The Alliance of Birthmothers Campaigning for Justice (ABC), Ireland’s leading advocacy group for mothers suffering abuse from Tusla, the Family Law Courts and the Gardai has written to the Ombudsman for Children (OCO) calling for an immediate investigation by Dr. Muldoon into the issues raised by veteran Fine Gael TD, Bernard Durkan.
Dr. Muldoon is a clinical psychologist appointed as Ombudsman for Children by President Michael D Higgins in February 2015.
The letter begins by stating:
“Deputy Bernard Durkan has repeatedly called for an inquiry into what’s happening to mothers in the secret Family Law Courts where mothers are arrested, their children forcefully taken by Gardai and “subjected to the kind of abuse that was used in prisoner of war camps.”
This is very strong language coming from the 33rd Dáil’s oldest member who has a distinguished political career dating back to 1981.”
The letter explains how the background to this is the fact that some of the mothers represented by ABC reported child sex abuse and ended up losing custody of their children to the perpetrators of this sexual abuse.
Access to their children is at the behest of the abuser. In some cases access is allowed if the mother is capable of paying up to €200 per hour to a private company to supervise her during access to her children. In other cases access to the children is totally denied.
ABC spells out to the OCO that Deputy Durkan has called for an inquiry into the matter. “When that inquiry takes place it will be a matter of determining who knew what. Your Office will be unable to claim ignorance of this matter,” the letter states.
Representatives of ABC had a remote meeting with the OCO last September where they raised and explained Deputy Durkan’s recent exposé in the Dáil.
In an email last January to the OCO requesting an update on the matters raised at the meeting, an official from the OCO replied stating:
“due to workload constraints, as well as the OCO’s priorities as outlined in our Strategic Plan 2022 – 2024 (OCO Strategic Plan | Ombudsman for Children), we are not in a position to do a standalone piece of work on the issues you raised.”
The letter to the OCO says: “A front page report in today’s Irish Times reveals the Ombudsman for Children has criticised differences in how the State was treating families from Ukraine and families seeking asylum from other countries as “unacceptable”, in correspondence to the Government.
This is laudable.
The Alliance of Birthmothers is calling on Dr Muldoon to show equal concern for the children across Ireland today at the mercy of their abusers whose plight has been repeatedly raised in the Dáil since last September by Deputy Durkan.”
The letter concludes by saying: “The Office of the Ombudsman for Children is either part of the problem or part of the solution in getting a remedy for these children suffering untold abuse and torment. There is no middle-way position on this matter.
“It is our hope that you will treat the subject matter of this email with the urgency it warrants and that the Ombudsman for Children will begin an immediate investigation into the issues raised by Deputy Durkan.”
Barbara Scanlon, ABC Spokeswoman told M-Compass Media that “the OCO is either part of the problem or part of the solution in getting a remedy for children suffering untold abuse and torment as a result of social workers and unqualified court experts working hand in glove in the Family Law Courts with the perpetrators of child sexual abuse to deny mothers custody of their children.”
Ms. Scanlon concluded by stating that “there can be no middle-of-the-road position on this matter. Only time will tell whether or not the OCO comes down on the side of Justice or on the side of an ongoing, unbroken chain of state abuse of mothers and children stretching back through the decades”
Videos of Deputy Durkan speaking in the Dáil
Most recent video 21/03/2023
Call for inquiry 21 March 2023