You might have seen this Bock rant a little while back concerning the deal made between our government and the RC religious orders whereby we, the taxpayers pay all but 127 million euros of compensation claims. This might seem like a lot of money for the religious orders to pay, until you realise that the bill is currently 1,200,000,000 euros. One thousand two hundred million euros, and rising.
This agreement was made in the dying days of the last government by that egregious little weasel, Michael Woods, a man widely believed to be a member of Opus Dei.
You might like to have a bit more detail on the negotiations that led to this incredible deal. At the time, Michael McDowell was Attorney General, and attended most of the discussions between Woods and the nuns. However, Woods excluded McDowell and his officials from the two crucial meetings where he agreed to use our money to underwrite most of the religious orders’ liabilities.
Woods is quoted as saying at the time, “The legal people simply couldn’t have attended – it was a no-go area for them – they had fallen out with the religious.”
Now what exactly does that mean? It appears to mean that the nuns, who were representing the abusers and rapists, could dictate to an elected minister of this land which people were allowed to attend discussions on compensating their victims. It appears that they (Sister O’Donoghue et al) were further allowed to veto the attendance of the highest law officer in this land at a meeting where it was decided how much State money would be given to the abusers to get them out of trouble.
Woods went on to say, “My religion was an asset.”
Why? It wasn’t a religious issue. It was about how much money the State would take from rapists and give to their victims. It wasn’t – or at least, shouldn’t – have been a matter of negotiation, but that was what Woods and his fellow ministers allowed it to become, with the nuns laying down the rules on behalf of the child-rapists.
Afterwards, Woods commended the “helpfulness and generosity” of the Church during the negotiations. The Church had not only given guidance, he said, but also property. He was nearly being truthful here. What actually happened was this: the day before the crucial meeting from which the Attorney General was excluded, the Department of Education wrote to the Orders, agreeing that land which had been handed over to the State in the past by the Orders would count as part of the agreed payment. This was something the State’s team had resisted right up to that moment. A miracle!
Question for you. Why was a Minister of our government meeting these people at all? Why weren’t they simply informed by a letter from a civil servant how much the State was going to take from them? You raped kids and now we’re taking all your money, Fuck off. Yours sincerely.
All of this was negotiated by the formidable Sister Helena, who’s in the news again for another deeply Christian act.
Janette Byrne is a 39-year-old Dublin woman who was treated for cancer at the Mater hospital. It was only after securing a High Court order that Janette Byrne was able to force the Mater hospital to provide the necessary bed for her chemotherapy. She subsequently wrote a book called “If It Were Just Cancer”, which detailed the dirty and chaotic conditions she experienced in the hospital. You’d imagine the nuns would be glad for the feedback, wouldn’t you?
Ah, no. This is Helena we’re talking about here. Instead, the good Christian nuns hired a law firm to threaten the publishers unless they remove certain passages which “caused great distress.” Who exactly felt distressed we don’t know: after all, the Irish Nurses’ Organisation agrees with Janette’s point of view. Presumably it was Helena who felt great distress at being disagreed with. As any power freak will tell you, it is not pleasant to have the little people, or even an Attorney General, disagree with one.
Last year, Helena and her nun-buddies were in the news again, when they objected to trials of a drug for lung cancer patients. Why? Because the manufacturer advises people not to become pregnant while taking the life-saving drug. That was too much for Helena. Compassion for dying patients is one thing, but contraception? Never!!
You can’t have people taking contraceptive thingies. No. We won’t stand for it!
And so they blocked the trials.
Bizarrely, the nuns don’t own the hospital any more: they sold it to the State in 2001 for the equivalent of 22 million euros, but they made an agreement that the Catholic ethos would still prevail in the hospital. They have several nuns on the Board of the hospital, including a “director of mission effectiveness”. Think about that, now. The State gave them a big pile of money when it could easily have built a new hospital with no nuns involved. And after handing them the cash, it gave them back control of the place anyway! (This, incidentally, was the same year Michael Woods agreed the child-rapist support deal with Helena).
Where are we now? Well, Helena’s golden touch hasn’t deserted her yet.
A consortium of public-spirited businessmen offered to acquire the land, design and build a new national children’s hospital on the N7 near Newlands Cross in Dublin, at no profit to themselves. For anybody who doesn’t know the area, this is an easily accessible location near the Red Cow roundabout with easy access from the North via the M50 and the South via the N7. There are several hotels nearby.
What did the government do? It chose instead to locate the national children’s hospital on the existing Mater site, which is located in North inner-city Dublin, squeezed between Dorset Street, Eccles Street and the North Circular Road, with no room for expansion, constant traffic gridlock and no public transport, no-place for parents to park and no-place for them to stay overnight to be near their sick child. If you want to get your child quickly to the Mater at rush-hour, well, tough shit! You can’t. Because in this supposedly incredibly rich nation, we have no public transport system.
We also appear to have no government except Helena and her buddies. I wonder what they have on Bertie? Didn’t he once work in the Mater as a book-keeper?
Also on Bock
Elsewhere: Conan Drumm