The operator of this website is the highly motivated community-minded Martin Mitchell from Australia (himself an instititionalised and abused minor in church institutions in the former West Germany)

( 09.09.2004 )

A parliamentary delegation from Germany ( led by Mrs. Marion Caspers-Merk, MP, National Drug Commisioner and Secretary of State in the German Federal Ministery of Health and Social Security (BMGS) under the Minister of Health and Social Security Mrs. Ulla Schmidt (SPD) ) visited the Irish Parliamentary Hearing on Tuesday 7. October 2003 whilst an address on the "Commission to Inquire into Institutional Child Abuse" was being presented by the Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Mary Coughlan) and recommendations for compensation of Irish victims of institutional child abuse were being debated. What is the German government itself proposing to do in relation to its own victims of institutional child abuse?

What was the German parliamentary delegation’s purpose for attending that hearing?

What did the German government learn from the experience?

What has the German government done since for its own victims of post-war institutional child abuse, who in Germany number in the millions?

What further action is the German government proposing to take in this regard in the future?

Dé Máirt, 7 Deireadh Fómhair 2003
Tuesday, 7 October 2003

Seanad Eireann

Visit of German Delegation.

An Cathaoirleach: Before I call on the Minister for Social and Family Affairs, I am sure Members would like to join me in welcoming a parliamentary delegation from Germany, led by Mrs. Marion Caspers-Merk, who are in the Distinguished Visitors Gallery.

On behalf of the Members of Seanad Éireann, I wish you a warm welcome and hope you enjoy your visit to Ireland.

Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse: Statements.

Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Mary Coughlan): Ar dtús báire ba mhaith liom leithscéal a ghabháil ar son an Aire Oideachais agus Eolaíochta, Nollaig Ó Díomasaigh, nach bhfuil ábalta a bheith anseo. Tá lúcháir orm a bheith ar ais sa tSeanad agus fearaim fáilte ar ais roimh na Seanadóirí.

I welcome the opportunity to address the House on the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse and related issues. Much has been said and written, especially in the past week, that attempts to portray the actions of this Government in relation to its handling of the issue of past childhood abuse as less than satisfactory. It is necessary, therefore, to remind the House that this Government is the first in the history of this State to listen to the victims of abuse, to apologise to them on behalf of the State and to take positive action to redress the wrongs inflicted on them in the past.

Mr. U. Burke: It took 30 years.

Mary Coughlan: The Taoiseach and the Minister for Education and Science have previously expressed their regret at Ms Justice Laffoy's decision to resign from her position as chairperson of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse and have stated their appreciation of the work she carried out over the last number of years. I wish to place on record that I too regret that Ms Justice Laffoy has decided to resign upon the publication of an interim report of the commission which is expected in November. I thank her most sincerely for the very important work she has carried out to date and wish her well for the future.

The House will be aware that the Government has appointed Mr. Sean Ryan S.C. as chairperson designate of the commission. Mr. Ryan has a wealth of experience from his practice of law and has very direct experience of the issues relating to past child abuse having chaired the Compensation Advisory Committee. This committee drew up recommendations for financial awards to abuse victims under the residential institutions redress scheme. Mr. Ryan also acted as counsel to the Ferns inquiry. I am sure he will provide excellent leadership and guidance to the commission in its important work. Mr. Ryan's appointment can also be seen as a concrete sign of this Government's commitment to ensuring the work of the commission is completed, that victims of abuse are helped to find peace and healing in their lives and that those responsible for abuse are held accountable.

[ continued @ ]

[ Date of first publication on this Website: 9 September 2004 ]

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