I’m a proud Irish woman – but I’m utterly ashamed of my country’s history

It’s Seachtain na Gaeilge, so Céad Míle Fáilte, readers! Aaahh Ireland; the land of a hundred, thousand welcomes…me eye; more like the Land of a Hundred Thousand Abuses. A land where, diabolically, it’s not so much the best little country to do business in, rather it’s the crappiest little country to grow up or grow old in.

 

  Let me offer readers some examples of the dysfunctional, shambolic state of affairs that exists regarding our most vulnerable. The sordid findings of unforgiveable ‘systemic abuse,’ concerning Leah’s Cross, whose report investigated the treatment and deaths of 105 elderly patients resident there between 2002 and 2005; the intolerable Aras Attracta outrage where helpless patients were kicked, threatened and prevented from using the loo, etc., and now the scandalous case of ‘Grace,’ the intellectually disabled lady who astoundingly remained in the care of a foster family for over two decades despite allegations of serious sexual abuse.

  Then, last Friday’s almost unendurable, overpowering story of how Catherine Corless’ amazing crusade uncovered that which we all suspected, the burial; nay let’s call it what it is readers…the swamp, the stinking cesspit in Tuam where innocent, blameless little angels’ bodies were callously discarded like a harmful, malignant substance; concealed in a mass grave. This latest revelation nearly broke me because all of these scandals are a clear and damning indictment that there was, and still is, a culture of gross neglect present in those who should know better; and I never thought I’d say it, but this staunchly proud Irish woman is, this week, utterly ashamed of her country’s history.

  Now, while Enda Kenny has apologised to ‘Grace’, pledging the Government is committed to establishing a commission of investigation, and while I believe this’ll be a highly complex case, tá ceist agam… why we are throwing more money at a Tribunal? Why are we lining lawyers’ pockets, and why aren’t we passing ‘Grace’s’ evidence over to our capable Garda Síochána, allowing them to investigate and prosecute the guilty, including those who had ample opportunities to save her from this vile situation but who wretchedly failed at every turn?

  You see, there’s strong evidence of gross criminal negligence in ‘Grace’s’ situation, so why are the Government conveniently kicking that can down this long and winding road? If there’s a tribunal, it’s my worry the guilty will hide behind the old ‘systems failure’ defence, and, if, as it’s alleged, those who operated at the highest levels knew, or had a smidgen of suspicion regarding ‘Grace’s’ abuse, why didn’t they get off their fat, lazy, overpaid a***s and ask questions around this vulnerable girl’s care? A lengthy tribunal may allow the guilty and their representatives’ opportunities and time to spike info, close ranks and bury their conceited egos in the sand for decades. 

  Additionally, in the Catholic Church’s incredible, defiant and pugnacious  hoodwinking ‘there’s nothing to see here,’ attitude to the heartbreaking Tuam abuses, courageous Catherine Corless’ enduring and heroic campaign will, at last,  mean those innocent and precious little unmarked and unmourned lives will now be recognised, honoured and remembered with the dignity they so truly deserve. However, in order to survive these latest crises, deal with them effectively and move forward from our broken past, we’ll need assurances that these abuses will never happen again and that the approximate 2,500 vulnerable people currently living in institutional care around this country will not be at risk of being violated as a result of ‘system failures.’

  It’s time for the parasites who persecuted and damaged those innocent souls marginalised by our so-called humane society to be penalised for their murky past deeds. We must also show solidarity with those good and decent people who work in Social Care and with the people of Tuam who had no hand, act, part or collusion in the evil that went on around them, but who now find their town under the spotlight. May the community heal, may the innocent little souls rest in peace, may their families, despite this fresh catalogue of barbarity, find some solace.

  We owe a huge debt to Catherine Corless, a woman whose sheer tenacity managed to break down what is possibly the darkest, most damning wall of silence to ever blight our country’s history.  

I’m no car park vigilante, but…

 

I clapped and did a little victory dance when Gardaí announced they were getting tough on those ignorant, selfish violators who illegally park in spots designated for disabled drivers. Yes!!!!!! Having spent some time driving around a blustery and wet Roscommon town trying to find a parking spot last Saturday evening, eventually finding space at the back of the Council offices, I grew suspicious of a group of three individuals, who, despite parking across two disabled spots, had no problem walking, texting, high-fiving and shouting as they hopped out of their vehicle and went into a pub. Yep, their mobility appeared to be first class; even if their vocabulary was lacking! However, I shrugged and assumed one of them, or even all three, may, in fairness, have had some form of invisible disability, undetectable to the layperson’s eye. I mean, is ignorance a disability?

 

  You see, we mustn’t always assume that just because a person looks and appears to be able-bodied they’re not entitled to park in one of these designated disabled spaces. And, as I got on with the business of collecting my yummy Indian takeaway, I realised, as I walked back to my car, that the three were in fact a pack of gormless goons, bereft of any compassion, who weren’t disabled and didn’t give a toss for the clearly painted International Symbol of Access (ISA), aka the wheelchair symbol they’d so heartlessly taken up. 

  I’m no car park vigilante, as I said, and the absence of visible signs of a disability is not evidence of selfishness, but I can see why New Zealanders have set up a Facebook page to name and shame offenders, called You’ve Got My Car Park, Want My Disability Too? Personally, I’d like to see these morally deprived and disrespectful individuals highlighted and humiliated because, in my view, they’re a pack of lowlifes!