Facing the Future Together: Discussing Ireland's Lifelong Responsibility to the Survivors of Institutional Abuse
HSE National Counselling Service
Christine Buckley Centre for Education and Support
Barnardos Origins & Tracing
One in Four
Right of Place
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 them. 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 11th 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. The 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.