The Ideology and Mechanics of Ignorance: Child Abuse in Ireland 1922–1973

Part of the Critical Criminological Perspectives book series (CCRP)


This chapter argues that there was a suppression of any public acknowledgement of the reality of sexual crime, immorality, child abuse, family breakdown and poverty in the Irish Free State. A tactic borne of a desire by the post-colonial elite to preserve the nation’s founding myth of religiosity, purity and virtue, seen as central to the survival of the State and its religious mission. It was a crusade to create a cultural myopia, prosecuted by Church and State, through legislative and non-legislative means. A cause pursued so vigorously that it left those who bore witness to the illusory nature of the founding myths, no matter how inadvertently, to be branded as other, non-Irish, anti-Catholic, taboo figures to be feared and despised. A reality that contributed substantially towards the unchecked abuse of children in Ireland’s industrial and reformatory schools for decades to come.


Child abuse Ireland Censorship Church State Schools 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Health and Social CareEdge Hill UniversityOrmskirkUK

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