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What is Law? Sexual Crime in Ireland, a Definitive History, 3 Chapter e-Book by Vincent McKenna MSc©

What is Law? Sexual Crime in Ireland, a Definitive History, 3 Chapter e-Book by Vincent McKenna©

This 3 Chapter e-Book which was funded by the Department of Justice in Ireland and written by Vincent McKenna MSc, brings together a definitive History of sexual crime in Ireland. Chapter 1 addresses the history and complexity of sexual crime in Ireland over the past 100 years. Chapter 2 addresses the role played by the media in reporting/facilitating sexual criminality. Chapter 3 examines the role of prisons as a punitive/rehabilitative response to sexual crime in Ireland.

Chapter 1

A Moral Quagmire Punctuated by Political Indifference

Sexual crimes cover a wide range of behaviour and events. These crimes are compounded by the intense emotions involved in sexual behaviour, the distortion that can be caused to an individual’s sexual identity by sexual crimes being perpetrated upon them, by the dominant sexual culture and by moral and religious dimensions (O’Mahony.1996). Particularly in the past two decades with the advent of the proliferation of media and in particular new technologies, we are more acutely aware of the many cases of sexual crime coming before the Courts and perhaps in greater number, persons claiming to have been raped and sexually abused when they were children being held in institutions of ‘care’ that were run by the Catholic Church and under the ‘supervision’ of the Irish State, have alerted us to the cruel hurt and pain that can be inflicted on such persons. West (1983) suggests that most children outgrow the negative effects of such abuse; however, those victims giving testimony to the Redress Board that was established to give financial compensation to those victims of Religious child rapists would contradict this contention.

Sexual crime in the Irish Republic is not something that has simply appeared from nowhere in the 21st Century, indeed, from the very foundation of the Irish Free State sexual crime and in particular against children was common place. Such was the scale of sexual crime against children that the Irish Government of 1930 was pushed to establish an inquiry to examine the extent of sexual crime in the newly liberated territory. The Carrigan Report [1] was chaired by Mr William Carrigan a retired Senior Council, the evidence presented to Carrigan left the committee in no doubt that child sexual abuse was systematic and wide spread. Carrigan concluded that:

There was an alarming amount of sexual crime increasing yearly, a feature of which was the large number of cases of criminal interference with girls and children from 16 years downwards, including many cases of children less than 10 years.

This observation was supported by the Police Commissioner of the Day, Eoin Duffy, who said that less than 25% of cases were being reported and then less than 15% of these cases were being prosecuted due to a host of reasons. Duffy said that from his own knowledge the number of children under 13 years of age being sexually abused was “Alarming”. It is worth noting at this point that in 2010 little had changed, at Ballyshannon Circuit Court, in County Donegal on the 18th of June 2010, a Garda told the court that a now twenty-year-old women had been raped 57 times by 22 adult men when she was 13 years old, some of those men have been successfully prosecuted. Following the publication of the Cloyne Report (13th July 2011) into child rape at the hands of the Catholic Church the Garda Commissioner had the following to say about the role of the Church and State:

The Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan, said the publication of the Report of the Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Archdiocese of Cloyne:

This report details another difficult and sorry chapter in the story of how both Church and State authorities in Ireland responded to the sexual abuse of young people in our community. It outlines omissions and failures in the way in which complaints and allegations were addressed. The Commission did state that it was very concerned about the approach adopted by the gardaí when dealing with complaints in three cases outlined in the report.

The Garda Commissioner apologised to the victims at the heart of those cases. Mr Callinan continued:

It is a matter of regret to me that people did not receive the appropriate attention and action from the Garda Síochána to which they were entitled. The policies and structures now in place are very much victim-focused and designed to ensure that no one has a similar experience today.

Emphasising again the importance of individuals reporting sexual crime to gardaí, the Garda Commissioner said:

I want to assure the community that we have invested much time, energy and resources into ensuring that both our policies and people are effective in this sensitive and challenging area. Anyone making a complaint to gardaí will be met with sensitivity and with professionalism.

The Commissioner asked Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne to examine the report to see whether, in addition to action already taken, any further action could be taken against the abusers referred to in it.

It is clear from Carrigan (1930) and other sources that many police officers wanted to do what they could to prevent sexual crime and particularly against children and bring those responsible to justice; however, they faced many hurdles in their task including the power of the Catholic Church in communities all over Ireland. The findings of the Carrigan Report would not at that time be made public due to pressure from the Catholic Hierarchy and the acquiescent Government of the day. While De Valera made speeches about the, “Laughter of happy maidens”, children were being raped to such an extent in De Valera’s own constituency that a Judge described the Assizes in De Valera’s own constituency as the “Dirty Assizes” due to the large number of child sex crimes appearing before it.

Francis Hackett who settled in Ireland in the 1920s and was a juror from 1929-37 described sitting through court proceedings that dealt in one sitting with, 20 counts of buggery, a girl who threw her new born baby from a moving train, an elderly man who sexually abused two young girls, and a young man who raped a girl who was under the age of sixteen. However, all of this information was to be confined within its own parochial parameters, the Carrigan Report (1930) would not be published as the Catholic Church did not want the inevitable bad publicity that would follow. The Catholic Church had never signed up to the democratic program and felt that they had a God sent right to do as they pleased. The Carrigan suppression is a clear indication as to how the relationship between the Catholic Church and the State functioned.

However, we now know that the Catholic Church had much more to hide than the base immorality of Ireland’s newly liberated streets. Within the new order of the Irish Free State the Catholic Church had taken control of the Education system and the much hated ‘Industrial Schools’ and the Government remained as silent partners. We now know from the Ferns, Murphy, Ryan and Cloyne Reports into child sex abuse that the Catholic Church not only allowed but facilitated those Homophiles, Hetrophiles and Paedophiles within its ranks that raped and tortured the children in their ‘care’. This was not passive facilitation but was facilitation of a most criminal nature. Known child rapists were protected while the victims were silenced, known child rapists were sent all over the world where their crimes were unknown and they simply continued to rape children. Cardinal Sean Brady, in Ireland, admitted in 2010 that he with other members of the Catholic Church, forced child victims of religious child rape to sign letters of secrecy about their ordeals.

The Limits of Liberty, presented by RTE 1, on the 31st of May 2010, tells the heart rendering story of Peter Tyrrell, who was formerly housed in Letterfrack Industrial School, 1924-32, for no other reason than that his family was poor. Peter had committed no crime; his only crime was to come from a family that was poor. Peter had in later life written many letters of complaint to the authorities complaining about the abuse of children by the Religious Orders but his calls for justice fell on deaf ears. Peter felt that he was not believed and in 1967 feeling betrayed and isolated, Peter dosed himself with petrol on Hampstead Heath in England and took his own life. It took twelve months for his body to be identified. We now know that Peter was telling the truth, that truth has been established by a 1000 voices that echoed for so long in those places of evil. The rape and torture of children at the hands of Catholic Priests, Christian Brothers and a host of other Devils in Skirts was systematic and deliberate, these Devils were not held to account by their political bedfellows. Peter Tyrrell had fought against the Nazis in WW11 and had been a prisoner of war; he said in one of his letters that the abuse he suffered at the hands of the Catholic Church was much greater than anything he had been subjected to by the German Guards or Gestapo at his prisoner of war camp.

The area of sexual crime that has evoked most public disquiet, is that perpetrated against children, yet the Irish Republic in 2011 has no mandatory reporting of child rape or abuse. However, following the publication of the Cloyne Report in 2011 An Taoiseach, Fine Gael’s Enda Kenny TD said that his Coalition Government would introduce legislation to make the concealment of child rape/abuse an offence.  Much of the sexual crime committed against children, although not exclusively, involves seduction and entrapment. Contrary to public discourse, those persons in our community who commit acts of sexual crime against children are not a homogeneous group, this category of offender normally and conveniently referred to as paedophiles (sexual attraction to children) is made up of Homophiles (same gender sex abuse), Hetrophiles (opposite gender sex abuse), Bi-sexual paedophiles (either gender, sex abuse), Homosexual epebopiles (sexual abuse of same gender adolescents) and so forth (Casey.1999). There are two reasons that I make this point, First: so that from the very out set of this book, it is clear, that those who commit sexual crimes against children cannot be set outside mainstream society as an easily identifiable group. It may well suit the liberal agenda to castigate this group of people as being non-homosexual, non-lesbian or non-decent middle class liberal, just as it may suit the right wing hard line agenda, to suggest that this is a small deviant group outside of the conservative elite of politicians, Churchmen, Judges, Barristers, Police officers, Army officers, Solicitors, Business Executives and so forth, however, they are all that and more (Operation Amethyst, The Irish Times.2002, Phoenix.2002, Operation Magenta, Ferns, Murphy, Ryan and Cloyne Reports, Secondly and neatly summed up by Brenda O’Brien:

Demonising child abusers and acting as if they were all the same does nothing to protect children (Irish Times.2002).

Within this category of criminal, the scales of sexual abuse against children go from the highest level of homicide/rape to the lower level of inappropriate touch, voyeurism and so forth. The conviction of a middle class man in Dublin’s Central Criminal Court in July 2001 for possession of child pornography depicting children being raped and tortured highlights the appetite for such depravity and cruelty. On the 27th of May 2002, the Gardai raided over one hundred premises across the Irish Republic and seized computer hardware and software containing hundreds of thousands of downloaded files depicting children being raped and tortured. Premises raided during Operation Amethyst included the homes of a Circuit Court Judge, Barrister, Solicitor, Accountant, Company Director, Social Worker and a range of other ‘professionals’ (Irish Times.2002). The majority of these middle and upper class deviants were successfully prosecuted; their punishment in the form of fines and community service. The case against the Circuit Court judge did not proceed as the search warrant used to search his house was some hours out of date.

Stewart Tendler reporting in the Irish Independent (2002) informed us that more than 1200 teachers, doctors, care workers, policemen and so forth were arrested across the UK during Operation Ore which had like Operation Amethyst been intelligence lead by the FBI. On the same day that Operation Amethyst swung into action, a Garda Sgt/Crime Prevention Officer, based in Drogheda, appeared in the Dublin District Court, facing three charges under the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act (1998) and under the Criminal Law and Sexual Offences Act. One of the charges listed related to solicitation of a female child (Irish Independent.2002). This Garda Sgt would plead guilty and be sentenced to a term of imprisonment; upon his released he reoffended and would serve another eight year prison term. Over a three year period up to and including 2002 there were 79 Garda Officers charged with a variety of criminal offences including possession of child pornography and sexual assault (Brady, T. Irish Independent. 23/11/02). Some Gardai were also being investigated by the Morris Tribunal for corruption and Child pornography had been found at Garda Headquarters (Irish Times.19/12/02).

In December, 2002, an Irish Army Sergeant Major, who was the highest non-commissioned officer in the Irish Defence Forces pleaded guilty to several counts of sexual assault on young male soldiers. If society needed to be awakened to the endemic nature of child sexual abuse in modern society then that awakening came on the 12th day of September, 2002. On that day two Cambridgeshire police officers were arrested and charged by West Midlands Police investigating the distribution of indecent photographs of children. Detective Constable, Brian Stevens who was one of the officers arrested, had two weeks earlier read a poem ‘Lord of Comfort’ at the memorial service for two ten year old girls, Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells. The two girls had been kidnapped and murdered by a known sexual predator. Detective Stephens had been assigned to the Chapman family during the murder inquiry. A male caretaker and assistant female teacher at the girl’s school would later be charged with the murder of the two young girls.

The list of high profile child rape cases is endless both in the UK and the Irish Republic, in 2009, Sinn Fein President; Gerry Adams TD was forced to admit that he had known for decades that both his father Gerry Adams Snr and his own brother Liam were child rapists. At the time of writing Gerry’s brother Liam is awaiting a decision of the High Court in Dublin in relation to a European Arrest Warrant that has been issued for him in relation to allegations that he raped his daughter Aine from she was a toddler to her teens. Such was the complicity of Gerry Adams TD in relation to his father’s crimes; Gerry Adams TD gave his father a full IRA style funeral, further compounding the hurt and pain of the child rape victims of Gerry Adams Snr. Tom Humphries one of the top journalists writing for the Irish Times would become the subject of a major Garda investigation in 2011 when it was discovered that he had been using his position in a Dublin GAA club to rape at least one female child.

At the lower end of the scale manipulative men and women exploit the trust placed in them to sexually abuse children, one such example, in 2001, of which there are many coming before the Irish courts, a woman (homophile) was sentenced to six months in prison after admitting that she had sexually abused her friends infant female child, while babysitting that child. In addition to sexual crimes, there is, as with most crimes, a potential legacy of emotional, psychological and social trauma that can follow from such events. There is also in sexual crime the added dimension of the abused becoming abuser. Many cases of sexual crime against children and others coming before the courts, have shown that the perpetrator of sexual crime have themselves been victims of domestic or institutional sexual criminality. However, societies answer is to deny responsibility and to throw the perpetrator in jail, where the myriad of problems being faced by that convicted person become manifest (see, chapter 3).

It should be remembered that much of the sexual crime perpetuated against children takes place within a domestic setting or certainly at the hands of someone known to the victim. It does not take hours, days, or weeks for someone to sexually abuse a child, a perpetrator will seek out any window of opportunity to quench his/her desires. A perpetrator can get enough stimulus from simply lifting a child down from a swing or walking into the bathroom when a child is being bathed, close supervision and monitoring of children and who has access to them is the best way to prevent sexual crime, you will never know who to trust so trust no one. Paraphilia involves sexual arousal and gratification that is atypical and extreme. Children need to be educated about the dangers of sexual crime this must be done in a way that leaves no ambiguity. Psychotherapist, Marie Keenan says that:

In 80-95% of all child sexual abuse cases the perpetrator is known to the victim (Irish Times.2002).

In every town, town land, village and city in Ireland families have their secrets; however, those secrets are the very water in which the child abuser swims. The abuser will use family loyalties and close friendships to conceal their crimes, however, this is a mistake, people who have knowledge of child abuse must report it and there should be legislation to prosecute them if they don’t report it. John Muncie, in Rethinking Social Policy (2000), reminds us that domestic violence in all its forms has only recently been taken seriously when he says:

In a similar vein it has taken some twenty years of feminist enquiry to have it acknowledged that violence, danger and risk lie not just on the streets or in the corridors of power, but in the sanctity of the home (p.220).

While I would agree with Muncie that domestic violence remained hidden for many generations, my own observations would suggest that some of these ‘feminist’ groups within what has become a ‘victims industry’ in Ireland are now occupying that oppressive place of denial once championed by the Catholic Church and its political bedfellows. These groups ‘deny’ domestic violence against men by women, and they excuse the sexual abuse of children by women as some hang over from an abusive nightmare. Women are equally as able to murder and rape as are men, the fact that women do not appear in the dock as often as men is no reason to excuse their criminality. Professor Paul O’Mahony in his book Criminal Chaos (1996), points to inequality as being at the heart of much sexual crime when he states:

The whole problem is greatly complicated by the significant role played in sexual offences by unequal power relations in society between men and women and between adults and children, and by the highly conflicted, often ambiguous and psychologically fraught nature of ‘normal, consensual’ sexual relations (p.207).

O’Mahony is in my opinion correct, unequal power relations are significant in sexual criminality. However, traditionally such unequal power relations were seen to be that of powerful men over helpless women, cases now coming before the courts show us that unequal relations between women and children can be every bit as damming and criminal. Indeed we have seen cases of women sexually assaulting both men and women coming before the courts, however, it remains much of a taboo for men to report sexual abuse at the hands of a woman. Equally, social workers in most cases are much more likely to look upon women sexually abusing children as a medical difficulty to be addressed by counselling, than being purely criminal to be addressed by the courts. It has been widely reported that there are 23,000 files relating to self-confessed female sex offenders on the shelves of the 14 area Health Boards under the control of the HSE, yet not one of these files has ever been handed over to the Gardai.

While there is no doubt that sexual crime is in part related to unequal relations between male/female, adults and children, the question of sexual crime and particularly such sexual crime against children is much more complex, in that it involves a host of social, psychological, moral and religious influences (Casey.1999 and O’Mahony.1996). Psychotherapist, Marie Keenan states that:

The lethal cocktail is a person living with a feeling of powerlessness in a position of power (Irish Times.2002).

While largely ignored by the tabloid press, in more and more cases coming before the Irish Courts the role played by women in sexual criminality is slowly being exposed. The role of women in sexual criminality whether by way of perpetrator, facilitator or both remains an area of research largely untouched [2]. Yet the central role played by women in sexual criminality has been known for decades. The problem is of course that the Feminazi want the focus to remain on male deviants and this of course allows the truth about tens of thousands of self-confessed female child abusers to be buried in the dusty shelves of the fourteen area Health Boards in the Irish Republic. This concealment by stealth ensures that children are put at risk of sexual molestation at the hands of women each and every day in Ireland.

The conviction in England in the 1960s of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley for a series of gruesome sex/homicide crimes against children was a wakeup call that was largely ignored as those perpetrators and their crimes were sentenced to death by the lethal injection of time. History continued and continues to repeat itself, time and time again, the Yorkshire Ripper and his wife Rose West committed heinous crimes, David and Catherine Birnie in Perth were the West’s mirror image. Yet in every epoch women have been portrayed as the helpless followers of the male demon, when it is quite clear that these women were able and willing to participate in murder and rape at will. These cases are at the higher end of the scale and are used here for that purpose; however, each and every day in Ireland men and women in equal number commit acts of sexual criminality, mainly against children. Recent incest cases coming before the Irish Courts show what men and women can do in equal measure. Homophiles, hetrophiles and so forth pervade every area of society, yet many people in positions of power and authority deliberately and intentionally try to mislead the public. In all of the statutory Reports relating to the rape of children at the hands of the Catholic Church the media have failed to report that up to 95% of all child rapes within the Catholic Church were committed by Homophiles.

While there must be public awareness of the crime of sexual abuse against children and sexual crime in general, we must not allow that awareness to become a witch hunt, whether against the Church, the State, any group or individual in our modern day democracy. Whether, that Witch hunt be driven by the Feminazi, the chatting liberals of the middle classes, the right wing moral philosophers, weak politicians or the lurid and voyeuristic banner headlines of the tabloids, headlines that facilitate the deep recesses of denial in our country. While De Valera made speeches about the “laughter of happy maidens” the courts in his own constituency were packed with cases of child rape. While former Fianna Fail, Minister for Justice, John O’Donoghue, talked about there being nowhere in Ireland for abusers of children to hide, he was signing off on a One-Billion-Euro deal that would ensure that thousands of religious child rapists would never face the courts. He denied money for rehabilitative care of persons convicted of sexual crime, yet could spend vast fortunes of tax payers’ money on providing himself and his wife with five star luxuries.

Carol Sarler, a rape victim, supports Watter’s view of the negative impact of extreme feminism on the sexual crime debate when she says:

We must first neutralise the venom and the influence of the sisterhood, who cannot bear to see a man in jail without also seeing the key thrown away (Observer.2000).

Many of these ‘feminists’ have made personal fortunes of the backs of the real victims of sexual crime, many have simply reproduced the transcripts of sexual crime cases in paperback books and lived in lavish luxury of the royalties while the victims are left with nothing only their nightmares. So called ‘victims’ groups are funded to the tune of tens of millions of Euros by the State, with the majority of that public money being spent on inflated salaries and lavish expense accounts for groups that provide nothing more than spring boards for the self-profiling, self-promoting few. What is clear is that the general management of perpetrators must be such as to strive for best practice in child protection and community safety. This view was summed up concisely by Professor Harry Ferguson when he said:

The issue needs to move from one of revulsion to remedies (Irish Times.2002).

The great problem with this rational approach to remedies is that we live in a country that has no mandatory reporting of child rape/abuse, although this is set to change in 2011, we live in a country where the files of tens of thousands of known child abusers remain on the shelves of the Health Boards without ever being passed to the Gardai, we live in a country that has produced the Ferns, Murphy, Ryan and Cloyne Reports, all of which have identified thousands of child abusers and these abusers continue to live in the community without any restriction. Tens of thousands of known sex offenders can without legal restriction work with children and have unsupervised access to children. The only known sex offenders who are barred from working with children are those who appear on the Sex Offenders Register, this accounts for an average of 1100 sex offenders in 2011, this accounts for a small percentage of persons who are known to have engaged in sexual criminality including child rape. However, it is essential that we do not build the scaffold each time an accusation of sexual crime is made.

The case of Catholic Nun, Sr Nora Wall and her co-accused Pablo Mc Cabe, who were wrongfully convicted by the Irish Courts, with the crime of child rape, is used by Kevin Myers, to highlight the caution that must accompany public disquiet:

Had it not been discovered that at least one of the witnesses against Sr Nora Wall and Pablo Mc Cabe had previously made unsubstantiated rape charges, might not Nora and Pablo be in indefinite solitary confinement the objects of universal obloquy throughout the land. How, in the moral frenzy which is sweeping the country is anyone able to distinguish the genuine complaint from the bogus one after such a passage of time? Have other Nora Walls vanished unnoticed into our prisons? How many more still to come? And for how much longer will tabloid headlines demonise human beings into caricatures of witchdom, the easier, no doubt, to burn them at the stake? (Irish Times, 2001).

An equally contemporary case of injustice, of which there are many, was highlighted by RTE 1, in their current affairs programme, True Lives (2002). It was shown in this program, that Fr Shay Cullen, who works with the street children of the Philippines many of whom are prostituted by ruthless child sex traffickers for the international child sex tourist industry, became the victim of a malicious child rape allegation in 2001, the penalty for which is death in the Philippines. Fr Cullen was eventually acquitted in Court, as it became clear that the child at the centre of the allegation had been forced to make such an allegation against Fr Cullen by those with an interest in keeping the child sex industry free from the International gaze that Fr Cullen’s work had brought. For some men/women convicted and sentenced for the sexual abuse of children and sexual crime in general, they have had to spend decades in prison, before being cleared by new advances in DNA evidence. One such person Charles Fain, was released in the US, 24th August, 2001, after serving 19 years of a life sentence, on Death Row, for a sexual crime against a child, that new DNA evidence, proves he did not commit (Evening Herald.2001). Fain is only one of many such innocent people who have walked free after many years pleading their innocence; How many died innocent men/women, we will never know. In a modern day democracy one minute in jail for an innocent person, never mind 19 years, is a crime against humanity that cannot be tolerated.

As Ireland remains in denial of the endemic nature of sexual criminality, miscarriages of justice will continue to happen, as those accused remain ‘guilty’ until proven ‘innocent’. In 2011 certain sections of the media moved quickly to demonise X Factor Judge and music industry manager Louis Walsh when he was falsely accused of sexual assault by a Navan Man who would later be charged with making false charges against Mr Walsh. However, at the centre of all the debate about sexual crime, must be the victims alleged or real and how best to develop a fair and just way of dealing with their complaints, without inflicting further hurt and pain. Whether that is further hurt and pain inflicted by an overzealous social worker, psychologist, Doctor or Police Officer [3], to prove a crime and so on. Children have time and again been used by jilted lovers and bitter ex-wives to make allegations of sexual crime against former partners, false allegations of sexual criminality have been made in land and property disputes, the list is endless. Perpetrators alleged or real have been forced into suicide or denial, having already been held high in public odium in his/her community. Here again the Feminazi fall silent about injustice, here again the Feminazi do nothing for the cause of the real victims of sexual crime.

Donald West (1983) offers some light for those who have been victims of childhood sexual abuse when he suggests:

That even where there is initial manifest disturbance, the children out grow, these reactions and make a satisfactory adjustment (p.7).

Victims alleged or real and perpetrators alleged or real and the way the Courts system treats them, remains a serious bone of contention and contradiction within our criminal justice system. As highlighted by a report commissioned by the Rape Crisis Centre (RCC) (Irish Times.2002), the majority of sexual crimes go unreported for a variety of reasons. One reason alleged is that the courts have no empathy with such victims. While I do not suggest that any serious commentator on child sexual abuse or sexual crime in general, take this report by the RCC, as reflecting a ‘real’ or ‘precise’ picture of the true extent of sexual crime. Not least because of its PVC window methodology used for the bases of this survey. For example, the report used 1000 cold calls as its central sample, of alleged or actual victims of sexual crime. The report, even with its flawed methodology is a useful barometer, and I labour it no more than that, of the possible extent of the problem to be faced in the area of sexual crime in the Irish Republic (see, also Conference Report.1993).

Again it is essential that we remember that many thousands of people are now making a salary out of what has become known as the ‘victims industry’, one can hardly turn a corner but some new ‘made up’ group is being funded by tax payers money. The CEOs of these groups are being paid salaries in the hundreds of thousands and expense accounts that would bring blushes to the faces of bankers and politicians. Many solicitors openly placed advertisements in the lurid tabloids, inviting people to come forward and make an unchallenged claim from the Redress Board for compensation for institutional abuse. Some so called journalists are making fortunes by simply having court transcripts printed in paperback. For many the ‘victims industry’ is putting bread on the table and for this reason, open, honest and reasoned debate on the subject of sexual crime in Ireland is a long way off. In 2011 the HSE granted another 270K to one made-up group that simply takes the statistics from the 15 Rape Crisis Centres and publishes them, this at a time when 5,500 children are waiting for operations at the Children’s Hospitals in Dublin, these operations being delayed due to lack of funding.

Victims and perpetrators alleged or real, feel the criminal justice system is not dealing with them in a fair and reasonable manner. In 2002, the Chairperson of the RCC Ms Breda Allen said:

The Court system is adversarial, switches the onus from the alleged perpetrator to the victim (Irish Times.2002).

I think it is fair to say that these comments by the Chairperson of the RCC show a lack of understanding of our court system. The burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt must remain with the State, and as the examples in this paper have shown, juries are not always a good detector of false allegations and lies, when presented with the drama and emotion of such cases, and particularly if they are high profile. Rarely are women charged with making false allegations of rape or sexual assault against men, and never have the Feminazi called for such prosecutions, yet men who are subject to such false allegations and their families have to live with the stigma for the rest of their lives. On the 17th of June, 2002, at Cork Circuit Court, one such woman was returned for trial for making three different false allegations of rape, against three different men, at three different times. This woman admitted during Garda interviews that she had never even meet one of the men, whom she alleged raped her (Irish Independent.2002). [4] False allegations are now common practice for a whole range of reasons, yet our criminal justice system remains unwilling to prosecute the perjurers, family courts are notorious places for false allegations to be made, these in camera secret proceedings throw the door wide open to false allegation and perjury.

In 1994 the Supreme Court made a decision that went some way to helping alleviate the court room trauma of a trial for the victim and to a lesser consideration the perpetrator, by allowing a trial judge to give Defendants a discount off their sentence ‘if they plead guilty’ and save the victim the distress of giving evidence and keeping free a trial slot for another case. However, this discount for a plea bargain leaves the defendant who is pleading not guilty at a disadvantage, if they are found guilty. Sr Nora Wall being a case in point, where she was sentenced to life for a crime she did not commit, had she pleaded guilty she would have received about 7-10 years. It is a bizarre situation for those who maintain their innocence but who may be falsely convicted. It can also be argued that the plea bargain, simply allows actual perpetrators to deny/minimise their crimes in the public domain, by pleading guilty to sample charges and serving only a short sentence. It is often the case that a guilty plea in a rape/homicide case will see the rape charge dropped as part of the deal, this creates its own long term problems.

Elizabeth Stanko, in Rethinking Social Policy (2000), says that:

Moreover, research shows that when an incident comes to the attention of the criminal justice system, the State’s interest in punishing violent offenders if affected by people’s assessment of the violence they experience (p.250).

Another bone of contention in the area of sexual crime coming before the courts is whether or not the continued psychological and emotional fall out from acts of sexual crime should be taken into consideration, when sentence is passed on a convicted person. The Victim Impact Report which is prepared for the court in cases of sexual crime and non-sexual crime enters a contradiction into our criminal justice system, which has since the foundation of the State, held that it is the crime committed and not its consequences for which an offender must be punished. In theory and on occasion, in practice, a person committing a sexual assault at the lower end of the scale can receive a more severe sentence than a perpetrator of rape, if the rape victim recovers better due to personal traits. There have been many cases where harsh sentences were handed down due to the fact that the victim had attempted to take their own life due to the alleged abuse; however, many of these children had been prescribed unlicensed mind-altering drugs such as Seroxat. Seroxat is banned in all other countries due to its side effects including suicide, personality disorder and false memory syndrome, yet the majority of our judges would have no idea what these victims were feed as their Health Board files are rarely available to the Court. [5]

Experts continue to argue as to whether the Victim Impact Reports relate solely to the alleged or actual abuse, and not other environmental considerations (Bradshaw.1999). As I have pointed out here and which will come as a surprise to many reading, unlicensed-mind-altering-drugs are continuing to be feed to childhood ‘victims’ of abuse, yet the negative side effects of these drugs, including self-harm and false memories have been known about for many years. Victim Impact Reports are normally ‘packed’ including matters that have been proven manifestly untrue in court, when one witnesses these Reports being distributed to the lurid tabloids by persons more interested in headlines than community safety one understands why this ‘packing’ occurs. Judge Paul Carney, one of the most seasoned Judges dealing with sexual criminality has regularly criticised the abuse of the Victim Impact Statement, by certain people appearing before his court.

Sentencing in the Irish Courts remains discretionary, with the caveat of the (1993) Criminal Justice Act, which allows for the DPP to seek a Review of a sentence, if ‘they’ believe that such a sentence is unduly lenient. However, there is a sense within the Criminal Justice System that the 1993 Act, is being applied in a way that is invidiously discriminatory, in that certain cases that are high profile are appealed by the State, while more serious cases with lesser sentences are not appealed. In November, 2000, Michael Feeney, a former Headmaster, at a Ballybay school in County Monaghan, was convicted of sexually molesting dozens of children, one of Feeney’s victims told the Circuit Court in Monaghan that those pupils not abused were the exception. Feeney had engaged in serious sexual assault and bondage with the children. Feeney was sentenced to three years and the DPP did not appeal. At the same court Vincent Mc Kenna was convicted of the sexual assault of one child, and was sentenced to three years, and the DPP did appeal. The difference between the two cases was that the DPP v Mc Kenna case was high profile and the DPP simply went with the baying mob.

In 2001, the Central Criminal Court, where serious cases of sexual crime are heard, imposed lesser sentences in half the sex cases heard there, than lesser cases heard in the Circuit Courts. For example, in the Central Criminal Court, twenty-seven persons convicted of serious sexual assault were sentenced to two years or over, but less than five (Irish Times.2002). There are times however when ‘exceptional’ circumstances are addressed by way of exceptional sentences in cases of child sexual crime. In a case coming before the Central Criminal Court in October, 2002, a 42 year old male (Homophile) was given a life sentence for the rape and sexual abuse of a number of male children. In this ‘exceptional’ case the perpetrator had videotaped some of his crimes against the children (Irish Independent.2002). Yet two months later in the Circuit Criminal Court, a 47 year old soccer manager with previous convictions for Homophile activity, received three years for a series of Homophile assaults on young boys in his ‘care’ (Irish Independent.2002).

Almost every offence has its special characteristics and so deserves to be treated as a unique event. The continued calls by some groups within the ‘victims industry’ for mandatory sentencing, have themselves done more harm than good in their blinkered approach to sexual crime. This myriad of groups now competing for tens of millions of tax payer’s money each year will do whatever it takes to grab the headlines as the various trenches of funding become available from Government departments. Make no mistake, this is an industry that many of its well salaried and expense account CEOs will not be letting go any time soon. Paul O’Mahony (1996) raises the issue of mandatory sentencing, when he says:

Despite emotive calls for a uniform rigidly harsh response to sex offences, everything that has been learned about sex offending in recent years indicates that it is essential to maintain the tradition of judicial discretion in this area (p.125).[6]

Some judges have taken the time to try and understand the complexities of sexual criminality; however, it is clear from the comments of a number of judges that they have very little idea about the complexities of sexual crime in general. For example, in a case coming before the Central Criminal Court (18th February, 2002), High Court Judge, Mr Philip O’Sullivan, asked for new guidelines to clarify the distinction between therapeutic and medical examination, of alleged rape and sexual assault victims. While my observation is in no way a criticism of Judge O’Sullivan’s request, it is an incredible indictment on the Criminal Justice System that after thousands of such cases coming before the courts many judges remain in limbo when it comes to the complexities of sexual criminality. Mr Justice O’Sullivan was speaking on the 14th day of the trial of a man charged with 79 counts of sexual assault against his niece. Mr Justice O’Sullivan directed the jury to find the man not guilty on 78 of the charges, after Manchester Police Surgeon, Dr Steven Robinson, told the court that, “modern medical practice” had not been applied in this case. The fact is of course that modern medical practice has not been applied in many such cases, yet the Prosecution, Judges, Juries and Defence teams accept such evidence as bone fide.

I was given access to a number of Books of Evidence, by a number of persons accused of sexual crime, in many of the ‘Medical Reports’, contained in those Books of Evidence, was a ‘medical finding’ referred to as anal dilation. In each of the medical reports examined in these Books of Evidence this ‘finding’ was stated as being consistent with the sex abuse alleged, yet in many of the victims statements no allegation of anal abuse was ever mentioned. Anal dilation is determined by a doctor inserting one of his/her digits inside the anus of an alleged victim, having placed the digit inside an alleged victim the Doctor guesstimates whether there is dilation of the anus or not. There is no scientific measure. In contrast to the conclusions of consistency in these medical reports, the Cleveland Report concluded:

We are satisfied from the evidence that the consensus is that the sign of anal dilation is abnormal and suspicious and requires further investigation. It is not in itself evidence of anal abuse (Kahan.1998.p.68).

However, the word consistent in a medical report is normally enough for non-medical/expert professional law officers in the office of the DPP to pursue charges against an accused person. The burden of proof in such cases has been reduced to the standard of proof in a civil action, all of which flies in the face of International standards in relation to a person’s right to a fair trial. It is clear from the media reporting of such cases that the prosecution labour the fact that the accused person cannot offer any reasonable explanation as to why such a complaint was made. An accused person in such cases now remains guilty until proven innocent. Again proving that in the absence of universal knowledge of these matters, miscarriages of justice will prevail.

The confusion surrounding sexual criminality and particularly such cases coming before the courts is best explained by case law. A High Court Order directing that a former soldier should not be prosecuted for allegedly sexually abusing an eleven year old boy in 1981 was appealed to the Supreme Court by the DPP. The Supreme Court in upholding the order ruled:

That there was a real risk of an unfair trial, due to the passage of time (Irish Independent.2002).

Yet it is clear that people have been prosecuted where the passage of time was much greater and the risks much higher. A number of key points were tested before the Court of Criminal Appeal, in Mc Kenna vs The DPP. Mc Kenna argued that if documents relating to counselling sessions with an alleged victim of sexual abuse were not delivered to the Trial Court until the first day of an accused person’s trial (this is now the position in such cases due to a Supreme Court ruling. Irish Times.2001) that the accused person should have a right to an adjournment to have those documents examined by an expert.

A second point related to a warning to the jury where various discredited concepts were at issue, for example, Robust Repression, False Memory Syndrome and so forth. It was clear from the notes in this case DPP v McKenna that the complainant had for several months told both a GP and Health Board staff that she had no memory of any incidents of sexual abuse, however, after she was prescribed unlicensed-mind-altering-drugs, seroxat, she ‘recovered’ memories of the accused forcing her to pull his foreskin back and forward on an almost daily basis until he ejaculated, even though it would be proven at trial that the accused had been circumcised as a baby and could not for medical reasons ever be masturbated. The complainant also made 76 allegations of sexual assault against the accused, even though everyone agreed that the accused was actually living in England during that entire period. The alleged victim was able to recall her statement to Gardai with 98% word accuracy to the Court even though she had made the statement two years prior to the trial, this according to experts is consistent with the use of mind-altering-drugs and dubious counselling practices, practices that have been banned in the UK for many years such as regression therapy.

The McKenna case is further complicated as the GP at the centre of the allegations, Dr Marian Smyth, has admitted to the Irish Medical Council that she had an extra-marital affair with and child to a convicted IRA serial killer, Michael Pete Ryan. At the time that the allegations were made against Mc Kenna he was the most high profile anti-terrorist campaigner in Ireland.

In the DPP v McKenna extensive Health Board files were only delivered to the defence on the first day of trial. The trial judge refused an adjournment so that the defence could have the files examined by an expert. In the aftermath of Mc Kenna’s trial and conviction, the Health Board notes, transcript of the trial and all other documents relating to the trial were examined by Dr Mohan MRC Psychiatrist, Diploma in Forensic Psychiatry, Consultant Forensic Psychiatry, who was a Senior Consultant with the Department of Justice. Dr Mohan said of the documents relating to the DPP vs Mc Kenna’s trial:

It is clear that the jury had insufficient information upon which to make a balanced decision (25th September.2001).

On both points, in the face of overwhelming evidence, the Court of Criminal Appeal ruled against the Appellant (Irish Times.2002), this ruling highlighting the cavalier attitude of some judges to the complexities of sexual crime, particularly in high profile cases. It is this cavalier attitude by some members of the judiciary that is seeing more innocent people imprisoned[7], particularly as those in power in Ireland remain in denial of their complicit role in sexual criminality. Elizabeth Stanko (2000) addresses the broader social environment in which crime takes place when she says:

Individuals’ own resources, cultural histories and knowledge, together with their social, institutional and personal reserves, assist in the assistance to and affect the impact of threats and violence. This is true for both offender and victim (who may be one and the same person)… argument is that victims meet violence within a complex web of personal, situational and social situations (p.249).

In relation to the area of sexual criminality and sexual crime involving children in particular, Psychotherapist, Ms Marie Keenan, criticised:

The crude medical and legal discourses which used classifications that ignored the social context in which abuse took place, as well as the different types of offenders, and how so many were amenable to treatment (Irish Times.2002).

Some so called ‘victims’ groups appear to have stepped outside their remit, particularly those groups who have coached ‘victims’ in a uniformity of language, as they present the remnants of their troubled lives to the courts. It is clear that clichés such as, “It is a life sentence” or “I have been robbed of my childhood”, have become the standard comments of those ‘victims’ alleged or real coming before the courts and who’s press releases are being handed to the lurid tabloids. We have had on numerous occasions the bizarre situation where Victim Impact Statements are sitting in the offices of tabloid editors before the judge of the sentencing court has ever seen them, the editor’s copy being ‘embargoed’ until sentence has been set down. This self-profiling applies only to those cases where the ‘victim’ has waived their anonymity and in some instances goes on to claim almost pop star status having been adopted for a day or two by the lurid tabloids. Paid interviews, scholarships, cash donations from the public, publishing deals, can all be part of the ‘victims’ portfolio. It is this theatre and its performance on the stage of the tabloid press, which undermines the cause of the real victims of sexual crime, particularly the young and the vulnerable.

As the public ask the question: Why? If a young person has been subjected to such abuse, would they want to go on the pages of the tabloid press? A tabloid press that facilitates and normalises sexual crime by their sexual exploitation of men, women and children, serious questions remain to be answered about the true motivation of senior executives within Victim Support (The Phoenix.2002) and the ‘victims’ industry in general. Even during this time of recession, hundreds of millions of tax payer’s money is being poured into an industry that remains without audit or supervision, we the tax payer can’t even ask the questions that would allow us to establish if we are getting anything in return for our money, other than keeping a great many self-profilers and self-promoters in nice offices with inflated salaries and endless expense accounts. Even as some sections of the media rightly scrutinize the salaries and expenses of politicians, bankers and senior civil servants, the ‘victims’ industry remains untouched by such scrutiny. When ‘victims’ groups say they have had a surge in people seeking help, we have no empirical/objective evidence to support those claims as we are quickly told that ‘Confidentiality’ blocks us from passing the salaried gate keepers to such information.

What then of the many thousands of persons, including Health Board staff (Irish Times.2002), confirmed by the Health Boards as having committed sexual crimes including multiple rapes/victims and who’s details have not been passed onto the Gardai. There is no legislation in 2011, to address the greater number of persons confirmed as having committed sexual crimes against children (96%). This is not to accept in some blind manner the result of Health Board investigations or their conclusions in relation to sexual crimes against children, however, thousands of people who have admitted their crimes to Health Board staff and who have not been prosecuted, remain without obligation in the community. One is only too acutely aware of high profile cases of false diagnosis such as that by Dr Moira Woods, the former Director of the Sexual Assault Unit, at the Rotunda Hospital, who was found guilty by the Irish Medical Council, of wrongly accusing five families of sexually abusing their children, this finding was not appealed by Dr Woods (Sunday Independent.2002).

Dr Woods was not the exception, GPs and many medical practitioners remain a law onto themselves, GPs who have admitted having sexual relations with and children to some of their patients, who have admitted feeding unlicensed-mind-altering-drugs to their patients continue to practice without restriction in the Irish Republic. Many concepts and procedures banned in child sex abuse cases in the UK, continue to be utilised in the Irish Republic, indeed many ‘medical’ practitioners operating in the Republic would not be allowed to work in the UK. The Royal College of Psychiatrists in London has been scathing of the concepts of repression and memory recovery techniques [8] used in child sex abuse cases, yet people are convicted in the Irish Courts on an almost daily basis, on evidence that has been derived from such practices, due to a lack of knowledge right across the Criminal Justice System.

Professor Paul O’Mahony (1996) tells us that in the period 1987-1991:

The Health Boards in the Irish Republic dealt with and confirmed 2,474 cases of child sexual abuse, of these cases 180 were prosecuted (p.220).

Even at this embryonic stage of the complaint process it is clear that there is a wide margin for abuse of the discretional process, by the Health Boards, other agencies and individuals, especially but not exclusively in provincial towns, as so graphically highlighted by the Ferns Report. The Ferns report showed that child rapists within the Catholic Church were protected by their superiors and this concealment was assisted and facilitated by many within the high echelons of civil society. The Ferns Report is not extraordinary, today in the 21st Century small elites are determining who will and who will not be prosecuted for raping children. If we take the case of provincial towns where these elites live in the same private housing estates, play golf in the local golf club, holiday in the same destinations, car pool their children each day and so forth, it is clear that many known abusers continue to be protected. The case of the Wexford publican who admitted to Health Board staff that he had systematically raped five children including his young sister, and he was able to remain at large for many years, including training the local under-age GAA teams, as he done a deal with Health Board staff. He was able to pay for himself and his five victims to go to the Granada Institute and it would only be years later that his sister decided that this concealment was not right that he was prosecuted and sentenced to 7 years in Wheatfield Prison.

If it is accepted that under reporting of sexual crime is as high as two thirds as highlighted by the report commissioned by the RCC (2002), then we can reasonably estimate that there were 7,422 active cases of child sexual abuse in the Irish Republic in the period 1987-1991. In 2002, The Department of Health and Children in their annual report confirmed that there had been 2,104 confirmed cases of child sexual abuse, involving 1,991 children, in the year 2000[9]. That trend continued and in 2010 the figures for 2009 showed an overall increase in these figures. Again if we account for non-reporting there is a year on year average of 6,000 children being raped and sexually abused, with at least another 10,000 children being subjected to other types of abuse. However, we are now in the midst, like it or not, of a child and domestic abuse epidemic, the conditions are now ripe for such abuses, the vast increase in alcohol/drug consumption in the home, unemployment, depression and a general feeling of social decay have opened the way for unrestricted abuse. The HSE cannot even protect the children in their own ‘care’, what chance has a child five stories up in a concrete jungle, or a child in the leafy lanes of suburbia.

Mr Brian Lenihan TD (RIP) when Minister for State for Health and Children did in a parliamentary reply to Mr Joe Costello TD, in 2002, confirm that there had been a total of 8,269 cases of child abuse including sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse and neglect referred to the Health Boards in the year 2000. This total involved 7,739 children. A graphic example of the Government’s failure to protect children in its ‘care’, was highlighted by the Honourable Mr Justice Peter Kelly, of the High Court in Dublin, when he said of the State Institutions of ‘care’ for children in Dublin:

Animals are treated better than the children in this care facility (Irish Independent.2001).

Unfortunately the case of the thirteen year old boy that had caused Mr Justice Kelly to make these initial comments about the said institutions, would be followed by tragedy three weeks later, when Mr Justice Kelly had to accept that the young boy that he had sent to this institution of ‘care’ had been systematically sexually abused while resident there (Irish Independent.2001). In another contemporary case of a young person in the case of the South Eastern Health Board, the Health Board confirmed the child’s allegations of sexual abuse while in their ‘care’ by a member of staff, however, the DPP decided not to prosecute. This type of environment of social decay is the very waters in which the Homophile, Hetrophile and so forth swim. What better place to be than a place where children are drugged with unlicensed-mind-altering-drugs, where one day to the next is a blare for the child, children coming into State ‘care’ because they have already been sexually abused are perfect targets, who is going to believe them, a jury certainly won’t convict on their evidence. What is the word of a dysfunctional child against that of a middle class ‘professional’?

A Report by the Irish Social Services Inspectorate, which carried out an investigation into the ‘care’ centre at the centre of these allegations, makes horrifying reading. One of the report findings was that staff had not even been subjected to minimal clearance procedures with the Garda Siochana (Irish Times.2002). However, Garda vetting is limited to actual convictions, as the HSE makes cut backs and tries to make savings, more and more cheap labour will be sourced to carry out a whole range of tasks within the child care/health care sector. Make no bones about it, the majority of this cheap labour, are foreign nationals, who cannot be vetted. As tens of thousands of people poured into Ireland over recent years, many left behind criminal pasts in their countries of origin. The police in many of these countries of origin have no computerised records of criminal convictions, our prisons are filled to the brim with foreign nationals who have come to Ireland and simply continued to rape and plunder at will, some of these people worked in ‘care’ homes and so forth and of course they would have got Garda clearance.

While it is clear from the Murphy, Ryan, Ferns and Cloyne Reports that many thousands of children have been raped and sexually molested over many decades while in the ‘care’ of the State, by those in whose ‘care’ they were placed, children continue to be put at risk by the State. A Report by CARI, a voluntary group working with children said:

Child sexual abuse victims are being left at risk due to a lack of supervision on access visits to children in ‘care’ of the State. The service is seriously inadequate and sexual abuse victims are not being given the support they need. Supervision in facilities which are supposed to acre for child victims is nowhere near adequate (TV3.2001).

In Irish prisons where people have been convicted of heinous crimes against children, those convicted persons are regularly given access to children on visits without any HSE or qualified Child Protection supervision. In a report by the INTO (Irish Times.2002) it was stated that, there one thousand teachers who have no formal training, working in primary schools in the Irish Republic. There are a further eight hundred substitute teachers with even fewer qualifications working in the same primary schools, this was at a time when twenty qualified teachers were suspended on full pay awaiting the outcome of sex abuse allegations against them (Sunday Independent.2002) and many more teachers have been convicted of such crimes. In Ireland in 2011 one can be a Creche worker, youth worker, care worker and so on without having to undergo anything other than minimal clearance with the Gardai, if even that.

While the Sex Offenders Bill 2001, introduced a sex offenders register, and put an ‘onus’ on a convicted person to declare their conviction for sexual crime ‘if’ applying for work with children, it is clear that such legislation is piece meal and ill-considered. Experts state that such registers have no impact on sexual crime (Irish Times.2003). In fact it has been argued and demonstrated that such registers are simply used by the State to abuse the Human and Civil Rights of that minority of persons already convicted and punished. The legislation does nothing to address the many tens of thousands of persons who have been confirmed by Health Boards as having raped and sexually abused children but have not been prosecuted 96% (Irish Times.2002). The register does not include those hundreds of people who paid for and down loaded images of child rape, all of whom continue to be a serious threat to children.

As a caveat to these figures by the Health Boards, concerning children, the annual crimes figures compiled by the Gardai and relating to the years 2000/01, showed that sexual offences reported to the Gardai, were up by 83% in 2001, compared to 2000. The figures for reported sexual crime in 2000, 1,070 compared to 1,956 for 2001. Tom O’Malley (1996) points out that, there is a very considerable attrition of cases between reporting and going to trial and conviction. In O’Malley’s research he found that in the years 1988-91 inclusive, 344 cases of rape were known to the Gardai, proceedings were taken in only 159 cases and, at the end of 1993, there were only 70 offenders in prison convicted of rape. In 2008 there were 1,407 Sexual Offences recorded by An Garda Siochana, by October 2009, court proceedings had commenced for 158 of these offences. There were 29 convictions while a further 106 cases were still pending (CSO.2010). So it would appear that very little has changed in terms of the numbers of persons being subjected to sexual violence, these CSO figures do not include cases of child sex abuse confirmed by the HSE, unreported cases and so forth. In 2011 the conditions are ripe for a child abuse epidemic with massive unemployment, depression, alcohol abuse, the proliferation of pornography by way of the internet and other media, lack of child protection resources, the sexualisation of children and a continued lack of honest public education/debate relating to sex crime in Ireland.

It is an incredible indictment on successive Governments that there is a prosecution lottery, not only in that there is no mandatory reporting of child rape and sexual abuse, but that HSE staff arbitrarily decide which cases of alleged or confirmed cases of sexual crime against children that they will refer to An Garda Siochana. And then the DPP will decide which cases to prosecute, even in cases where the perpetrator has admitted wrong doing the DPP has not prosecuted. All of which makes a nonsense of the Irish Constitution’s guarantee ‘to treat all citizens equal before the law’. This discretionary aspect of the reporting process makes a mockery of our criminal justice system. In 2000, the North Eastern Health Board (NEHB) dealt with 1277 cases of child abuse, including rape and sexual abuse, 47% of cases were in Monaghan/Cavan. The NEHB reported less than 5% of these cases to the Gardai (NEHB.2001). Yet under child protection protocol guidelines the Health Board and Gardai are obliged to formally report child protection concerns to each other. However, as is typical of child protection in the Irish Republic this protocol is not mandatory. Cavan/Monaghan has a registered electorate of approximately 90,000 persons, if we project the figures for Cavan/Monaghan in 2000, over a ten year period, we would conclude that a possible 6,380 cases of child abuse will have been reported, with a possible 12,760 going unreported in Cavan/Monaghan. It is perhaps the full extent of child abuse that keeps the subject from serious scrutiny.

While the Fianna Fail Party (senior Coalition Government partners 1997-2010) made Mandatory reporting of child rape an election promise in 1997, there was no legislation in operation for the mandatory reporting of child rape under Fianna Fail’s 14 years of Governance. The new Coalition Government of Fine Gael/Labour has promised to introduce the mandatory reporting of child rape/abuse. Child Rape is not new in Ireland it has been officially known about since the Carrigan Report in 1930, however, the Catholic Church among other interested parties does not want Mandatory reporting of child rape on the statute books. Fianna Fail brought great relief to those thousands of persons in society who continued to rape children and depend on the concealment of their crimes to quench their lust. Non Mandatory reporting of child rape is to the sexual deviant, what the safe house is to the terrorist.

Prior to the introduction of the 1997 Criminal Justice Act there existed in common law the crime of ‘misprision of felony’. Misprision of Felony simply meant that if a person had knowledge of a serious crime having been committed by another person but had concealed or failed to report such crime to the Gardai they could be prosecuted. However, knowing that many within the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church and Civil Society could fall upon this sword, if the dark secrets within the Church were fully exposed, Fianna Fail upon taking power in 1997 quickly removed it from the statue books. The 1997 Criminal Justice Act created two new offences but neither had the scope of misprision of felony, this was the intention of the legislator, now Bishops, Cardinals and Sinn Fein Presidents could openly admit that they had concealed child rape and forced children to sign letters of secrecy about their rapes at the hands of the Catholic Church and these Bishops, Cardinals and Sinn Fein Presidents would not face prosecution for their crimes against God and man.

Under section 7(2) of the 1997 Act, an offence occurs where a person knows that someone else has committed an arrestable offence (punishable by five years or more), and does without reasonable excuse any act with intent to impede the apprehension or prosecution of that other person. This new offence under the 1997 Act requires the doing of a positive act with the intent to impede prosecution, so a mere failure to report a crime, including child rape, is not sufficient for prosecution. The other offence created under the 1997 Act, section 8, which replaces a different common law offence of ‘compounding a felony’. It applies only where a person knows that an arrestable offence has been committed but agrees for some consideration (i.e. money) not to disclose that information. Again section 8 would require more than the act of failing to report the rape of a child in order to be prosecuted. It is also worth noting that Section 15, of the 1997 Criminal Justice Act, applies the abolition of the misprision of felony retrospectively, should there be any doubt why this law was removed from the statute books. How many times have Ministers said that laws could not be applied retrospectively in other matters, yet it would appear that it could be done to help Bishops, Cardinals and other criminals in our society?

Such is the moral bankruptcy of the relationship between the Catholic Church and their political bedfellows in Fianna Fail that we had legislation that put a mandatory obligation on banks to report suspicious monetary transactions but we had no mandatory reporting of child rape. In 1990 the Law Reform Commission argued that failure to report child sexual abuse should be made a specific crime for particular categories of people, such as GPs, Health Board staff and so forth. Successive Governments have continued to fail children. Shanahan, K. (1992) reports on a survey of 20 County Wicklow based GPs who replied to a questionnaire on incest, eleven of these GPs stated that they had come across cases of incest in their practice, but only three of the eleven had reported onwards. This survey could have been carried out in any part of Ireland then or now and the results would be the same, GPs particularly in provincial towns, town lands and villages who are dependent on a small number if extended families for their bread and butter are not going to rock the boat over the rape of a child. Indeed it has been shown here that GPs have helped silence child rape victims by feeding those victims unlicensed-mind-altering-drugs.

In 1991 when it became clear that there were going to be a flood of allegations of child rape against Homophiles and so forth within the Catholic Church, the Fianna Fail Government under the leadership of Charles Haughey, moved quickly to reduce the sentence for sexual assault (which included buggery) from ten years down to five in the Criminal Justice Act 1991. It is easy to see why some Government Ministers jumped on the ban wagon when certain high profile (non-religious) cases came before the courts, this clearly a case of those shouting loudest, do so to conceal their own crimes. It is clear that when people like former Justice Minister, John O’Donoghue were filling the tabloid press with his nonsense about Zero Tolerance, it insured that his expense accounts were not being examined too closely. How many children could have been protected with the vast fortunes squandered by O’Donoghue and others whose only interest was their own self-indulgence?

Whatever the true extent of sexual crime it is clear that anyone who believes that punitive legislation and secrecy is a cure for what is in most cases of child sexual abuse, a compulsive disorder, are without education and knowledge of the subject. Those who advocate punitive legislation and secrecy as key elements of Child Protection, simply condemn thousands of children to increased intimidation and cruelty, they further bury the debate for another generation, which may well be their intention. Dr Ian O’Donnell explains that research has shown that the public usually wants tougher responses to crime when presented with general questions such as whether they think the courts are too lenient:

However, when given detailed information about particular cases, so that they can understand the consequences for victims and the motivations of offenders, the range of responses is wider. As a rule the overall level of punitiveness decreases as understanding grows. Inflammatory language and knee jerk responses, while understandable when passions are high, are out of place in a debate about saving human lives and improving public safety. It is then that policies introduced in haste could leave a bitter – and expensive – legacy for future generations.

It was this very type of knee jerk reaction that allowed the Sex Offenders Act 2001 to be introduced, in the face of opposition from the Attorney General. The loop holes left and which remain in the 2001 Act, allowed convicted rapist Paddy O’Driscol to legally give no fixed abode as his address to the Gardai. The Gardai could not monitor O’Driscol and he soon raped another young woman in Cork, he is now serving 18 years for that savage attack, but it could have been prevented if John O’Donoghue had not introduced legislation that is flawed and which he was told by the Attorney General was flawed.

In Ireland today the rape, sexual molestation, cruelty and neglect of children is manifest much more so in the prevailing economic conditions and social decay that follow from that. Sexual crime against children pervades every level of society, with no quarter of professional, vocational, community or voluntary exempt as so graphically highlighted by Operation Amethyst, does anyone think that a thirst for child rape will be quenched by a hearty court fine or community service order. All allegations of child rape and sexual abuse should be reported to the Gardai, those allegations must then be addressed by way of a multi-disciplinary team, all persons confirmed as having sexually abused children or concealed the abuse of children must be placed on a national Garda data base for the sole purpose of providing best practice in child protection and community safety. It may well be that Ireland is not ready to face up to the truth about child rape and sexual criminality in general. It clearly suits certain groups and individuals, particularly those who have been complicit in child rape, particularly but not exclusively those within the Church and State, to continue to persecute the few, while the many that have been confirmed as having raped and sexually abused children (96%) walk away without sanction.

Fianna Fail in particular, but not exclusively, failed to modernise and create a thorough going secular morality with respect to sexual matters in the spheres of health, education and the law. This would be a first step, real step, towards addressing sexual crime and deviance in Ireland. We live in hope in 2011 that the new Coalition Government under the leadership of Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore can bring forward legislation to ensure that the reporting of child rape/abuse is made mandatory and that Children First is a core Government policy and not simply a populist sound-bite.

[1] See, RTE 1, The Limits of Liberty, 31st May 2010.

[2] See, ‘Domestic Violence and Gender’, (2002) The Irish Times, 17th December, p13.

[3] See, report on Dr Woods, Sunday Independent (2002), Veraik, R. The Irish Independent (2001) and Jones, B. The Sunday Times (2002).

[4] “Snooker Star cleared of rape”, Irish Independent (2002), “Garda Inspector cleared of sexual assault”, Irish Times (2002), “Three men cleared of rape”, Irish Independent (2002), “Hamilton’s maintain their total innocence”, The Sunday Tribune (2001), In August/Sept 2002, a 15 year old girl made daily headlines in the national press and news across Ireland for almost three weeks after claiming that she had been dragged into an ally way in Galway City and sexually assaulted by two men, while on her way to school. She later admitted she had invented the whole story to get attention, Irish Times (2002).

[5] Unlicensed Mind Altering Drugs such as Seroxat used in IRELAND to distort childhood memories of abuse.

[6] O’Mahony, P. (2001) points to Mathiesen, T. (1990) Prisons on Trial, London: Sage, p.169; for a credible attempt at the extreme challenge of arguing that rapists should not be imprisoned , see Finstad, L. (1990) ‘Sexual Offenders Out of Prison: Principles for a Realistic Utopia’, in International Journal of the Sociology of Law, 20, 2, pp. 152-78.

[7] In October, 2002, The Home Affairs Select Committee at Westminster published a report on the dangers inherent in child sexual abuse investigations. Lord Woolf, Britain’s then Chief Legal Advisor publicly conceded that there could be as many as one hundred miscarriages of justice in this area.

[8] Bandon, S., Boakes, J., Glaser, D. and Green, R. (1998), ‘Recovered Memory of Child Sexual Abuse: Implications for Clinical Practice’, British Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 172, pp.296-307.

[9] These figures were cited by Ms Rhonda Turner, principle psychologist at St Louise’s Unit, Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, at the third National Prosecutors Conference in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. Ms Turner went on to explain that only 4% of confirmed cases of child sexual abuse were prosecuted and the proportion of cases resulting in conviction was even lower.

Chapter 2

Sex Crime and the Media

John Muncie (2000) sets the media and public’s attitude to crime, into context, when he tells us that:

Any cursory glance at television programme listings, the contents of mass circulation newspapers or the shelves of fiction in book shops will confirm the extent to which an audience perceives crime not just as a social problem but as a major source of amusement and diversion, the way in which we enjoy violence, humiliation and hurt casts doubt on the universal applicability of harm as always connoting trouble, fear, loss and so on. For participants, too, the pleasure in creating harm, or doing wrong or breaking boundaries is also part of the equation and needs to be thought through (p.225).

Prof. Paul O’Mahony (1996) goes further in addressing the media and crime, when he says:

Sections of the media never tire of reflecting a fearful message of crime back to the public and amplifying it through selective reporting, sensational headlines and frequently inflammatory editorialising. For most part the media rhetoric of fear and moral panic is built on isolated cases taken out of the broader context of crime in Ireland. Traditional barriers of good taste and reticence have been broken down. As the parameters of the permissible have expended some sections of the media have developed a reprehensible, approach which is sensational and voyeuristic. Supposedly factual accounts and purportedly serious analyses and comment are often exaggerated, unsubstantiated by any reliable supporting evidence, and intended to provoke hysterical response (p.167).

This manufacturing of hysterical responses guillotines public and political debate and pushes certain weak politicians towards quick fix and usually harsh and ill-considered repressive and punitive legislation, the results of which are more damaging to society in the long term. Brenda O’ Brien says:

I have always said that the media have played a positive role in helping us to come to terms with child abuse, but there is a real danger that they will become intoxicated with their own power (Irish Times. 2002).

This positive/negative role played by the media in relation to child sexual abuse was picked up by Bishop Willie Walsh when he said:

Can I ask the media to be aware of the danger that it might use its power to occupy that oppressive and uncompassionate role which hopefully the Catholic Church has vacated or at least begun to vacate (Irish Times.2002).

Psychotherapist, Marie Keenan said of sex offenders, alleged or real, and the way the media treats them:

They were constructed as non-persons and icons of evil. Labels turn people into nouns and hence the paedophile is born (Irish Times.2002).

Marie Keenan was critical of the media’s role in this demonization and its indifference to families of offenders by the repetition of cases and repeated use of photographs of abusers. In the majority of child sexual abuse cases the victim/s are from the same family as the abuser and in high profile cases lurid reporting by what has become known as Journophiles [1] can have a devastating impact on innocent members of the extended family. However, we must also remember that many of these Journophiles have no interest in the victims in these cases and are simply reporting sensational headlines in order that they can sell the paperback book they will publish from the transcripts of the trial. However, as journophiles such as Tom Humphries is investigated by the Gardai in relation to allegations of child rape, the public must wonder if there are dark reasons why some journalists such as Tom Humphries set themselves up as societies moral barometers, are these journophiles any different from the Catholic priests who moralised from the altar on a Sunday and raped children on a Monday.

Certain media reporting can also see grave injustice done to the victims alleged or actual in such cases. In 1994 the Court of Criminal Appeal quashed a conviction which had led to a fourteen year sentence, because newspaper articles and pictures that were published during the trial period, which named the Defendant, were likely to prejudice the jury against him. In 1994, Mr Justice Kelly find the lurid Star tabloid £10,000 for publishing a report that did not reflect what had gone on in Court and was neither ‘fair or true’. This report led to the dismissal of the jury. In 2002 the reporting of a case appearing before Mr Justice, John Neilan at Mullingar District Court, relating to a charge of false imprisonment and sexual assault of a child, Mr Justice Neilan said of an interview with the alleged victim’s family on RTE:

It was outrageous and a nauseating matter (Irish Independent.2002).

In the case of Tim Allen a celebrity Chef and the first person to be ‘sentenced’ as a result of Operation Amethyst [2], the trial Judge said he had to take into account the substantial media coverage surrounding the case. The Tim Allen case caused ‘muted’ outcry as he was given 240 hours of community service and agreed to pay £40,000 to a children’s charity. Mr Allen had paid for and down loaded one thousand pictures of children from as young as five being raped (Irish Times. 2003). These acts of legal and moral courage by members of the judiciary to face down the bullying tactics of certain sections of the media and reactionary politicians are the exception rather than the rule.

What influence can be put upon a jury by even minimal pre-trial publicity is impossible to measure; however, we can be certain that many accused persons have been denied their Constitutional right to a fair trial due to accesses by certain sections of the media. This is particularly the case in provincial towns in the Irish Republic where serious crimes are tried before the Circuit Court. Crawford (1997) reminds us that:

An assertion of community at a local level can be beautifully conciliatory, socially nuanced and constructive but it can also be parochial, intolerant, oppressive and unjust (p.294).

Accesses by the media can impugn a convicted person’s ability to seek and receive rehabilitative care when entering the prison system and can destroy the reputation of an acquitted person. This commitment to a fair trial, as set out in the Irish Constitution, Bunreacht na hEireann, and International conventions, was confirmed by Mrs Justice Denham of the Supreme Court in 1993, when she stated:

Article 40.3 incorporated a right to fairness of procedures which incorporated the requirement of Trial by jury unprejudiced by pre-trial publicity…the right to a fair trial was a fundamental Constitutional right and was superior to the communities right to prosecute (O’Mahony.1996.p.11).

A small number of politicians have not been silent on the matter of accesses by the media, although such disquiet has not been followed through by legislation. The establishment of the Press Complaints Commission is a small step in the right direction, however, when a person’s freedom is at stake no stone must be left unturned in order to guarantee a fair trial to an accused person. On the 4th of May, 2001, Donnie Cassidy, the leader of the Senate at that time said:

The rights of citizens were being eroded by some sections of the media and the Oireachtas would have to be courageous in addressing this problem.

Mr Maurice Manning, the Fine Gael Leader of the Seanad responded to Mr Cassidy by saying:

I would like to draw attention to the fact that this very morning one criminal trial cannot go ahead because of the antics of some newspapers yesterday (Irish Times.2001).

In an article in The Irish Times (2003) Fintan O’Toole gave an excellent analysis of the negative role played by some media in the murder trial of Catherine Nevin. O’Toole concludes this article by saying:

The media industry, which rightly demands that others account for their use of power, has a lot to account for (p.16).

The jury is not the only consideration where the accesses of the media are concerned. In 2001 a Circuit Court Judge, ordered the media from his Court as he sentenced a man found guilty of sexual offences. The judge stated that his reasons for ordering the media from his court was that, he felt the presence of the media would influence his sentencing of the accused man. While this decision by the Circuit Court judge was later over turned by the High Court, it opened up the somewhat muted debate about the effects of popular sentiment and legislative provision for harsher sentences on the actual practice of judicial discretion. However, the muted debate disappeared with the headlines. Even where a judge of the lower courts has banned the publishing of names of persons involved in sexual crime cases in the interest of the victim/s, the High Court has over turned such decisions (Irish Times.2002).

Yet there is a moral schizophrenia in sections of the media when it comes to sexual crime alleged or real. While one can read tabloid headlines such as ‘Sex Beast’ and ‘Sex Monster’ (Stanko.2000) the flick of the front page of the tabloid will bring the reader into a world of intimate, lurid and graphic descriptions of sexual crimes and fantasies. The material to be found on these voyeuristic journeys, is equal to the depths of depravity to be found on deviant sexual websites on the World Wide Web, sites developed and maintained for an ever more voyeuristic public, deviant sexual sub-cultures there in, and the young and the vulnerable. These lurid and voyeuristic accounts of criminals proceedings, sex orientated advertisements and perverted sex chat lines are a clear indication of the moral schizophrenia of those sections of the media, which are high on rhetoric but low on morality.

On a daily basis there are millions of examples of this moral schizophrenia in the media. Staying specifically with the area of child sexual abuse and exploitation, I have looked at the sex orientated adverts in the tabloid press. While the extent of this article is too confined to give the depth of analysis that I would like, I will however, set out some examples. In the Weekly Sport tabloid, sex orientated adverts run alongside distasteful lurid details of sex crimes before the courts, a sample of these sex orientated adverts is:

Young Girls Want to Talk to You 1-2-1

Bored Young Girls Waiting for You to Call

Lively Girls on Line Now

Young Girls Willing to Talk

Sex adverts and selective reporting of sexual crime in The Star (tabloid) follow a similar pattern. However, The Star goes further by using popular children’s movies to lure and groom potential young customers to their sex adverts, Home Alone (a popular children’s movie) and versions thereof. The Joint National Readership Research group have reported that The Star has some 400,000 readers in Ireland each day, on any given day there are up wards of forty sex adverts in The Star, including titles such as:

Bi Girls

Sixth Former

Irish Girls

Hot and Horny

Chat with Girls at Home

Girls looking for Men

Girls at Home

This supply of lurid material that often runs alongside advertisements for children’s summer camps and other sporting activity of interest to children must surely be of concern to those in Irish society who genuinely want to see, sexual crime and the environment that facilitates and normalises it eliminated. It is interesting to note that these perverted sex adverts for sex chat lines are excluded from our advertising standards legislation. The proliferation of child owned mobile phones combined with this easy access to lurid material pose a real danger to community safety.

Who are these lurid advertisements directed towards? If not the weak minded, the vulnerable and the young. The word Girl in the Oxford English Dictionary means, ‘Female Child’. This discourse coupled with the use of child movies as an introduction to sex chat lines, can leave one with no other conclusion than that these sex orientated adverts are aimed at grooming children, those with a distorted sexual script and any one in the community who derives pleasure from the normalisation of sexual deviance, that these adverts portray. While much reporting of a lurid and voyeuristic nature is broadly confined to the tabloids and certain internet sites it is not exclusive to same. Some Broad sheets and visual media outlets have also tapped into this marketable commodity especially at times of high profile cases.

Tom Inglis, in his book, Lessons in Irish Sexuality (1998), sets out the findings of his research when he examined the Sunday Independent, for two separate six month periods. The first six months in 1963 and the second in 1993, his analysis indicated that over the thirty-year period, the number of explicit articles and photographs increased from two to thirty-three; the number of indirect items about sex increased from one to forty-four; and the number of direct items increased from eleven to seventy-six. Roger Grafe (2000) found in his research that:

The broad sheets report about three times the actual proportion of violent crime and the tabloids about ten times. The picture of the world one gets from crime news is that it is a very violent place. Inflated perceptions of the level of violence create pressure for something to be done (p.31).

What is most significant about this increased supply of lurid and deviant material by sections of the media is that it has gone unchallenged by the Government and those NGOs, voluntary and community groups who allegedly have the interests of victims at heart. Indeed these very same organisations know well that they will themselves need banner headlines when they seek their next trench of funding from Government. The double standards of some politicians were highlighted with the resignation of Government Minister, Mr Bobby Molloy in 2002, after it was disclosed by the right Hon. Mr Justice O’Sullivan, that Mr Molloy, had phoned him in relation to the sentencing of a man convicted but not yet sentenced for raping his daughter. However, the web of intrigue did not stop there; Under a Freedom of Information request by RTE’s, Good Morning Ireland, the Department of Justice was forced to disclose that the then Minister for Justice, Mr John O’Donoghue, ‘Mr Zero Tolerance’, had exchanged fifteen letters with Mr Molloy about the man convicted of, but not yet sentenced for raping his daughter.

All of the communications focused on the possibility of getting temporary release or bail for the convicted person, an intervention that is both unlawful and un-constitutional. The same Minister for Justice was a regular contributor by way of articles and interviews with the same lurid tabloids. Indeed Mr O’Donoghue would see himself before the District Court when a convicted person sought summonses issued against Mr O’Donoghue in a private criminal prosecution, after it was disclosed under the FOI Act that Mr O’Donoghue had sent an unlawful communication to the DPP in relation to that convicted persons case (Irish Times.2002). And while Mr O’Donoghue was telling the people of Ireland that sexual crime against children would not be tolerated, he and others were signing off on a deal that would see Religious Child Rapists getting bailed out to the tune of hundreds of millions of Euro, at a time when the majority of the 5,500 children in the ‘care’ of the State don’t have access to professional help. Mr O’Donoghue resigned from his position as Ceann Comhairle  of the Dail in 2009 after it was disclosed that he had spent vast amounts of tax payer’s money on extravagances for himself and his wife, including Gondala rides in Venice, while staying in 900 Euro per night Hotel rooms.

Few politicians or groups are prepared to challenge accesses by the media. Voluntary, community, ‘victims’ groups and others in the ‘victims industry’ depend on media coverage to high light their profile, which in turn helps them to secure funding from Government each year. An unprecedented ‘bogus moral panic’ was created when a ‘victims’ group colluded with the tabloids to gain banner headlines. In 2003 a ‘victims’ group claimed that over the previous five years there had been a substantial increase in drug induced rape and sexual assault cases. In fact the Gardai and the Sexual Assault Unit at the Rotunda Hospital stated that not one single case of drug induced rape or sexual assault had ever been brought to their attention. Following comprehensive investigation by the Sexual Assault Units around the country, this investigation included toxicology reports on each victim, it was clearly established that the women making such allegations (if they ever did) had simply consumed so much alcohol that they could not remember what they had done the night before. Yet nobody seemed to bat an eye lid when this bogus moral panic was exposed in an RTE 1, Crime Line Report, on the 26th January, 2003.

The Irish Independent (2002) reported how a 17 year old French youth, claimed to have been driven by a cult horror movie ‘Scream’ to commit the gratuitous murder of a fifteen year old girl. French Justice Minister, Dominique Perben, commenting on the case said:

The Government must quickly come up with a way to avoid this repetition of scenes of violence at the disposition of adolescents. These violent scenes set in motion some particularly fragile adolescents who then play out misdemeanours or crimes.

Sex orientated sites on the internet are an extension of this tabloid supply of deviant material, to an ever more voyeuristic public and particularly those with a distorted sexual script there in. Millions of web pages now provide a wide range of sex orientated pornography and literature. The scales of provision go from curious voyeurism, to the most lurid taste, reaching into the dark recesses of unstable minds. In February, 2001, seven people were convicted in London for their part in the ‘Wonderland Club’ which was the world’s largest known child pornography web site. The ‘Wonderland Club’ internet data base held some 750,000 images, including the rape of babies as young as two months old (Irish Indpendent.2001). It is clear from the many cases coming before the courts in England and Ireland, that the higher socio-economic groupings are the main yet not exclusive users of this new technological deviance, this was clear from Operation Amethyst (Irish Times.2002) and was reinforced by experts in this field who were interviewed on an RTE, Prime Time programme on this subject on the 31st May 2010.

For generations Irish people were constrained by the condemnation of all, but normal marital sexual relations by the Catholic Church, however, following the Ferns, Murphy, Ryan and Cloyne Reports into religious child rapists that constraint is laid bare, the constraints of moral and religious teaching for generations, has been sharply lifted by the expose of the Catholic Church and the voyeuristic and lurid material of a newly liberated technological era. One would be a fool to suggest that sexual deviance is not a marketable commodity, however, with that marketing must come responsibility. Tony O’Neil CEO of one of the biggest providers of porn on the internet and mobile phones says of the industry:

As far as the web is concerned, pornography has always been at the cutting edge technology wise, the industry is worth billions of dollars generating more money than music or movies (Irish Times. 2001).

Emer O’ Kelly told us in the Sunday Independent, that she and other citizens are scourged by sexually explicit pornography, that is sent to them via the internet, into the privacy of their own homes, yet this is not illegal. Supply and demand for lurid and voyeuristic material and sexual stimuli for an ever more voyeuristic public and deviant sub-cultures there in, are growing unhindered, and sections of the media have not been wanting in feeding that demand and exploiting the aquiesants of the Government and others who turn a blind eye to this moral quagmire. Prof. Paul O’ Mahony (1996) says:

Pornographic portrayals of the relations between men and women and adults and children permeate our society. Pornography inevitably plays an important role in forming sexual attitudes and quite possibly, in facilitating and promoting sexual crime (p.219).

ISPCC Chief Executive, Paul Gilligan, reacting to Operation Amethyst, supported this view expressed by O’ Mahony in that pornography can facilitate crime and can be an integral part of sexual criminality when he said:

There is clear evidence from other countries that those in possession of child pornography represent a real risk to children and that those who actively purchase such material represent a greater risk. Some of the biggest paedophile rings and the most compulsive paedophile offenders have been caught on the basis of storing this type of material (Irish Independent.2002).

That said of course, the many thousands of religious child rapists including Homophiles, Hetrophiles and Paedophiles who operated within the Catholic Church would not have had access to such pornographic material in the 1940s/50s/60s and so forth. The ever more voyeuristic public and particularly those with a distorted sexual script there in, as set out in this article, are vulnerable to the detrimental influences of deviant literature and photography and persons outside this profile, who lack countervailing influences, particularly the young, can be taken along on a tide of sexual deviant activity and criminality. The conviction in England in May 2010 of two ten year old boys for the attempted rape of an eight year old girl, begs the question, why are children engaging is such activity, they did not learn it from watching the Telly Tubbies or Bosco.

In a survey published in July, 2002, the National Centre for Technology in Education found that 73% of 8-10 year old children had internet access at home. In an RTE Prime Time investigation aired on the 31st of May 2010, it was shown that 99% of children now have access to the internet at home. The report in 2002 further stated that as many as 25% of children with internet access at home had encountered pornography on the internet. In the Prime Time programme in 2010 this number is much greater and the dangers posed by chat rooms and social networking sites are an ever increasing danger. This normalising of deviant activity by the pornographic web sites, other sections of the media and a traditionally acquiescent Fianna Fail Government and others have lowered the barriers, and provided a constant stream of images and literature to create and feed unhealthy and grossly unrealistic fantasies. The great disappointment with the Prime Time programme was that it failed to address the role played by the tabloids and other media in normalising and facilitating sexual crime, and rather seemed to suggest that it is only those sites that exchange child pornography or have a cyber-contact element that pose the only threat to children, again enforcing the image of the paedophile, homophile or hetrophile as a man in the cyber bushes wearing a rain coat.

What is important to remember about deviance, says Young (1973) is that:

Deviant behaviour….is a meaningful attempt to solve the problems faced by a group or isolated individual – it is not a meaningless pathology (p.42).

Young’s proposition raises the question, why does society prefer to decry rather than confront sexual deviance in an open and constructive forum? May explanations can be offered and some have been put forward in this paper, however, unlike ‘homosexuality’ other sexual sub-cultures particularly those relating to child sexual abuse, cannot be so easily set outside the dominant sexual culture. It is perhaps this fear of examining too closely sexual crime and particularly sexual crime against children (Operation Amethyst, Ferns Report, Murphy Report, Ryan Report and the Cloyne Report) that allows the hard line consensus to square their shoulders and shout ‘hang them’, however, as we have learned in Ireland, it is usually those who shout the loudest that do so to conceal their own crimes. In 2011, a 45 year old, father of two children, from Slane Village, in County Meath, who had lead a campaign to have another man driven out of Slane over alleged sexual offences in 2005, was brought before Navan District Court charged with producing child pornography.

If the figures, relating to sexual crime in Ireland presented in this article in terms of Operation Amethyst and so forth are even close to the true extent of sexual crime, then one wonders in a population of four-million people, what family in the broadest sense is without its own difficulties. The recent revelations by Sinn Fein, President, Gerry Adams TD that he had known for decades that both his father and Brother Liam were child abusers, exposes the reality of how many dark secrets remain untold in Ireland. However, all is not lost as Brenda O’ Brien reminds us that:

An important Canadian study shows that untreated sex offenders have a 35% recidivism rate, while it is less than 10% for those who are un treated (Irish Times.2002).

When John O’Donoghue TD was Minister for Justice, dozens of convicted sex offenders applied to go on the sex offenders treatment programme at Arbour Hill Prison, the majority were told that there were no facilities to treat them due to lack of funding, this at a time when the Department of Justice spent vast fortunes on expensive trips abroad and squandered tens of millions of Euro on lavish expenses for O’Donoghue and his ilk. Many within the hard-line consensus like British Home Secretary, Jack Straw (1997-2001) who introduced ill-considered and punitive measures against sexual deviance, found that he had to build the scaffold close to home when his brother was charged with sexual crimes against two young girls in 2000. In July 2001, the Taoiseach’s Office was quick to play down reports that it was the subject of a major investigation by the Director of Equality, into allegations of serious sexual harassment against a former female employee. While some Cabinet Ministers, had in the weeks prior to these allegations against the Taoiseach’s Office been able to illegally comment on certain cases of a sexual nature before the criminal courts, the Taoiseach’s Department had ‘No Comment’ in relation to its own dirty laundry that was being hung out in the public arena.

This hypocrisy is not exclusive to weak politicians, in 2005; The Editor of The Star paid a sex offender who had just been released from prison 400 Euro for photographs of the said sex offender. The said sex offender had asked a friend to take pictures of him as he walked in O’Connell Street on the day he was released from prison, the said sex offender then sold these photographs to The Star for 400 Euro, the following day The Editor of The Star published the photographs claiming that a Star photographer had ‘captured’ the pictures as he seen the said sex offender on O’ Connell Street. The Editor of The Star continues to be a paid guest on many Irish television programmes where he continues to lecture the Irish public on matters of morality and good citizenship.

The vitriol expounded by certain sections of the media for those accused of sexual crime, particularly against children, it is not a new phenomenon. In the not too distant past ‘homosexuals’ were the target of the editorial ‘moralists’. In the 1980s and 1990s Ireland’s sexual closet flung open with a vengeance and from this sexual expose, homosexuals were reluctantly ‘accepted’ into the status quo as an oppressed sexual minority, as opposed to a ‘sexually deviant sub-culture’. Such is the strength of the ‘homosexual’ lobby today in the UK and Ireland, that laws have been introduced to reflect a more liberal approach to the gay community. What ‘was’ seen as being seriously criminal by the Governments of the UK and Ireland a few short years ago is today not only ‘tolerated’ but is legislated for. Sexual activity with a child must remain criminal as no child can consent to such activity, however, child protection, community safety and crime prevention cannot be delegated to certain weak politicians and editorial ‘moralists’, whose only motivation respectively is self-preservation and gross commercialism.

Cross (1979) quotes Lord Summers, to sum up, attitudes to homosexuality before the prevailing liberalism:

Persons who commit the offences now under consideration seek the habitual gratification of particular perverted lust which not only takes them out of the class of ordinary men gone wrong, but stamps them with the hall-mark of specialised and extraordinary class as much as if they carried on their bodies some physical peculiarity (p.366).

In a more contemporary address of homosexuality, Monsignor, Andrew Baker of the Vatican’s Congregation of Bishops said:

Homosexuals may be more familiar with certain patterns and techniques of deception and repression…Nor can a homosexual be genuinely a sign of Christ’s spousal love for the Church…if the homosexual could be healed from such disorder, then he could be considered for admission to the seminary and possibly to Holy Orders, but not while being afflicted with the disorder (Irish Times.2002).

Indeed these words may well have meant something if they were not being uttered by a representative of the Catholic Church, a Church that has concealed the rape of thousands of children across the world at the hands of Homophiles, Hetrophiles and Paedophiles within the Catholic Church. An interesting observation that I make in relation to the current trend by certain sections of the media to burn male sexual deviants, alleged or real, at the stake, while excusing their female counter parts as being mentally ill. Is the fact that a number of journalists who belonged to the once flogged sub-culture of ‘homosexuality’, set aside more than a fair share of column inches to condemn the deviance of recently emerging sexual sub-cultures. Perhaps these individuals unsure of their own membership of their particular group need to vilify others for some form of security and acceptance into an uncertain world. Why do these journalists create the illusion that all religious child rapists were paedophiles when in fact over 95% of them were Homophiles, this misinformation helps to create the illusion that certain sections of society do not rape children, when the evidence is very clearly to the contrary.

However, out of this vilification and recrimination needs to emerge rational and reasoned debate about how to develop best practice in child protection, crime prevention and community safety, how many lives could have been saved if the ‘Gay’ debate had not been left for so long in the hands of the ‘moral’ guardians in the media and politics. The difficulty with the supply of lurid and voyeuristic material in the media and especially that which feeds the habits of those with a distorted sexual script and facilitates sexual crime in general (O’ Mahony.1996), is that it normalises deviance in the minds of people already suffering from a variety of psychological, emotional, moral and social crisis. Many sex offenders come from non-nurturing back grounds; they can’t express their emotions or even ask the questions that could set them free from a life time of mental torture (Casey.1999). A Press Ombudsman is a good start to setting some standard in a runaway media, however, much more needs to be done if another generation are not to be morally bankrupted by those who help normalise and facilitate sexual crime in Ireland.

[1] Journophile is the term used to describe those persons who write or contribute to those media outlets that facilitate and normalise sexual deviance by way of their objectification of men, women and children through the advertising of perverted sex chat lines, pornographic imagery or lurid sexual literature.

[2] Operation Amethyst was an FBI led investigation that identified people all over the world who had accessed, paid for and down loaded child pornography from the internet. 100 people were identified in Ireland including a Circuit Court Judge who would later have the charges against him dropped as the search warrant used to seize his computer was some hours out of date. The Judge in question had been one of the founder members of the now defunct Progressive Democrats, the ‘anti-corruption’ party.

Chapter 3

Sex Crime and Prisons

Dr Ian O’Donnell, Institute of Criminology, Law Faculty, UCD, explains that in Ireland, Britain and the USA:

One consequence of the politicisation of crime has been a surge in prison populations. Placing more people behind bars might satisfy a thirst for vengeance, if only until the next outrage.

The former Minister for Justice, John O’Donoghue (1997-02) was quick to relate the ‘fall’ in crime to the expansion of the prison population in the Irish Republic (Sunday Times.2003) upon examination we see that such headline grabbing is not supported by the facts. The former Minister for Justice was falling in behind the discourse of what Bottoms (1995) describes as:

Populist Punitiveness

Contrary to O’Donoghue’s spin in the media, a comparison between the Garda Siochana Annual Reports (2000-02) paint an entirely different picture than that presented by O’Donoghue about the true state of reported crime in Ireland in this period, in this period of increased prison populace (Irish Prison Service Reports. 1999-00. p.10 also 2000-01) there was increases across all ten categories of ‘headline’ crime. These include the most serious offences such as homicide, assault, rape and robbery. In 2000-02 there was an average of one murder per week, while reported sexual crimes reached unprecedented levels (1,070 < 1,956 < 3,174 respectively). Remembering that the Sex Offenders Bill was introduced in 2001 as the great deterrent against sexual criminality, its effects were to the contrary and continue to be so. It should also be remembered that the conviction of a person for multiple rape is recorded by the Gardai as one crime. O’Donoghue hoped that his constant creation of banner headlines would ensure that his own crimes of squandering millions of Euros of tax payer’s money would not be uncovered.

It is this discourse of populist punitiveness and the juggling or massaging of crime figures by weak politicians and their spin doctors that ensures that the public continue to look to imprisonment as a primary means of preventing crime. Marcus Felson (1994) suggests that those societies that depend on the ‘old’ criminal justice agencies as the main source of crime prevention:

Have already lost the battle against crime (p.xi)

Unfortunately in the Irish Republic the majority of Ministers only hold the Justice portfolio for a five year period or less and therefore they can survive in office without even attempting any reform of the system, they can in fact spin and weave their way from one Ministerial portfolio to the next without ever taking responsibility for anything including their lavish expense accounts, this was certainly the case under Fianna Fail. Muncie (2002) reminds us that in the aftermath of the murder of three year old James Bulger in England in 1993, the youth justice system in particular took a sharp turn down the road to retribution when he says:

Custody was once more promoted as the key means to prevent re-offending through the in-capacitive slogan ‘Prison Works’. As a result, it has been argued that, particularly in England and Wales, a legal discourse of guilt, responsibility and punishment has always tended to surface and resurface as the dominant position in the definition and adjudication of young offending (p.145).

Unfortunately there have been many James Bulger’s since and nothing has changed, in Ireland it is clear that those who pose the most serious threat to society continue while behind prison bars to run criminal empires and order murder and drug shipments by way of mobile phone the way ordinary citizens would order pizza. It is my contention that any growth in the penal population inevitably mutes any commitment to promoting rehabilitation and therefore preventing recidivism amongst offenders in all categories of criminality. From as early as 2003 the effects of a global down turn, in terms of economic growth, were already being felt within the prison system here in Ireland with penny pinching cut backs in education and rehabilitation, even the traditional Christmas packet of cigarettes given to prisoners by some Governors was taken away.

While Ministers for Justice such as John O’Donoghue and Michael Mc Dowell could spend vast fortunes of tax payer’s money on their five star life styles, they failed the public by making mealy mouthed cuts within the prison system. The closing of Shangallagh House by Michael Mc Dowell SC was described by the Governor of Mountjoy Prison, John Lonnegan as:

An Act of pure Evil

These mealy mouthed cuts have continued each and every year since 2003, while capital projects such as the extension to Wheatfield Prison have went ahead, these moves have been of-set by the closure of the Curragh Prison, Spike Island Prison and so forth. The revolving door system that operated in the 1980s is fully operational in 2010, as overcrowding is at an unprecedented level and 1000 prisoners on early release. Regional papers carry court reports of Judges expressing surprise as defendants that they sentenced to terms of imprisonment appear before them on new charges when they should still be serving those custodial sentences. However, even during years of substantial economic growth in the IrishRepublic, a period known as the Celtic Tiger, there was no significant investment in new imaginaries of rehabilitation within or outside the penal system. Generally political administrations appear short sighted when it comes to crime prevention. However, even when light appears at the end of the new imaginaries tunnel, it simply takes one ‘bogus moral panic’ and certain weak politicians, to send even the most progressive political administration into penal regression, as the spin doctors set out to suppress the lurid tabloid headlines.

It is unfortunate that former Ministers for Justice, such as John O’Donoghue could find time within their schedule to write articles for the lurid tabloids and persecute individual citizens, but could only skulk in and out of Wheatfield Prison on a thirty minute visit like some political pervert. Rene van Swaaningen (2002) quotes Garland (2000) to suggest that prison:

On an instrumental level it provides a place where people who cannot be fitted into a ‘free country’ of consumer choice can be warehoused (p.263).

However, in Ireland we are acutely aware that such warehousing is excessively reserved for those who are economically superfluous (O’Mahony.1993). It is clear in Ireland in 2011 that some of the most corrupt and criminal politicians, bankers and property speculators will never see the inside of a prison cell even though they have bankrupted the country through acts of criminality which are economically comparable to the damage done to America by the 9/11 atrocity in New York. It is important to remember that even in countries that have been testing and adapting new imaginaries in crime prevention and particularly the management of offenders within such a paradigm, the penal industry is a growth industry (Christie.1993). Furthermore, Hughes et al (2002) reminds us that:

We continue to live in brutal times, with old crimes and punishments coexisting alongside the new reductive architecture of control and security (p.337).

When a person is convicted of a sexual crime, of which there are many categories, finds him or herself imprisoned, they are in a weird suspended animation. In many cases persons convicted of sexual crime have themselves been abused while in the ‘care’ of the State, Church or domestic setting and have from that went on to be abusers (Casey.1999 and Hoggett.2000). In prison, persons convicted of sexual offending and particularly those with the split victim/perpetrator profile find themselves in an environment populated by abusers, and the socialisation and normalisation process that goes along with such an environment. Eighteen year old boys with the split victim/perpetrator profile are housed with well-seasoned abusers, and soon find themselves being sodomised for the price of an ounce of tobacco. Marie Keenan tells us that research indicates that:

Abusers experienced a deficit in intimacy and social skills, leading to emotional isolation. Abusers have a distorted sexual script which allowed abuse; emotional dysregulation which inhibited effective management of feelings, and cognitive distortions/implicit theories which allowed the abuse (Irish Times.2002).

Paul Hoggett (2000) supports this view of abused becoming abuser, when he says:

Bodily and physically integrity, freedom from physical and emotional violence, are central to the development of our being. Traumatised subjects are haunted by a past which casts its shadow over all assertions of agency, in the worst case leaving them doomed to repeat past injuries in future encounters: as we now know, so many abusive fathers were themselves once abused as children (p.146).

Wheatfield Prison in Dublin, was purposely built in the 1980s with modern standards in mind, there is an education unit, workshops and a range of services. Yet with all of these services available, at least one quarter of the prison population rarely leave their cell or landing due to fear of physical attack or psychological abuse. Those persons who do leave their landing to seek help, employment or training, particularly those identified in the media as being convicted for a sexual crime against a child, must run a gauntlet of abuse on a daily basis. In many instances those dispensing the abuse have been convicted of similar crimes, but they have not been identified in the media and so shout loudest to conceal their own crimes. If persons being abused attempt to defend them-selves, the attackers will have ten witnesses to say that the prisoner attacked was the instigator of the violence. Prisoners are then put on a prison charge, known as a P19, and can lose remission.

Many prisoners cannot afford to purchase nor would they ask visitors to leave in ‘normal’ sexual stimuli, as allowed by the Department of Justice. For, example, the Department of Justice allows ‘Mayfair’, a male sex orientated magazine. It can also be seen that many persons convicted of sexual and ‘non-sexual’ crimes use the sexually explicit pictures or literature from the tabloids to decorate the walls of their cells. Many explicit sex orientated magazines are smuggled into the prison system, and recently one of Ireland’s most high profile and dangerous criminals, John Gilligan, was found to have women’s underwear in his cell. The majority of prisoners cover the walls of their cell with explicit pornography, even that which has been smuggled in. The reason that I pause in relation to persons convicted of ‘non-sexual’ crimes is due to the fact that many persons convicted of drug related offences and so forth make no secret of the fact that they have been involved in rape and other sexual offences, but have not been convicted of same. It is not unusual to hear a group of young prisoners talk about how they were at a party and the women were so ‘stoned’ they had sex with at least one woman without that woman being in a condition to consent to having sex.

Some drug users ‘Junkies’ and drug dealers even boast of how they paid off their victims by giving them a few Euros worth of heroin. Many of these sexually explicit pictures in the cells of prisoners show young women dressed in school uniforms or other child related poses, for example, sucking their thumb, licking a lollipop and so forth. It is then the case that the majority of persons convicted of sexual crimes depend on the tabloids and explicit sexual contraband for stimuli. It is the lurid sexual detail of articles and court cases, coupled with sex orientated advertising contained in the tabloid press that gives a sense of normalisation to those who have a distorted sexual script and others who are without countervailing influences. Many persons convicted of sexual crimes refer to the ‘journalists’ who provide them with this daily diet of deviant sexual stimuli as Journophiles. The Journophile is to the sexually dysfunctional what the drug dealer is to the ‘Junkie’ he/she feeds, in many cases, what is a compulsive addiction. Many prisoners found in the illegal possession of mobile phones, approximately 2000 mobiles are confiscated each year in Irish prisons, were found to have used those phones to ring perverted sex chat lines advertised in the lurid tabloids.

Normal prison life means that prisoners are locked in their cells for seventeen hours per day; add to this administrative interment, deviant sexual stimuli, without rehabilitative resource and the results are sadly predictable. In 2009 a prisoner who had just been released from Wheatfield Prison having served a sentence for rape, committed another sexual crime within fourteen hours of his release. This prisoner had during his sentence been confined to his cell 24 hours per day without access to rehabilitative care, even though he sought such care, he was told that there was no money to provide such rehabilitative care. Isolation, de-socialisation, drug use/abuse, sensory deprivation, emotional deprivation and so on, make a bad situation worse. In many cases persons convicted of sexual crimes are already isolated and marginalised from family and community before going to prison. Added to this social stigma in the community, resulting from being convicted of a sexual crime, particularly involving children, upon entering prison are further isolated.

This isolation in prison is not only due to the administrative internment mentioned above, but also isolation from the general prison population. This isolation occurs especially, although not exclusively, if their cases have been reported in the media, and the threat to their safety that flows from that added punishment. Some such prisoners, particularly members of Religious orders, Gardai, politicians and so forth get special treatment and are sent to the safe environment of Arbour Hill Prison in Dublin that caters almost exclusively for sex offenders. While Wheatfield Prison now houses the majority of sex offenders presently serving sentences in the Republic, Wheatfield is a very dangerous place for both staff and vulnerable prisoners. The gang rape of a young prisoner in Wheatfield in 2010, on the orders of a Limerick based gang housed there, highlights the perversity of the situation in Wheatfield. Officers are regularly subjected to threat and intimidation and for this reason many prison officers have been caught bringing drugs and other contraband into the gangs who run Wheatfield. Wheatfield like most prisons in the Republic is controlled on the outside by the State, but controlled on the inside by gangs; I call this the doughnut effect. The State keeps the prisoners in, while the gangs run the various landings and wings within the prisons.

However, Arbour Hill is far from meeting best practice or international standards in the management of sex offenders, the normalisation process of deviant sexual behaviour simply becomes manifest  when clusters of offenders are placed together. This thesis is supported by some contributors to a very progressive report on sexual offending that was commissioned by the Irish Prison Service (Lundstrom.2002). It has been found that sex offenders are provided in prison with a unique opportunity to network. For example, in the case of Paddy O’Driscoll who had served a sentence for rape, was released and raped again, on the night of his most recent rape for which he is now serving eighteen years, he was in the company of another convicted rapist Paddy Moorehouse, whom he had meet in prison. In 2008, Gardai discovered that a serial sex offender, Peter Hayden from County Kilkenny, who had been released from Wheatfield, was using a false name to have daily phone contact with another serial sex offender Eamon ‘Captain’ Cooke who remained in Wheatfield.

It is also worth noting that when a person convicted of sexual crimes enters prison, particularly prisons not catering for such persons, the convicted person is told by prison staff to say that they are in for an offence that is not sexual, for example, robbery. While this ‘denial’ is suggested by the staff in the interests of prisoner safety, it can eventually lead to prisoners who have pleaded guilty in Court, becoming convinced of their own innocence. This denial leads to even greater psychological trauma and set back in the acceptance process of the wrong done. Many persons convicted of sexual crimes have received brutal treatment at the hands of fellow inmates and sometimes acquiescing staff. This brutal treatment is due to the fact that sections of the media have given status to persons convicted of heinous ‘non’ sex crimes, Martin Cahill (The General) or John Gilligan are cult heroes among the criminal hordes, thanks to the tabloids. These cult heroes have committed much greater crimes in premeditation, number and deed, than the majority of persons convicted of sexual offending.

However, the exclusion of persons convicted of sexual crimes from the ‘ordinary decent criminal’ is not exclusive. Leading members of Dublin, Limerick gangs who have convictions for rape and sexual assault are openly accepted into the prison landings that house ‘the ordinary decent criminal’. Stephen ‘Rossi’ Walsh convicted in 2009 for the rape of a nine year old female child is serving his sentence with ‘ordinary decent criminals’. Christy Griffin who is serving life for the systematic rape of a female child is accorded political like status in Portlaoise Prison. In many cases particularly among clusters of prisoners from the same area of Dublin, Limerick and so forth, it is ‘macho’ for a twenty year old prisoner to have raped a woman or young girl. However, a sixty year old, particularly from outside Dublin, Limerick and so forth, entering prison for the same crime is likely to be the subject of serious abuse. In Wheatfield Prison some of the prisoners causing most problems for persons convicted of sexual crime are persons who are convicted of the same if not worse offences, however, if they are not identified in the media they can use the ‘attack’ mechanism for their own protection. One prisoner Michael ‘Micko’ Whelan who was constantly attacking or causing to be attacked, older men who had been identified in the media for being convicted of sexual crime, was serving a long sentence for raping a school girl at knife point.

In October, 2001, two prisoners were sentenced to nine years and three years respectively at Roscommon Circuit Court. These two prisoners carried out a horrific attack on a fellow inmate at Castlerea Prison, in February, 2001, after falsely accusing the victim of being convicted of a sexual offence (Irish Independent.2001). A third prisoner would be sentenced to nine years for the same attack (Irish Independent.2002). Rarely are such cases prosecuted, due mainly to the fear of the victim, of further attack within the prison system, if he/she Rats. Rat is derogatory term used to describe a prisoner who passes information onto the authorities. Prisoners who are suspected of being Rats can be subject to stabbings, slashing, assaults and so forth, a prisoner in Wheatfield Prison was raped in 2010 as it was alleged that he was a Rat.

Elizabeth Stanko (2000) when speaking about the effects of racist abuse describes closely the environment that many persons convicted of sexual crime find themselves in, when she says:

The experience of racist abuse demonstrates that the climate of subordination and inequality is maintained through a continual stream of comments and actions, constantly reminding those in particular groups that they are living within a hostile and intimidating social environment (p.255).

While many may think that persons convicted of such crimes should be subject to such abuse, it should clearly be noted that 96% of their peers are never prosecuted. Sharon Gewirtz (2000) quotes, Young, to highlight the negative effects of oppressive institutional violence:

The oppression of violence consists not only in direct victimisation, but in the daily knowledge shared by all members of oppressed groups that they are liable to violation, solely on account of their group identity. Just living under such threat of attack on oneself or family or friends deprives the oppressed of freedom and dignity, and needlessly expends their energy…To the degree that institutions and social practices encourage, tolerate, or enable the perpetration of violence against members of specific groups, those institutions and practices are unjust and should be reformed (p.319).

While Wheatfield Prison is one of only two prisons built in modern times and with modern standards in mind, it has no communal eating, although there is a communal eating area provided on each of the twenty landings, this excludes the new extension opened in 2010. Each landing has sixteen cells that were designed for single occupancy, however, those cells have now been doubled up and so a landing designed for a maximum population of sixteen prisoners now houses thirty-two prisoners. Recreation is limited to two hours each evening, at which time prisoners can play a game of pool or watch television. This administrative internment further creates the conditions for a de-socialising process. Even on a special occasion, such as Ireland playing Germany in the World Cup (5.6.2002) prisoners were locked in their cells for the duration of the game and longer. Although prisoners have a fourteen inch television in their cells for which they pay five Euro per month, the World Cup presented a unique opportunity for prisoners to share a communal experience and with that some sense of normality and worth, yet it was lost.

Much of the focus by certain sections of the media and government legislation on sexual crime has led to a devaluing of human life. This devaluing of human life is not simply due to the fact that some persons convicted of sexual offending are spending more time in prison than those convicted of murder, man-slaughter and so forth, but due to the fact that little or no attention is paid to rehabilitation for those who view deviance as normality. This deviant normality is a perception greatly enhanced by the same media who would provide the wood for the scaffold, for those convicted of sexual offending, most of whom need help not harm. In Ireland today there are two places where members of sexual deviant sub-cultures can meet in greater numbers, the Internet and Prison. Operation Amethyst proved the former, my own observations proves the latter. That is not to say that everyone convicted of sexual crimes on entering prison, will automatically sit down with other persons convicted of similar crimes and exchange stories. Quite the contrary in many cases, however, without countervailing influences, a common language is soon accepted and derogatory terms for women and sexual acts in general, become the standard discourse. It is this objectification of potential victims that will ensure that more people will be subject to sexual criminality.

In 2010 the Fianna Fail lead coalition Government continued to deny open, honest and transparent debate about child sexual abuse. On Thursday the 17th of June 2010, Mr Alan Shatter, Fine Gael spokesman on children insisted that a European Directive on combating the sexual abuse and exploitation of children and child pornography should be discussed in a plenary Dail session, stating that:

It should be discussed on the floor of the house and not simply nodded through.

It is this type of on-going denial by successive Governments to address these serious matters in any meaningful way that helps facilitate and normalise sexual criminality in our country. While certain sections of the media and internet sites generate and supply a demand for lurid sexual material. The Criminal Justice System, and in particular the prison system has essentially to play a significant role in the rehabilitation process. Successive Ministers for Justice and Governments of Ireland have consistently negated their responsibility in this area. At the end of the first five years of the Fianna Fail/Progressive Democrat Coalition Government (1997-02) a five year period in which the Irish Republic enjoyed unprecedented economic growth, there were eight places provided per annum on a tailored programme for sex offenders at Arbour Hill Prison. This was the only such programme within the criminal justice system. In 2011 there are no programmes specifically designed for the rehabilitation of those convicted of sexual offending and within the Irish prison system, there are several hundred persons men/women presently serving sentences for sexual criminality.

Even when there was a programme specifically tailored for the rehabilitation of convicted sex offenders, there was what can only be described as a ‘Rehabilitation Lottery’, prisoners seeking help were told time and again that there was no facilities available for them. Some prisoners, who had committed serious sexual crimes, including gratuitous violence against their victims, had applied for a place on the programme at Arbour Hill Prison but were refused. On one occasion a serial offender who wanted rehabilitative help went to the High Court in desperation to try and force the Government to provide him with access to rehabilitation before he was released from prison (see, Farrell v The State) both the High Court and the Supreme Court ruled that it was a matter for the Government if they provided rehabilitation or not.

Week after week persons convicted of sexual offending leave Irish prisons after serving sentences ranging from one to fifteen years, without having received even basic rehabilitative opportunity. Like many other categories of offenders, persons convicted of sexual crimes are denied even a limited pre-release/reintegration programme, before being parachuted back into the community. A case coming before the Dublin Circuit Court in 2001, highlighted this criminal negligence by the then Minister for Justice, John O’Donoghue and his Department, when Judge Yvonne Murphy returned a man to prison for three years at his own request. This man could not cope with life outside of the prison system, having just served an eight year sentence from which he had been de-socialised and institutionalised (Irish Independent.2001). However, many such offenders unable able to cope with life outside of prison do not normally return by such a diplomatic route. Many released prisoners simply re-offend to return to three square meals per day, to a place that is more familiar to them than the hostile community that waits on the outside of the wall.

That hostile community that has been created by banner headlines and certain weak politicians, all of whom care more about their own inflated salaries and expenses than they do about child protection and community safety. Both Focus Ireland and PACE, say that homelessness is a major problem for ex-prisoners.  Add to homelessness all of the other needs of ex-prisoners and the result is predictable. The Irish Penal Reform Trust, produced a report in 2001, ‘Out of Mind, Out of Sight’, which showed that at least one-third of prisoners were mentally disabled or are learning deficient, the Fianna Fail Government tried to suppress this report. Successive Ministers for Justice in the Irish Republic have remained wedded to the penal discourse of crime and punishment, while other more progressive countries such as Britain, Australia and Canada have been developing new imaginaries in correctional practice. Such imaginaries have been directed at moulding self-reliant prisoners. Within this enterprises paradigm prisoners are ‘Trained for Freedom’ (Garland.1996). Garland (1996) continues by saying that such regimes:

Enlist the prisoner as an agent in his/her own rehabilitation, and as an entrepreneur of his/her own personal development. They are permitted to choose their preferred options from within the available range of developmental activities (p.462).

The criminal negligence of John O’Donoghue and other backward thinking Ministers for Justice, is ignored by the trial judge if a convicted person/non-rehabilitated person re-offends upon release. The offender is simply thrown back on the criminal justice conveyor belt, that has churned out generations of repeat offenders (O’Mahony.2000, Goldson and Peters.2000). It was incredible to hear the former Minister for Justice, John O’Donoghue, congratulate himself on the fact that there were more people in prison than before he took office, this he believed in his ignorance was progress. A case could easily be made before the court that it was John O’Donoghue and others who were the real criminals by denying convicted persons a basic fundamental Human Right, that right being access to appropriate rehabilitative care, we now know that O’Donoghue and others were more concerned about their own five star luxury than they were or are about the rape of children.

If Health Boards can be sued for failing to protect children, why should rape victims not sue the Government of Ireland, for failing to at least offer the opportunity of rehabilitation to prisoners who are convicted of sexual crime and then go on to re-offend after their release from prison. If it can be shown that Ministers wasted vast sums of public money lining their own pockets while failing to make rehabilitation available to those prisoners who sought help, then those Ministers and the State should be sued if not prosecuted for criminal negligence. It is worth noting that many commentators on sexual criminality, and particularly some within the ‘victims industry’ have called for prisoners to be subject to mandatory rehabilitation, again such calls show the depth of ignorance prevailing in some quarters. During John O’Donoghue’s term as Minister for Justice, dozens of persons convicted of sexual offending applied for and were denied rehabilitative help. However, this clutching at sound-bites by the self-serving and ill-informed fails to recognise the failure of such compulsory programmes in relation to other forms of ‘dysfunction’, for example, drug addiction (O’Malley.2002).

The most crucial fact evading legislative change or public discourse in relation to sexual criminality is that persons imprisoned for sexual crimes are only a small percentage of those who engage in sexual criminality. Remembering, for example, that 96% of persons confirmed by Health Boards as having raped and sexually abused children will never be prosecuted. There are 23,000 files belonging to known female sex offenders in the fourteen area Health Boards and none of these files have been passed to the Gardai. Some files have been passed to the Gardai but these 23,000 files where women have admitted to sexually abusing children have never been passed to the Gardai. It is this 4% of convicted persons that certain weak politicians, ‘interest groups’ and sections of the media find easiest to attack, rather than addressing the structural failures of the State to provide even basic protections for children from those with greatest access to children in Ireland. Thousands of women and men who have been confirmed by Health Board staff as having raped and sexually abused children, have unsupervised/unrestricted access to children every day of the week in Ireland.

As mentioned earlier people can work with children in crèches and so on, without training or even basic clearance procedures being in place. Many crèches and child ‘care’ facilities have employed cheap foreign labour, the majority of whom cannot be vetted in any manner. What value is Garda Siochana clearance procedure, when 96% of persons who have been confirmed by Health Board staff as having committed sexual acts against children are not prosecuted? This writer wants a national data base in place, and on that data base the names of every person who has been confirmed as a child abuser and everyone who has concealed/facilitated that child abuse on that data base, purely for child protection and community safety reasons. It is an outrage that persons confirmed as having raped and abused children can work within our Health and Child Care systems. The Fianna Fail Government continued to allow the smoke and mirrors of legal constraint, to restrain the Health Boards and the Gardai from informing potential employers that confirmed sex offenders, women and men, pose a threat to children. O’Mahony (1996) reminds us that:

The official response to the presence of an ever increasing number of persons convicted of sexual crimes in the Irish prison system with regard to rehabilitation, treatment and education, has matched the scandalously neglected response to the problem of drug using prisoners (p.223).

Mr Justice Flood likened the system of dealing with persons imprisoned for sexual crime to:

Throwing a chicken carcass into a bin and leaving it there to rot (O’Mahony.1996.p.224)

While Mr Justice Flood’s comments are equally applicable in 2011 the fact is that the carcass does not rot away, but is released back into the community, a community that is as ill prepared to deal with such offenders as the prison system. This failure to rehabilitate in turn leads to further isolation, frustration and anger of the individual concerned, the results of which in all categories of crime is the committing of more crimes, because the offender has nothing left to lose by going back to prison (O’Mahony.1993. Goldson and Peters.2000) While one recognises that the Probation and Welfare services, Education services, psychological services and other professionals who work within the prison system do their best, it is a best within a vacuum. A vacuum due to lack of policy objective or direction, resource scarcity and political indifference, while some prison officers run workshops and so forth, these services are under staffed, underfunded and in most cases de-motivated due to a lack of multi-disciplinary/strategic approach to the rehabilitation of convicted persons (Lundstrom.2002).

In the Irish Republic in recent years many politicians and other opinion formers, have fallen in behind the prevailing zeitgeist of the hard line consensus. In the UK and Northern Ireland the focus has been on Human Rights, particularly in Northern Ireland since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement (1998), in areas such as policing, judiciary, prisons and law reform. The hard line consensus in the Republic has moved further from the Constitution and international Human Rights standards to a regime of repression, thus precipitating the current crisis in values and purpose in the Irish Criminal Justice system. With the exception of a few Judges, an acquiescent judiciary have like performing poodles, administered, rushed and ill-considered criminal justice legislation. Legislation that is passed by certain weak politicians to assuage public opinion, an opinion or ‘moral panic’ normally manufactured by the lurid tabloid press and those on fatted salaries within the ‘victims industry’. O’Malley (2002) reminds us that while Britain and Australia are fostering more progressive regimes in relation to prisoner rehabilitation the same Governments are:

Introducing increasingly oppressive risk-based regimes bearing on ‘sexual’ and ‘violent’ offenders (p.293).

Certain weak politicians have murdered, by legislation, any progress towards a system that produces good citizens rather than repeat offenders. Political and media interference with the judicial process is not a new phenomenon, however, that interference and intimidation has gone relatively unchecked in recent years. Such exposed interference has seen the resignation of Government Ministers, Bobby Molloy and Trevor Sargent are such examples. Former Minister for Justice, John O’Donoghue was subject to a private criminal prosecution when it was established that he had abused his office to interfere in a criminal case (Mc Kenna v O’Donoghue.2002). Paul O’Mahony (1996) says that:

It is unlikely that judges have been completely impervious and unresponsive in this matter. Judges have certainly utilised the longer sentences now available to them for sexual offences (p.16).

An extremely worrying result of the hard line consensus, and political populism that under pins it is that successive Ministers for Justice have decided to treat persons convicted of sexual crimes, differently from all other offenders. Ministers for Justice have adopted an unconstitutional and inhuman policy of keeping persons convicted of sexual offending in prison until the last minute on their committal warrant, with the statutory 25% reduction for good behaviour. Why Justice Ministers have adopted this discrimination is clear, they fear the banner headlines of the tabloids and they quake in their boots at the marching hordes of the Feminazi. It is not my argument that all crimes can be treated equal, there are certain individuals who have committed heinous crimes, and those crimes cannot easily be explained away, however, there are many prisoners who when treated with some sense of decency and dignity can go on to lead normal lives that are crime free.

If you deny a prisoner the opportunity of getting out of prison for a few hours a couple of weeks before his/her release date simply to get a shirt and pair of trousers, and that prisoner can see that other more dangerous criminals are getting such basic concessions, then the result is anger and resentment. Many Ministers for Justice have been on bended knee to convicted terrorists yet the same Ministers abuse their authority to discriminate against prisoners who don’t have guns and bombs to back them up. Former Fianna Fail, Ministers for Justice, John O’Donoghue and Dermot Ahern made many representations on behalf of people such as mafia godfather, Michael McKevitt.

It costs an average of one-thousand-five-hundred-Euro per week to keep a prisoner in jail according to the Irish Prison Service. If we remember that the vast majority of prisoners do not receive even basic rehabilitative care while in prison and the vast majority (90%) of persons convicted of non-sexual offences go on to reoffend, alternative crime prevention imaginaries must be sought.  The Whitaker Committee (1985) recommended an increase in remission from the current 25% to 33% (O’Mahony.1993.p.217). Such an increase is now in place if prisoners under take certain courses and training while in prison. This shift to increased remission has a dual potential, the medium to long term benefits of shifting resource from security to rehabilitation will be realised in a reduction in recidivism. It is worth noting that this saving or redistribution of 8.3% (25% <33.3% = 24 Million per annum) of the prison budget is equal to the sum that was being spent on prisoner rehabilitation and work/training annually at the start of the new Millennium. Secondly it is hoped that prison Governors will have greater leverage in terms of prison discipline, the latter point relating to the need to take prisoners out of crime practice.

Furthermore a limited number of cost effective Restorative Justice Projects aimed at first time offenders for crimes such as public order offences, possession of drugs for self-use, minor assaults and so forth, have shown a 90% success rate. Unfortunately much political and public discourse relating to crime prevention remains wedded to defensive principles of zero tolerance and so forth, we now know that those who spout about Zero Tolerance, have much more to hide than the person shop lifting to feed his/her family. In a penal system that frequently releases prisoners, some of whom have committed heinous crimes coupled with gratuitous violence, the killers of Garda Mc Cabe for example, long before their remission date, have set in place a secret and arbitrary system of non-judicial justice against persons convicted of sexual crimes. Temporary release and early release are equally denied to low risk sex offenders. In May 2010 there were 1000 prisoners on temporary/early release as the prison system was bursting at the seams, 90% of those on early release will reoffend as they are mainly drug and alcohol abusers, yet less than 10% of sex offenders will reoffend and they remain in prison to the final day of their sentence.

In a rare disclosure of this non-judicial justice which continues to undermine the discretionary nature of the judiciary, Mr Justice Paul Carney, in a High Court Judgement, relating to an application under Article 40.4.2 of the Constitution taken by a prisoner claiming that his detention was unlawful as he was being denied rehabilitative care (Sex Offenders Programme), suggests that the prisoner making the application, should seek clemency from the Government, however, clemency has never been granted to any convicted sex offender, even where it has been proven at a later point, that the said sex offender was innocent (Farrell v State.2002.No.537.S.S.). This non-judicial injustice against persons convicted of sexual crimes, is aggravated by the fact that more dangerous criminals such as the IRA murderers of Garda Mc Cabe, were given temporary release as and when they sought such temporary release. There is no doubt that Ministers for Justice such as John O’Donoghue TD felt obliged to do business with the organised criminals in order to make life easy for himself as he jetted off around the world on tax payers money. Yet this discrimination against person convicted for sexual offending breaches Bunreacht na hEireann, Article 40.1, which states that:

All Citizens shall be held equal before the law (p.146)

It has been the case now for some time that weak Ministers for Justice have run scared of the Feminazi while at the same time bowing down to organised criminals such as the IRA and derivatives thereof. These Ministers for Justice in their weakened state has used what little power they have left to brutalise and discriminate against those who are already on the ground. Newburn (2002) quotes Garland (2000) to highlight the fact that governments are reactionary rather than proactive to certain types of crime when he says:

By reactivating the old myth of the sovereign state; and by engaging in a more expressive and more intensive mode of punishment that purports to convey public sentiment and the full force of State authority (p.119).

Elizabeth Stanko (2000) points out, that the public have a subconscious illumination of the risks posed by certain categories of criminality, this illumination is not necessarily driven by any visible threat, when she says:

Proactive policing is often aimed at curtailing the violence committed by special groups – animal rights activists, football hooligans, drug gangs, and even ‘organised’ paedophiles. Certainly such groups do constitute danger to certain people. However, with the exception of paedophiles, few people spontaneously mention the danger posed by these other groups, unless they have been directly affected by them (p.253).

It is clear that the Journophiles who contribute to the lurid tabloids help create these bogus-moral-panics in order to sell their social and moral corruption, yet the reality is that the focus by many Journophiles on the activities of sexual crime may have more to do with the concealment of their own drug snorting and perverted activities than it has with any concern for community safety, Tom Humphries being case-in-point. In relation to the criminal complex within Ireland, I would advance another reason for political discrimination in favour of persons convicted of ‘non’ sex crimes. Firstly, I would say that organised white/ non-white collar criminals and ‘politically’ motivated criminals, have a visible community. Corporate power, money and influence for white collar criminals. While leading non-white collar criminals have large family/criminal networks on large working class housing estates in major cities and towns in the Irish Republic. Many of these Ministers seek and secure tens of thousands of votes from these criminal networks. Politically motivated criminals such as Sinn Fein/IRA can and do encourage their supporters in marginal constituencies to give their preference votes to Fianna Fail and that courtesy is returned.

This cross fertilisation can be seen in the example of Mary White who was elected to the Senate with the support of no less than twenty-three Sinn Fein councillors in 2002. One of these councillors was engaged and would later marry one of the criminals who murdered Garda Mc Cabe. And at a time when Sinn Fein/IRA continued with their acts of criminality, see also, Callanan, H. (2001) ‘No end to our children’s suffering’, Sunday Times, 9th September. In the constituency of Cavan/Monaghan, Sinn Fein’s Caoimhghin O’Caolain openly encouraged his supporters to give their second preference vote to his cousin, Fianna Fail’s, Dr Rory O’Hanlon.

Although not exclusively, the person accused or convicted of sexual crime, particularly such a person from the lower socio-economic margins, is perceived as having no constituency. One only has to look at how the criminal justice system dealt with the upper class, child sex criminals, caught under Operation Amethyst and look at how the criminal justice system deals with people from the lower margins prosecuted for similar offences. These non-judicial discriminations against persons convicted of sexual crimes, only further create a climate of isolation and marginalisation for such persons. Brenda O’Brien, reminds us that:

An important Canadian study shows that untreated sex offenders have a 35% recidivism rate, while it is less than 10% for those who are treated (Irish Times.2002).

If we translate this study from dry statistics to real victims, many thousands of Irish men, women and children could be spared the horror of sexual criminality. However, as we now know some Ministers were more interested in spending tax payer’s money on their own inflated ego than they were on child protection. At the psychological Society of Ireland’s Annual Conference in Waterford the Granada Institute reported that twenty-one sex offenders convicted of abusing children showed:

Encouraging near non-offender profile after a yearlong course of therapy

This rehabilitative potential is rarely seen in groups of criminals who have crime as a ‘career’ or ‘political’ motivation rather than a psychological or sociological disorder (O’Mahony.1993). Muncie (2002) says that:

Up to 90% of young people leaving custody re-offend within two years (p.155)

The fact that this systematic inequality in the administration of sentences, relating to persons convicted of sexual crimes, is sustained by an official willingness to give life to the public thirst for vengeance, or by an official fear of public outcry from the lurid tabloids and the Feminazi, about repeat offenders, underlines the pernicious influence and moral bankruptcy of a weak political administration. Yet one watches week after week as recently released terrorists, killers, drug users/dealers, ‘joy-riders’, armed robbers, return to prison for another few months after their latest exploits, that in most instances includes multiple victims. For the person convicted of sexual crimes, identified in the lurid tabloids and especially those convicted of crimes against children, there is the added inequality in sentence of a campaign of psychological and physical torture upon entering prison. This psychological and physical torture is mainly at the hands of fellow inmates and an unsympathetic administration. In a report on bullying in Irish Prisons conducted by psychologists at the University College Dublin, it was found that half of the prison population were the victims of bullying. When asked about bullying in the Irish Prison system Mr Sean Alyward, then Director General of the Irish Prisons service said:

We are aware of the problem. We have been workings steadfastly to reduce the possibility of bullying and we continue to do our best. However, prison environments are fertile breeding grounds for bullies. When Human beings are confined together in restricted settings, bullying is frequently experienced. Investment over the past five years to tackle prison overcrowding had reduced the frequency of serious bullying. Simple things like single cell occupation or no more than two people in a cell, better shower and toilet facilities, have reduced bullying (The Sunday Times.2002.p.8).

Soon after uttering these fine words Mr Alyward made a monetary settlement and issued an apology, in Dublin Civil Circuit Court, when a prisoner accused him of bullying and telling lies (Mc Kenna v Sean Alyward). Mr Alyward’s fine sentiments were being made at a time when one of Ireland’s most modern prisons, Wheatfield Prison, was having its single cells turned into double cells, there are now thirty-two prisoners on landings designed for sixteen prisoners, staff levels and ‘facilities’ remain static. However, on an upbeat yet cautious note, 10% of Wheatfield Prison is set aside for those who wish to be drug free, it is not a fallible drug free system, as urines can be doctored by inmates, but at least it’s a move in the right direction.

Julia Twigg (2000) also reminds us that these physical and psychological constraints on the body and mind are part of the administrative psyche when she says:

Fundamental to the operation of disciplinary institutions like the prison, the asylum, or the Poor Law institutions is the ordering of bodies within them. Such institutions constrain and control bodies of inmates (p.130).

These abuses and inequalities against persons convicted of sexual crimes fly in the face of the rhetoric of The Management of Offenders: A Five Year Plan, published by the Department of Justice, when it states that:

The removal of the right to free movement, and the (consequent) restriction of other rights such as the right to unrestricted communication with others, constitute, in them-selves, the whole penalty imposed on the convicted person and that any adverse conditions which add to that penalty are unwarranted (p.5).

Former Minster for Justice, Michael Mc Dowell TD, who has since been rejected by the electorate as has his party the Progressive Democrats, clearly did not read his own Departments literature when he used his position to stop important research being carried out within the prison system. The administrative internment as set out above in relation to early release, temporary release, 17 hour per day lock up, and the psychological and physical torture, that many of these convicted persons are subjected to, clearly contradicts the rhetoric of the Department of Justice, the only people who can want to see fellow human beings treated in such a fashion are those who have much to hide themselves. Furthermore, Article 40 of the Irish Constitution (1937) states that:

All citizens shall, as human persons, be held equal before the law.

Article 40 has been trampled into the ground by successive Ministers for Justice, the Government of Ireland and an acquiescing Judiciary. John Muncie (2000) points to one of the great hurdles that liberal democracies have to address as they focus their criminal justice energies on those persons convicted of certain types of crime when he says:

While legal wrongs provide the clearest focus, already notions of incivility (anti-social behaviour), malpractice (corporate/political corruption), risk (likelihood of committing further crimes) and violation (of Human Rights) are circulating on the margins of criminal definition and policy formulation. In themselves these ‘new’ signifiers – emanating from the right and left of the political spectrum – alert us to the on-going struggle over what is the proper constitution of ‘crime’ (p.225).

In the Irish Republic it is clear that much criminal justice focus, remains on the legal wrongs of those from the lower socio-economic margins of society, we read week after week in the local papers about people stealing food for their children and being convicted before the courts, while the most heinous criminals who have left our country bankrupt continue to walk free and maintain their personal fortunes, fortunes just as criminal and perverse as the fortunes accumulated by the drug barons and terrorist God-fathers. Political/financial corruption (Ansbacher Report.2002, Flood Tribunal.2002, Moriarty Tribunal.2003 and Mahon Tribunal.2011) the list of the corrupt and the criminal is endless, yet the prosecutions are negligible, as the members of the Golden Circle continue to putt on the same green. This is not just about money, how many men, women and children have died in the 1980s/90s/00s and continue to die due to lack of key service provision, how many children have been raped, as the political and corporate criminals robbed our country blind.

Many prisoners in ‘normal’ prison conditions become servile and dehumanised and seek individual survival by means of ‘prescribed’ medication or contraband drugs [1]. When one combines the ‘ordinary’ conditions of persons convicted of ‘non’-sex crimes, with the inequality visited upon many persons convicted of sex crimes, it is no surprise that many commit acts of ‘self’ harm and ‘self’ murder. One such death in custody is highlighted in the Irish Prison Service Report (1999-00) where a young prisoner described in certain media outlets as the ‘Beast’ hung himself, he was one of sixteen persons to die in custody in that period. The real criminals are of course the same tabloid Editors who publish their daily diet of filth to conceal their own deviance and duplicity. The broad sheets have now and again attempted to give serious focus to the criminal justice system and open up debate about the need for new imaginaries as can be seen from this extract from the Irish Times Editorial:

There are times when a prison sentence is the correct response to breaches of the law and there are times when it is not. Such penal sanction can transform the futures of young men and rather than act as a deterrent, set them firmly on destructive careers of crime. That negative outcome is almost guaranteed when prisons become grossly overcrowded, are drug-infused and lack basic educational, psychiatric and rehabilitation services (Irish Times Editorial, 22/8/2011)

The inability of many individuals accused or convicted of sex crimes, to face what many describe as a journey to hell, is highlighted by the suicide of a middle aged man in Dublin on the 2nd of July 2001, the day before he was to stand trial in the Central Criminal Court in Dublin, for alleged sex offences. A sixteen year old girl killed herself in 2001, rather than face the court and the three men who had gang-raped her. What we as a nation must ask ourselves, is, what is it if anything that separates us from the Taliban or other extreme dictatorships? For if accused persons, guilty or innocent, or victims alleged or real, would rather die than face our courts, and all that goes with such court appearances, the distance between Irish society and fascist dictatorships may not be that great.

Psychotherapist, Marie Keenan, says of the feelings expressed by persons convicted of sexual crimes:

I don’t know how some of these people have lived, with their detestation of their own humanity. Predominantly a sex offence was about seeking intimacy (Irish Times.2002).

As mentioned above, through-out the closed prison system, convicted persons are locked in 12ft by 8ft concrete tombs, for at least seventeen hours per day, in some of the most modern of our prisons these cells designed for one person are now doubled up, leaving each prisoner with a space of 6ft by 4ft, which happens to be slightly larger than a standard coffin. An environment best summed up by Professor Paul O’Mahony (1996) when he says:

For many prisoners, especially the many who are illiterate, lack initiative or are depressed, the isolation and enforced idleness is intolerable. The crushing boredom consequent on wide spread lack of productive work, and of meaningful education and training opportunities, and the long tedious hours of close confinement to the cell, add considerably to the air of despondency and frustration that hangs over most Irish prisons (p.105).

This ‘tedious’ aspect of the prison system is not restricted to prisoners. The former Minister for Justice, John O’Donoghue (1997-02) while speaking at the Prison Officers Association (POA) Annual Conference in 2002, stated that in the year 2001, the total stock of 3200 Prison Officers, had taken, 60,000 days of sick pay in that year, which by any standard is phenomenal, still I am certain that if the prison officers had been aware of the vast amount of tax payer’s money O’Donoghue had squandered on his own self-indulgence, they would have had more to say about his pointed criticism of their sick pay bill. Prison officers pay accounts for over 70% of the prisons budget, with only 8.5% of the prison budget spent on rehabilitative facility. It may well be that Bentham’s panopticon, is the best explanation for the mental decay of prisoners and staff alike:

The paradigm of disciplinary technique, offering the organisation of space and human beings in a visual order lays bare the structures of power. Surveillance is continuous and all are caught in the machine, even the one who watches (Twigg.2000.p.130).

The Whitaker Committee (1985) stated:

The greatest single obstacle to the personal development of prisoners and to reducing the reconviction rate is the nature of prison itself. The possible rehabilitative effects of education, training, welfare and guidance are offset by the triple depressant of overcrowding, idleness and squalor which dominates most Irish prisons (p.31).

In relation to Wheatfield Prison which was purposely built with modern standards in mind, there are a range of services available to inmates, yet at least one quarter of inmates rarely leave their landing, with the exception of the weekly outing to the Tuck Shop or reception. The Tuck Shop is a small shop within the prison where prisoners can go once per week under escort to buy cigarettes, newspapers, sweets and minerals, prisoners earn two Euros per day for good industry and so can have fourteen Euros to spend in the shop each week. Prisoners go to reception once per week to collect any clothes left in by relatives. Having facilities is quite different from prisoners participating in them. Upon entering prison, each prisoner should be assigned to a mentor, this could, in many cases, with training and selection, be fellow prisoners. For example, many prisoners facilitate AA, NA, AVP, Listeners and so forth. Such mentoring could also be carried out by prison officers, all of whom could with minimal training transform the lives of inmates, and enhance their own career opportunities and reduce the chronic sick leave bill set out earlier. The mentor would work at first level with Probation and Welfare and a multi-disciplinary team would decide the best package for the individual concerned.

All of the above said, while there are many good officers within the Irish prison system, many of them view working within rehabilitative programmes, as they would view turkeys voting for Christmas. The POA certainly has not stuck its neck out in campaigning for rehabilitative care. The physical, psychological, emotional and social environment of the prisoner must be given equal priority in order to produce best practice in the care, rehabilitation and resettlement of offenders. A multi-disciplinary approach must be adopted both inside and outside the prison system in order to improve child protection, crime prevention and community safety. A policy of ‘Zero Tolerance’ of bullying and victimisation must be instilled with clear policy objectives and codes of practice displayed visibly throughout the prison system. Zero Tolerance within the prison system is achievable as there are a variety of summary remedies available to impose sanctions against wrong doers. An important aspect of this deterrent portfolio as mentioned earlier is the 25% < 33% remission rates.

In the UK including Northern Ireland higher rates of remission have been found to be effective in the deterrent/cost effectiveness portfolio. As mentioned above the deterrent aspect of the remission portfolio also contains substantial savings in that reduction in assaults on officers and inmates reduces the ever increasing number of civil actions against the state. These claims can amount to several million Euros per annum. Any progressive politician who is not brow beaten by the Feminazi and on his/her knees to organised terrorists/criminal, should be able to stand up and say enough is enough, we are going to try something new, yes prison for those who pose a serious threat to public safety, such as terrorists/drug barons and other category (A) prisoners, however, new imaginaries will be used across a wide area of the criminal justice system, including well managed Restorative Justice Programmes, electronic tagging, community service and so forth. A seamless transition from prison to the community for persons convicted of sexual offending must be a priority so that ignorance and denial in public discourse can be replaced with education and awareness by way of a multi-agency approach, where best practice in Child Protection, Crime Prevention and Community Safety can be achieved.

In 2011 the new coalition Government of Fine Gael/Labour is making new sounds in relation to criminal justice, child protection and community safety. The introduction of mandatory reporting of child rape/abuse will be a first real positive step in the right direction; if they fail to deliver on this promise then they fail completely.

[1] Not all drugs are consumed by those prisoners to whom they are prescribed, on the black market in prison, medication is currency – for example – methadone a heroin substitute/sleepers/valium are traded for tobacco, cannabis, heroin, E-Tabs, acid and so on.

Senior Social Worker Speaks Exclusively

Senior Social Worker who says that she could not speak out while employed by the HSE and could still face prosecution due to the confidentiality clause in her contract of employment. However, she feels so strongly about certain issues that she has decided to speak with this author where her anonymity will be protected.

Q. How long where you a Social Worker?

A. For over twenty years.

Q. And is it the case that you have retired in the normal course of events?

A. Yes, I was due to retire earlier but worked on due to the shortages in staff.

Q. Where in Ireland did you work while you were a Social Worker?

A. I worked in three area Health Boards, this was due mainly to my various promotions and I went to those areas where expertise was absent due to retirements or simply lack of staff.

Q. Your main reason for contacting me by email was the fact that I had written a number of articles on sexual crime in Ireland, is that correct?

A. Yes, I stumbled across your Blog when I was researching a paper on sexual crime, and I would have to say that your Blogs appeared to be saying exactly what my experience had told me. Although I would have to say I was surprised that you had such an insight into how the HSE and criminal justice system work.

Q. Well I am sure you are well aware that my journey through life has not been a smooth one?

A. Yes, I am well aware of your past, I have read your Blogs

Q. Has Child Protection changed for the better in your twenty years as a Social Worker?

A. The simple answer is No. Social workers and other professionals continue to have far too much power when it comes to dealing with Child Protection issues.

Q. Can you expand on that idea of professionals having too much power?

A. The reality is that there is no mandatory reporting of child abuse including child rape in this country that means that a child reporting rape to a teacher, a GP, even a Social Worker cannot be certain that the information provided will be passed onto the Gardai. This means that effectively people like myself can decide what cases we report and what cases we keep quiet. You can imagine how this works in small towns and villages.

Q. Are you saying that a GP has no legal obligation to report the rape of a child to the Gardai?

A. Absolutely not and I have witnessed many cases where such reports to GPs and other professionals have been hidden for many years and only come to light when a rape victim becomes an adult and pursues a criminal prosecution themselves.

Q. In such cases are we talking about children sexually abused by family members?

A. That would make up a great deal of such cases but not exclusively. You have to remember that in rural areas, small towns and villages a GP’s income can be heavily dependent on a small number of extended families, for a GP to report the rape of a child to the Gardai it could cost him/her their lively hood in that area.

Q. Are you saying that economic considerations are taken into account in matters of Child Protection?

A. Well that’s nothing new, as you have often said yourself the Government could find millions to spend on top hotels and other luxuries yet they could not find the small amount of money needed to ensure the protection of children in their own care.

Q. How wide spread a problem is child abuse in Ireland?

A. People try to suggest that there are varying degrees of child abuse, however, in my experience those who physically abuse children will also have the propensity to sexually abuse children, and the important thing for an abuser is the objectification of the victim. The abuser views the child as being their property and therefore they can do what they like to that child without facing any real prospect of punishment. There will be exceptions to every rule but my experience suggests that all abuse should be treated with equal seriousness. Each of the fourteen area Health Boards confirm approximately one-thousand cases of child abuse each year, that is approximately fourteen-thousand confirmed cases of child abuse in Ireland each year, the degrees of abuse will vary from excessive beatings, serious neglect to multiple rapes.

Q. How much goes undetected?

A. That is impossible to answer, however, I think we only touch the tip of the ice-berg, children are easily silenced and when those who facilitate or conceal such crime don’t face any punishment, this leaves perpetrators of abuse with a free hand.

Q. But surely many cases are prosecuted through the courts?

A. Less than four per cent of confirmed cases of child sexual abuse are ever prosecuted, there are thousands of files within the Health Boards where men and women in equal number have admitted to sexually abusing children and none of those files have ever been passed onto the Gardai. I have seen cases where people who have admitted raping several children were simply sent by Social Workers to the Granada Institute for counselling, those abused children remained in the family home. The HSE is legally bound and cannot release this confidential information to anyone, even if that person is working with children, if the person is not prosecuted then their name does not show up when employers are vetting potential employees.

Q. Why do you think the Government have failed to introduce Mandatory reporting of child rape?

A. I honestly believe that child abuse is too close to home for many, I was often lobbied by County Councillors and TDs not to send certain files forward to the Gardai, Politicians had a great deal of influence when they were on the Health Board Committees and indeed they still have power and influence.

Q. Are you saying that Politicians would lobby Health Board staff in order to stop prosecutions?

A. What I am saying is that in certain cases where politicians were contacted by perpetrators or the family of perpetrators and asked to contact the Health Board with a view to stopping matters going forward to the Gardai those politicians contacted us and in most cases those cases did not go forward to the Gardai.

Q. What is your view on the scandal now hitting the Catholic Church about the rape and sexual molestation of children by members of its religious orders?

A. Firstly, I think that it is important to point out that the Catholic Church did not conceal these crimes on their own, there are many files relating to members of religious orders gathering dust in Health Board offices, many of these reported cases were never investigated due to the power of the Church and their friends in high places. I did not need the Ferns, Murphy or Ryan Reports to tell me that there had been a massive cover up. However, what I would say is that any case that I handed over to the Gardai was fully and comprehensively investigated and prosecutions followed from many of those investigations in the three Health Board areas where I worked, however, I did not have control over all cases and many were buried upon instruction.

Q. Do you believe that we have got the full story about what happened within the Catholic Church?

A. Absolutely not, the cover ups are continuing, thousands of religious were simply moved from pillar to post to cover up their crimes, few if any prosecutions will follow from the three reports that I have mentioned and that means that thousands of known child rapists continue to live in communities all over this country and further a field and nobody is aware of their crimes, indeed, even the Gardai have no legal right to monitor the activities of these individuals setting aside the fact that the task is beyond the budget of any police service.

Q. That brings me on to another question, setting aside those who have not been prosecuted, are those who have been prosecuted for sexual crimes against children being monitored in accordance with best practice in child protection?

A. No, is the simply answer, the Gardai are doing their best with the legislation and resource available to them, however, the reality is that persons convicted of sexual offending have no access to rehabilitative care while in prison, they are simply warehoused and then thrown out onto the street with no follow up services available. Some have post release supervision orders but these are simply a waste of time as we don’t have the staff to follow through. The obligation for a convicted person to notify the Gardai of their address within seven days of their release from prison is useless as it is legal to give no fixed abode as their legal address. All of the International standards set down by countries such as Canada are completely ignored in Ireland. What we need is a seamless transition for such offenders where they are firstly given access to rehabilitative opportunity in prison such as the specific programme that was run in Arbour Hill Prison, upon release they need to be safely housed and given job or training opportunities. International best practice suggests that those who have committed sexual crimes can be best monitored while in full time work/training or education and are appropriately housed.

Q. Do you believe that Mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse would reduce child sexual crime in Ireland?

A. It would have an immediate effect; unlike the 2001 Sex Offenders Act which since its introduction sexual crimes right across the board has went sky high, ill-considered legislation simply facilitates sexual crime. If people who are concealing and facilitating sexual crime from the Gardai know they will face prosecution if they do not come forward then the sea in which perpetrators swim will soon dry up. Fathers/Mothers, Uncles/Aunts, Grannies/Granddads, Bishops/Cardinals, Politicians/Social Workers the list is endless will soon step forward if they know that they will face public prosecution if they do not report the sexual abuse of children.

Q. What I found interesting about our initial conversation was that you said that unlicensed Mind Altering drugs are continuing to be feed to children in this country is that correct?

A. Yes, Mind Altering drugs that are not licensed in this country for children such as Seroxat are still being prescribed for children yet they have been banned for child consumption in all other European Countries. This is particularly dangerous when dealing with children who are claiming abuse.

Q. Are you saying that children who are making allegations of abuse are being given Mind Altering drugs that are not licensed in this country?

A. Yes, this can have a very dangerous out come in such cases and those prescribing the drugs know very well the effects of such unlicensed drugs. For example, if a child makes and allegation of sexual abuse against a parent or relative and the family would rather that these allegations were concealed it is very easy to get a GP to proscribe something like Seroxat for the child in question. Seroxat should not be used on children as it has mind and mood altering effects, the result is that the child becomes abusive and disruptive and the focus moves from the alleged perpetrator to what is now an abusive and disruptive child. Equally and I have seen all of this happen, Seroxat coupled with discredited practice such a regression therapy can take a child from making allegations of physical abuse to allegations of sexual abuse, rape and even satanic ritual. I have watched in horror as judges have handed down heavy sentences to people as the judge said the child had tried to take their own life as a result of the alleged abuse, yet I knew and so did those involved in the cases, that these children had not tried to take their own life until they had been feed Seroxat or some other Mind Altering drug.

Q. Are you then suggesting that some allegations of sexual abuse may have arisen from the misuse of unlicensed Mind Altering drugs and such discredited practice as regression therapy?

A. I am saying that very clearly, I have seen it happen and I have been supported in my views by Forensic Psychologists and other professionals, however, in the present environment of moral panic and knee jerk political reaction where social policy is dictated by Tabloid headlines I doubt that any serious discussion of these matters will be had for some time to come.

Q. Are you saying that people may have been convicted before the courts on false evidence, evidence that may well be true in the mind of the alleged victim but was invented through the misuse of unlicensed mind altering drugs and discredit practices such as regression therapy?

A. In my view, any case that has involved the use of unlicensed Mind Altering drugs such as Seroxat should never have went to court, and if such cases have went to court and a conviction was secured then those cases should be over turned with immediate effect. I am an advocate for international standards of best practice in child protection, I am not an advocate for miscarriages of justice and in my view there have been many of them. The vast majority of those accused of child sexual molestation normally admit their crimes, however, there is an over whelming burden on juries in this country to believe the ‘victim’, why would he/she say such a thing about a relative, however, if the jury knew what some of these children are being subjected to I think the verdicts could be different in some cases. I think that Barristers, Judges, the Gardai and others need to be aware that unlicensed Mind Altering Drugs and discredited practices are being used behind the scenes. This evidence is never produced in Court and even if it were the Courts would have no idea what they were dealing with. I have seen children so indoctrinated that they have been able to reproduce their original statements to the Gardai with 100% word accuracy to the Court, even though the original statement may have been made years earlier.

Q. But surely no professional is going to allow what could be false evidence to go before the court if it means an innocent person going to jail?

A. It all depends on the case, some professionals like the headlines as much as everyone else, if there is a drive against a particular individual then all the stops will be pulled out to secure a conviction, I have seen it done, but I had no control over the said cases.

Q. I am absolutely amazed that unlicensed Mind Altering drugs are being used in such cases, can anything be done?

A. I think the pharmaceutical companies are very powerful and they have to sell their drugs, the Irish Medicines Board are too reliant on third party research that can often be traced back to the pharmaceuticals, GPs have far too much autonomy, and newly qualified psychologists are simply learning their trade as they go along, psychology is not a science yet certain discredited practices coupled with the use of unlicensed Mind Altering drugs can have a deep mental, psychological, emotional and medical impact on an individual and in particular a child. I don’t think any Government will have the political will to face up to what is a momentous task.

Q. Finally, what would your advice be to the Government in relation to cases of alleged childhood abuse where Seroxat or any other Mind Altering drug was administered to the alleged victim?

A. All convictions based on the evidence of any child or children who were given Seroxat or any other Mind Altering drug should be immediately quashed, there should be an immediate end to the use of unlicensed Mind Altering drugs such as Seroxat for any child in any circumstances but particularly in cases where allegations of abuse are being made. It is a crazy situation where an unlicensed Mind Altering drug can be administered to children by GPs and others, not all Doctors are good Doctors. Such discredited techniques as regression therapy should be banned in all cases relating to allegations of childhood abuse. We need a system of checks and balances in which GPs and others are regularly checked to ensure that they are meeting with best practice when it comes to child protection in particular. We cannot continue with the bizarre situation where some GPs are operating surgeries out of their front sitting room without any regular checks or balances in place by the HSE.

Thank you for this insightful interview, I can only hope that it will be used to help bring about best practice in Child Protection in Ireland.

When contacted about the allegations in this interview, The Irish Medicines Board referred me to the following statement on their web site in relation to the use of the unlicensed Mind Altering drug Seroxat:


The Irish Medicines Board (IMB) confirmed that the findings of recent Seroxat clinical studies undertaken by the manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) found that it was not effective in children and adolescents with major depressive disorder and showed an increased rate of self-harm, suicidal behaviour and false-memory-syndrome in children and adolescents treated in the studies. As a result of this new information the IMB considers that Seroxat should not be used to treat children and teenagers under the age of 18 years. The IMB has ensured healthcare professionals have been advised of this latest information and have amended the Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) and product licence to contraindicate use of Seroxat in patients less than 18 years of age with major depressive disorder.

The IMB re-emphasises to healthcare professionals that Seroxat is not and has not been licensed for use in children or adolescents in Ireland. However, doctors have the authority to prescribe any product for a patient under their care if it is deemed appropriate. The IMB wants to stress the importance for doctors, patients and parents to be aware of this new advice and for patients under 18 years who may be taking Seroxat to consult their doctor for advice. It is essential that patients taking Seroxat do not suddenly discontinue use of their treatment, because of the risk of withdrawal effects. Any changes must take place under medical supervision.