Sinn Féin President and TD for Louth and East Meath Gerry Adams has described as “disappointing” the Taoiseach’s refusal to establish an independent Commission of Inquiry into the abuse that occurred in Lourdes Hospital Drogheda.
The Sinn Féin leader raised this issue during Leaders Questions this morning in the Dáil.
Speaking afterward Mr. Adams said:
“This is not good enough. The Cabinet moved quickly to order an inquiry into RTÉ. The victims of this alleged abuse have been waiting decades.
“Two years ago Fine Gael and Labour criticised the refusal of the then government to hold an inquiry and proposed a motion to the Dáil which was narrowly defeated by Fianna Fáil and the Greens. At that time the Taoiseach said ‘they were wrong to do this.’
“He was right but it is equally wrong for his government to do exactly the same thing.
“The victims of this alleged abuse have suffered as one delay has followed another. Decades later the state is no nearer taking the necessary steps to expose the truth, or reassure the public that the systemic failures in the health service have been corrected.
“The cabinet has the authority to authorise an inquiry and the Minister for Health already has that advice from the Attorney General.
“There should be no further delays.”
The Sinn Féin TD also asked the Taoiseach to “take urgent steps to ensure that Dignity for Patients, which has had its funding significantly cut, is provided with the core funding it requires to continue its crucial work on behalf of almost 200 victims of abuse.”
Text of Mr Adams remarks during Leaders Questions this morning:
“Taoiseach yesterday, the Cabinet acted promptly to establish an independent inquiry into a broadcast by RTE. That is to be commended.
“The patient support and advocacy organisation, Dignity for Patients, has been campaigning for decades for a Commission of Inquiry into allegations about the sexual abuse of boys and young men in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda.
“Taoiseach, you supported this demand in opposition. So did the Tánaiste and the Minister for Health. In July the Minister for Health committed to an inquiry.
“He accepted that many people have suffered as a consequence of not having this issue aired in public and he told the Committee on Health that he had the agreement of the Attorney General that there would be an Oireachtas Committee inquiry following the referendum.
“The referendum was not passed but the need and demand for an Inquiry remains.
“There are other issues that I could raise here today Taoiseach. Ministerial leaks about increases in prescription charges, the closure of nursing homes, cuts in child benefit and further attacks on what remains of our sovereignty by the bigger states in the EU. We will return to these issues.
“But the need to hold an inquiry into these allegations of sexual abuse must be dealt with by you today with the same urgency you dealt with RTE.
“How can anyone have any faith in a government if it refuses to stand up for these citizens and fails to reassure the public that the systemic failures in the health service have been corrected?
“Taoiseach will you establish an independent Commission of Inquiry into these events as you promised in opposition, and announce this before the Christmas recess”.
Mr Adams referred to a letter he had received from a victim of this alleged abuse.
“Taoiseach, I received a letter from a victim of this abuse.
“He implores that you do something about this issue as you had promised.
“He included a copy of an email he had sent to you a few years ago and your reply.
“In that reply you told him that Fine Gael and the Labour had tabled a motion in support of an inquiry which Fianna Fáil and the Greens voted down.
“You said, and I quote: ‘I know they were wrong to do this.’
“So, Taoiseach they were wrong then. I agree.
“But if you refuse to establish an independent Commission of Inquiry now you will be wrong.
“I want you to be right on this issue.
“Not for your sake or my sake but for the sake of the victims and to build confidence that justice is possible and that flaws in our systems can be corrected.
“I ask you again to announce before the Christmas recess a Commission of Inquiry and furthermore to consult the victims of the terms of reference.
“Finally, will you also take urgent steps to ensure that Dignity for Patients, which has had its funding significantly cut, is provided with the core funding it requires to continue its crucial work on behalf of almost 200 victims of abuse?”