MARY RAFTERY AND NORA WALL
Sunday, 30 July, 2006 11:47 PM
To: "Professor Vincent Comerford", "Ronan Fanning", "Dr. Diarmaid Ferriter", "Dr. Colum Kenny", "Daire Keogh", "Dermot Keogh", "Dr. Eoin O'Sullivan", "Professor Irene Whelan", "Editor History Ireland", "John Horgan" ... more
Cc:"Mary Raftery", "Vincent Browne"
Lady, Gentlemen and Scholars,
The Nora Wall affair was the vilest perversion of justice in the history of this State. The Gardai sometimes try to "improve on" evidence against criminals or terrorists but at least they believe them to be guilty. Nora Wall was submitted to a vile ordeal because she had been a nun. No Protestant or Jewish woman was treated like that in the Age of De Valera and McQuaid.
One thing I did not realise at the time was that the conviction was obtained on the basis of "Recovered Memory" evidence and that the accuser Regina Walsh "recovered her memory" in a mental hospital in 1996 shortly after the broadcast of Louis Lentin's 'Dear Daughter' documentary on RTE. (This was about Christine Buckley and Goldenbridge). "Recovered Memory" is rare is Ireland although it has a long and infamous history in the USA. It is highly significant that the first (and only?) successful use of this type of evidence was against a nun!
Certainly this issue will loom large in future histories of modern Ireland. One of the questions historians will investigate is this: why did people who knew the truth at the time choose to remain silent?
MARY RAFTERY AND NORA WALL
Extract from 'SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN' by Mary Raftery and Eoin O'Sullivan (Chapter 10 - 'The Evil Within: Child Sexual Abuse')
“There is also one reported account of sexual abuse by a nun. Paddy Doyle, in his book 'The God Squad', describes the physical and sexual abuse he suffered as a very young boy at the hands of a Sister of Mercy in their industrial school in Cappoquin, Co. Waterford. He had been committed to the school at the age of four during the 1950s, when both of his parents had died. He describes the sexual abuse as 'causing me to squirm and writhe involuntarily. When it passed I sobbed uncontrollably, frightened at what had happened'.
In a separate matter, the case of Nora Wall, formerly Sister Dominic of the Sisters of Mercy, was heard before the courts. Both she and Paul McCabe had been charged with the rape of a young girl at the Cappoquin Industrial School during the late 1980s. In July 1999, they were both found guilty. However the verdict was quashed four days later in the Court of Criminal Appeal. Counsel for the Director of Public prosecutions did not oppose this, explaining that a witness had given evidence whom the DPP had previously decided should not be called. Nora Wall and Paul McCabe remain on bail until the courts decide whether or not there is to be a re-trial.”
SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN was first published in November 1999 (following the broadcast of the States of Fear series by RTE six months earlier) and the authors’ acknowledgements to those who assisted them are also dated November 1999. Accordingly Mary Raftery and her co-author had plenty of time to digest the significance of what happened to Nora Wall. The following are some of the facts that they omit to mention:
On 28 July 1999 the convictions of Nora Wall and Paul McCabe were quashed by the Court of Criminal Appeal. Mary Raftery reports this episode. However she makes it appear that the convictions were overturned on a technicality. It is clear that the case collapsed because both the accuser and her witness were grossly unreliable.
24 March 2005