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THE IRISH RETENTION OF RECORDS ACT.

Explainer: What is the Retention of Records Bill and why is it so controversial?

ByEva Wall – Extra.ie

The Retention of Records Bill was approved by the Cabinet in February 2019, but its passage into legislation has been controversial.

The Retention of Records Bill pertains to the records transferred to the National Archives by the Ryan Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, the Residential Institutions Redress Board (RIRB) and the Residential Institutions Redress Review Committee.​

Purportedly seeking to replace existing legislation that dictates the destruction of all records and submissions gathered by these three bodies, the Retention of Records Bill proposes ‘sealing’ the documents for a period of at least 75 years, or until 2094 at the earliest.

The Retention of Records Bill proposes ‘sealing’ the documents relating to institutional child abuse for a period of at least 75 years, or until 2094 at the earliest.


Established in 2000, the Ryan Commission or CICA was instigated to investigate the extent and impact of institutional abuse perpetrated in State and Church bodies from 1936 onward, and to hear testimonies from those who claimed to have suffered such abuse.

Two years later, the RIRB was set up to make awards to survivors of institutional abuse, while the Residential Institutions Redress Review Committee was established to review these awards.

All told, the three bodies hold over two million records concerning institutional abuse in Ireland from 1936.

The Retention of Records Bill pertains to the records transferred to the National Archives by the Ryan Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, the Residential Institutions Redress Board (RIRB) and the Residential Institutions Redress Review Committee. Pic: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland.

The essential stated aim of the Retention of Records Bill, as outlined by Minister for Education Joe McHugh, is to ensure that all records are preserved to ensure that the extent of institutional child abuse in Ireland is neither forgotten nor repeated, thereby supplanting earlier obligations to destroy the evidence while respecting the wishes of the 15,000 survivors who submitted testimonies, as well as confidentiality clauses reportedly outlined in the establishment of the Ryan Commission.

The proposed bill has been opposed by a number of survivors of institutional abuse, as well as legal, historical and archival experts, some of whom appeared before the Oireachtas Education Committee on Tuesday November 26 to outline their concerns.

The opposition towards the proposed bill centres on perceptions that the Government, by sealing the records for such a long period, risks ‘creating cynicism’, and concerns have also been voiced at the inability of survivors of abuse to access their own personal data and at the lack of investigation into the preferences of survivors concerning the storage and availability of their records.

Minister for Education Joe McHugh has said that the Retention of Records Bill is to preserve evidence and therefore to ensure that the extent of institutional child abuse in Ireland is neither forgotten nor repeated

The full written submissions made to the Oireachtas Education Committee in opposition to the Retention of Records Bill may be accessed online.

Among the recommendations made to the Committee were the enactment of legislation to allow survivors who submitted testimonies access to their own records, the possible anonymisation or redaction of records made available for public access, and the provision of legislation to enable individual survivors to decide how they would prefer to handle their records.

In her submission to the Committee, Maeve O’Rourke, a lecturer in Human Rights Law in NUI Galway, said: ‘We cannot overstate the potential impact of this Bill’s contents on our country’s historical record, on survivors’ and their families’ personal lives, and on our State’s ability to prevent abuse in the future.

‘The Bill deserves the most careful and survivor-focused scrutiny possible.’
Catriona Crowe, former Head of Special Projects at the National Archives of Ireland, also addressed the Committee.

Describing the records as ‘a comprehensive account of atrocious treatment of vulnerable children over a long period of time’, Ms. Crowe said: ‘The records will provide a unique account of institutional childcare in a small country new to independence, of poverty and its consequences, of the close links between Church and State in the delivery of welfare services, of the damage done to families from loss of their children and siblings, and of the suffering of a large cohort of children in these institutions.

Caitriona Crowe, former Head of Special Projects at the National Archives, said: ‘The loss of the records, or the inappropriate restriction of access being contemplated, would be a significant and profound loss to historical scholarship on 20th century Ireland’. P

‘The loss of the records, or the inappropriate restriction of access being contemplated, would be a significant and profound loss to historical scholarship on 20th century Ireland.’

Ms. Crowe added: ‘The fact that so many survivors of this regime have managed to make normal lives for themselves is testimony to their courage and resilience. Let us not harm them again by treating their hugely important testimonies as outside the archival norms which operate for all other citizens.’


Researcher and survivor of institutional abuse Dr. Mary Lodato told the Committee: ‘The proposed 75-year sealing of our files creates cynicism. It makes it look as though the state is hiding something. This state has already robbed survivors of so much, and profited from our suffering. It must give us our history, and let us share it with the nation.’

PAT SAYS

I think it is an utter disgrace that the Irish Government are planning to hide abuse records from victims and their families for 75 years on the basis of a Finna Fianna Fail promise made to the corrupt Irish Catholic Church and its religious orders.

WONERSH SEMINARY CLOSES

If walls could talk…………

83 replies on “THE IRISH RETENTION OF RECORDS ACT.”

Social work records on children in Northern Ireland are sealed for 100 years, even records created now, so what’s the fuss?

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@9:33: kindly quote your reference sources and specify which records you refer to and what you mean by “sealed”: eg, adoption, fostering, abuse investigations etc.
MMM

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11.23: MMM – you don’t need to ask this question: you know. Stop defending the indefensible, the many well documented acts of negligence in your former profession which caused monumental devastation to children and families. Don’t try to play ignorant!!”

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Look at these baleful statistics, showing in raw form the high number of children forcibly taken away for adoption by NI social workers. I worked with a man who, in the 1960s, was able to take a plane to England, go to Manchester, and he and his wife were given a baby by social services. They signed a few forms and brought the baby back with them on the return flight.

He and his wife were terrible parents and should never have had access to a child. The baby has grown up to be severely mentally ill, agoraphobic just like the adoptive mother, and permanently unemployed.

Who cares about such cases? Not denier Mournful.

https://www.nisra.gov.uk/publications/adoption-statistics

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Thank you @, 9.41, 10.09, 10.11, & 10.51, for your comments.
May I remind you that this blog site is NOT dedicated to social work matters. Neither is it appropriate or necessary for me to continue a debate on N. Ire. issues relating to a profession on which I am well out of date and over 20 years retired, having never worked in N. Ire. However in matters relating to SW in general, I’m obliged to point out that care services staff’s ability to support families and the vulnerable are:
A)strictly regulated by legislation and accompanying regulations. Social workers may only do what the law permits;
B)highly dependent on resources available, both staffing wise, and physical facilities such as care homes, foster placements, domiciliary care etc.
C) Removal of children is subject to and dependent on court adjudication at which parents wishes are legally represented and the child is represented entirely separately (from the council social worker) by an independent social worker guardian and lawyer. These latter are entirely responsible to advise the court on what is best option to meet the child’s needs. Even before a child’s needs are determined by a court the whole matter will have had to be considered by a panel of medical, legal and SW experts as to whether or not to take the matter to court.
D) Children’s developmental needs necessitate stability and structure particularly in their early years. They do not go into a state of dormancy awaiting parental maturation. This may require decisive permanent placement actions such as adoption which conflict with parental wishes who will feel aggrieved. Research has shown the irreversible damage done to children whose early years involved unsuitable parenting, “drifting” in/out of fostering while vain attempts were made to support/educate/improve incapable parents. Such research has persuaded government and elected councillors to push for more decisive social work interventions to safeguard children.

Finally thank you especially to@10:11 for providing a link to a Community Care 28/11/16 article relating to Adoption. Particularly informative are the responses, especially the first one from a social worker. I’d recommended those wishing to try to understand the issues and who are capable of using their critical faculties as opposed to narrow minded prejudices read these responses. The remainder of you, …….well if you’re happier living in ignorance, “hard cheese”.
MMM

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MMM: there really was no point in asking for clarity at 11:23. As usual, and as seen below, all you’ve got it their usual bluster mixed with the red herrings of ignorance and inanity.

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Didn’t Littlewank go to Wonersh ? There you are ! If they can let a specimen like that through to ordination, then what else have they allowed to get ordained ? He should never have been ordained, was moved on from various seminaries, and only at the last chance was he sent to Wonersh, and then ordained by a soon to be retired Archbishop Smith, who frankly was past it, and should have had the guts to move Littlemaniple on and out. Oh well, I suppose that they will now all move to Alice Hall or Gaycott, where pretty much anything seems to go, and the staff are as bad as the students. The staff in these places are mediocre, underwhelming and…..well, I think you get the drift. As for the students ? Well, you only have to look at the recent crop ordained…… How many will be around in a few years’ time ? I put it at 50 % or less.

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10.00pm: You, sir, dysfunctional 8bsessive, urgently need therapy. Your constant referencing in crude terms to Fr. Littleton is an illness. It is a derangement of your emotions, intelligence and mental capacity. Unless you want to spend your life being a perverted obsessive, seek therapy immediately.

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The records need serious supervision. Why lock them totally. The people of today want answers. Is this like ancient aliens or something. It’s only safe to let info out when it’s believed the people won’t revolt. Is the world flat or not What does the church say anyway

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What, so strangers can go and browse swse the personal records of children who had been in homes?
Browsers like that amateur historian (very amateur) Corless, who spread the lie about 800 babies in a so-called septic tank in Tuam. The Irish Government got all up in arms and ordered an excavation, in the face of which the lies crumbled.
There were not 800 babies in Tuam, but there were 6,666 abortions in Ireland last year. The same people who foam at the mouth about Tuam were whooping with joy at Dublin Castle when the baby-killing vote went their way. Figure that one out.

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11.38
How do you turn an issue of burial into an issue of murder so easily? Where’s your evidence that even one infant was murdered? Slanderous drivel!

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6,666 terminations defined as ‘murder’ by the Catholic Church, with about as much reality as Limbo, Purgatory, Hell and Heaven, which they keep juggling with: ‘now you see it now you dont’, and nothing is a crime as far as the anointed are concerned. What about all the infant bodies in the back patches of their orphanages that died of too early a separation form their mothers often carried out with physical violence. Their corpses, apparently, are not murder, but pre-birth souls are? The bones of infants in sewers don’t exit? Foetuses, biologically, are not babies – they are potential babies, any more than a woman’s eggs or male sperm are babies. If you can overcome your prejudices, you won’t have to do too much figuring out to do to arrive at that conclusion.

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11.38: Safe, rare and legal is what we were told we would have…now the truth is – abortion on demand with iver 6,000 last year!! Tells its own horrible story. The Tuam babies were not murdered. Fact. There is a lie being told. And the truth is that Tuam is not what Corless says. Lies are easily told.

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Rector Mgr Gerald Ewing said: “Priestly formation will cease at Wonersh at the end of the academic year 20/21 – but until then, it is business as usual.”

Business as usual? No change there, then!

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St John’s Seminary in Wonersh, Guildford, is ceasing its formation of seminarians, who will be re-located to Allen Hall for the remainder of their studies.
Wonersh, the principal seminary for the Archdiocese of Southwark and the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, has been training men for the priesthood since 1891.
In a statement issued by the Trustees of Wonersh, Archbishop John Wilson of Southwark and Bishop Richard Moth of Arundel write of their “great sadness that formation must now cease on the site.”
Explaining the decision, the bishops claim that the “current and projected number of seminarians is too small to sustain a healthy formation community, and the building and staffing costs have simply become prohibitive.”
Currently there are 17 seminarians at Wonersh, but there was no new intake this September and six of the current students are due to complete their formation next summer.
With the agreement of their local bishops, therefore, it was determined that the 11 remaining seminarians would be transferred to Allen Hall from September 2021, the seminary of the Diocese of Westminster.
Archbishop Wilson and Bishop Moth, however, add that Wonersh seminary does not yet have plans to close completely.
“While it is proposed to consider all options for the future use of the St John’s Seminary buildings, St John’s Seminary will remain a legal entity so that consideration can be given to the ways in which the tradition of priestly formation established at Wonersh in 1891 will continue into the future”.
The bishops’ statement closes with a message of thanks to all who contributed to the seminary during its 130-year history.
“The Trustees are extremely grateful to Rectors, Staff, and Seminarians, past and present, and to all those who have supported the Seminary over the years. We give thanks to Almighty God for all that has been achieved and received. We seek to promote vocations to the priesthood, and we commit ourselves to providing priestly formation that will serve the people of our Dioceses and parishes into the future.”
Dr Pia Matthews, Director of Studies at Wonersh and a teacher at Allen Hall told the Catholic Herald that there was still “much to discuss over the relocation of the seminarians to Allen Hall to continue with their formation.”
“These are uncertain times for everyone, and the Church is no exception,” Dr Matthews added. “However, the Wonersh Seminary motto is ‘the hope of the harvest is in the seed’, spes messis in semine. The seminary community at St John’s is a strong family community, a family that continues together into next year. Beyond that everything, as always, is in God’s hands.”

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“However, the Wonersh Seminary motto is ‘the hope of the harvest is in the seed’, spes messis in semine”.
And plenty of seed was spilt and spattered in Wankersh ✊🥖💦😝

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Sad day for Wonersh after all the moneys that have been requested for its upkeep! There must be at least a couple of good staff there who will now be unemployed. All down to bad management and bad decisions from episcopate. McDonald, Smith, Moth, Coyle et al.
I doubt that there will be any donations returned or any apologies for the misuse of funds. Perhaps the young laddies will enjoy themselves better with Alice. Perhaps Elsie will hand over to Wilson and Southwark will unite with Westminster??

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Wedding venue by this time next year. There will be a farewell Mass at the closing the theme will be Church is living stones remember it’s not about buildings or a priestly caste it’s about everyone being in a way their own priest, their own seminary, their own church etc zzzzz

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Ah the Catholic Church and Fianna Fail, an unholy alliance that has blighted this country since the foundation of the state, two completely corrupt and self serving organisations, both thankfully on the decline.

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If it were not for the Catholic Church, during most of the Free State’s existence there would have been about two hospitals and 10 schools, all for Protestants.

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Schools are convenient and productive proselytizing arms of the RCC. Hospitals slightly less so. Why otherwise would the clergy argue so strongly against integrated schooling in the North?

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9.41: The truth is that MMM will not answer any.legitimate questions re: social workers negligence and total irresponsibility, bith in Ireland Andvtge UK, under whose regime he worked. He knows the statistucs: he knows the truth but now he gas the arrogance to question others who likewise failed in their work of caring for vulnerable children and young people. He is entitled to mock, condemn, sneer at and ridicule the clericalism of the Catholic Church.but let him examine more honestly the secrecy and mismanagement of his former way of life. Lots of bones rattling about in his folders…

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You have the boroughs mixed up. Sharon Shoesmith was the head of social services in Haringey Council NOT Hackney Council. Both are London Boroughs next door to one another.

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Lol yes, that’s why they’ll bring up anything from social work to the Sally army – it’s a desperate attempt to deflect attention.
MMM’s comments above make it clear how social services has changed- the church still hasn’t lol.

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You know what, if they could read they would see how the article linked above says how Shoesmith won an employment tribunal which ruled she had been scapegoated and unfairly dismissed.

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Thank you Anon 7.26. But it’s not simply a diminished literacy capacity!
I only realised late in life that logically put arguments supported by sound evidence seldom influences ………the……………..ignorant and stupid.
That’s the problem: their stupidity impedes a capacity for rational intelligent thought processes.
I know that recently I’ve attempted to discuss issues logically, but constantly only see inane ad hominem diversionary responses from …..the usual sector. I don’t think I’ll bother any more. It may be a waste of time with “them”, but I hope my comments are of informative interest to others.
MMM

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Social Workers don’t claim to be ontologically altered, other Christ’s or paradigms of virtue,
in the business of proclaiming the Gospel while moralizing to others. Unlike clerics.

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1.04: MMM = cowardism. Huff and puff, Moaning Minnie, your profession would have required you to live by and sign up to the highest ethical codes of behaviour, protecting and caring for vulnerable children and young people. It’s very convenient for you to hide behind the “It’s not my business” frameset but the reality tells an abysmal story of social workers negligence and disregard for any ethical codes of behaviour, responsibility and boundaries. It a cop out and you know it, coward. Now, back to your bar stool moralizing….P.S. – Don’t fall off: it might rattle you into TRUTH when They might be uncomfortable for your amnesia.

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6.53: Something biting you? No need to go all crazily apoplectic. Usually the reaction of liars and fools.

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1:31 & 2:33

Fr. Huff and puff & Fr. Minnie the moan sounding as christian as ever.
The onto change didn’t work,again!

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Anon@ 1:51: The “onto change”, probably does work, but in a perverse way!
Have you, or indeed any body else noted the vast difference in the tone of comment criticising, nay, ….virulently attacking mmm, and his calm, detailed and evidence based replies? Stark difference barely describes it.
Anon 11.48 says mmm “flies into a rage……” No sir, or madam. He doesn’t, certainlynot on this blog. But it’s very obvious that you, and your like, are enraged, not mmm. Does truth hurt, and having your cosy clerical world of privilege and prestige being ably challenged…….?
Well that must be really hard to stomach. Get used to it pal. The whole force of destiny and opinion are against you.

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AB says Wonersh is not being sold in the Catholic Herald. That says to me he has a plan up his sleeve! Could he be hoping that Westminster will sell up Alice and move to Surrey with a new team? Chelsea would generate mucho £££

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If Allen Hall was put up for sale the grasping nuns who were there previously would want a cut of the profits, as happened with Heythrop when it was sold. All the patrimony built up pre-Vatican II is being sold off at immense profit (not for the laity) as the New Springtime Council continues its Midas touch.

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On 24th Oct my son Conán Mc Gonagle will receive his Tonsure at 4pm our time.
This ceremony will take place at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, Nebraska (USA) and will be streamed live on YouTube (link to come).
We ask for your prayers, please share to spread the word.

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Conan will be ordained a holy priest 🙏. Marshall and his cohort of demons are all on benefits. “The LORD our God is just in everything He does” (Daniel 9:14).

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Anon at 1.51: You sound like a Sister Gondotty – all faux crappy outrage….for the defence of auld MMM! A lost cause.

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Lol Fr Faux is rambling on as usual. Merely demonstrates how little respect he has for anyone else, and of course if your first reaction is to assume someone else’s thoughts are false it reflects very badly on your own authenticity and honesty. The church actively grows these psychopathic reactions.

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6.53: Something biting you? No need to go all crazily apoplectic. Usually the reaction of liars and fools.

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And then they call other people apoplectic.
Anyone who has dealt with a bishop recognises these diversion techniques.

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Is there any truth to the comment left on yesterdays blog @ 1:44 am last night,
regarding Arch. Eamon Martin, a Maynooth network involving senior Irish Clergy
and Irish Seminarians modeled on McCarrick?

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Pat, it’s the exact same in Scotland. I am hearing recently about three seminarians there, one of whom is suspended, who were caught in a gay bar last Christmas with a Scottish Bishop. I believe you have been told about this before.

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7:47 pm..The one that’s suspended is said to be keeping a low profile as unflattering pictures of him are due to be released in next month’s CTS!

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Re-Publishing Articles: It’s such a common question: “Can I republish an article?” Re-publishing articles is more concerning for a number of reasons.
Permission Standpoint: First, re-publishing an article requires permission from the writer, and in some cases, the company for which the writer works. We recommend getting this in written form prior to proceeding. In many cases, even with permission to republish articles, there may be specific specifications on how they want the content displayed, credit given, attributes, and links.
If you work in a situation where you have a parent company or a manufacturer/dealer situation, then check for their specific policy on republishing content. Retain a copy of the policy for your records. Many times you will get articles given to you for purposes of reprinting or distributing to your clients written by the manufacturer or parent company. Make sure you verify how to tell what has an “open ended” permission for republishing, and always leave Trademarks and Copyrights in place.

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Will we have to wait long for more tales from the Abbey or the Priory, Bp Pat? They’re both now so popular with your readers.

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