Bruce Arnold

Critic of Public Affairs, writing about art, theatre, music and politics

Now politicians are taking advantage of abuse victims

For a week the Irish people have wallowed in an orgy of sentimental breast-beating about the agony of children incarcerated in the Irish gulag of industrial schools.

Politicians have expressed surprise and astonishment, then dismay and determination to act. Yet the facts have been known for at least a decade. Those in power took draconian action in collusion with the Church. They did so against those who had been abused. Read More...

State let off the hook over its central role in abuse

The Department of Education was allowed monitor the investigation of its shortcomings

Among all the terrible things that happened to thousands of boys and girls sent to the juvenile prisons in Ireland, worst of all was the committal procedure in the District Courts. Not all went that way but the majority did. Read More...

Still missing full story behind the children 'shovelled into schools'

THE five-volume Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse is a vast document. It attempts to cover six of the ten 10 years since Bertie Ahern made his public apology to those who had suffered abuse in the industrial schools and, together with Judge Mary Laffoy's Third Interim Report, published in December 2003, it completes the record of the commission's work. Read More...

Green's Wipeout Achieved in Two Years

I made a brief visit to Mayo this week where I discussed with men and women involved in the Shell to Sea controversy their battle to block the refinery there.

On my return I faced two events that bore on this visit and which I intend to address here. The first was the article in yesterday's Irish Independent by Kevin Myers, siding with the State on the Corrib issue, and claiming "due constitutional process". I disagree profoundly with what he says in the article and I sincerely hope that George Lee -- whom Kevin invokes as some kind of answer to the dilemma -- will not get himself involved since he does not have time to research properly the issues involved. Read More...

Fianna Fail and the Green Party

We've seen the shortest-lived partnership turn toxic and receive a humiliating critique from McKenna
Fianna Fail have done it again. They have injected their toxin into another political party, the Greens, poisoning it and probably killing it.

What Patricia McKenna has delivered, in her interview in 'Hot Press' with Jason O'Toole, is a valedictory on the Green Party in which she convincingly shows that virtually every significant shred of policy, in principle and in practice, has been stripped from the Greens. They stand now for none of the things they presented to Irish voters up to this point, and this point is their first grappling with power.
Before coming to that in more detail, it is worth summarising briefly the devastations Fianna Fail has visited upon Irish political life and the integrity -- generally speaking -- of those who trust them. This has been a product of their political performance since their need for partnership put them into the business of engulfing other parties. Read More...