08 Aug 2022

Offaly man remains on hunger strike despite meeting with Minister

Six survivors have launched a hunger strike

Offaly abuse survivor taking hunger strike to gates of the Dáil

Offaly abuse survivor taking hunger strike to gates of the Dáil

William Gorry, who is originally from Daingean, Co. Offaly, remains on hunger strike despite a meeting being scheduled for him to meet the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton on Friday.

William has positioned himself outside the gates of the Dáil for a second week, as he enters his 16th day of hunger strike. He informed the Offaly Express on Thursday that the cancellation of his strike depends on the outcome of Friday meeting.

He has joined with five fellow survivors of institutional abuse on hunger strike in a dispute over what he calls the "ill-treatment" of survivors by the government and the body set up to offer redress to survivors, Caranua.

He plans to stay outside Leinster House from 8.30am to 7pm each day.

Mr Gorry described to us in April the horror of his experience at the Mount Carmel Industrial School in Moate, Co. Westmeath, run by the Sisters of Mercy, in the 1970s. 

He commenced and later cancelled a hunger strike earlier this year, but as of October 25, he is back on strike, taking just water along with five others.

In April, William told the Offaly Express about the physical, sexual and mental abuse he suffered at the hands of priests, nuns and lay staff at the school having been placed in the institution as a young boy. 

In recent years, William has been dealing with Caranua, an independent State Body set up to help people who experienced abuse in residential institutions in Ireland and have received settlements, Redress Board or Court awards.

It was initially set up as the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Board in March of 2013 under the provisions of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012, but the name was changed to Caranua in October 2013. 

According to Caranua, they offer support, information, advice and advocacy to survivors, as well as providing funding for services that survivors are entitled to as they try to rebuild their lives. They claim that, "the needs of individual survivors will be at the heart of everything we do."

William Gorry has told the Offaly Express that Caranua has treated him like a "beggar." He says the body "hurt him and other survivors" and "ruined his chances at education." Mr Gorry, who now lives in Dublin, is on a blind person's pension, and remarked to us that one of the stipulations of much of that payment is that he live alone. 

He has also aired grievances with the State itself, suggesting he is being effectively barred from further education or employment as he sees his applications turned down continually due to what he calls "red tape" by the Social Welfare.

William has informed the Offaly Express that he has written to the Taoiseach's office requesting a meeting with Leo Varadkar to address his concerns with his current treatment. 

William has set up a campaign on, in which he calls for a meeting with the Taoiseach. He wants something set up to enable survivors to meet with each other and have their voices heard and funded by Department of Education.

He has also called for the CEO of Caranua to step down immediately, for the current limit of €15,000 to be removed and for survivors to be supported by Caranua.

He says he hopes his petition, which can be signed here, can result in some small happiness, respect, healing and help to survivors in order for them to move forward in their lives.

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