Dark truths and open secrets – who knew what about Ireland's child abuse scandal?
By Fin Dwyer
Over the last few weeks Ireland has been rocked by yet another child abuse scandal. Newspaper headlines around the world have reported in disbelief details of how society in Ireland treated unmarried mothers and their children in so called “Mother and Child homes". Child mortality rates reached over 50% in some of these institutions. While many around the world are understandably astounded as to how a society could be so cruel to children, in Ireland this is only the latest chapter in a long horrific story of institutional abuse that has been emerging over the last two decades. As a light is finally shone into the darkest recesses of modern Irish history, the question of how will Irish society deal with this is increasingly important. It is here where history has a crucial role to play. For years the dominant narrative around abuse in Ireland was that it took place behind closed doors and that the vast majority of people had no idea it was being perpetrated. However historical research indictaes this is not entirely true. I think if we are to move forward and deal with our dark past we must acknowledge who knew what and why they were powerless to act. In this podcast, based on this article, I am going to look over some of the evidence that indicates there was a widespread knowledge of child abuse in Ireland throughout the 20th century. Let me know what your thought of the show by contacting me @irishhistory on twitter or irishhistorypodcast on facebook.