Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Doherty pays tribute to pioneering work of journalist Mary Raftery


Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has expressed her sympathy at the death of journalist Mary Raftery and paid tribute to her pioneering work.

“It was with great sadness that I learnt of the death of Mary Raftery this morning. Her work as a journalist is unparalleled in this country, and I believe we all owe her a great service for making us face the most difficult and disturbing facts about who we are as a society, and how we treat our most vulnerable members.

“Anyone who watched Mary Raftery’s pioneering documentary Cardinal Secrets on its first broadcast will remember being stopped in their tracks. The country was brought to a halt by the programme’s devastating revelations. For the first time we were presented with the horrendous realities of how our children in State and Church run institutions were abused, and how this abuse went unchecked and unreported for decades.

“The States of Fear series led to the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse, which has carried out some of the most important investigations in the history of this State. Mary Raftery’s work shone a light upon Irish society and forced all of us to consider how we view many of the institutions which were previously held at an untouchable remove.

“It is impossible to measure where we would be as a society without the work of Mary Raftery. Through her journalism, survivors of abuse were given a voice and a legitimacy that was previously denied to them. And through the establishment of the Commissions of Inquiry, perpetrators were held accountable and the public was exposed to the harrowing details of the abuse they carried out. Thanks to the work carried out by the Inquiries, this Government has placed the protection of children central to its agenda and this year will we see major advances in the areas of child protection.

“Mary Raftery’s colleagues and peers have described her as tireless and unrelenting. These qualities were at all times evident in her work, which, despite its damning content, was always presented in a considered and calm manner. Her death has left a chasm on the landscape of Irish journalism. She will be remembered for her incredible journalistic legacy and the great service she carried out to the benefit of Irish society.”

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