Dáil Debate on Child Abuse — Department of Education “Controlled by Secret Societies” Says Ruairi Quinn

Opus Dei civil servants obstructing inquiries, says Ruairi Quinn during the Dail debate on the Ryan Report

The Dáil met today to discuss the gravest issue to confront our society in decades: the systematic abuse of children by clergy in residential institutions. (Ryan Report). The gallery was packed with survivors of that abuse, who heard the three main party leaders deliver speeches acknowledging the State’s failure to protect those children.

Once the three party leaders had finished speaking, most of the Fianna Fáil deputies stood up and left the chamber, in a gesture of casual contempt for the bewildered abuse survivors in the gallery.

In that one moment, Fianna Fáil displayed its true collective nature.

A parliamentary party indifferent to anything but its own survival was not going to waste a whole morning debating the most important social issue ever to confront us. Not when there were constituency funerals to attend, gaming arcades to open, free lunches to gobble down or incriminating documents to shred.

Those who remained mumbled platitudes, pieties and commonplaces off sweat-blurred pages creased from their arse pockets. And the more they muttered, the more they revealed the unplumbed depths of their crassness, the complete lack of empathy, understanding or insight that infects these elected representatives. The more they groaned and stuttered and stumbled through their lines, without a hint of originality, passion or emotion, the more they looked like the zombies they are.

Elected representatives, did I say? God help Ireland if this bunch of goons is representative of anyone.

Today’s debate was supposed to address the deep-rooted nature of the problems that afflict our society. It was supposed to acknowledge the hurt and the pain suffered by the church’s victims, with the collusion of the State, and yet the members of the governing party didn’t seem to grasp that fact, or to care. It hasn’t gone away, you know.

Those who did care included Ruairi Quinn, who explained that he had been attempting without success to get information from the Department of Education about who exactly owns our schools. He was fobbed off and provided with answers that would insult the intelligence of a frog. The information isn’t in any one place, he was told, but in hundreds of files, and it couldn’t all be gathered in one place.

Listen to that now: the Department of Education doesn’t know who owns the schools.

Is it any wonder that Ruairi Quinn accused the senior civil servants of being either members of secret societies like Opus Dei and the Knights of Columbanus, or else completely incompetent?

After all, you only have to look at the terms of the deal agreed between Michael Woods and the clergy to see that it was designed for the protection of the church. Woods lied to the victims and lied to the Dáil when he said the Redress Board was being set up so that the victims wouldn’t have to go through the adversarial system of the courts.

The reality is that all victims are bound by a savage gagging order forbidding them from even discussing what happened at the redress Board. The fact is that the victims were confronted at the Redress Board, humiliated, invaded, doubted and emotionally raped all over again. Their characters were called into question, and their parents’ good names were blackened. The Redress Board had confidential medical files on these childrens’ parents and siblings which were used to challenge their testimony about the abuse that had been inflicted on them.

The Redress Board was never intended to save the victims from cross-examination. The true purpose of the Redress Board was to make sure the church was protected from legal action, and it succeeded in that, thanks to Michael Woods and his Opus Dei colleagues in the Department of Education — the same people who continue to frustrate the efforts of an elected representative in his efforts to find out what schools the church controls.

A decision was made to put the taxpayer in the firing line instead of the church. Woods and his cronies decided to let the church off with a miniscule contribution, and agreed that you and I would pick up the tab instead. Meanwhile, they concocted a cast-iron way of permanently silencing the victims by imposing a binding restriction on them that prevents them discussing what happened to them at the Redress Board, thereby compounding the abuse.

And now we see what Fianna Fáil deputies think of this subversion of democracy, and oppression of the most vulnerable in society.

They strolled out of the Dáil chamber at the first opportunity, without an upward glance at the gallery where the victims sat in bewildered disbelief.


This is part of what Ruairi Quinn said, and the full Thursday debate is here and here:

Either officials in the Department are members of secret societies such as the Knights of St. Columbanus and Opus Dei and have taken it upon themselves to protect the interests of these clerical orders at this point in time in this year of 2009 or, alternatively, the Minister is politically incompetent and incapable of managing the Department of Education and Science. He went from February to last week saying that the information was not readily available.

The Taoiseach met with the same religious orders. Imagine what he could have said; imagine what power the Taoiseach could have had if he could have said to the 18 orders that, for example the Christian Brothers have 97 schools, paid for mostly by taxpayers through voluntary contributions and grants, and that the Sisters of Mercy and other orders together have perhaps 300 or 400 schools – I am guessing because these guys refuse to tell me.

The legal ownership of those schools should be transferred without any contribution and in return the schools should continue for the time being under the existing patronship arrangements until such time as we democratically and collectively decide how best to do it. We are the only country in Europe – including countries such as Catholic Spain, Catholic Italy and Catholic Austria – where the primary school system is controlled by private organisations. If one thinks they are not private one should examine the court decision on Louise O’Keeffe and how the State was not responsible for the abuse she received from a primary school teacher, who was not a religious person, but that the responsibility lies with the boards of management of the private organisations.

We have to deal with this problem and this is the way we start. The Taoiseach has asked the orders to return in two weeks with an inventory of their assets. The man sitting beside him knows what they are and he is refusing to tell me, a Deputy of this House. I do not believe the Minister, Deputy O’Keeffe, is a bad man. I do not believe he is a Catholic right-wing secret obscurantist but many of the people working for him on a permanent salary – he will be gone in a couple of years – most certainly are or else they are incompetent, lazy and destructive. He can take his choice as to what the explanation is but I have given him the facts. He and his Department are concealing from us, the citizens of the Republic, information on the nature and ownership of schools. I am unable to go into it but one of the replies I received was simply a lie; it suggested that legal protocols were in existence that prevented schools from being sold off. That is not the case for the vast majority of those schools, many of which are in built up areas and were built prior to 1960 when such protocols came into existence.

Build the monument and make it a living lasting voice of what we did. This was not some era of colonial exploitation; this was not the Anglo-Saxon invasion of the country; this is what we did to ourselves for the reasons Deputy Gilmore stated. We should have not just a monument but a living museum and a permanent reminder that never again can it happen and an explanation for those who were affected and their families as to why they were the way they were.


Kildare Street

21 thoughts on “Dáil Debate on Child Abuse — Department of Education “Controlled by Secret Societies” Says Ruairi Quinn

  1. It’s a long road for the victims and it has no end.
    Fianna Fáil are scum.
    There’s no getting away from that.

    Too; they’re not going to go away.

    We have to send them away.

  2. Hi Bock,

    you’re right about the savage gagging orders. Christine Buckley was on Newstalk earlier on (I think it was the Eamon Keane lunchtime show) and outlined the kind of penalties that the victims have to suffer if they reveal details of the “awards”. She said that she hadn’t been to the tribunal yet but of course the payments were paltry. She gave an example of the possible penalties for victims revealing the truth of what is still going on in the tribunal. She did give the following hypothetical example.

    A victim gets an award of x thousand euro, if they reveal details they are subject to a loss of €3000 and 6 months in prison. If they reveal details a second time they are subject to a loss of 25,000 and 3 years in prison! That’s right they’ve been threatened with jail for telling the truth.

    Sickening, abosolutely sickening.

    I’m not in favour of the death penalty but every day there are more and more candidates for it. Woods et al would be up there.

  3. this government who can’t bring these child rapists to justice, could take a 13 year old rape victim to the high court to stop her travelling to England.
    This government is holding on to power, because when they are finally removed, all the deals with the church, banks, and builders will bury them.
    The banks must be saved, but the children can be left to rot.
    look at the investment of all the money in anglo could have done for our schools
    they are closing down wards in our childrens hospital while they hand over billions to crooks who will never go to jail, fuck but are they really that blind to what the world think of them.

  4. Maybe, this glimpse of thuggish reality explains the delusions we live under. The real powerz are unelected judges and civil servants masticating on our freedoms while taxing the shit out of us. It’s a circle jerk and we are have been fooled for centuries. Walking out of the Dail session is the only truth displayed in all of this depravity.
    **** the lot of them!
    Ireland, wake up, the chains are clanking. Economic slavery beckons.

  5. Actually, Haughey was leader of the Opposition in 1985. It was he who was accusing Garret Fitzgerald in that debate.

  6. Yes your right. I picked it up wrong. I thought the it was addressed at Haughey. Thanks for correcting that.
    Actaully it’s highly ironic when you think about it, that Haughey would bring up something like that when he himself was as crooked as a fiddlers elbow.

  7. Dave, – you mean you actually found someone in the Seanad that was actually alive/awake. Your claiming that this person had a pulse, was not bereft of life, nor pining for the Fjords. Amazing. There was a time when we could reply on our “elected” representatives in the Seanad to be either dead or in the arms of Morpheus during discussions. The deal was simple, someone brings up a subject, the mice, having lost the will for life, start flinging themselves in their traps, and everyone immediately falls into a deep slumber – on 70 grand a year plus expenses.Slipping off this mortal coil was considered excessive, but, given the human condition, understandable.

  8. Excuse my ignorance by how did these victims become subject to these gagging orders?
    What did they need to sign that included such diabolical terms? Compensation?

    An utter disgrace all the same. The Government and clergy are a complete shower of bastards

  9. It was a precondition imposed on people who chose to take their cases before the Redress Board. In the current climate of public rage, I doubt if anyone would be prosecuted for speaking out.

  10. Just as a matter of interest, but was King Rat (Bertie) in the Dáil during the proceedings?. I heard Miceal D. mention the slimy fuck had, only the other day, infer along the lines of ” that the victims were only in it for da money”. Fucking Altarboy to the last.

    And to think that only last weekend, something like 25% of people still voted for these gombeens in an election.

    Scum……………far too kind a description for them.

  11. The term ‘Secret Societies’ has a pointed and legal meaning.

    It is contained in the oath sworn by all members of the defence forces

    ‘that I shall not be a member of or subscribe to any secret society whatsoever…’

    It may also be contained in the oath sworn by Gardai?

    The pointed meaning? That bar on membership of secret societies by the defence forces is to exclude the IRA/Sinnfein etc from them because they pose a threat to the state, Ruairi’s barb – opus dei et al also pose a threat.

  12. The problem is they are all secret societies in this state,the goverment,the Gardai,the Church,the bankers etc.All loyal only to their own organisations not to the Irish state.And therein lies one of the major sickneses that afflict this nation.

  13. One group no-one ever talks about is Common Purpose. They seem a pretty shadow group by all accounts and target ‘future leaders’. Perhaps aul’ Mr. Ganley got some leadership training from them too.

  14. we have the redress then the ryan report ok now people are going to know the real truth about these so called schools.
    the government now are talking about a memorial for the ( past ) is’ent that nice. a shame no one will know who those poor people were nor will many even care. and a ( bloody ) museum to rub it in too so others could what? feel our pain?
    they will never feel it unless they were there. the only people it will feel it is the very people and family and friends who wear the scars from those places and to top it all to be reminded of such as well.
    it always takes an outsider to decide such painful ideas thinking they are doing us a favor.
    this is the answer of the government and religious orders.
    have they not got it yet while they are trying to please themselves and cut costs again. government bodies have said there is nothing anyone can do to take away their pain, of course there is nothing they can do because it would cost them even more to even try.
    we are told to keep quiet about the redress money, well now the ryan report is out what does it really mean for us to be quiet about our redress ?. oh but we have to tell the social welfare why? why the social welfare and not anyone else, they are supposed to ignore it.
    but they take the redress into consideration and then see it as you have sufficient savings, and make their decisions accordingly, how are you going to prove other wise. how do i know? it already has happened to a survivor i know.
    lets see where they could have at least done some good if only their hearts were true and brave.
    they could have set up ideas to help survivors and their families in their present struggling lives after all they claimed there is nothing they can do to take away our pain. but at least they could try if their words are genuine and heart-full.
    there are only so many survivors left and the day will come when we are gone too as age is moving on so i recommend some changes below if there is truth in the church and government after all it is the duty of both to look after their people.

    what do survivors need to help them in their every day lives. has not yet been done never mind words or anything else and do what is right.

    the living alone allowances should be given to all survivors to help support them call the allowance what you will but all survivors should be entitled to this wether alone or not as this comfort was taken from them in the first place. they live alone in hurt everyday of their lives, and the struggling survivor is reminded every day wondering if only they had a childhood what would they have been today instead of struggling to survive still.

    making sure they are not homeless.
    making survivors exempt from higher payments in housing rents
    making sure they are clothed
    making sure they are not hungry
    making sure and very clear their rights as survivors so they understand them.
    making sure they are getting their rights in welfare.
    making sure forms are much easier for survivors to fill in
    making sure there is a head office or some one they can turn to if non or more of the recommendations are being ignored by so called government offices.
    making sure the less tax for the survivor who are on low wages as they were forced to work without pay at a tender age.
    making sure some kind of pension is available, and early retirement be available if in need, as survivors were forced to work from a very tender age.

    so before you start patting yourselves on the back for doing nothing so far, do what is recommended here and then we may feel some comfort in your words surely you owe survivors this little sum at least as i said there are only a limited time for this left as we are much older and are fading out over time. how can you expect counseling to work when they are struggling day to day.

    both government and religious orders should get together and finance these recommendations now.
    or all churches and church run schools should be boycotted to make sure children are protected because if you have a bad history and have not paid the price to make amends then you cannot be trusted, especially with children.

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