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Views & Reviews The Bigger Picture

Now Irish eyes are open

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 10 June 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2356

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Irish Eyes

The recent article by Black about institutional child abuse raises
issues. It is well documented that the most vulnerable, be they children,
the elderly or the ill, are at risk and do get abused. This is a result of
defective/fallen human nature. The dream of the utopian society is that
all would be cherished equally and this applies particularly to the
vulnerable. Most civilised socities aspire to this and various charters of
rights strive to enforce it. There is no excuse for abuse in institutional
care. It is criminal and chargeable and should be mercilessly eradicated.

There is'nt any room for ambivalence here, and "mill stones are used for
those that lead these little ones astray" {my paraphrase}. You may say
that those who abused were the subject of abuse themselves, and that this
is a recognised vicious cycle of abuse; you may say that 2 adults were
left in charge of 800 dysfunctional boys at meals and no one else was
there to do the job, and 10 adults were responsible for 800 boys 24/7 and
that this was way beyond human capacity to withstand { see Artane school
report in Ryan report} and this is true and factual. But better not to
have been born than offend " one of these little ones". Those who knew and
did nothing were more to blame. The Catholic Church in Ireland has been
seriously hit and false brethren have sullied the sacred veil of Christ.

The religious orders in Ireland have served galliantly in schools,
hospitals, and charitable works, and were they to be paid for their work,
the country would be bankrupt. The past errors of some of their members is
a cause of deep hurt and scandal, and they should endevour to annhilate
any possibility of these practices infiltrating their works ever again.

They are noble communities of religious, and they are sorely smitten by
these abuses, and let all who strive for the wellbeing of children and the
vulnerable, desire that they return to the charism and charity of their
founding fathers.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

11 June 2009
Eugene G Breen
consultant psychiatrist
Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.