Friday, January 23, 2009

The Roscommon Response.

"How could this not be noticed or seen?" Judge Reynolds asked. "Why did nobody do something? These children were failed by everybody around them. No right-thinking person could or should stand idly by and watch without doing anything."

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.



Anonymous Green Ink said...

First they came...

10:26 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

It's all very depressing Green Ink.

10:43 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Basically, people looked at those kids and shuddered. The main reaction was disgust, not a recognition that they needed help.

10:47 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Aye, you can see that from the reports of bullying. But children often attack what they perceive as weak, or shun what they perceive as different. Adults should know better.
Fuck, I don't know, I'd really like to think I'd have acted differently, but who is to know how we'd act if it's a gradual day to day observation.

10:56 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I asked this at Sweary's but I'll ask it here too, where is/are the father/s in this whole affair, and why has there been no mention of him/them?

3:02 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

As far as I'm aware that's part 2 of the process.

4:39 p.m.  
Anonymous Queen of clean said...

We are all, rightly so, appalled at this story, and I'm sure we'll all be harping on all weekend about how we would have done 'something' if we had seen it etc etc....but, look around you now, look at the kids who come out of the school gate before yours, the ones with the torn runners, holes in their jumpers, hair not washed, look at the kids in the supermarket running wild, tearing open packets of crisps and eating them, look at the kids wandering around after dark, and tell me that you would do 'something'.

We would all like to believe that we would intervene, but the reality is that we have become a society that does not 'get involved', that tuts and shakes it's head and does fuck all.

We are responsible.

Personally I think the woman should be locked up for life.

5:01 p.m.  
Blogger Bock the Robber said...

It would remind you of a village, not too far from there, where another child died in a grotto while giving birth. Nobody knew much in that village either.

5:28 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I remember that Bock, I remember all the hand wringing that went on after that poor young one died too.
Conan- I've a feeling we're only tapping the tip of the iceberg with this one.
Queen of Clean, I'd like to think I would react differently, but who knows, like I say maybe if you're looking at something day to day you become inured. Although, that said, if I was a teacher and a child came to my class filthy and covered in nits daily you can bet your arse I'd be demanding the reason why. (I caught head lice in school once and it was the most itchy disgusting shivermaking thing, jesus I'm scratching now even thinking about it. Can you imagine having that driving you wild all day long and no on doing a thing about it? Unthinkable.)

9:03 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it goes to show that all you have to do to allow evil triumph is do nothing....
Everyone knows what goes on but no body goes and knocks at a door, its the Irish way, mind your own business, and keep your nose outta others lives.
I cannot for the life of me imagine children being in this state all day at school without anything being done...its appawline, would any one with teh smallest ammount of cop on not take them aside in private and try to treat them, feed them, clean them up...I had a freidn working in a disadvantaged rural school, when she and teh otehr SNA's used to pool together and buy rolls for some of the kids that never had lunches they were asked to put a stop to was not FAIR on teh rest of the teh principal backed by the board of management...
This goes on, and its more about egos than children

12:46 p.m.  
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10:23 a.m.  

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