UN criticises Irish progress on investigations into industrial school abuse

A delegation has appeared before the Committee Against Torture

UN criticises Irish progress on investigations into industrial school abuse

Image: Bebeto Matthews / AP/Press Association Images

The United Nations has called on the Government to explain what further investigations it intends to carry out into the Magadelene Laundries, industrial schools and mother and baby homes.

A delegation has appeared before the UN Committee Against Torture to face questions on the progress its made since 2011.

The ten-member committee is reviewing Ireland’s implementation of the Convention on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Minister of State David Stanton led a 20-strong delegation to the committee earlier on Thursday.

The committee had several questions on human rights issues - including why there has been a lack of progress on investigations in the wake of the Ryan Report on abuse in industrial schools.

Felice Gaer is vice-chair of the UN committee: "Only 15 cases were brought forward even for criminal investigation, and then only one resulted in prosecution.

"This is hugely problematic since more than 15,000 victims have come forward".

Minister of State David Stanton | Image: RollingNews.ie

Ms Gaer also focused on mother and baby homes - and was critical of the State's stance that it has no basis for believing that serious harm was perpetrated in the Magdalene Laundries.

"How can the Government say to us that it believes that the McAleese report established that there was not systematic ill-treatment when the terms of reference did not extend to investigating allegations of abuse, or establishing the whereabouts or identities of those who died?".

Fellow committee member Ana Racu focused on the prison system, particularly the lack of mental health services.

"The service employs one psychologist for every 220 prisons.

"The report also notes that the psychology services in the Irish Prison Service was disjointed from other services available to prisoners".

The delegation will deal with the questions in a session on Friday afternoon.