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Eunan Duffy's Presentation to Belfast City Council on Monday last. 4th Sept
Involuntary detention, torture, rape, severe beatings, food & sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, drug and vaccine trials,coercion, malnourishment, neglect, little or no pre and post natal medical care, humiliation, long hours of manual, unpaid penal servitude at all stages of pregnancy, forced and illegal adoptions, fraud, corruption, human trafficking, falsification and with-holding of information, records,files and documents, Murder and mass graves..what are these signals and factors of tyranny, oppression, subjugation, enslavement and persecution we are talking about you may ask?a concentration camp? A gulag? Guatanamo Bay? Kosovo? Syria? Somalia? Libya? Iraq? Indeed no....all part of our own shameful past and present history!!! North and South of Ireland and abroad in Canada, US, England, Scotland, Europe...a litany of human rights violations and breaches of several UN treaties and conventions by State signatories.. social services, Religious Orders of the Catholic and Protestant Churches, private adoption agencies, charitable organisations , all complicit with GPs, solicitors etc in a morally bankrupt régime that is not of historical consignment when the abuses, ramifications and consequences are current, ongoing, still suffered and everlasting...all as a result of women, whose only purported crime was to fall pregnant in whatever circumstance, to fall foul of minor juvenile crime, to be homeless, to be of some mental disability and be sentenced to periods of detention, sometimes life, in institutions such as a Mother & Baby Home/ Magdalene Laundry, a Hostel for Girls etc...whilst there some and their children would be denied relationship, denied rights and denied life. Apathy, prevarication, procrastination, denial...religious and political expediency and such like no further our campaign for truth, justice and disclosure..
Women and adopted children have died and are dying, both physically and mentally, as the respective Governments( or in our case non-existent) and the religious orders charged with all these systemic and widespread abuses. Backs are turned, heads are buried in the sand , tea and sympathy is the fayre of the day yet the victims and survivors endure the traumatic public and private ignominy … most women blighted with unjustifiable guilt and shame cower in the shadows, living daily under the grotesque influence and duress of religious oppression literally in some cases beaten into them ...still with the dilemma of summoning up the courage and fortitude to speak out, to reach out for help and support for their own welfare and to trace the children cruelly taken from them but yet torn as to announce the births of children previous undisclosed to the future partners and children they had for fear of their reaction.
These are real, human, sensitive issues. Adopted children sometimes rely on the decisions of adoptive parents to disclose adoption. Those that do not know may find out in accidental and unnatural circumstance and some will never know. We ask all of you present, as children and parents, given the clandestine nature of so many adoptions and the harsh realities of these revelations... do you truly know your own history and identity? In good conscience we challenge you to the question yourself that every time you meet a female relative and you look into their eyes, have they been in one of the afore mentioned institutions? Do the windows of a soul truly reflect the infinite pain, suffering and trauma of experience? Does that person harbour well their unforgettable past? How many of the various issues we all may have, are the legacy of our own undisclosed initial childhood? These institutions created a supply and demand process, people were de-humanised and became commodities, humanity no longer served upon the most vulnerable as the civil, religious and moral guardians exploited, manipulated and profited.
The State washed its hands of the naive and weak apart from its financial reward to those who continue to this day to declare their past services to community and their Gods. We ask everyone , not to forsake their devotion to any God , for many of those victimised still retain their faith.We simply ask for all to act in good conscience and defend right from wrong. We ask you.. who are the true transgressors of the moral code as accused by religion? Are these religious orders and co-accused differential and distinguishable from the religious fundamentalists roaming the world now? Is gross medical and human negligence and the uncovering of mass human graves and burials in our own country any less evil than those found in war-ravaged countries abroad? We declare not. Stalling and delaying the processes of truth and justice is neither acceptable or justified.
The establishment of an intended piecemeal, placative and appeasing inter-departmental working group to look into the M&B Homes is yet another damning indictment of State disregard and insult to victims and survivors, a further farce in the mould of the HIA Report. A replicant of the 26 County wholly shambolic and inadequate Mc Aleese Report serves up another dish of fudge and whitewash that will most definitely not satisfy the demands of those it alleges to acquiesce. This inter-departmental working group sits and meets regularly in remiss and unfounded without communication, consultation, input and participation from the victims and survivors as to drawing up Terms of Reference or any meaningful practices thereby flawed from its inception.
The ground investigation our group initiated along with a prominent archaeologist up in Newry on the site of a former Mother and Baby Home owned by the infamous Good Shepherd Sisters sect within the Catholic Church has also been thwarted , exploited and proved sorely disregarded even by those who began in apparent earnest intention. This investigation, like many called for by those in political influence, is necessitated by alarming discoveries of human remains under questionable and horrifying circumstances on various sites of former M&B Homes/Magdalene Laundries in the 26 Counties. Places like High Park, Dublin and Tuam,Galway have uncovered adult, children and baby remains in unmarked, hidden and unofficial circumstances that confirm testimonies and evidence of barbaric and dismissive cruelty towards humanity by those put in their charge.
Planning applications have been and continue to disregard concerns and testimonies from those detained in any institutions ran as M&B Homes, Laundries,Industrial / Reform Schools/ Orphanages etc regardless of whatever discoveries are made or potential for foul play and criminality. Many of these institutions existed in the various parts of here in the North that most are unaware of and there is no reason to believe, given the evergrowing testimonies we receive, that the same crimes and abuses would not have occurred. We believe and demand that every former site of any of these institutions be investigated forensically and comprehensively to eliminate and rule out possible human burials and further assist in the disclosure for truth as to the whereabouts of many unaccounted persons as relatives move forward in trying to trace loved ones.
Family tracing for these loved ones is yet another contentious issue as only one part-time person currently exists that traces family for the 2 existent charitable agencies and the 5 governmental trusts and this has led to a 6/7 month waiting list for those wishing to trace. This is soul-destroying and unhelpful as relatives race against time to find loved ones unaided and obstructed by social services that with-hold and deny information vital in searching. We are calling now for urgent cross community and cross party support and assistance for our campaign on numerous fronts and on many issues as those affected come from all walks of life and sections of the community in an indiscriminate way. We appeal to all those in positions of civic and State responsibility to actively support our position and do all at their disposal to help the victims and survivors in their legitimate and sincere quest for truth and justice. Our group and those we represent, the many victims and survivors of the atrocities in question, are calling for an immediate, fully independent and comprehensive Public Inquiry or Commission or Statutory Investigation of whatever type necessary to fulfill the needs and demands of those affected. This must be victim-centred and must conducted within an agreed timescale so as to ensure that the remaining living victims and survivors are given as much opportunity as humanly possible to witness truth, justice, disclosure and redress as many have already passed away. Victims and survivors must be consulted and participant in drawing up the Terms of Reference, all issues must be examined within a human rights framework with recommendations made regarding all violations of Constitutional and European human rights by all perpetrators.
There must be a public call for evidence of all abuses etc and all statements and submissions, FOIs etc should be admissible as evidence in criminal and civil proceedings. There must be a Statutory Compensation Scheme to include rehabilitation/ recovery measures for all concerned; Establishment of a comprehensive, professional and dedicated statutory body tasked with family tracing and reunion which will manage and assist the
all adoption, baptism, confirmation records in a centralised repository e.g. PRONI ; There must be a legal, if necessary, compulsion for all State, religious and related bodies to release all records, files and documents pertaining to the entrance/ exit pathways, police, GP, priest referrals of all women and girls of the institutions; establishment of a North /South co-operational body to deal with cross-border and cross-jurisdictional trafficking etc; all sites of former Mother and Baby Homes/Magdalene Laundries, hostels for Girls, orphanages, reform/industrial schools must be investigated for unofficial burials in line with similar calls and actions in the South of Ireland; private cemetery status as held by Churches to be removed under legislation.
Link to Council Podcast - Scroll to area 'Official Announcements' which is just over four minutes into the Meeting and ends at 17 minutes. Eunan remains in the Public Gallery while council continues with its Agenda and again at 1.40 in, Councillor Sian O'Neill of the Alliance Party speaks to members present following which Councillor JJ Magee of Sinn Fein adds testimony of his own and placing on record his experiences, he was detained in an Institution while in Galway and has visited Tuam. He thanked Eunan and those who are working to achieve justice.
Councillor Tim Attwood of Social Democratic and Labour Party also spoke to welcome Eunan's address to public record.and comparing with others who have been abused in such Institutions who continue to await justice and names those who have passed away while justice is denied.
click here to listen
Further links for background info