Ireland can't afford any more reports documenting the abuse perpetrated by the Catholic Church on the children of Ireland.
Costs so far for reviewing just a tiny slice of the State's parishes has amounted to over E140 million. To expand that as Maeve Lewis of One in Four suggested in the Irish Independent today to cover the rest of the country would cost an estimated E3.5 billion. That's a lot of money. Money which makes the investigators rich and does nothing other than tell us what we already know; that the Catholic clergy raped and molested Irish children for generations and their superiors covered it up.
We get it. We know what's going on. We also know that all the reports in the world will not lead to one member of the clergy's hierarchy gracing the halls of justice this side of Heaven's gate.
'Reports' (and tribunals) are the default Irish response to difficult societal problems. They are a transparent attempt to intellectualize crimes that should be dealt with harshly and swiftly by our justice system. Instead, by authorizing a report or investigation, the problem is put at arms length until the topic cools down and in the process copious amounts of cash are transferred from the taxpayer to the preparers of said reports. The net result is a large pile of paper, hours of stern language broadcast in the media, the perpetrators get a thoroughly good giving out to and the matter is put to rest.
Getting back to the reports on the clerical crimes, none of the money spent on these reports helps past or current victims. Not a cent. Nor will any of the additional funding needed to continue the discovery process find it's way down to those who actually need it, children.
The National Board for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC) board members Elliott and Morgan have - rightly - refused to step down in light of the shocking news that the Church has not been altogether honest with them with regard to reporting accurate abuse numbers. As they said themselves 'walking away does not solve the problem.' Indeed it doesn't, it's not their problem at all. Obviously though they are need of a bigger stick as, despite everything that has happened over the past ten years, the contempt that some members of the Catholic church have for the people of the State remains unchanged.
The aforementioned Maeve Lewis suggested the broadening of the investigation into clerical abuse to cover the 26 counties. She was described incorrectly in the Irish Independent on May 12th as the chief executive of One in Four victims' support group. That is a mistake. Ms. Lewis also treats offenders, so One in Four is actually a 'victim and perpetrator support group' (an oxymoron if ever there was one).
Why? Why would the CEO of a victim (and perpetrator) support group encourage this continued waste of money as opposed to demanding that funding be spent on solving the problem as opposed to describing it? Is One in Four so well off that they don't need extra funding? Or is Ms. Lewis hoping for a position on one of the boards of inquiry? Time will tell.
The victims of abuse and the children of Ireland deserve better than this. Their victim-hood has become a money-train for too many and for far too long. Animal Farm comes to mind.
If money can be found for more reports that money should be spent on our children and in righting the wrongs done to them.
Fury as church withholds abuse complaints from own watchdog - Irish Independent, May 12, 2011
Incentives crucial to treating sex offenders (Maeve Lewis) - Sept 16, 2010
The writer Evin Daly is a regular contributor to the ButlerReport. Mr. Daly is the CEO of One Child International Inc., a nonprofit child advocacy with offices in Fort Lauderdale, Dublin and Sydney. One Child distributes millions of free copies of their child protection and abuse prevention literature world-wide. www.abusewatch.net firstname.lastname@example.org