Yes, I understand that people are upset and annoyed. We’ve had years of the unbearable smugness of RTE presenters lecturing the rest of us about our moral failings, while deals were being made to fool the public and conceal the fact that hundreds of thousands of euro of our taxes were being handed over to ‘stars’ who seem to wake up in the morning tossing their hair and shouting “I’m worth it” at the mirror.
Yes, the Secret Back Hander scandal is outrageous. This tiny country is being run by buffoons who engage in this bizarre two-step dance with the national broadcaster where they both continue to scratch each other’s backs as long as they are both pursuing the same agendas.
And yes, it is obscene that at a time when kids are homeless, and old people are too scared of the cost of living to turn on the electricity, the ‘top talent’ in RTÉ are demanding exorbitant salaries for themselves – and then want hundreds of thousands MORE in secret top-ups, all being paid for by you and me and the other long-suffering members of the squeezed middle.
Who do these clowns think they are fooling anyway? On what planet is presenting a Friday-night show – which mostly involves interviews with other RTÉ ‘celebs’, or the latest woke idiot pushing something to sell – worth a salary of close to half a million euros a year?
‘If you won’t shower us with bags of gold’, the egotists say, ‘we’ll dump you for the BBC’. Well, off you go so. Let’s see how long that lasts.
But this is all really just a sideshow. The story that should be convulsing the nation and leading to a major investigation is far more grim, far more urgent, and far more in need of our immediate attention, than the RTE payroll.
An explosive paper published last week says our most vulnerable girls are being raped and sexually exploited by gangs of predatory men – and it is happening while they are in the care of TUSLA, the state agency charged with keeping them safe.
On the same day that everyone was agog with the Tubridy saga, far more disturbing revelations were being made in a scoping report called ‘Protecting against Predators’ which outlined what is happening to children – because that’s what these girls are – at the hands of sick, evil men.
From Maria Mayes on this platform:
Vulnerable children in care in Ireland are clearly being targeted for sexual exploitation and abuse by “gangs of predatory men,” a stark new report from UCD has revealed.
It reported numerous cases where girls in the care of TUSLA, the State’s child and family agency, were “being coerced or enticed to provide sex acts to multiple men in exchange for a variety of goods” including clothes and jewellery.
Predatory gangs of men would identify residents where girls in care are being accommodated — and would wait around accommodation centres, even going so far as to wait in hotel lobbies where under-age girls were staying.
In one shocking revelation, the study revealed that men were “hanging around hotel lobbies” in order to sexually exploit children that were being accommodated there as a temporary State care solution.
The report expressed fears that sexual exploitation of children is going “under the radar” in Ireland, while drawing parallels with child sex abuse that went on in Rotherham and Rochdale in the UK – which was characterised by a failure of local authorities to act on reports of the abuse that took place from the 1980s until the late 2010s.
Predatory gangs of men … . hanging around lobbies of hotels used to house kids in care … coercing girls to provide sex acts to multiple men. It’s like something from a dystopian novel where order has broken down and no one is accountable.
But it’s Ireland in 2023, where our politicians are too busy virtue signalling about hate speech or some other such nonsense to do something about the large scale rape of children in care.
If I sound angry, it’s because I am. I have teenage daughters. Many of you reading this might have the same. The thought that this can be happening to girls the same age as our daughters should transfix us in horror and anger.
As has happened in other jurisdictions, it’s clear that these men work together to groom vulnerable young girls, who are often led to believe they are in a romantic relationship before then being exploited and abused.
“[T]hey [young girls] go to meet their boyfriend in a hotel room and there’s like five other guys there and, you know, they have to do things with those other people,” one interviewee in the report said.
Why are these vile, evil monsters getting away with this? Why has the Justice Minister – and the Minister for Children not made this a top priority?
And the story just keeps getting worse. TUSLA knows this is happening and is acting as if it is powerless to stop it.
When accommodation is not available for children in care, they are brought to stay in hotels as a temporary measure. That leads to men “hanging around hotel lobbies to sexually exploit children that they knew were being accommodated there as a temporary State care solution,” the report says.
Hanging around hotel lobbies? Why didn’t the Gardai arrest them? Why the helplessness in the face of organised sexual exploitation of children?
The children were “being taxied” to other hotels by the predators, sometimes to be given drugs and then raped by gangs of men.
One interviewee for the report says: “[I]n the last couple of years we’ve had some really dreadful cases of young people who were … on a daily basis leaving the [residential] unit late in the evening and coming back early the next morning in taxis, sometimes in very poor shape having taken drugs, being picked up at hotels all around the city…. That was a bunch of people—I mean, they’re taxiing these kids all over the city. They’re calling them in the evening. They’re bringing them to hotels and all the rest of it.
” [T]hey [young girls] go to meet their boyfriend in a hotel room and there’s like five other guys there and, you know, they have to do things with those other people.”
I had to read that twice to take it in. Underage girls out all night and coming back ‘in very poor shape’ having being raped or sexually assaulted and given drugs. Would we let this happen to our daughters? Wouldn’t any parent be straight onto the Gardaí?
Whatever the hell Tusla is doing, it is not acting in loco parentis.
One description from the report paints a horrifying scene with inexperienced [social care] staff unable to deal with these gangs of predatory men.
” And they tried absolutely everything trying to keep her safe. Like [name of carer] was saying, there was curfews given to her. She was saying, ‘No, I’m going off there, my boyfriend is coming.’ Well, it ended up like there was a stream of cars outside there practically every night of the week, and worse at weekends. Like it became so bad at one stage that the staff had to lock her in one room and themselves in the office to ring the guards because they were threatening. Like, they were banging on the doors, banging on the windows and absolutely everything to try to get into the place. So it became a real danger and a flashpoint for everybody.”
The system is clearly in disarray, and the predatory men seem to be in charge. Where is the outrage about what’s happening? Where are the ministers proposing bills and making plans to deal with actual crime and abuse and hate.
There’s a real danger posed to our most vulnerable citizens by having the Cabinet wholly occupied with tackling imaginary criminals like grannies praying for pregnant women or people using the wrong pronoun instead of facing the unspeakable horror of the sexual exploitation of children.
Then, at the weekend, a report in the Irish Mail on Sunday claimed that TUSLA were “effectively facilitating” the sexual exploitation of three vulnerable children in the toilets of a fast food restaurant.
The paper reported that the abuse was commonly known amongst TUSLA staff, who would “facilitate them going out to buy fake tan and other bits and bobs.” No arrests were made.
QUESTIONS TO BE ASKED
This was a scoping report – seeking to establish if rape and sexual exploitation was happening – but there are hard questions now to be answered.
Firstly, is there a culture in these care settings, and a mindset in TUSLA, that is afraid to express concern when underage girls are being sexually exploited for fear of being considered judgmental or prudish?
Secondly, are the Gardaí and the relevant authorities going to set up a special task force to deal with this horrific pattern of abuse and violence?
Thirdly, have the Gardai or TUSLA (or anyone at all) identified a pattern in who these gangs are, and whether parallels can be drawn to gangs in other jurisdictions who co-ordinated the mass rape and sexual exploitation of young girls and children.
Are the gangs Irish, or are there different nationalities or ethnicities involved? The ‘Protecting Against Predators’ report makes several references to the deeply disturbing abuse of girls by organised gangs in Rotherham and Rochdale in Britain, saying it was difficult not to draw “parallels” with what happened in the UK cities.
More than 1,400 girls were raped, threatened, beaten, and sexually exploited by grooming gangs in Rotherham, an investigation found. The authorities failed to act for decades (yes, decades), sometimes in cases where the girls actually went to the police only to have their complaints dismissed.
Lead investigator, Prof Alexis Jay, found that “at least 1,400 children were subjected to sexual abuse and she detailed how girls as young as 11 were raped, trafficked, abducted, beaten, and intimidated by men predominantly of Pakistani heritage,” according to the BBC.
A Home Affairs Committee found that the “fear of being seen as racist may have hindered the detection of and intervention in abuse”.
Is that a factor in what’s happening here? Many of those appearing before the courts involved in human trafficking to Ireland seem to be Albanian or Romanian but we don’t know if the same people are involved in grooming gangs.
That’s part of the problem, isn’t it? If the Gardai and TUSLA (who have more experience and knowledge in regard to what’s happening) are building profiles on who these gangs of predatory men are then that information is not being made public.
Meanwhile these rapists, travelling in packs, are banging on the windows of supposed care centres demanding that girls go with them to be sexually exploited. And we are doing nothing about it.
If, in fact, we are looking at something like the litany of horrors that was eventually uncovered in Rotherham and Rochdale in Britain, then we need to stop being distracted by sideshows, and start asking hard questions, fast.