The Roscommon Response.
It's interesting to read the fallout- or the start of the fall out- from the Roscommon case I blogged about yesterday. Interesting and a bit shattering. Judge Miriam Reynold's questions are good ones, indeed the most apt. Why did no one do anything?
This forty year old woman had family, the children went to school, the HSE were involved from very early on, the patrons of the pub she drank in most nights would have known her mothering skills were lax.
Yet no one did anything about it.
"Yesterday locals in the Roscommon village where the mother (40) subjected the children to six years of depravity admitted that "everyone knew" the children needed help but nothing was ever done to help.
" ( Irish Independent)
If that is true, and I can see no reason to believe it is not, then I hope a lot of people stand before a mirror today and look themselves in the eye.
I've said before on this blog that it's hard to step out of the herd, it's hard to kick up a fuss. Most of us just want to live and let live, make sure we don't rock the boat too much as we make our journey through life.
But there comes a time when as decent human beings we must be prepared to speak out when we know in our heart of hearts someone is doing wrong. Especially if the wrong doing involves children.
Of course nobody wants to point an accusing finger at an innocent person, nobody like to be the lone voice in the twilight, but fortitude and valour are not flaws. Being compassionate and brave enough to put other's suffering before your own fear of mistake is not an ill judged cause.
If only one other person had stepped forward earlier, maybe those children could have had some years shaved from their torture. If only one person had reared up and said they would not cease until that dreadful woman was fully investigated. If only the school where the children attended- cold, riddled with lice, in ill fitting clothes, with all the behavioural signs of breakdown- had intervened. If only the WHB had challenged the High Court Order. If only Mena Bean Ui Chribin had stayed her hand and kept her nose out of the WHB business.
A lot of 'if only'.
And none of it makes the slightest difference to the lives of six vulnerable children who were so badly let down.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, if that's the case this particular village is guilty of neglect.
I hope those children find some peace in their futures. I hope for their sake the can move beyond this terrible start to life. They deserve a chance. I hope lessons have been learned from the whole sorry saga. But I can't help feeling we'll be all sipping our coffees and shaking our head at some other travesty in the near future. Unless as people we are unafraid to speak up before the fact and not after, that possibility is always likely.