LIZ O'DONNELL TD AND FALSE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
On 9 November 2005 Minister of State to the Government, Liz O'Donnell made a statement to the Irish Parliament following the publication of the Ferns Report which dealt with sexual abuse of children by clergy in the Diocese of Ferns. The statement called for an end to the "Special Relationship" between Church and State and included the following:
The many battles, mostly lost, between State and Church.
The pregnant women isolated and condemned from pulpits, dismissed from schools, banished to Magdalene laundries. All the acts of a non-loving Church.
The unrelenting deference expected and given at State functions and in terms of diplomatic protocol. (The papal Nuncio is numero uno in our diplomatic corps).
The sweetheart deal for residential abuse.
The non-extradition of Brendan Smyth.
The related intrigue in the AG's Office, and the inactions of Official A, issues never really resolved as to any Church's involvement.?..."
I wrote to Ms O'Donnell concerning her speech and then published my E-mails on the website www.alliancesupport.org
[A] The Reason Why
Added to www.alliancesupport.org on November 16, 2005
WHY I DID NOT REPORT A SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSER
12 November 2005
Liz O'Donnell T.D.
Bertie Ahern T.D. Taoiseach
For the past 6 years I have been pursuing journalists and others who have made false allegations of child abuse and child murder. In April 2003 a Protestant lady who was initially helpful, asked me why I was engaged in this crusade. I sent her a series of e mails which I eventually united into one which I call 'The Reason Why' (with apologies to Tennyson).
I have highlighted the second 'Reason Why' below. You will note that about December 1994 I came across a child whom I suspected MIGHT be a victim of child abuse. Because of the atmosphere of hysteria at the time I felt it was too dangerous for me to continue meeting him AND I also felt I could not report my suspicions to anyone on the basis of the very little evidence I had.
Assuming my recollection of the date is correct, the hysteria at the time must have related to the fall of the Reynolds Government and the resignation of the President of the High Court in November 1994. You remember the details Ms. O'Donnell? Pat Rabbitte made a bogus claim that a document existed which would rock the foundations of the State. The document was supposed to be a letter from Cardinal Cahal Daly to then Attorney General Harry Whelehan, asking him to delay the extradition of Father Brendan Smyth. The story was a pack of lies but it created a lunatic atmosphere which led directly to the collapse of the Government.
In those circumstances how could I risk my neck by trying to help a child? I spoke to several people and to a group I was in at the time, and everyone told me not to get involved.
My reasons for failing to report this matter having only been strengthened by the subsequent decade of hysteria. Believe me Ms. O'Donnell, it was not people like Father Brendan Smyth that I was afraid of. It was thugs like Mary Raftery and yourself who use accusations of child abuse as an expression of religious hatred. Are we really supposed to believe that your anti-Clericalism is morally superior to anti-Semitism?
Perhaps you would care to report this matter to the Gardai Ms. O'Donnell? I will cite your behaviour as one reason for refusing to give them any details. The consequences of accusing someone in error are horrendous (I mean for the accused - people with no conscience who tell malicious lies get away scot free!).
ATTACHMENT to E-MAIL dated 12 November 2005
22 April 2003
Dear Ms .........
Thank you very much. The questions are a little difficult to answer by E mail. I have been pursuing this kind of issue for some years now and what seems obvious to me, may be difficult for a "newcomer" to grasp because I may be unconsciously assuming that other people know things with which I am very familiar. For example did you even hear of Nora Wall before and if not have I supplied sufficient background data?(The key factor is that she is a former nun - if people don't realise that, then I must appear to be speaking in riddles).
My Background and Reasons for Action
I was a member of the De La Salle Brothers from about September 1966 to about March 1969: I was aged 16 to 19 and spent most of my time in training though I taught for several months in 3 schools (mainly filling in for absent teachers). The training period in the Novitiate in Castletown was the formative experience of my life and the Novice master, the late Br. Maurice Kirk influenced me as much as my parents, if not more so. I doubt if he regarded me as one of his most promising students and I think he would be very surprised by my metamorphosis (He became Provincial of the Brothers and was killed in a car crash about 1974).
I would say that this is by far the most important factor in my present Crusade - if you want to call it that. I was always annoyed at the tone of sneering abuse which our "liberal" intellectuals adopt when referring to the Catholic Church. Over the past several years their blood libels and false allegations of child abuse have driven me to distraction (I am perfectly well aware that there are true allegations of abuse as well - but by the same token, not everything Julius Streicher ** wrote about the Jews is false.)
The second reason for my actions is that around Christmas 1994 (? I think) I came across a boy whom I thought might be the victim of child abuse (by his step-father). I helped him to some extent but then became afraid that I would be the target of a bogus allegation myself. So I dropped him though he was lonely and expected to see me again. In normal circumstances I would have had no problem in approaching the Social Services and asking for a discreet investigation. However hysteria was already in the air and I thought I could not possibly make an accusation on the very limited evidence I had. (Remember what Dr. Maura Woods did to Eddie Hernon?). Also because of the hysteria, I felt I could not investigate further. It was a vicious circle. I spoke to a number of friends about this at the time and everyone told me not to get involved.
Finally for 6 months or so in 1995 I was involved in an extremely ugly confrontation at work with a female member of staff who ended up by accusing me of sexual harassment. I fought this issue all the way to the top and became a delegate to the Annual Delegate Conference of the Public Service Executive Union (April 1996?) for the specific purpose of moving a Motion on bogus allegations of sexual harassment (i.e. no-one else wanted that job). The full time officials of the Union opposed my Motion but I got it passed anyway. In my speech to the ADC I insisted on referring to a bogus allegation of child abuse made against an Irish Bishop. This probably hindered my case rather than helped it but I was making certain connections (for example where did that lady get her ideas from?).
Oddly enough I believe that this last issue is the least important and I believe I would have pursued my current campaign even if it never happened. (I had a half reconciliation with the lady afterwards but do not anticipate any with the likes of Patsy McGarry and Co).
This is getting too long and I will answer your other queries seperately.
** Nazi editor of Der Sturmer who accused the Jews of being sexual perverts who murdered Christian boys. (He also said that there were Jews in the Mafia and among Stalin's hencemen - that part is true).
Note: Attachment was ommited from E-Mail published on www.alliancesupport.org in November 2005 but is available elsewhere on that site.
Re: THE REASON WHY
17 November 2005
To Rory Connor
Dear Mr. O'Connor,
Thank you for your email.
I respect your views on my speech; but I stand over my comments.
If you would like to read the whole speech you can access it on www.liz.odonnell.ie
Liz O’Donnell, T.D.
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 23:58:00 +0000 (GMT)
From: Rory Connor <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: THE REASON WHY
CC: Pat Rabbitte <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Ministers Office Health Dept of <email@example.com>,
Michael McDowell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Liz O´Donnell TD
cc Mary Harney, Minister for Health,
Michael McDowell. Minister for Justice
Pat Rabbitte TD
I already read the entire speech. However I assume that this is a standard reply that you send to everyone who disagrees with you.
Do you intend to refer to the Gardai the issue of my failure to report a possible case of child abuse? *** It is true that it wasn´t you who caused the failure. However George Orwell once stated that a Nazi and a Communist had more in common with each other than either had with a Democrat. You have a lot more in common with Pat Rabbitte than you have with any of your colleagues who takes an honest attitude to the problem of child abuse.
Incidentally I have little interest in politics but generally support the PDs because of your Party´s attitude to Sinn Fein. It now looks like you are supporting a different brand of criminal.
11 Lohunda Grove
mobile 087 675 1169
*** Michael McDowell please note.
[B] The Many Battles, Mostly Lost, Between State and Church"
Added to www.alliancesupport.org on November 16, 2005
16 November 2005
Liz O'Donnell TD
Bertie Ahern TD
In your speech to the Dail recently you referred to
"The many battles, mostly lost, between State and Church (including) .....
the non-extradition of Brendan Smyth.
The related intrigue in the AG's Office, and the inactions of Official A, issues never really resolved as to any Church's involvement."
You are very well aware that there was no intrigue or Church/State conspiracy or Church/State "battle" involved in the non-extradition of Fr. Brendan Smyth. You know very well that the suggestion by Deputy Pat Rabbitte in November 1994 that a document existed that would rock the State to its foundations was false and no doubt deliberately so. You know well that Cardinal Cahal Daly never wrote a letter to then Attorney General Harry Whelehan in an attempt to block the extradition of Father Brendan Smyth.
Pat Rabbitte's "mistake" was quickly discovered and should have signalled an end to his career. Instead, in the atmosphere of hysteria which he created, it was wrongly assumed that there was a precedent for the Brendan Smyth case which Harry Whelehan had ignored. This was the so-called "Duggan case". The Duggan case did NOT involve an extradition for offences going back decades which was the salient feature of the Smyth case. In what extradition court case has it ever been quoted as a precedent? What legal text book quotes it as a precedent for anything at all?
Yet this fantasy led to the fall of the government of Albert Reynolds when Labour pulled out and also to the resignation of Harry Whelehan as President of the High Court. False allegations concerning child abuse led to these events which are without precedent in the history of the State. (On what other occasion did a Government fall due to hysteria alone?).
As to the "inaction of Official A" in the Attorney General?s Office this was Matt Russell. Why be so coy when you are making such vile allegations Ms. O?Donnell? You cannot be sued unless you repeat them outside the Dail, as I am sure you are aware.
Matt Russell did not respond to two letters written by a solicitor on behalf of the victims of Brendan Smyth in late 1994/early 1995. On the face of it they were ridiculous. They demanded compensation for the victims because of the suffering caused by the original extradition delay. In the light of the reigning hysteria Matt Russell should have taken them more seriously but he favoured the logical approach. "Furthermore, many more actions are threatened are threatened by solicitors letters than are commenced, and in view of the tenuous nature of the claim I thought this might well occur in this case."
Matt Russell was perfectly logical and perfectly correct in his view of this claim. However such considerations are irrelevant in a witch-hunt and he was forced to tender his resignation to Taoiseach John Bruton on 29 May 1995. This was the first time in the history of the State that a senior civil servant had been forced to resign.
This was another triumph for the supporters of our Irish Salem and I suspect that there is a direct line between these episodes of hysteria and the conviction of Nora Wall for child abuse 4 years later. The innocent Nora Wall was the first woman in the history of the State to be convicted of rape and also the first person to receive a life sentence for rape. She was convicted because she was a Catholic nun. Pat Rabbitte and yourself have got away with your lies because they are directed at the Catholic Church.
Other people got away with thuggery also. About January 1995 I wrote a letter to the Dail Committee on Procedures and Privileges concerning an experience a colleague of mine had when being interviewed for the post of Private Secretary to a Minister of State. He was asked if he was a member of Opus Dei!! At this stage it was abundantly clear that the allegations by Deputy Rabbitte and Co were false. As I recall, the Committee told me that they were revising their procedures to ensure that this would not happen again but they could not deal with a past occurence. Obviously the revised procedures are not very effective. Would you agree Ms. O'Donnell?
Finally Ms. O'Donnell. have you informed the Gardai of the possible child abuse episode which I outlined to you in my previous E Mail? I would like to explain to the Gardai why it is impossible for me to give them details. The reason is that it is too dangerous to risk making a mistake in the atmosphere of hysteria created by people like yourself. A mistake would cost me nothing. (In fact I could tell deliberate lies and get away with it no problem.) However it would be catastrophic for a person whom I might accuse in error.
Are you proud of yourself and the society you have helped to create?
[C] "States of Fear" & "Suffer the Little Children"
Added to www.alliancesupport.org on November 16, 2005
Liz O'Donnell T.D.
Bertie Ahern, T.D. Taoiseach
In response to Ms. O'Donnell's disgusting comments I am sending you some of my own material on Church State relations with particular reference to how it impacted on child abuse allegations.
This material concerns Mary Raftery, her TV series "States of Fear" (April/May 1999) and the book "Suffer the Little Children" (November 1999) which is based on it. As Mary Raftery points out in the book, the Taoiseach's apology and offer of compensation etc was made on the day in May 1999 that the last episode of States of Fear was broadcast.
Nora Wall was convicted of raping a child in June 1999. I was told by one of her defence team (Sean Costello of Frank Ward and Company, Solicitors) that she was convicted in a climate of hysteria created by "States of Fear" (a truly fitting title). Tell me Ms. O'Donnell, are you satisfied with that kind of interaction between Church and State? Nora Wall's application for a certificate declaring a miscarriage of justice will come up before the Court of Criminal Appeal on 1st December. Will you be supporting it Ms. O'Donnell? Do you have anything at all to say about the bestial treatment of Nora Wall by your anti-clerical compatriots ("Vile Nun", "Pervert Nun", "I was Raped by Anti-Christ" - do you remember the headlines Ms. O'Donnell?).
The following is correspondence with Irish Times editor Geraldine Kennedy about Mary Raftery. It has appeared on 3 websites i.e.
www.voicesemerge.com which speaks for victims of false allegations in Ireland
www.inquisition21.com which does much the same in the UK
www.alliancesupport.org which speaks for GENUINE victims of child abuse in Ireland - but they don't like liars and slanderers who discredit genuine victims.
Geraldine Kennedy's reply is at number 2. It is hardly a shattering refutation of my allegations against Mary Raftery.
Do you support the Mary Raftery model for Church/State relationships Ms. O'Donnell?
Copy of Corrrespondence with Irish Times
(1) Letter to Editor
17 April 2005
Editor, Irish Times
Dear Ms. Kennedy,
I am enclosing some articles which I have written concerning Mary Raftery and her accusations of child killing and child abuse directed against the Catholic Church.
The Death of Patsy Flanagan
Mary Raftery has accused the Christian Brothers of being responsible for the death of the boy Patsy Flanagan who died following a fall from a staircase in Artane in February 1951. When her "witness" produced three contradictory accounts of the incident (one of which got the date wrong by 5 years), Ms. Raftery tried to square the circle by claiming that a few boys had died in this manner! She produced not a scrap of evidence to support this allegation.
There was an inquest which found the death of Patsy Flanagan to be an accident. Mary Raftery does not mention this in her book. Did she not know about it or did she deliberately conceal this evidence?
Sister Stanislaus and Sister Conception
Mary Raftery has, on several occasions, accused Sister Stanislaus Kennedy of failing to act when she was informed of child abuse in the 1970s in St. Joseph's orphanage, Kilkenny. The social worker who is supposed to have informed her, wrote to the Irish Times to say that he himself was unaware in 1977 that sex abuse was involved and that he only became aware of this in 1995 i.e. nearly 20 years after he is supposed to have informed Sister Stan (Letters page 22 December 1999). This precisely matches what Sister Stan said when Mary Raftery first made her allegation (in the States of Fear series and the book Suffer the Little Children). Yet Ms. Raftery repeats the accusation in her article on 3 March last. She makes a similar accusation against Sister Conception and the late Bishop Birch, in spite of the fact that on 1st March the President of the High Court Mr. Justice Finnegan, specifically exonerated them in his judgment in the case of R. Noctor-v.-Ireland, The Attorney General and Others. (Mary Raftery does not dispute his judgment concerning this issue; she ignores it).
Mary Raftery claimed that Sister Stanislaus had denounced a civil servant on the Kennedy Committee for failing to give credit to the Church for its social work. The three civil servants at the relevant meeting told journalist Breda O'Brien that no such episode had occurred. (One also wrote to the Irish Times to confirm this). This is by no means the most serious allegation made by Mary Raftery. It is important because it can be easily shown to be a lie. And the lie is obviously linked to other tales told by Ms Raftery about Sister Stan and about the Catholic Church.
Brother Joseph O'Connor
A far uglier lie is Mary Raftery's attack on the late Brother Joseph O'Connor who was the Christian Brother responsible for the Artane Boys Band. She claims he was a vicious child abuser. She alleges that a man abused by him was so distraught that he hung around the Mater Hospital for days when Brother O'Connor was dying. He then went into the hospital and lifted the sheet from his body to confirm that Brother O'Connor was dead. BROTHER JOSEPH O'CONNOR DID NOT DIE IN THE MATER HOSPITAL. (The same question arises as with the inquest on Patsy Flanagan - did Mary Raftery not bother to check this extraordinary story or did she conceal evidence?)
I assume that Mary Raftery tells lies about Brother O'Connor for the same reason she tells lies about Sister Stanislaus i.e. they are both well known Catholics and demonising them is a way of getting at the Church.
Mary Raftery's treatment of the Nora Wall scandal in her book is grossly misleading. She fails to state that Nora Wall's two accusers had made a string of rape allegations against various people. Above all she fails to mention the main reason for the collapse of the trial i.e. a man read an article about the case in The Star newspaper and recognised one of the women as the person who had made a false allegation against himself!
I was told by one of Nora Wall's defense team (Sean Costello of Frank Ward and Co. Solicitors) that she had been convicted because of a climate of hysteria created by the media and SPECIFICALLY BY THE STATES OF FEAR SERIES!
Anti-Semitism and Anti-Clericalism
In his book "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich", William Shirer has this to say about Hitler's favourite anti-Semite Julius Streicher:
"A famous fornicator he made his fame and fortune as a blindly fanatical anti-Semite. His notorious weekly Der Stuermer thrived on lurid tales of Jewish sexual crimes and Jewish "ritual murders"; its obscenity was nauseating even to many Nazis".
Ms. Kennedy, if even some Nazis were nauseated by Julius Streicher, what is Mary Raftery doing writing for the Irish Times? Do you believe that anti-clerical hatred is morally superior to the Nazi variety? You will note that they both involve lying allegations of sexual crimes and of child killing.
I intend to distribute this material as widely as possible. If yourself or Mary Raftery feel that any of it is mistaken, please let me know within the next week and I will take your views on board. In the meantime I will send this to the National Union of Journalists only.
11 Lohunda Grove
(2) Reply from Editor
THE IRISH TIMES
The Irish Times Limited, 10-16 D'Olier Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: 6758000. Fax: 6719407
Mr. Rory Connor
11 Lohunda Grove
April 21st 2005
Dear Mr. Connor,
Thank you for your letter of April 17th and its attachments.
I note from your letter your accusation not just that Mary Raftery has been mistaken in much that she has written but that she has written as fact things that were untrue and that she knew to be untrue.
As you are also seeking a response from her, I will pass on a copy of your letter to Ms. Raftery but I will not be responding myself to the points you have made because the allegations are clearly defamatory.
(3) My Response to Editor
29 April 2005
Dear Ms Kennedy
Thanks for your reply dated 21 April which I received on the 26 th.
I actually sent all of the material to Mary Raftery by registered post on 18 April. I also copied it to the National Union of Journalists as I believe that Ms. Raftery must have breached every article of their Code of Conduct. I have not yet received a reply from her and I am now distributing this material as widely as possible. I understand that the NUJ will only accept a complaint if it comes from another journalist so I am concentrating on journalists.
Yes I believe that Mary Raftery is not just mistaken but is telling deliberate lies. A blatant example is when her "witness" to the death of Patsy Flanagan tells three contradictory stories (one of which gets the date wrong by 5 years). Instead of withdrawing her allegations Mary Raftery tries to square the circle by claiming that more than one boy died in this way in Artane (i.e. by falling from a staircase)!
Mary McCarthy once said about the Stalinist Lillian Hellman : "Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the'." That neatly sums up my attitude to Mary Raftery.
[D] Confronting the Church
Added to www.alliancesupport.org on November 17, 2005
Sir - Bruce Arnold is right yet again in championing Liz O'Donnell as a paragon of courage in a country of cowards.
To make the RC Church answerable to the Irish people is something that Daniel O'Connell would not dare, Michael Davitt would not contemplate and Parnell would hardly venture. For the first time since the burning of Adam Dubh O'Toole in 1328 or thereabouts, no Irish Catholic politician has challenged the Church to audit its accounts and give up its Divine Right to govern.
O'Donnell's programme has not only installed a real politic in the barren waste of Irish make-believe but has made all political parties in the Republic perfectly redundant.
The theatre promised by those who squirm in the face of her frankness is breathtaking. Long live courage.
Sir - The recent attacks against the Catholic Church by Liz O'Donnell should be greeted with alarm and dismay by all those committed to the creation of a pluralist and tolerant society. These attacks go beyond normal criticism and call into question the right of a major religion to exist independently and without state control.
Ms O'Donnell's description of the special relationship that exists between the Catholic Church and the State almost beggars belief. For at least 35 years the only thing special about Catholicism in Ireland is that it is the only major religion practised in the country which politicians have felt free to deride, insult and offend with impunity and without fear of condemnation by a press as hostile to religion as it is hostile to truth.