In a damning 2009 report, Ireland’s independently-run Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse – which spent nine years investigating thousands of allegations of abuse at religious-run institutions – spoke of a culture of “endemic sexual abuse” in the country’s Catholic boys’ schools and of the “deferential and submissive attitude” of the Irish state towards the religious orders who ran them.
What emerged from the investigation, and from a separate Dublin-specific inquiry concluded the same year, was that institutional child abuse was widespread and that it had occurred not only in schools, but in many places where young people were in the care of religious orders. The commissions also revealed that very often when children reported the abuse, they were largely ignored and even punished, with many of the adult perpetrators being relocated to new parishes by church officials. The state, too, had willfully turned a blind eye.
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