Sunday, 26 November 2017

Tuam Home Survivors Network: Official Launch

Tuam Home Survivors Network: Official Launch

Tuam Home Survivors Network and website will be officially launched on Saturday 16th December 2017 @3.30pm in the Corralea Court Hotel, Tuam.
The primary mission of the group is to support survivors of Mother and Baby Homes by offering solidarity and friendship through a peer-supportive network while holding State and Religious Orders to account.
The group will be launched by Catherine Corless and Mia Mullarkey of Ishka films. Mia's award winning short documentary: ‘Mother and Baby’ which will be screened on the day, had its world premier at the Cork Film Festival on November 18th where it won first prize. 
The evening will end with music, story-telling and craic.

All are welcome.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Huge Congratulations to Ishka films

It's so fantastic to announce the wonderful news that Ishka films 'Mother and Baby' which was premiered at the Cork festival on Saturday evening has won the best short documentary award. Huge congratulations to director Mia Mullarkey and producer  Alice Mackerel and their amazing team.

Mia, very generously, dedicated her prize to the Survivors.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Studying Death - One day Workshop

The Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017

The Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017 is a turning point for victims of crime in Ireland. The legislation offers an opportunity for the rights of victims to be placed at the heart of the Irish criminal justice system, a system which, until recently, has failed to adequately balance the rights of the accused with the rights of the victim. Now, for the first time, victims are defined in legislation and they have a legal right to information, support and protection.”


Sunday, 5 November 2017

Mother and Baby a film by Mia Mullarkey

Keep an eye our for this film 
The world premiere of 'Mother & Baby', produced by Ishka Films and funded by the Irish Film Board, takes place at Cork Film Festival on the 18th of November


Thursday, 2 November 2017

Connecting to our Ancestors

We can connect to our ancestors in many ways but we must initiate the contact first. Around the bonfire in our garden this Hallow e'en I asked for a deeper connection. The response was almost instant as magic gold dust began swirling from the flames and two skull images began to reveal themselves in the smoke (see the bottom right of the photo above.)

Blessings on those who have gone before us. Thank you for your teachings Xx

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

The Problem with Secret Agreements - by Owen Felix O'Neil

The Problem with Secret Agreements
          By Owen Felix O'Neil 

Nondisclosure agreements signed by Survivors with the Irish Catholic Church, is a major problem, and allows the Irish Catholic Church to get away with the heinous crimes of the sexual rape of children. Allowing the Irish Catholic Church to continue to hide their shameful Peterphiles ( pedophiles ) in plain sight, in many parishes throughout Ireland. Sadly with those secret settlements, the Irish Catholic Church flourishes, claiming that there are no allegations against them. These allegations against the Irish Catholic Church, once conveniently swept aside, could suddenly become a problem. They have the potential to become a major problem if it became known to the wider Irish public,  “Secret Payouts”,  If the payments are known and not secret the Irish Catholic Church would not last very long, detailed sexual harassment and sexual abuse claims against the Irish Catholic Church go back many decades. The Irish Catholic Church like to claim that the sexual rape of children goes back only a few years when in reality, Peterphiles within the Irish Catholic Church really goes back a thousand years and probably much more. 

Now, a national reckoning is underway. Allegations of sexual harassment and rape have prompted action by a few brave Survivors,  accusations would forced the resignation of higher officials in the Irish Catholic Church. But the Irish Catholic Church depends on these secret agreements to hide and deny any wrongdoing on its part. But it is a reckoning long delayed. And a big reason for the delay has to do with the out-of-court settlements and the nondisclosure agreements that go with them. In other words secrecy, confidentiality with all the legal threats alined with the secret agreements. The Irish Catholic Church are masters at this deception and have one of the biggest legal firms in Ireland whose only function is to enforce these secret agreements. If these nondisclosure agreement or spigots were ignored we would have put a finish to the Irish Catholic Church power. Many Survivors of Cleric sexual abuse and rape, are forced into these confidential settlements with threats of financial ruin, lost of their homes, poverty, and reputation within their families and in their local community destroyed. I know from personal experience, The legal firm representing the Irish Catholic Church goes after the Survivor like sharks, as in my case before the Irish High Court, demanding minute details of their entire personal life. Are you married?, how many children,? have you interfered with them,? if single are you a deviant a homosexual?, do you fornicate with boys?.

You will be asked about previous partners, how many, colour of their underwear and even about owning sex toys, and the type of sex you like, it is really to destroy you and humiliate you at every turn. The Church’s ebullient legal team want a complete list of your sex partners, with their names and dates of birth. They will attempt to contact them to apply pressure to silence you. You are told you will be brutally cross examined in court. This process is designed to re-traumatises you and cause as much irreparable harm as it can, hoping you will withdraw, and when you withdraw, you are saddled with the entire legal cost of both sides, plus court costs, which will run into hundreds of thousands of euros, your financial ruin, is guaranteed. This is what is suggested to me by my own legal team and the Archbishop’s legal team, it’s to put the fear and terror into you, we will take your house an all contents?, all your money,? your dignity, and finally you will take your own life. We only get untruths from an utterly untruthful Irish Catholic Church.
The Irish Catholic Church tells you through your own legal team and their friends, that you will pay the total cost, they want to panic you, to frighten you, to belittle and humiliate you at every turn. You are indirectly encouraged to commit suicide and that is what they the Irish Catholic Church Legal Team are hoping for, your total demise. It is total psychological warfare, their actions are intended to reduce your morale. This is done through the various questions normally 50 questions first, a kind of feeling you out, soft ball questions, to build your confidence, you reply thinking this is easy, you sign of and then a few weeks later another 50 questions, more personal, your background, your work history, the aim of evoking this planned psychological reaction is to give you a false sense of worth, the later questions are designed to totally dismantle you, both psychologically and physically, your values, your belief system, your emotions, motives, reasoning and most of all your behaviour. The Irish Catholic Church is well versed in using these various techniques to influence you, you as the target and your reaction. 
No Survivor can or could survive this type of propaganda which will drain you, it’s also for the public opinion war if it comes out in court, the battle is no longer you, it’s the power of public opinion. Every Survivor is handicapped, you see every Survivor who was born in a Mother and Baby Home has a criminal record, a disadvantage, if he or she was sent to another Religious Run Institution, you were sent their by the Irish Courts, hence the criminal record. So the first question is really very simple, you will be asked “have you a criminal record”, most Survivors would say no they don’t, but you see the Irish Catholic Church’s Legal Team will point out to you that you lied in open court, and bring up your criminal record as proof. 
The Irish Catholic Church Legal Team is going to strip away every thing you stand for, and smear you, that’s their job, they will hire the best, the most brutal Barristers, every bit of imaginary dirt will be used against you in open court, it’s no longer about your been raped as a child by a Cleric, nor the truth, nor even justice, it’s about them winning, by all means, hence preventing other Survivors coming forward. Survivors of sexual abuse and rape face the real possibility of being humiliated, again and again and in open court, and their credibility undermined by defence Barristers asking questions about their sexual partners, their clothing and appearance, their entire life if they go to court, is laid bare, unvarnished, warts and all, this is why very few cases of clerical rape of Survivors go to open court in Ireland. And the other thing is, if you are MALE, which will be used against you, specially if you are gay. A significant proportion of victims of rape and other sexual violence at the hands of Priests were and are male. Generally, rape is still thought to be a crime against women specifically and has been historically defined this way, throughout human history, although many cases of male-victim rape have become subject of public discussion recently in Ireland. Rape of males or male children is still taboo, here in Ireland and has a negative connotation among both heterosexual and homosexual men, and more so when a male Survivor is in an open Irish Court. 
Understandably mostly, male victims or Survivors try to hide and deny their victimisation, similar to female victims, unless they have serious physical injuries. Eventually, the male Survivors, who may be very vague in explaining their injuries and rapes when they are seeking medical or mental health services in Ireland or abroad, in most case will only say, “I was abused”, nothing more, they are unable to specify the abuse, most if not all would never say, “I was Anally Raped”, the gleeful Church and their exuberant Legal Team know this, it makes their job much easier. It is also very difficult for a male Survivor, be heterosexual or gay, to report the sexual assault to the Irish Police that was experienced by him, a Survivor as a child, especially in a society like Ireland with its strong Catholic traditions. Male Survivors are afraid and know that people will doubt their sexual orientation and label them as gay or deviants, a term that the Irish Catholic Church loves to characterise, as a sexual disorder characterised by recurrent intense sexual urges, they equate a gay person with been a pedophile, according to the thinking of the Irish Catholic Church, it only applies to Gay men in their eyes, deviants. The brave Survivor also dreads the prospect of his local newspaper reports, covering the case from Dublin, with the headlines, local man says “I was Anally Raped”.
A perception of being gay is also a motive in many cases. Most Survivors have never told their own family, not even their wives or partners, their children, about their childhood of rapes as children, at the hands of Male Clerics in the harsh Irish Industrial Schools, something sadly they will take, their secrets to the graves with them. Survivors of clerical rapists, are heavily stigmatised and sometimes are told at a ground rule hearings, that their sexual history or criminal history would not be used against them, they are told it’s meaningless. But once in open court they face many questions and allegations that they are promiscuous, what with their entire sexual history is used against them, in open court, there will be no judicial intervention, at least not from the Irish Courts. This form of aggression is hard to defend against, because no court of justice in Ireland is capable of protecting against psychological aggression since it cannot be legally adjudicated. Here the Legal and Church propagandists are dealing with a adversary, a sinful Survivor, whose morale they want to totally destroy by psychological means so that the Survivor begins to doubt the validity of his or her beliefs and actions. This is not about you, it is designed to let other Survivors at large know, never to bring sexual abuse cases against the Irish Catholic Church. 
Above all the Irish Catholic Church fears the media’s attention and the wider Irish Public knowing their horrendous dirty secrets. Survivors silence, along with the secret agreements allows the Irish Catholic Church to issue statements saying “no wrongdoing whatsoever”  It’s all about money, it has always been about money and nothing else, according to the Irish Catholic Church, but wait,!, it's about protecting their reputation, of the powerful and good Irish Catholic Church, their reputation and nothing else matters, the raping or torture of children doesn’t matter to the Irish Catholic Church, but its reputation does. As does it power with the Irish Civil Government and getting tax payers money for free.
The Irish newspapers, and TV stations are filled with reports of Clerical sexual harassment and rape cases of children written in invisible ink, and empty words, and Irish Catholic Church platitudes, almost daily. Many brave Survivors have filed lawsuits in the Irish High Courts as adults accusing various Clerics of rape when they were children, some of the children as adults now, were raped from the tender age of 4 years old. Many were looking forward to their day in court, but bullying by both their legal teams and the different archdioceses in Ireland have taken there toil. We have the systemic silencing of Survivors, through secret agreements, a stratagem that, yes, compensates the accusers, but also enriches the Irish Lawyers on both sides who arrange the secret deals and, arguably, leaves Survivors very, very vulnerable.
I know a vulnerable Survivor who spent 7 years fighting a sexual abuse case in the Irish High Court, only to win, but was so debased after the 7 years fight and what the Irish Catholic Church put him through, that one month after his win and his payout, he want for a walk into his nearby woods and topped himself, rather than to face his family, who he never told, nor any of his friends, except me. I was gutted when I learnt of the manner of his lonely death. 
I understand as a Survivor the right to protect their privacy, and my own privacy, many Survivors don’t want anybody to know, I understand that. I myself have for the last four years have undertaken an action in the Irish High Court, in Dublin, against the sitting Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin and the Archdioceses of Dublin. My problem is I don’t give a toss for the money, I refuse to sign any secret agreement with the Archdioceses of Dublin and its Archbishop, I don’t want them to get away with it. You see paying out money, that’s an admission that the Archdioceses has done something that they should not have done, and the secret agreements allows them to continue to hide and deny any wrongdoing. The legitimacy or conformity to the law or to its rules of any secret agreements where the inequality of power, exercised by the Irish Catholic Church, is so bare in appearance and relies solely on money and money only, rather than decency, probity and righteousness.
  The Irish Catholic Church asserted that they struck the deals only to “protect the good name of Mother Church. In return for the monies, the Irish Catholic Church have paid out to Survivors, the Irish Catholic Church has bought more, then their silence, as part of the secret agreement. In addition the  “no claims” in such secret agreements regarding the allegations in their initial complaints.The use of nondisclosure secret agreements closes down any investigations, by the Irish Police or Irish Government enquiry into sexual rape allegations committed on children, against the Irish Catholic Church, or the Irish Press, for that matter. It’s also denies the Survivor the freedom to tell his or her story, which he or she can never do, the Survivor can’t tell, or write or even tell their own family or friends, that’s part of any secret agreements signed away. The Survivor signs away their rights to free speech. Also the secret agreements has A “Non-Disparagement “ or “Protection of Reputation” clause, that restricts the Survivor from taking any action that negatively impacts the Irish Catholic Church, its reputation, or Church Officials, non disparagement are found in virtually all secret settlement agreements.
Today in Ireland, the Irish Catholic Church has paid out, well over €1 Billion Euros to Survivors of Clerical Rape, and continues to do so, to this day and will do so, way into the future. Tens of Thousands of Irish Survivors, male and female have been paid in this way, in Secret, all signed secret agreements. My High Court Action  against Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin is not that he raped me, (he didn’t,) nor sexually assaulted me, (he didn’t,)  but that he, Diarmuid Martin, as a very young priest knew of other senior Clerics who did rape me, when I was 15 years old. I offer the proof, it speak’s for itself. I have a letter, minutes of all the meetings held weekly, Visitor’s Log Book and other unimpeachable documentations and something else, truth is on my side. But what is truth, when the Roman Catholic Church claims a monopoly on veracity, that which is true and in accordance with their facts, their reality, and their secret agreements.
No Senior Irish Church Official has ever been charged or arrested, none have ever been in open court in Ireland, it’s time this changed, equality before the law, I believe in. I’m entitled to equal protection of the law. Equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination and so does Diarmuid Martin. Being an Archbishop does give him an advantage before the law, because, sadly in Ireland, having holy titles does this. Proper etiquette still applies, like "the Most Reverend" “Your Grace" “Your Excellency”, used before his name, makes it so, how very grand. For me, hard to believe, I have a Criminal Record, as does tens of thousands of fellow Survivors, both male and female. I have one, since the age of 4, the Irish High Court bestowed it on me. I’m 63 years old now, I have  a few Criminal Records to this day, my first crime was my Mother was unmarried, I’m a bastard, her son, I’m now considered a seasoned criminal before the eyes of both the Irish Courts and Irish Society. My Title is not as grand, as the Archbishop’s;- let me see, Felon Owen Felix O’Neill or Criminal Owen Felix O’Neill. Mind you I like the sound of my own title, Felon O’Neill, I like better, “the Most Reverend” would never suit me, to grand a title. I’ll stick with Felon as a reminder of my hapless childhood of my first 18 years. 
Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ;- states that "All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.” Thus, everyone must be treated equally under the law regardless of race, gender, national origin, colour, ethnicity, religion, disability, or other characteristics, without privilege, discrimination or bias. 
The Irish Constitution guarantees all the above, equality, regardless of race;- But the noble Universal Declaration of Human Rights seems not to apply to The Roman Catholic Church, nor The Irish Catholic Church, they claim they are above the Law and are only answerable to God’s Law. The theology of the Roman Catholic Church is based on natural Law, canonical scripture, divine revelation, and sacred tradition, as interpreted authoritatively by the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. According to the Roman Catholic Church, the Holy Spirit reveals God's truth through sacred scripture and sacred tradition and not man’s secular LAWS, which have never applied to them. 

Owen Felix O’Neill