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In Plain Sight: Responding to the Ferns, Ryan, Murphy and Cloyne Reports

Resource type: Research Report

Amnesty International Ireland |

The abuse of tens of thousands of children is called “perhaps the greatest human rights failure in the history of the State” in this report by Amnesty International Ireland (AI). The absence of accountability in key institutions, the need for recognition of children’s human rights and laws that serve all members of society, and public discomfort with child abuse are among the key findings regarding the systemic abuse of children in State-funded and Church-run residential institutions for decades in Ireland.

The purpose of the report was an analysis of the “whys” behind the violation of children’s rights related to sexual, physical, emotional and other abuses and gross neglect by religious and lay staff that had been documented in four government-ordered reports from 2005-2010.  AI explored the impact of the deference to the Catholic Church that led to disbelief of victims’ testimony and negligence by the State, the negative societal attitudes toward residents of residential institutions and the consequences of the children’s lack of voice. Finally, the report pointed out challenges and the ways the Church and State continue to fail marginalised children, despite a change in attitude and new laws, and why their rights need to be recognised in the Constitution and their voices heard.

A seminar is to be held in November, once there has been time to digest the findings, to develop recommendations as to how findings of the report might be taken forward.

Atlantic provided funding for this report.

> Download the Report

Amnesty International Ireland is an Atlantic grantee.


> In Plain Sight at Amnesty International Ireland

In the Media:

> Lack of accountability at heart of abuse of children, The Irish Times, 27 September 2011

> Society prefers to ignore child abuse – poll, RTE News, 26 September 2011

> Church ‘not alone to blame’ over abuse, Irish Examiner, 27 September 2011

> Abuse in institutions amounted to ‘torture’, The Irish Times, 27 September 2011