light of the shocking news that the Church has not been altogether honest with them with regard to reporting accurate abuse numbers. As they said themselves "walking away does not solve the problem". Indeed it doesn't - it's not their problem at all. Obviously they are in need of a bigger stick as, despite everything that has happened over the past ten years, the contempt that some members of the Catholic church have for the people of the State remains unchanged. No matter.
Maeve Lewis has suggested the broadening of the investigation into clerical abuse to cover the 26 counties. As opposed to, for example, demanding that funding be spent on badly needed programmes that would benefit victims and Ireland's children. The victims of abuse and the children of Ireland deserve better than this. If money can be found for more reports that money should be spent instead on victims, and our children, in righting the wrongs done to them.
Evin Daly is the CEO of One Child International Inc., a nonprofit child advocacy with offices in Fort Lauderdale, Dublin and Sydney. One Child distributes millions of copies of free child protection and abuse prevention literature world-wide.