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Support Group Anger at Laffoy Ads

RTÉ News 24 February 2003

A group representing victims of institutional abuse has criticised the Laffoy Commission's decision to begin placing advertisements asking people who had positive experiences of industrial schools and reformatoriesto come forward.

The Aislinn Centre claims the Commission has no remit to invite what it calls 'privileged people who were treated as pets in these institutions' in preference to the majority who were treated otherwise.

Former Goldenbridge resident Christine Buckley, who speaks for Aislinn, says she and other survivors are concerned that the Commission's investigation is no longer giving them a fair hearing.

She says the Commission ceased accepting submissions from former residents alleging abuse a long time ago and defeated a High Court application from a late applicant to have the closing date reviewed.

Ms Buckley says the Commission is now issuing an open invitation to others, including those in the pay of the religious orders or those Government officials whom she accuses of colluding with them, to come forward with evidence in favour of the religious.

She says it is doing so following the Government's decision to seek 'substantive changes in the remit of the Investigation Committee'.

Over a week ago the Commission placed advertisements asking people to come forward who had a positive experience in Our Lady of Succour Industrial School, Newtownforbes, County Longford.

It also invited those who worked in the institution or who had any professional dealings with it to come forward.

Ms Buckley says she has been told by the Commission that more similar advertisements are to follow.