Goldenbridge: Christine Buckley

EIGE did a profile on Christine Buckey.

Christine Buckley is the director of the Aislinn support and education group for survivors of Industrial Schools in Ireland. From the age of just 3 weeks, she was placed in care, and raised in St. Vincent’s Industrial School, in Goldenbridge. Industrial Schools were established by the State in Ireland to care for neglected, orphaned and abandoned children. The day to day operating was undertaken by nuns. Her father was African, and her mother a [white] married woman. In those times, Ireland had very strict moral overviews about sex outside marriage, and this resulted in unwanted babies. Young children were also sometimes placed in these schools as a temporary measure.

Christine Buckley has been campaigning tirelessly on behalf of victims of institutional abuse for more than 25 years. The types of abuse such children suffered were, physical, emotional, and physiological, and sexual. She spoke privately about her own personal experiences in 1984, and then went public in 1992. She is herself a survivor of several types of institutional abuse. She is truly a remarkable and selfless woman, who has dedicated a big part of her life to help others. As a direct result of her intervention, a Commission [Child Abuse Commission] was set up to examine these organisations. Thousands of victims came forward to give evidence. She is now the national reference point of support and justice for victims of violent treatment towards minors. Her bravery to speak out prompted countless similar atrocities experienced by other children in care in Ireland in the post-war years. These traumatic experiences were made in a film –Dear Daughter (director, Louis Lentin, 1996), with her as the central character.

Additional Information:

In 2009 Christine Buckley won the overall Ireland Involved Award which is part of a European-wide initiative to recognise the work of volunteers. Christine as Irish Volunteer of the Year then went on to represent Ireland at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Saturday 5th December 2009, on International Volunteer Day.  She was awarded the Trophée Européen Du Bénévolat in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. This endowed her with the title “European Volunteer of the Year”, in recognition of the years of work to raise awareness of institutional child abuse.

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