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Extract from SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN by Mary Raftery and Eoin O'Sullivan


".While the publication of the Kennedy Report was greeted with considerable publicity and wide approval, it was clear that neither the State nor the Catholic Church shared that enthusiasm for change....... A year after the report had been published, one of the civil servants on the Kennedy Committee was to receive the full brunt of criticism from the Catholic Church. At the Church's major seminar on child care in Killarney in 1971, he was called into a room and held to account by the Bishop of Kerry, Eamon Casey, and by Sister Stanislaus Kennedy, even at that stage a major force in the history of child care. They wanted to know how it was that the Department of Education could have presided over a report which gave the religious orders so little credit for their great work on behalf of children for so many decades"

Mary Raftery gives the source of the above account as an article by Fintan O'Toole "Not Asking Questions Cold Again Fail Children" Irish Times 21/5/99. When journalist Breda O'Brien questioned this story she came under attack by Fintan O'Toole. The following is an extract from Breda O'Brien's response in the Irish Times on 10 January 2000. Her article is entitled "A Search for the Truth Does Not Question Reality of Child Abuse".

"On December 10th, 1999, Fintan O'Toole declares that "Breda O'Brien, a sincere and committed journalist, has made extravagant claims about her own alleged ability to uncover flawed research in Suffer The Little Children .." (One shudders to think what an insincere and uncommitted journalist might be capable of)..........................

O'Toole claims that in the 1970s, Sister Stan, along with Bishop Casey, in a private room berated the two civil servants from the Department of Justice and Education who sat on the Kennedy Committee. O'Toole claims sources who say that this incident happened.

My sources who say it did not happen are; Sister Stan: Risteard MacConcradha, the representative of the Department of Justice; Antoin O'Gormain, the representative of the Department of Education; and Richard O'Donovan, of the Department of Education, secretary to the Kennedy Committee. Who are O'Toole's "sources"? Bishop Casey perhaps?"

This is not the worst of the thuggish attacks directed at Sister Stanislaus Kennedy. However it has its own significance. Suppose someone claims that 30 YEARS AGO a child told you that he was being sexually abused and that you did nothing about it. How do you refute that accusation? You cannot prove a negative. However suppose that your accusers make ANOTHER allegation against you which is blatantly false and you have witnesses to prove it! Obviously this says a great deal about your accusers' credibility.

Sister Stanislaus was subjected to prolonged and thuggish abuse because of the allegations made against her in States of Fear and in Suffer The Little Children. Mary Raftery and Fintan O'Toole owe her a very big apology. Instead Mary Raftery repeats the falsehood.

Rory Connor