HSE decides Ireland to shut their eyes to child sexual abuse and rape – Headline from Rape Crisis Network Ireland. “Horrific failures have shown time and time again that reliable data, transparency and accountability are the most fundamental elements of child protection. It is impossible to comprehend this decision by the HSE to shut down an extensive and reliable source of information on sexual violence. Today (May 11th) the Irish government will be invited to sign the new Council of Europe Convention on Combating and Ending all forms of violence against women and domestic violence. Yet the HSE are about to shut down one of the accurate evidence-base mechanisms for Irish compliance with this Convention.”

A very unhappy but highly typical response to abuse of children and women in this land. Attitudes here seem to be to be twisted and the village mentality prevails. Isolation, sexual repression, a tendency to drunkenness and ignorance in rurally isolated communities has led to extraordinarily high incidence of incest, rape and child abuse in Ireland.
Catholic conservatism has encouraged silence. Garda reluctance to pursue offenders and Clerics as abusers have created a very unhealthy reluctance to confront this issue.
Even after all the hype about clerical abuse in recent times I know I will make enemies by saying these things.
My next novel: Surviving Beauty tackles these issues. It’s theme is not actual sexual abuse but exploitation of youthful beauty by way of child modeling sites. One character is a Garda Detective Inspector, an outsider charged with investigating clerical child abuse, who rescues the young heroine.
I knew when I wrote this it would never be mainstream and would be hated here in Ireland.
I slaughter too many sacred cows for this ever to be accepted here except by a minority of free thinkers.
I choose to publish and be damned because it’s an issue I feel needs dragged into the open. We must resist the sexualization of children and challenge ignorance and avoidance both by the public and the state.
This is not me jumping on a bandwagon and please be assured I considered accusations that I am trying to sell books on the back of this important issue. That is not my intention.
I decided when I began to write I would follow my convictions and be brave and challenging while still providing entertainment and a thrilling escape for readers. It’s a difficult balance but I believe I have struck a good balance so the soapbox is mostly not noticed.

I saw a headline on twitter the other day saying: Where is the modern Steinbeck? This was about mass rural unemployment in the USA. It struck a cord because he is the writer I’ve tried to emulate more than any other. Simple truth, simply presented in an entertaining package.

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