The Redress Board was set up under the Residential Institutions Redress Act,2002 to make fair and reasonable awards to persons who as children, were abused while resident in institutions subject to state regulation or inspection……states the Reform Group.
While the legislation served a purpose in so far that it fast-tracked the various claims and expedited the whole affair, it was nonetheless deeply flawed.
Many suffered as a result, people were accused on hear-say, branded as abusers without any come-back. All that the claimant needed to do was name an abuser. Anyone that was associated with a school or orphanage in any way could be roped into the net. The flimsiest of evidence was sufficient to institute a claim.
In normal court procedure, the presumption of innocence is paramount until the opposite is proved. The accused is entitled to his rights until the evidence weighted against him is substantiated. The Redress Board turned this logic on its head. Once a claimant named a person, that person was immediately considered guilty and treated with all the igonamy usually attached to criminals.
This was a throe-back to the days of the inquisition, when a person was convicted on the hear-say of another. Any person behaving in an odd manner, or not conforming to the fashion of the time could be named as a witch. Peculiarities or eccentricities were attributed to the devil. The more the victim protested his or her innocence, the more this was seen as confirmation of possession. There was no escape. Once the victim was fingered, the outcome was a foregone conclusion.
The accused ended up in the torture chambers, or was burnt at the stake.
In more recent times in the Soviet Union, a word from on high was sufficient to condemn a man. Tyranny was the order of the day. The Irish Redress is therefore not a new phenomenon. The dark shadow of oppression hangs over every generation. Civilization is no buffer against barbarism and no guarantee of justice.
Ask any victim of the Redress Board. How many have suffered at the hands of modern day inquisitions ? People who knew the injustice of the whole thing, and kept quiet.
It paid them to keep their heads down. The whole thing was a gravy train. The Irish Police force knew that innocent men were falsely accused. They knew the game and allowed it to continue. The state knew that innocent men were being used as fall guys, taking the blame so that others could prosper. Yet it sat idly by and allowed this horrible injustice to continue.
The Irish State was cleaning up a mess. Generations of institutionalized abuse had taken place, a remedy was needed. The legal eagles came up with a solution, a deeply flawed one. One that protected the establishment, and hung out the individual to dry. Those that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time were sacrificed. The throw of the dice decided the fate of many.
It is a sad indictment of our society that such an injustice was allowed to happen. schools, orphanages and convents were involved. In order to protect their own integrity, these establishments allowed innocent men and women to be destroyed. They colluded in the charade; another Soviet show trial. It is a disgrace.