John Paul II's legacy in Ireland reveals thousands of victims of his John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army
Raw anger as Dublin rises up to support victims of clerical abuse
Thursday, 11 June 2009
The centre of Dublin was silenced yesterday by 5,000 people marching on the heart of Ireland’s government in the name of all those abused in church-run institutions over 60 years.
The huge, extraordinary and raw demonstration of suffering and anger, came just weeks after the Ryan Commission catalogued the horror of what took place.
Yesterday, under the emotive banner ‘Cherishing all of the children of the nation equally’ — taken from the 1916 Proclamation — the throngs marched to the gates of the Dail at Leinster House.
The march was led by |familiar faces of the victims’campaign in the Republic, among them spokespersons Christine Buckley and Michael O’Brien, and was attended by many more who thanked the most vocal among them for giving them a voice.
Ms Buckley was supported every step of the way by her son Conor, who squeezed his mother’s hand and hugged and kissed her in support as they walked.
Shaking with emotion, she said after she never thought the day would come.
“I wish we had 365 days like this,” said the former resident of Dublin’s Goldenbridge orphanage. “We have tried and tried to say what happened to 165,000 children in 216 hellholes.”
Representing Archbishop |Diarmuid Martin was Monsignor Mike Callan and Phil Garland, the child protection officer for the diocese. Speaking later, the Archbishop said it was a day of “rising up”.
When they arrived at Leinster House, the crowds expressed fury Fine Gael had forced the cancellation of a debate on the report in favour of the entire afternoon devoted to a post-election motion of no confidence in the government.
The survivors laid children’s shoes at the gates the Dail in a symbol of their lost innocence, as well as floral wreaths — a white one for survivors and a black one for those who died in instituional care.
They wanted, too, to hand Taosieach Brian Cowen a copy of a petition given to Christian Brother Kevin Mullan and Sr O’Connor, now head of the Conference of Religious of Ireland, but the plan was abandoned amid security concerns.
Among the gathering of abuse survivors, their families and their supporters, there was a palpable sense the politicians were simply not listening. “We’re really p****d off,” said Paddy Doyle, author of The God Squad, his searing 1989 personal account of how he spent years being abused.
“We met the government just weeks ago and it was all tea and sympathy. Now we know they were never listening,” he said.
In the warm lunchtime sunshine, office workers and passing tourists stopped and listened to some now notorious names being read out along with sickening accounts of abuse that took place there: Letterfrack, Artane, the O’Brien Institute, St Vincent’s, Limerick and Goldenbridge.
The victims included Marie Therese O’Loughlin, who attended Goldenbridge, run by the Sisters of Mercy. She said she was forced to make rosary beads in what she called the ‘Goldenbridge factory’.
She demanded to speak and was handed the microphone. “There are lots of people like me,” she told the crowd. “We want justice” she cried to loud cheers.
As 216 black and white balloons marking the number of institutions were released into the air, many protesters made the short walk to the front of Leinster House and tied white ribbons, children’s shoes and teddy bears to the gates.
It was all they could do after a day in which TDs had turned their backs on debating the scandal.