Press Release

Hanafin calls for democratic renewal

“Many of the institutions that once seemed unassailable have not alone been challenged, but have been shown to have feet of clay,” said Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, Mary Hanafin TD, today.

Launching a book this afternoon on behalf of the National Conference of Priests of Ireland, entitled ‘Child Abuse in Institutional Care: Learning for the Past and Hoping for the Future’, Minister Hanafin said that: “Our church, our banks, our Government, have all been shown to suffer from human frailties.

Commenting on revelations in recent years, she said: “Whilst the process is often painful and there are times when we wish it would stop, we must recognise that making these revelations public is no bad thing, and can help up in our process of renewal.”

“It is necessary to keep a perspective in relation to revelations. The fact that some have done wrong does not mean all have done wrong. It is necessary to recognise the faults and wrong-doings that have existed in the past, to confront these faults if they still exist, and to ensure, in so far as it is within our power as politicians, as citizens, as members of the church, that these institutions can be respected,” she said.

Minister Hanafin added: “Consequences must be accepted. To seek to evade, shirk or conceal the consequences is to fail to confront the reality of what has happened.”

Minister Hanafin said it was also necessary to keep a focus on our ultimate purpose, to strive for renewal of the church, in society and in democracy.

“At this time in Ireland, there is a need for democratic renewal. It can only come about by being honest with the public, recognising, and, where appropriate, accepting responsibility for what has happened in the past,” she stressed.

“We can only move forward by believing in ourselves as leader of Church and State. We must be open and honest about what has occurred but, as the same time, we cannot be consumed by it,” added Minister Hanafin.

In conclusion, the Minister said “We must do whatever is possible to rectify past mistakes and failings and then move forward in a sense of belief in the renewal of democracy.”