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Statement by Orders 'An Emotional Stunt'

Irish Times, Tue, May 26, 2009 by Eoin Burke Kennedy

Victims’ advocate Christine Buckley has described yesterday’s statement by religious congregations reiterating their commitment to working with victims of abuse as “an emotional stunt” designed to maintain control over the vulnerable people who were abused in their institutions.

Ms Buckley, who is director of the Aislinn Centre which helps people who suffered abuse as children, said the congregations had not even adhered to what they were supposed to pay in the original indemnity deal agreed in 2002.

In an interview with Newstalk Radio today, she said: “Under no circumstances should the religious congregations have anything to do survivors of abuse, because it will just be a complete revolving wheel of pain and blackmail".

“They haven’t done anything that they promised to do. They didn’t even put on a helpline over these last days. They had it in place but they didn’t even think it was necessary.

“They have spent years trying to undermine my credibility. They have bullied survivors in order to try and get those people to agree with them.

They are incapable of understanding the hurt they have caused, Ms Buckley said

Responding to these calls from senior Catholic leaders to revisit the controversial deal, the 18 religious congregations yesterday indicated they would not re-open the terms of the agreement.

They said that “rather than re-opening the terms of the agreement reached with government in 2002, we reiterate our commitment to working with those who suffered enormously while in our care.

“We must find the best and most appropriate ways of directly assisting them. We will meet again in the coming days to explore the detail of our responses”.