Abuse victims being side-lined by media circus – Liadh Ní Riada MEP
Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has urged MEPs, the Government and the media to refocus their attention on victims of sexual abuse in day schools and the restitution they are being denied.
The Ireland South MEP said an ongoing media spat between Luke Flanagan MEP and Mairead Mc Guinness MEP stemming from a hearing in the European Parliament organised for victims of child abuse is taking focus away from the real issue.
“I recently brought a delegation of survivors of child sexual abuse in day schools in Ireland to the European Parliament for a hearing and to have their stories heard,” she said.
“At least 25 young boys suffered horrific acts of sexual abuse at the hands of a subsequently prosecuted teacher in that school in the late 1960s.
“The real stories and accounts relayed by these men of the vile acts that were inflicted on them while children in school will long live with me.
“These men suffer to this day psychologically, emotionally, physically and financially as a result of the harrowing experiences encountered in Creagh Lane School in Limerick.
“The aim of the survivors coming over to Brussels was to have their stories heard. This happened and they were truly encouraged returning home that they had been afforded this opportunity and believed progress had been made.
“For that I want to thank all those MEPs who did attend the hearing.
“While the delegation were disappointed that no Fine Gael MEPs attended to reduce the impact of the visit to a political debate around this does this group and their very worthy cause a disservice.
“The visit was a success on many levels and provided an important opportunity for the European institutions to hear of how a member state government, in this case Ireland, has denied justice to victims of institutional abuse.
“What has played out over the media this week has been extremely disappointing. The focus has been allowed to be taken off what the survivors’ delegation was all about.
“A complaint has been made to the relevant European authorities and I am sure they will deal with it appropriately.
“In the meantime, I would ask both Mr. Flanagan and Ms. McGuinness to deal with the substantive issues arising from the delegation and work with all other MEPs to assist the survivors of abuse to receive the justice that has been denied to them for too long and to leave the political games to one side.
“These men are looking for legislation to be changed by the Irish Government, of which Fine Gael is the lead party, that will allow them to access the current redress scheme and provide the psychological, emotional, physical and financial support that they desperately need.
“This may allow them some chance to try and move on with their lives and attempt to deal with their harrowing past.
“This is the real story of the delegation.
“Only the Irish Government can support a change to the legislation which will provide justice to these survivors.
“I would ask the Government to bring forward this legislation and I would urge the media to reflect on what the real issues coming out of this delegation are and how that fits into their priorities and responsibilities as broadcasters and reporters.”