Secrets and lies: an exploration of the role of identity, culture and communication in the policy process relating to the provision of protection and care for vulnerable children in the Irish Free State and Republic 1923-1974
Keating, Anthony (2002) Secrets and lies: an exploration of the role of identity, culture and communication in the policy process relating to the provision of protection and care for vulnerable children in the Irish Free State and Republic 1923-1974. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
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This thesis sets out to explore the linkages between communication policy in Ireland and the wider social, political and economic factors in the development of social policy in relation to the nation’s most vulnerable children, namely its marginalized children in institutional care. It also sets out to test the thesis that the complex interactions of these factors in a post-colonial state encouraged public authorities to avoid confronting the daily realities of life in the institutions concerned, and that it also involved a systemic suppression of communication in order to avoid public embarrassment for the state, which would otherwise been compelled to act to correct an abusive institutional system. This in turn, it will be argued, was closely related to the need to avoid disturbing a delicately-balanced structure of power relationships, and to preserve the powerful myth of the state’s historic anti-materialist mission. This sense of mission was based in no small part on the perception of the newly-mdependent Irish state, on the part of its political representatives and many of its administrators, as a Catholic nation free in the main from the vices or secular atheistic materialism of the outside world (O’Donnell 1945 31). This perception was fundamentally incompatible with the realities of the lives led by many of the state’s cared-for children.
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