Recently, Enda Kenny, the Irish Prime Minister apologised to women who had been incarcerated in Magdalene Laundries. He had to apologise twice, because the first effort was so lukewarm, people registered their outrage and demanded better. The second effort, which you can read here was, to my ears, fulsome. He didn’t sound like he meant a word of it.
There is more about the Magdalenes and their cause for complaint here
By contrast, the Australian PM – Julia Gillard – apologised for forced adoptions that took place in Australia as recently as the 1970s. Enda could learn a few lessons in sincerity from Ms Gillard.
Sorry may be the hardest word to say, but I reckon it’s something future Irish Taoisigh will have to get used to uttering. They will have to apologise to:
1. People with mental health issues who have had medication/treatment (including ECT) forcibly administered.
2. Women who were denied their human rights with regard to choice in childbirth.
3. Asylum seekers who have waited more than three years (and in some cases up to nine years) to have their cases heard.
4. Asylum seekers and refugees who were kept separated from their families as a result of Ireland’s laws.
5. Children with special needs who did not receive an adequate education (and I include highly gifted and talented children in that group).
6. The families of people who were left to die because our health service is terminally ill.
7. Children who should have been fostered, but were left in abusive homes because the State chose not to intervene.
8. Child offenders who were incarcerated in adult prisons.
9. Children with mental health difficulties who were kept in adult wards.
10. People who were left homeless after banks (of which they owned part) repossessed homes for which they lent too much money in the first place.
This list is incomplete. Please feel free to add to it.