HSE National Counselling Service, Christine Buckley Centre for Education and Support, Barnardos Origins & Tracing, Caranua, One in Four, Right of Place & Towards Healing. (2020). Facing the Future Together: Discussing Ireland's Lifelong Responsibility to the Survivors of Institutional Abuse. https://knowledge.barnardos.ie/handle/20.500.13085/786
Ireland has an uncomfortably long history with institutional abuse. Due to the illicit nature of abuse it is
commonly surrounded by guilt, blame, stigma, shame and it is buried, perpetrators and the organisations they
represented try to hide the atrocities that took place, cover up facts and turn away from the people who survived
Many individuals and groups did not agree to their truth being erased and spoke out. Their bravery was in some
way acknowledged by the State apology given by An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, on the 11 th of May, 1999. He
stated that he was making "a sincere and long overdue apology" to the survivors of childhood abuse in state
institutions, and acknowledging he was apologising "for our collective failure to intervene, to detect their pain, to
come to their rescue . All children need love and security.Too many of our children were denied this love, care and
security. Abuse ruined their childhoods and has been an ever-present part of their adult lives reminding them of a
time when they were helpless".
In 2005 the Chair of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (CICA), Justice Sean Ryan requested research
on the psychological impact of institutional abuse on survivors. This research was published in volume five of the
Ryan Report and a series of peer-reviewed papers in 2009 and 2010. The research described the psychological
adjustment of adult survivors of institutional abuse which occurred in religiously run state-funded Irish industrial
schools, reformatories and Mother and Child Institutions.
T he report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse known as the 'Ryan Report' was published on the 20th
May 2009; it provided detailed accounts and shocking examples of the ongoing effects the childhood abuse and
trauma experienced by survivors had on them and their families.
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