Offaly man plans to escalate hunger strike despite meeting with Minister
An Offaly man is now entering the 19th day of a hunger strike he has taken along with five other survivors of institutional abuse, despite a recent meeting with Minister for Education, Richard Bruton.
William Gorry, who is originally from Daingean, says the hunger strike has been undertaken over a dispute over the "ill-treatment" of survivors by the government and the body set up to offer redress to survivors, Caranua.
William was abused at the Mount Carmel Industrial School in Moate, Co. Westmeath, run by the Sisters of Mercy, in the 1970s.
He has set up a campaign on uplift.ie, in which he calls for a meeting with the Taoiseach. In order to end his hunger strike, 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.
In light of taking his action to the gates of the Dáil last week, William was granted a meeting with Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, a meeting which took place last Friday, November 10.
During the meeting, William outlined the concerns expressed above and requested for the €15,000 limit to be lifted, for Department funding for consultation talks for survivors, as well as for the resignation of the CEO of Caranua.
William insists that the Minister informed him that he was not in a position to sack the CEO, adding that that would be a matter for the board of Caranua. He outlined that there are mechanisms in place for such action that he has no control over.
Asked about the lifting of the €15,000 cap, the Minister said that there is an ongoing review, informing William that he will follow it up with the Board of Caranua.
On Consultation talks, he said that they were still there but that shape needed to be added to them.
William expressed his dissatisfaction with the meeting to the Minister. He told William that he met with him to hear his concerns and that he had noted these concerns.
"The meeting revealed that there is much to be understood about our strike and that we feel there is no transparency, openness, honesty or trust," William Gorry told us.
"The Minister claimed he was not aware of our press release outlining our concerns and our request on November 1. He
also stated that he was not aware that five other survivors were on hunger strike," according to William.
William went on to tell us that he remains on hunger strike in light of the meeting, stating that to him, "there has been
no relief or remedy to our survivor’s struggles, sufferings and requests."
He is now making an emergency request for a meeting with the Taoiseach, asking that this offer is granted by Wednesday night, November 15 next.
"Otherwise we will lesser our days and lives of suffering by withdrawing from intake of fluids," William said.
"While it is not our intention to cause further hurt to our fellow survivors or anyone else, we would like you all to understand that we had no other option in taking our action. We do not and have not asked anyone to condone our hunger strike, but thank those who have spoken out of concern and understanding with compassion," he added.
He mentioned that other survivors have mentioned taking similar action, but that the current hunger strikers were advising that they wait until Wednesday. "Perhaps by then our requests will be met in a meeting with the Taoiseach and will bring an end to our action," he said.
William has said that he will not be travelling to strike at the Dáil has he no longer has the energy to do so.
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