Societies by their nature are inequitable

declan varley

Take a stroll out on the street and see for yourself the various manifestations of humanity that are there before your eyes. You see the strong, the weak, the confident, the loud, the shy, the timid. All human nature. Every country has people who exist under the radar, whose voices are never heard because they have not been granted a voice, or because the people who have been designated the role of being their voice are not doing their job properly.

When we tend to think of those without a voice, we tend to look back and imagine this from a different age, the child in the back room who is never brought out, an era when everyone lived in black and white, when people were not glic, when they were uneducated, didn’t know their rights. And because of that, they became the unwitting victims of a whole generation of perverse horror.

This week, we are reminded of this by Grace’s story. And what has been unveiled has been a litany of sheer evil.

One can but only imagine what Grace went through, knowing that she was never going to be rescued from the hell she existed in. Knowing that she was just a pawn in some perverse power game, a subject for focus at meaningless case discussion after case discussion. Never rescued. Trapped by a system that was unable to make a decision.

The plight of Grace has just served to remind us once again of the horrors that continued to be perpetrated on the vulnerable of this country. She was unable to communicate, and probably to comprehend what was happening to her and because of this vulnerability, she was easy to manipulate. Even if she could talk and tell, she wouldn’t be believed. She’d be dismissed.

Do not think for a minute that anyone will ever be held accountable for what happened to Grace. Or all the other thousands of Graces around the country. We are the best little country in the world for covering our arses, for lawyering up, for being bought off, for receiving a golden handshake to head off into the sunset, to see nothing, to not rock the boat. Don’t rock the boat, just go, don’t bring down the house of cards.

We have created a system that allows people to operate at whatever level of competency they wish, and then be able to draw up the ladders behind them when any questions are asked.

Everything is frustrating, everything seems pointless. Apart from occupying lawyers and journalists, what is the point of all these tribunals and commissions of enquiry or lawyering up of processes, when we know that in Ireland you can fiddle your charities, you can let down those who depend on you and get away with it. Because you can depend on your solicitor and your union and your colleagues to cover you like you cover them.

Dozens and dozens of people were involved in the Grace case, yet nobody seemed able to convince enough others that something was seriously awry. Group think prevailed and worked right into the hands of evil.

It is hard to see this changing. One would hope that things have changed, that we now have checks and bakances in our systems that will prevent other Grace cases. But until people are held up as accountable, it is hard to believe that this is the case.


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