Alliance Support Group


December 2014 Archives

No, it is not too late.

We can still lend our voice to survivors of institutions – it is not too late

 

 

Those of us who are lucky enough to gather with our families at Christmas are truly wealthy.

 

 

There are those for whom, for many reasons, this will not be possible. Among them are the families torn apart by the Magdalene Laundries and the State’s industrial schools. There are some who talk as though the atrocities are part of our history but in reality the consequences are still very real.

Lives have been destroyed. Souls crushed. Babies deprived of their lives; both those who survived and those who died. Both mothers and babies were deprived of the rituals and rites of the religion that scorned them and condemned to a man-made hellfire both on earth and if we are to believe the rhetoric of that that Church, in the hereafter.

We may ask ourselves, what God would allow this to happen, when what we could ask is what human beings could perpetrate such crimes and not display remorse? What State could do this to its citizens and still command loyalty? What sort of Church could enrich itself on the suffering of the souls of babies and their mothers and still issue proclamations righteous to the same congregation? What citizens would turn their backs on their fellow human beings when they themselves could have come so close to that fate and have faced that same evil? Did the Earth spin just in time to let us step out of the path of such righteous torturers? There but for the grace of what God were those who suffered chosen and we were not? Throughout history, unspeakable crimes have been perpetrated on human beings by claiming that those who they tortured were “others” different from “us”. The reality is that it could have been us. We need to stand with those who suffered and lend our voices to our fellow citizens.

It won’t undo that terrible evil or lessen the consequences but could provide a voice in the dark to say ‘we are with you and we acknowledge your awful pain and we are thinking of you’.

Colette O’Donovan

Gerard Reijnststraat

Den Haag

2593ED

Netherlands

 

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved


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A Peaceful Christmas to you all

Christmas and the greatest revolution of all

Thinking Anew

 A stained-glass window in  the Catholic University Church, St Stephen's Green, Dublin. Photograph: Bryan O'Brien

A stained-glass window in the Catholic University Church, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Thank you all for your support in what was a very difficult and trying year for the Alliance Committee and many of you who contacted us.

 

We regret we were not able to give the same level of support as in the past.   Hopefully 2015 will be a better year for you all.


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Towards Healing Counselling Services

 

Christmas Eve 11am -8pm

Christmas Day 11am-8pm

St Stephens Day 11am-6pm.liday period -

Remember also the Connect Counselling Service timings

We are interested in your feedback on these timings or any other issues over the holiday.

 


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Abuse

Priest sentenced to further three years for abuse

Thursday 18 December 2014 14.56

Tadgh O'Dalaigh continued to say mass after serving three years for sexually assaulting schoolboys
Tadgh O'Dalaigh continued to say mass after serving three years for sexually assaulting schoolboys

A 71-year-old priest who continued to say mass within his religious community after serving three years for sexually assaulting schoolboys, was sentenced to another three years for abuse dating back over 30 years.

Tadgh O'Dalaigh of Woodview, Mount Merrion Avenue, Blackrock, Dublin, received a five year sentenced at Cork Circuit Criminal Court today, with the final two years suspended.

A jury last July found him guilty of indecently assaulting a schoolboy in March or April 1979 in the sick bay of Coláiste an Chroí Naofa, Carraig na bhFear, in Co Cork.  

O'Dalaigh had pleaded not guilty to this charge.  

Earlier, he had pleaded guilty to five charges of indecently or sexually assaulting another schoolboy.

Judge Donagh McDonagh noted from extensive reports prepared for today's sentencing hearing that O'Dalaigh's ministry as a priest was confined to celebrating mass within the community house of his religious order in Dublin.

Judge McDonagh acknowledged that O'Dalaigh had adhered to a monitoring regime and that this was tantamount to an open prison life.

However, he said O'Dalaigh's state of being was in marked contrast to that of the two injured parties, both of whom, he said, continue to suffer, one severe post-traumatic stress and the other severe personal and emotional problems including suicidal ideation.

He sentenced him to five years imprisonment on the conviction in the jury case, and imposed three years concurrent on the five charges relating to the other victim.

Judge McDonagh said he did not want to close off all aspects of hope in relation to the perpetrator and suspended the last two years of his sentence.


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Nobody is Listening - North or South!

Victims speak out at Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry – but is anyone listening?

Institutions in which there is cruelty are corrupting to all concerned

'The inquiry covers the period from the foundation of the Northern Irish state in 1922 to 1995.' Above, the opening session of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry in Banbridge, Northern Ireland, on January 13th, 2014. Photograph: PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images

‘The inquiry covers the period from the foundation of the Northern Irish state in 1922 to 1995.’ Above, the opening session of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry in Banbridge, Northern Ireland, on January 13th, 2014. Photograph: PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images

One night in late 2011, after the announcement by the Northern Executive that the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIAI) was to be set up, Jon McCourt walked onto Derry’s Peace Bridge and struggled with the urge to throw himself into the river Foyle.

It wasn’t that he was opposed to the inquiry. Having spent 10 years of his childhood in one of the institutions to be investigated, McCourt is one of those who had campaigned for years for this. He had been in Stormont for the announcement, and had felt elation and pride as he stood with other survivors on the grand steps in front of the television cameras and welcomed it. But on the journey back across the Glenshane Pass to Derry the ghosts had come. “In my head I began to see all the people I knew who had taken their own lives,” he told me. “Out of about 40, more than a dozen had died. One hung himself. Another drank a bottle of anti-freeze. One threw himself off a bridge in Donegal. Someone walked out into the traffic in London.

Lives of addiction

A few died young after lives of addiction to alcohol and anti-depressants. My own sister died in her 50s from cancer – there was a proliferation of cancers.”

 

McCourt did not see these people as adults. “I saw them as the children I knew when we were all five or six-years-old.” He has no doubt about the reason for their difficult lives and tragic early deaths: “It was the inability to deal with the trauma.”

As he stood in the darkness looking into the fast flowing river, the former “homeboy” felt overwhelmed also by anxiety. There were those who said that an earlier proposal to use the British Inquiry Act of 2005 should not have been rejected.

McCourt’s Survivors (North West) group had held out for a locally accountable body. However, his deepest concern was for those who would now have to be encouraged to give evidence. “For some this would be the first time they had ever spoken about this part of their lives,” he said. “They’ve managed it by burying it. Many of them have actually created a false past even for their close families. This could tear them to shreds.”

Survivors and victims had a significant input into the design of the inquiry, and drew on learning from other processes including the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Republic’s Ryan Inquiry. Members of Survivors (North West) and the Belfast-based Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse (SAVIA), urged former residents to come forward. John Heaney, who was in the care of the Sisters of Nazareth from the age of 11 months until he was 11, told the Derry Journal that after 10 years of counselling he was able to talk about his experiences of physical and emotional abuse by the nuns and sexual abuse by older boys. He said that those who needed support to speak out would get it. “Let the volcano explode because it will calm down eventually,” he said.


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Out-of-court payments a 'disgrace', says abuse survivor

 

The State’s offer of out-of- court settlements to victims of child sexual abuse at school has been described as "an absolute disgrace" by survivor Louise O’Keeffe, who was forced to resort to the European courts in her own battle for justice.

Ms O’Keeffe, who was abused in 1973, at the age of eight, by her school principal, said it was outrageous that the State was limiting its offer to cases where a prior complaint of abuse had been made and the State had failed to act.

 

This offer was based on what Ms O’Keeffe’s solicitor, Ernest Cantillon, described as a “minimalist” interpretation of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling. That ruling, made last January, found the State had been negligent in failing to protect Ms O’Keeffe from abuse in school and that her human rights had been breached.

 

Mr Cantillon said the State’s interpretation had been designed “to exclude as many people as possible” from the possibility of compensation.

 

The State’s offer is limited to abuse that occurred prior to 1991, when more robust child care legislation was introduced. The settlement offer is also limited to a maximum of €84,000, based on compensation paid to Ms O’Keeffe.

 

Ms O’Keeffe, now aged 50 and a mother of two from Cork, said it was disgraceful to put “such a mediocre price” on child abuse.

 

Moreover, arriving at a figure based on what she was paid meant the Government had decided “everyone else either suffered the same or less than me”, which Ms O’Keeffe said was outrageous.

 

She said the Government’s proposals essentially meant “you could have two pupils in the same school abused by the same teacher but in different years and one will be offered a settlement and the other will be told ‘Go to hell’,” because evidence of a prior complaint depended on who was abused first.

 

Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan, who outlined the Government’s offer, said only that all 45 cases lodged against the Government “would be reviewed in detail” by the State Claims Agency (SCA) and offers made to those who came within the terms of the ECHR.

 

In relation to victims who discontinued cases prior to the ECHR judgment (said to number about 90), Ms O’Sullivan said she had asked the SCA to review the cases and report back early in the New Year.

 

Ms O’Keeffe’s sexual abuse came to light in 1973 after the parent of another pupil informed the local canon that her daughter had been sexually abused by Leo Hickey, the lay principal of Dunderrow National School.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved


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Mother and Baby Homes Survivors

 

posted by  |on Human RightsJustice |

 

 

Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors call upon Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Cabinet for a survivor centered, fully inclusive Inquiry that must meet the standards of a UN Inquiry.

 

1.   Acknowledgement, Apology and Full Restorative Justice first.

Since there is abundant, conclusive and irrefutable evidence through official records and eye witness testimony as to what  happened in the Mother & Baby homes and the vast network of other Institutions and  groups with whom they interacted, there should be an immediate Acknowledgment and Apology to all Survivors. Justice delayed is justice denied and the aging profile of the survivor community means that Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Joan Burton, the Cabinet, and Government must act at once. Full restorative justice must immediately follow the official Acknowledgement and Apology. Survivors stand absolutely united on this point of Principle of putting Survivors First.

2.   Survivor Focused and All Inclusive.

All survivors affected by the treatment of natural mothers and their children by the State and/or religious groups and/or private groups must be included and their inclusion is vital in both the Acknowledgement, Apology and Full Restorative Justice aspect, and in The Commission of Inquiry to follow. Both must be ‘Survivor Focused’ and ‘Survivor centered‘.  All survivors who come forward must be recognised and treated equally. The Inquiry must be about people and not buildings, and must go Beyond the Gates.

3.  Separation of Inquiry from the immediate needs of an aging Survivor Community.

The Commission of Inquiry must be entirely separate from the Acknowledgement, Apology and Full Restorative Justice aspect. The Inquiry should place Survivors First, include at least one other International figure, must be timely and all inclusive and meet United Nations best practice standards. The entire network of institutions, people, adoption agencies, nursing homes, Holding Centers, etc. must be investigated in it’s totality including but not limited to:

* Illegal adoptions
* Placement of children in Ireland and the legal and illegal, national and international Banished Babies trade
* The manner of burial in the Angel’s Plots and beyond
* The three major Holding Centers; Temple Hill, Stamullen and the Nurseries in Fermoy
* Discrimination against Protestants
* What happened to all the babies with Special Needs
* The treatment of Mixed Race survivors
* The UK network for forcibly repatriating pregnant Irish women and/or their babies back to Ireland
* Fathers rights
* The Vaccine Trials
* The “donation” of at least 461 babies bodies for medical research and student practice
* County Homes
* The role of the Adoption Agencies particularly Saint Patrick’s Guild
* The two Regina Coeli hostels

4.  Memorials 

Funding for Memorials for all the Angels Plots to be made available immediately in line with the Bethany Home Memorial in Mount Jerome. Only non-invasive Memorials to be erected by representative survivor groups associated with each Home until agreement is reached regarding forensic investigation of the Angels Plots.


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Inquiry into Mother and baby homes in the new year

Mother and baby home inquiry terms in new year

 

The terms of reference for the mother-and-baby home inquiry will be published following the first Cabinet meeting in the new year.

 

 

A spokesperson for Children’s Minister Dr James Reilly said to allow the “requisite space for debate” on the issue, the terms of reference, which had been promised before the Christmas recess, would now be brought to Cabinet for agreement on January 8. A Dáil debate on the inquiry would take place the following week.

Dr Reilly has been meeting with advocacy groups in recent weeks and says he is “confident” the inquiry will be as “inclusive as possible” and have the support of “those most centrally involved”.

A number of the groups have warned that the inquiry needs to be as wide as possible to achieve any degree of support and must look at issues like forced and illegal adoptions, the Magdalene Laundries and the vaccine trials.

Earlier this year, the Adoption Authority admitted for the first time that potentially thousands of people had been illegally adopted here. The claim directly contradicted former children’s minister and now Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald’s statement in the Dáil last year that every adoption carried out by the State was legal.

Earlier this month, the Irish Examiner revealed a previously unknown fifth vaccine trial was carried out on children here in the 1960s. The Department of Health has said it has “no information” on where, or in what institution, the trial took place, while Dr Reilly has not made contact with GlaxoSmithKline in relation to the revelations.

Justice For Magdalenes Research has also welcomed the recent publication of a Bill offering a range of health services to survivors of Magdalene Laundries.

However, a spokesperson for JFMR said a number of recommendations from Justice Quirke 18 months ago were not contained in the Bill, which had no provisions for Magdalene survivors living abroad.

“There is no provision in the Bill for complementary therapies or counselling for immediate relatives. These services were part of Judge Quirke’s proposals, so we will be seeking clarification from the Minister for Health in that regard. The Bill contains no provision for healthcare for Magdalene survivors abroad. We wrote to the Minister for Health in August seeking clarification about whether health insurance will be provided to these women, and we have not yet received a reply,” said a spokesperson.

Meanwhile, a Government decision is likely today on how to deal with historic child abuse cases that were awaiting the outcome of Louise O’Keeffe’s landmark ruling in the European Court of Human Rights.

Around 135 similar cases — of people suing the State for abuse suffered in schools as children — were pending when the Cork woman lost a Supreme Court case in 2008. But 90 were withdrawn before January’s European judgment in her favour, after what their legal representatives say were threatening letters from the State Claims Agency.

Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan will bring proposals for treatment of the remaining cases to Cabinet this morning, but a definitive outcome is unlikely today on dealing with the withdrawn cases.

 

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved


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Mother and Baby homes

Cabinet to discuss mother-and-baby homes early next year

Monday 15 December 2014 14.11
Judge Yvonne Murphy will chair the commission examining Tuam and other mother-and-baby homes
Judge Yvonne Murphy will chair the commission examining Tuam and other mother-and-baby homes

The Government intends to discuss the terms of reference for the investigation into mother-and-baby homes at the first Cabinet meeting next year.

A Dáil debate on the Commission of Investigation will take place on the week following the meeting.

Minister for Children James Reilly informed Opposition party spokespersons of this earlier today.

Judge Yvonne Murphy has already agreed to chair the commission that will look at Tuam and other mother-and-baby homes.


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Celibacy

‘Priests should be trained to cope with celibacy’

 

Church in Australia says clergy should get psychosexual training

 

 

The Catholic Church in Australia has said compulsory celibacy may have contributed to priests abusing children and advised that all clergy should receive psychosexual training.

The findings are contained in a a report by the Truth, Justice and Healing Council, which is co-ordinating the Australian Church’s response to the national Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse announced by the government in 2012.

In a section on culture and clericalism, the report notes how church leaders turned a blind eye to abuse and sought to protect the institution rather than than the victims.

“Obligatory celibacy may also have contributed to abuse in some circumstances,” it added.

Council chief executive Francis Sullivan noted that while the Church was unlikely to change its stance on celibacy, it needed to be up for discussion.

“What our council’s report says is that we recognise that celibacy can be a contributing factor,” he said.

“We do not know the extent of that, we do not know the degree to which it was a dominant factor but we are not putting our head in the sand and ignoring the issue.”

Mr Sullivan also said the manner in which priests are trained for ministry also needed to be examined.

He said the way priests were trained should be addressed.

“When we have a public inquiry into the sex crimes in the Catholic Church, you need to address how sexuality is understood and acted out by members of the clergy,” said Mr O’Sullivan.

“You need a very clear understanding about your own sexuality, your own sexual development, your own way of relating as a person to others. That’s called psychosexual education. Certainly in the past, there was none.”

The report comes in the same month that Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland Diarmuid Martin acknowledged that the requirement for priests to be celibate was not church dogma and could be reviewed. However, he added that most priests here “live their celibacy very faithfully with all the challenges that are there”.

“I know what is going on with my priests. I know good priests and I know priests who struggle. I support all of them,” he said.

The Association of Catholic Priests has long voiced the opinion that the issue of compulsory celibacy within the Church needs to be examined.

The association has called on the Irish Church to propose to Rome that suitable married men be allowed to become priests, invite priests who left the active ministry to get married to return to ministry, and to ordain women to become deacons.

The group has cited celibacy as one of the key reasons for the “crisis” in vocations, with fewer men deciding to enter the priesthood.

“Expectation of change in the re-imaging of priesthood, not least in the celibacy requirement, is growing... Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, on a number of occasions has pointedly indicated that celibacy is not a church dogma and it can be discussed because it is a church tradition.”

A recent study of Irish priests’ views of celibacy, Thirty-Three Good Men: Celibacy, Obedience and Identity, by Dr John Weafer, found that the majority of priests do not favour celibacy — although this view was more strongly held among older priests.

 

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved


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Magdalene Laundries women

Magdalene laundries women to receive free health care under new legislation

Frances Fitzgerald says Bill reflects recommendation in Quirke Report

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald published a Bill providing free medical care for survivors of Magdalene laundries. Photograph: Alan Betson

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald published a Bill providing free medical care for survivors of Magdalene laundries. Photograph: Alan Betson

Free medical care will be provided to survivors of the Magdalene laundries in new legislation ushering in the next phase of a Government support package as recommended in the Quirke Report.

Under the scheme the women will be entitled to GP care, prescription medicines, nursing and home-help.

The Redress for Women Resident in Certain Institutions Bill 2014 was published by Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald on Friday.

Other care provided by the HSE under the legislation will include dental, ophthalmic, aural, counselling, chiropody and physiotherapy services.

The HSE will also deal “on an administrative basis” with arrangements for equivalent health services for participants living abroad, the Department of Justice has said.

To date almost €18 million in redress payments have been made to 488 applicants.

The ex-gratia scheme covers 10 laundries which were the subject of the McAleese report, as well as St Mary’s training centre, Stanhope Street and the House of Mercy training school in Summerhill, Wexford.

By last June, 71 of 754 applicants to the scheme had been rejected on the basis they did not attend those specific institutions.

Commenting on the publication of the Bill, Ms Fitzgerald said “the Government has committed to implementing all of the recommendations made by Mr Justice Quirke in his report on the Magdalene laundries. The Bill . . . marks the next phase of implementation, addressing a number of issues which require changes in legislation.”

It is not clear when the legislation will come into force, with Ms Fitzgerald saying she hoped that it would be expeditious.


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At last?

Mother-and-baby home survivors want fully inclusive inquiry into what happened to them

It is anticipated the terms of reference of the Commission of Inquiry will be discussed by Cabinet next week.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

A COALITION OF mother-and-baby home survivors have made a joint appeal to the Irish government for a fully inclusive, survivor-centred inquiry into the homes.

The Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors (CMABS) formed in late 2013 to submit a complaint to the UN Committee Against Torture. It consists of Adoption Rights Now; The Bethany Home Survivors; Beyond Adoption Ireland; Adopted Illegally Ireland; the Castlepollard Mother and Baby home group: the Dunboyne Mother & Baby home group.

It is in equal partnership with: The Adoption Coalition Worldwide; Irish Womens Survivors Support Network; Tuam Mother/Baby/Home Survivors; Remembering Bessboro group and Natural Mothers Group.

The statement has been sent to the Taoiseach and Tánaiste and a number of Ministers.

Commission of Inquiry

The latest statement comes in advance of the terms of reference of the commission of inquiry into mother-and-baby homes in Ireland being discussed by Cabinet next week.

A member of CMABS said that they are “anticipating a number of setbacks” and that they fear the terms of reference will be narrow. He said that if the terms fall short of their expectations, they will seek meetings with Ministers.

This large group of survivors is calling on the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Cabinet for a “survivor centered, fully inclusive inquiry that must meet the standards of a UN Inquiry”.

In a statement, they outline how they want acknowledgement, an apology and full restorative justice first.

They say there should be an immediate acknowledgement and apology to all survivors, particularly because of the ageing profile of those who lived in the homes.

Survivors stand absolutely united on this point of principle of putting survivors first.

They also want all survivors affected by the treatment of natural mothers and their children by the State and/or religious groups and/or private groups to be included.

The coalition says their inclusion is vital in both the acknowledgement, apology and full restorative justice aspect, and in the Commission of Inquiry.

“All survivors who come forward must be recognised and treated equally. The inquiry must be about people and not buildings,” they say.

They are calling for the Commission of Inquiry to be entirely separate, and say it should include at least one other international figure.

They want the commission to be timely and all inclusive and meet United Nations best practice standards.

“The entire network of institutions, people, adoption agencies, nursing homes, holding centres, etc, must be investigated in its totality,” say the coalition members.

Memorials

One key part of their latest statement is in relation to funding for memorials for children who died while in mother-and-baby and adoption homes.

The coalition is looking for this funding to be made available immediately in line with the Bethany Home Memorial in Mount Jerome. This latter memorial to the 222 Bethany children who were buried in unmarked graves was unveiled at a ceremony in April.

It was funded by the State after a sustained campaign by the Bethany survivors.

The coalition say they want only “non-invasive memorials to be erected by representative survivor groups associated with each home” until agreement is reached regarding forensic investigation of the ‘angel plots’ for children buried in unmarked graves.

Read: ‘For the first time in 16 years we were treated the same as Catholics’>


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Repeal Section 28 of Redress Act

Uimhir:388

Ceist Pharlaiminte

Chun an Aire Oideachais agus Eolaíoctha
To the Minister for Education and Science


To ask the Minister for Education and Skills her plans to repeal Section 28 of 
the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002 as survivors believe it curtails 
their right to justice; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
- Clare Daly.



* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 9th December, 2014.
Reference Number: 46921/14

Freagra

Minister Jan O'Sullivan

Section 28 of the Residential Institutions Redress Act, 2000 (as amended by 
section 34 of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Amendment Act 2005) 
prohibits the disclosure of information provided to the Redress Board and 
Review Committee other than in specified circumstances.    
It also prohibits any person from publishing any information concerning an 
application or an award made under the Act that refers to any person (including 
an applicant), relevant person or institution by name or which could reasonably 
lead to the identification of any such other person, relevant person or 
institution.    The legal advice available to my Department is that this 
provision does not prohibit applicants from recounting the stories of their 
childhood.
The section also provides that the Board and Review Committee, shall prior to 
the making of an Order for their dissolution, determine the disposal of the 
documents concerning applications made to them.  The Government agreed in 
principle to legislative proposals being brought forward to allow for the 
retention of the records of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, the 
Residential Institutions Redress Board and the Residential Institutions Review 
Committee. These proposals will include amendments to existing legislation 
where necessary. It is intended that the records will be retained in the 
National Archives and completely sealed for a period of at least 75 years.  I 
expect to be in a position to report to Cabinet in this regard shortly

 


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Are The Bethany Survivors as confident?

Reilly ‘confident’ over mother and baby home inquiry

 

Children’s minister James Reilly has said he is “confident” the planned mother and baby home inquiry will have the support of “those most centrally involved”.

 

 

Speaking to the select sub-committee on health and children yesterday, Mr Reilly said “good progress” was being made towards establishing the inquiry and that the terms of reference should be ready for publication before Christmas.

The children’s minister said the inter-departmental group on mother and baby homes had met again recently and has considered a number of specific issues which have been raised by a range of advocacy groups.

Dr Reilly said that while some of the issues raised were beyond the main focus of the inquiry, it would be as “inclusive as possible” in a “timely and cost-effective way”.

“I am confident we can establish an effective inquiry which has the support of those most centrally involved. My priority remains the establishment of a commission that can deliver on public expectations by providing a full account of what happened in these homes,” he said.

The children’s minister acknowledged the “potential scale of this investigation” and said he had already signalled to government that “significant additional resources” would be required by the commission and a range of departments.

A range of advocacy groups have met with Dr Reilly in recent weeks, with most describing the talks as positive, but warning that the inquiry needed to be as wide as possible to achieve any degree of support.

Co-founder of the Adoption Rights Alliance, Claire McGettrick said any inquiry which ignored the wider issues of illegal and forced adoptions and which did not include all of the institutions involved in such practices was “destined for failure”.

Paul Redmond, of the Coalition of Mother And Baby Home Survivors, said the inquiry must include all institutions and must address the criminality of illegal adoptions and associated practices.

The Bethany Survivors’ Campaign have expressed concern that while the Bethany Home will be included in the inquiry, it was clear to them the experiences of children — while in these institutions and after they left — would be excluded.

The department has refused to be drawn on whether or not the inquiry will investigate the scale of vaccine trials carried out on children in mother and baby homes.

This comes after the Irish Examiner revealed a previously unknown fifth trial was carried out on children here in the 1960s. The Department of Health has said it has “no information” on where, or in what institution, the trial took place, while Minister Reilly has not made contact with GlaxoSmithKline in relation to the revelations.

 

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved


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First Synod in 50 years

Limerick bishop says church of the future must be inclusive

Bishop Brendan Leahy says first synod in Ireland in 50 years is opportunity for regeneration

Bishop Brendan Leahy (left) photographed with Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin last year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Bishop Brendan Leahy (left) photographed with Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin last year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Mon, Dec 8, 2014, 01:00


The church of tomorrow must be inclusive and regenerated by us all, Limerick BishopBrendan Leahy said as the first synod in Ireland in 50 years was launched.

In his homily at the midday Mass at St. John’s Cathedral, the Bishop of Limerick said there is now an opportunity to rebuild the Church and urged that it not be missed.

“It’s undeniable that our Church has been rocked. It has stumbled badly but it has not fallen. Yet, while the Church reeled, faith remained precious. The Church is in need of repair. It’s what the Lord told St. Francis in his time and tells us again now in our time.

“All of us together, clergy and lay, are being offered this opportunity to regenerate and build up the Church of the future in our diocese. Let’s not miss this appointment with history,” he added.

Ireland’s first diocesan synod in half a century will take place in the spring of 2016.

The synod will be a three day-meeting of 350 delegates that will set out a blueprint for the Diocese to meet the many challenges it faces going forward.

Between now and the synod itself, delegates will engage in a process of reflection and sharing, catechesis and prayer, out of which they will identify the issues that will be discussed at the synod.

Delegates, who are already selected, are drawn from clergy and laity, representing younger and older generations and all socio-economic backgrounds and ethnicities.

In his homily to a packed Cathedral, Bishop Leahy said that the synod will be a time when we clearly commit ourselves again to do our part to come closer together at all levels of Church and indeed in society.

Bishop Leahy said that the synod would be the moment to draw up new plans for the Diocese so that it is ready for “what I believe can be a new dawn breaking for the Church, a dawn we will all greet together.”

Addressing delegates, he said, “There will be many paths to be made straight – paths of wounded hearts; paths of confused minds; paths of disappointed spirits, paths of rejected outreach. Through listening with your hearts full of mercy and patience, you can transform crooked pathways into opportunities to show something new is happening; Jesus is coming in a new way to heal wounds, bring light and clarity, sow seeds of hope and mercy.”


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Vaccine Trials- In Irish Industrial Schools

Reilly makes no contact with Glaxo over vaccine

 

James Reilly, the children’s minister, has not made contact with GlaxoSmithKline in relation to the, previously undisclosed, fifth vaccine trial carried out on infants here in the 1960s.

 

 

Dr Reilly’s department also declined to state whether or not the latest revelations would lead to the issue being included in the upcoming investigation into mother and baby homes.

The admission comes after the Department of Health confirmed earlier this week that it had “no information” on where, or in what institution, the fifth trial was carried out.

Uncovered by Michael Dwyer of University of Cork’s school of history from an article in The Lancet in 1965, and revealed by the Irish Examiner on Monday, the measles trial was carried out in 1965 on 34 infants by Glaxo Laboratories — a legacy company of pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

GSK has previously only admitted to four vaccine trials having ever been carried out in Ireland.

Earlier this summer, the UCC historian uncovered evidence that Wellcome Burroughs trialled a vaccine for diptheria on more than 2,000 children in residential institutions between 1930 and 1935.

In a statement, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs confirmed the minister “had not been in contact with any pharmaceutical companies in relation to vaccine trials”.

“It is important to clarify that the minister or his department will not be conducting the actual investigation. This will be undertaken by the independent statutory commission of investigation which will be tasked with reporting to the minister in accordance with its terms of reference,” said a statement.

The interdepartmental report on mother and baby homes published earlier this year is believed to be influ-encing the drafting of the terms of reference for the upcoming inquiry.

However, that report only acknowledges three trials having been carried out here in the 1960s and 1970s. This is despite a fourth being admitted by GSK in 2011.

The report also says 123 children in institutional settings were used in the three trials when, in fact, 180 children were used.

Michael Dwyer of UCC’s School of History has hit out at the fact that the report only acknowledges trials on 123 children in the 1960s and 1970s, when his research confirms trials were conducted between 1930 and the 1970s on thousands of children in residential institutions.

Although The Lancet report of the fifth trial does not specify where the it took place, it does make reference to the reaction to the vaccines being monitored by “the adults looking after the children” and that follow-ups were done on all the children from day six to day 14 at 6pm — indicating that the children were in a group setting. There is no mention of parental consent. GSK has said it does not agree that the above references constitute evidence that the trial was carried out on children in care, but did not offer any information as to where or in what institution the trial may have occurred.

The pharma giant said said any trials it carried out in Ireland were done by independent healthcare professionals to the highest safety and ethical standards. It also confirmed it was “seeking to investigate the facts regarding these studies” and would co-operate with any government inquiry.

 

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved


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Timings for CONNECT Counselling Services

Dear Colleague,

 

I am pleased to inform you that Connect will operate a continuous service throughout the Christmas and New Year period.

 

Full details are listed below:

 

Wednesday     17 December                                      6.00pm – 10.00pm

Thursday        18 December                                      6.00pm – 10.00pm

Friday             19 December                                      6.00pm – 10.00pm

Saturday         20 December                                      6.00pm – 10.00pm

Sunday            21 December                                      6.00pm – 10.00pm

Monday          22 December                                      6.00pm – 10.00pm

Tuesday          23 December                                      6.00pm – 10.00pm

Wednesday     24 December                                      6.00pm – 10.00pm

Thursday        25 December                                      6.00pm – 10.00pm

Friday             26 December                                      6.00pm – 10.00pm

Saturday         27 December                                      6.00pm – 10.00pm

Sunday            28 December                                      6.00pm – 10.00pm

Monday          29 December                                      6.00pm – 10.00pm

Tuesday          30 January                                         6.00pm – 10.00pm

Wednesday     31 December                                      6.00pm --10.00pm

Thursday        1 January                                           6.00pm – 10.00pm

Friday             2 January                                           6.00pm – 10.00pm

Saturday         3 January                                           6.00pm – 10.00pm

Sunday            4 January                                           6.00pm – 10.00pm

 

You Can Contact Connect by Calling:

 

IRELAND                                          1 800 477 477

U.K. & NORTHERN IRELAND      00 800 477 477 77

 

Regular service will resume on Wednesday 7 January 2015 as follows:

Wednesday through to Sunday: 6.00pm – 10.00pm

 

On behalf of Connect we would like to take this opportunity of wishing you, your staff members a Happy Christmas and a bright & prosperous New Year.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Theresa Merrigan

ManagerDear Colleague,

 

 

 

 


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So, It was ok for Miss Buckley and others to accept same restriction in law?

Fury over symphysiotomy redress indemnity

 

Fury over symphysiotomy redress indemnity

 

 

Proposals in the symphysiotomy redress scheme requiring victims accepting a payment to “indemnify and hold harmless” those responsible have been sharply criticised.

 

 

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), Survivors of Symphysiotomy (SOS) and chairman of the UN Human Rights Commission Nigel Rodley have all expressed reservations about the Government redress scheme, which closes for applicants this Friday.

Included in the scheme is a “deed of waiver and indemnity” that all victims accepting payments are required to sign. In return for the payment offered by the State, victims must “irrevocably” waive all “rights and entitlements” and to “indemnify and hold harmless” a schedule of bodies and people in respect of the carrying out of a surgical symphysiotomy or pubiotomy.

This list includes, amongst others, all ministers of any government department, the HSE and all former health boards, “all doctors, consultants, obstetricians, surgeons, medical staff, midwives, nursing staff, administrative staff, boards of management, associated with all hospitals or nursing homes, former hospitals or former nursing homes in the State whether public, private or otherwise and/or their insurers” and the “Medical Missionaries of Mary and/or any Religious Order involved in the running of any hospital and/or their insurers”.

Women may opt out of the redress scheme at any stage, up to the time of accepting their award. If they do so, they are free to pursue action against those responsible through the courts. Two other survivor groups, Patient Focus and SOS Ltd, have welcomed the scheme.

ICCL director Mark Kelly described the requirement for the women to waive these rights to receive redress as “unconscionable”.

“This runs directly counter to this summer’s recommendations by the UN Human Rights Committee that the State should initiate a prompt and independent inquiry, identify, prosecute and punish the perpetrators and facilitate access to judicial remedies.

Chair of SOS Marie O’Connor described the waiver as an attempt to coerce victims into signing a document that “protects perpetrators” and denies them the remedies of redress recommended by the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva last July.

“Our members voted overwhelmingly to reject the Varadkar ex gratia scheme because it copperfastens impunity, protects perpetrators, shirks State accountability and denies victims access to judicial remedies.”

More than 140 women have applied for awards under the scheme, with €1.45m in conditional offers having been made. The Department of Health said it will be making payments to eight women shortly and others should have payments before Christmas.

In a statement, it said:

“The Government believes this scheme is a fair and appropriate response and hopes the implementation of this scheme will help to bring closure on this issue for the women concerned and their families.”

 

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Proposals in the symphysiotomy redress scheme requiring victims accepting a payment to “indemnify and hold harmless” those responsible have been sharply criticised.

 

 

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), Survivors of Symphysiotomy (SOS) and chairman of the UN Human Rights Commission Nigel Rodley have all expressed reservations about the Government redress scheme, which closes for applicants this Friday.

Included in the scheme is a “deed of waiver and indemnity” that all victims accepting payments are required to sign. In return for the payment offered by the State, victims must “irrevocably” waive all “rights and entitlements” and to “indemnify and hold harmless” a schedule of bodies and people in respect of the carrying out of a surgical symphysiotomy or pubiotomy.

This list includes, amongst others, all ministers of any government department, the HSE and all former health boards, “all doctors, consultants, obstetricians, surgeons, medical staff, midwives, nursing staff, administrative staff, boards of management, associated with all hospitals or nursing homes, former hospitals or former nursing homes in the State whether public, private or otherwise and/or their insurers” and the “Medical Missionaries of Mary and/or any Religious Order involved in the running of any hospital and/or their insurers”.

Women may opt out of the redress scheme at any stage, up to the time of accepting their award. If they do so, they are free to pursue action against those responsible through the courts. Two other survivor groups, Patient Focus and SOS Ltd, have welcomed the scheme.

ICCL director Mark Kelly described the requirement for the women to waive these rights to receive redress as “unconscionable”.

“This runs directly counter to this summer’s recommendations by the UN Human Rights Committee that the State should initiate a prompt and independent inquiry, identify, prosecute and punish the perpetrators and facilitate access to judicial remedies.

Chair of SOS Marie O’Connor described the waiver as an attempt to coerce victims into signing a document that “protects perpetrators” and denies them the remedies of redress recommended by the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva last July.

“Our members voted overwhelmingly to reject the Varadkar ex gratia scheme because it copperfastens impunity, protects perpetrators, shirks State accountability and denies victims access to judicial remedies.”

More than 140 women have applied for awards under the scheme, with €1.45m in conditional offers having been made. The Department of Health said it will be making payments to eight women shortly and others should have payments before Christmas.

In a statement, it said:

“The Government believes this scheme is a fair and appropriate response and hopes the implementation of this scheme will help to bring closure on this issue for the women concerned and their families.”

 

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved


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Vaccine trials

Vaccine trials ‘must be part of inquiry’

Campaigners have called for vaccine trials to be included in the upcoming mother and baby home inquiry, after it emerged a previously unknown fifth trial was carried out on children here in the 1960s.

The trial, revealed in yesterday’s Irish Examiner, was carried out in 1965 on 34 children.

 

Uncovered by Michael Dwyer of UCC’s School of History in an article in The Lancet in August of 1965, the measles trial was carried out by Irene Hillary and Patrick Meenan of UCD’s microbiology department and AJ Beale of Glaxo Laboratories.

 

It is the first trial uncovered which specifically references Glaxo Laboratories, as all previous trials carried out in Ireland were done by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) legacy firm — Wellcome.

 

Although the report does not specify where the trial took place, the reference to the reaction to the vaccines being monitored by “the adults looking after the children” and the fact that follow-ups were done on all the children from day six to day 14 at 6pm, seem to indicate that the children were in a group setting.

 

Claire McGettrick of the Adoption Rights Alliance said questions needed to be asked why previous investigations failed to uncover this trial. She called on GSK to reveal where this trial was carried out.

 

“Practices such as vaccine trials reduced these children to the status of mere commodities to be used by church, state and pharmaceutical companies as they saw fit,” she said.

 

“Questions must now be asked as to why previous investigations and audits failed to reveal this trial.”

 

Ms McGettrick said the revelations now meant Children’s Minister Dr James Reilly had to include vaccine trials and related practices in the upcoming Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes.

 

Paul Redmond of the Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors said the revelations highlighted the need for the upcoming inquiry to have the widest terms of reference possible.

 

“We were appalled to learn of yet more secret vaccine trials carried out on the most vulnerable children in the State after Monday’s revelations in the Irish Examiner. ”

 

In a statement, GSK said any trials it carried out in Ireland were done by independent healthcare professionals to the highest safety and ethical standards to help treat illnesses that were a major public health risk.

 

“If we had evidence that the study had taken place in a mother-and-baby home, we would have submitted it to the Laffoy Commission — we provided copies of historic documents we had on file that were relevant to that investigation.”

 

GSK said it was “seeking to investigate the facts regarding these studies” and would co-operate with any government inquiry.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved


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Is there no end to this abuse?

Hymns and screams: Abuse at St Gilbert's approved school revealed

cadets and Christian brotherOne of the abusers, Brother Roderick (pictured centre) with the school at RAF camp in the early 60s. He died in 2012

Pupils who were beaten and raped at a school run by a religious order have for the first time revealed a 30-year campaign of sadistic and degrading abuse.

The former schoolboys, who were as young as 11 when they were convicted of petty misdemeanours and sent to St Gilbert's in Worcestershire, are demanding answers from the De La Salle order, which ran the school under the governance of the Home Office.

They want to know why a teacher convicted of sex offences against boys continued to be employed? Why were parents who complained about severe beatings ignored? And why did police ignore the boys who asked for help?

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What happened?

Joe Riley now and thenJoe Riley pictured now, and as a child sitting with his uncle

Joe Riley, now 68, was the first to come forward. He currently lives in Northern Ireland where the order, also known as the Christian Brothers, is being investigated for alleged offences there.

Mr Riley, who kept his abuse a secret for 55 years, said that inquiry was the trigger for bringing his own case to public attention.

He was 12 in 1959 when he was sent to St Gilbert's in Hartlebury after being convicted of housebreaking and vandalism.

Start Quote

The order re-affirms its unreserved condemnation of abusive behaviour and its unreserved apology to victims and their families”

Barry HuddSafeguarding officer for De La Salle order

Mr Riley said he was raped by the headmaster, sexually abused by another Brother and by a visiting priest.

"I remember lying in my dormitory, hearing the screams of other boys echoing through the house at night.

"I remember being beaten. I remember blood running down my legs. And then Brother Joseph tried to interfere with me.

"One minute you'd be singing hymns in church and everything and you'd come out and that's what they'd do to you after church.

"One minute you're on your knees praying to the Lord and then you'd be doing things the good Lord said you shouldn't do".

Another former pupil, 74-year-old Tom Graham from Boscombe in Dorset, described his treatment as "degradation and humiliation".

He was at the school from 1950 to 1956 and said he still struggles to swallow after a time when two of the Christian Brothers force-fed him his own vomit.

Mr Riley and Mr Graham have waived their right to anonymity to talk about the abuse - and a further 10 former pupils have spoken without being named.

One man said he was raped by older boys. Another said he was molested in the middle of the night in his dormitory.

Documents prove another boy was so badly beaten his father made a complaint to the police, and Home Office inspection reports show the Brothers were told to reduce the amount of corporal punishment they inflicted.

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Who were the pupils?

Joe Riley's conviction sheetJoe Riley's conviction sheet, showing his referral to St Gilbert's approved school

"Delinquent" boys were sent to St Gilbert's from all over the country, for crimes such as vandalism and petty theft.

Aged between 11 and 15, their sentences ranged from six months to three years - although many boys remained there significantly longer.

The aim of approved schools was to get troubled boys back on the straight-and-narrow, while providing them with an education and training for future employment.

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Why was nothing done?

letter

Start Quote

Any victims of abuse at St Gilbert's should report it to the police so it can be properly investigated”

Home Office

One boy's father had his concerns dismissed by the police and the Home Office. He wrote a letter and made a formal statement which said: "I was horrified at what I saw and felt like crying - that's the truth.

"I have no objection to normal chastisement as I understand they have to keep discipline… but these bruises were worse than any I've seen.

"If I had done it I would expect to be prosecuted in court."

An investigation concluded the boy had formerly been "indulged" by his family and that the beating was not inappropriately severe.

Mr Riley said he and others posted a note through the policeman's postbox in the village of Hartlebury while they were at the school - but nothing was done.

Because the school was a home for young offenders he says he thought they would not be believed.

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What happens now?

redacted filesA 1964 letter (l) from the Home Office notifying the order that deputy head teacher Brother Maurice had admitted indent assault. Other files (r) were embargoed until 2044

Reports of the Home Office inspections are at the National Archives in London, where some were embargoed and had been intended to be unavailable until 2044.

But they were recently released under the Freedom of Information Act- and indicate serious concerns about the school.

It was revealed the deputy headmaster, Brother Maurice, had been convicted of six counts of sexually abusing boys at St Gilbert's but was reinstated as a teacher after serving a four-year jail term.

The file also showed there had been previous complaints about him to the De La Salle order - which sent him to Scotland.

West Mercia Police has opened an investigation into abuse at the school in the 40s, 50s and 60s.

None of the St Gilbert's employees are still with the De La Salle order.

The two Christian Brothers who abused Joe Riley were Brother Robert Joseph McHale and Brother Joseph Roderick Nicholson.

They are both now dead.

St Gilbert's house now and thenSt Gilbert's building now and in the 1950s
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  • 1944: De La Salle Order buys Waresley House in Hartlebury, Worcestershire
  • 1945: St Gilbert's is designated by the Home Office as an approved school for Roman Catholic "delinquent" boys
  • 1952: Home Office tells approved schools they must report all "indecency" to police
  • 1969: The Children and Young Person's Act 1969 abolishes the approved school system. Responsibility for St Gilbert's transfers to Hereford and Worcester County Council but it is still run by De La Salle
  • 1975: De La Salle Order leaves school and sells the Waresley estate to Worcestershire County Council. The catchment area narrows to Herefordshire and Worcestershire
  • 1986: School closes

Response from the order and the Home Office:

A statement from the De La Salle order said: "The order reaffirms its unreserved condemnation of abusive behaviour and its unreserved apology to victims and their families, along with its commitment to support them."

A statement from the Home Office said: "If anyone has been a victim of abuse, or knows of any abuse that has taken place at St Gilbert's approved school, they should report it to the police so it can be properly investigated."


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Openness

Vaccine trials - Openness is required to do justice

 

The urgent need for greater openness and accountability in the murky world of vaccine trials is borne out by today’s front page report showing the public was kept in the dark about a previously unknown trial carried out on Irish children during the 1960s.

 

 

That this trial has come to light underlines the importance of ongoing research in the controversial area of medical experiments on children. It also highlights the significance of, and the need for investigative journalism because pharmaceutical companies only come clean when confronted with the past.

Invariably, parents were not told their children were effectively being used as “human guinea pigs”. And, as seen in the controversy surrounding Church-run mother-and-baby homes, children are never informed about drug trials they were subjected to as babies or tiny toddlers.

Today’s Irish Examiner report reveals evidence of a previously unknown fifth vaccine trial carried out by Glaxo Laboratories on more than 30 young children here in the mid- 1960s. This is the first time specific references are made to Glaxo Laboratories. It comes in addition to four trials already known to have been conducted for the Wellcome Foundation, as stated by GlaxoSmithKline, in the 1960s and 1970s. The Wellcome Foundation is a Glaxo ‘heritage’ company.

That we know anything at all about the fifth trial by medical researchers is due to Michael Dwyer of UCC’s School of History. But for his detailed academic work, it would never have come to light that trials involving a measles vaccine were also carried out on 34 children in 1965.

Earlier this year, the historian’s work made headlines when he unearthed old medical records showing that scientists working for the drug company Burroughs Wellcome had secretly given diphtheria vaccines to more than 2,000 Irish children and babies in the 1930s. Significantly, he found no evidence of consent nor anything to show how many were affected by or had died in trials to combat the highly infectious respiratory illness. However, going on the evidence of a plethora of similar investigations, it seems probable that consent was not sought.

A reference to the 1965 trials was made in a report in the August edition of The Lancet which confirmed that the vaccines “were prepared by Glaxo Laboratories” and were trial tested on children aged between “eight months to about two years”. There was no mention of parental consent.

While The Lancet does not specify where the trials took place, whether at a children’s home or hospital, it records that “the reactions to the vaccines were all considered trivial by the adults looking after the children”. The reference to “adults looking after the children” will inevitably raise suspicions that the trial took place in an institutional setting.

Glaxo tell us if they had “evidence” that it was in a mother- and-baby home, they would have submitted it to the Laffoy Commission. But they add since it happened “many decades ago”, archived documentation was “limited”. With major questions unanswered, all the facts must be put on the table.

 

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved


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