The Ideology and Mechanics of Ignorance: Child Abuse in Ireland 1922-1973.

Tony Keating

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


This chapter argues that there was a suppression of any public acknowledgment of the reality of sexual crime, immorality, child abuse, family breakdown and poverty in the Irish Free State. A tactic borne of a desire by the post-colonial elite to preserve the nation’s founding myth of religiosity, purity and virtue, seen as central to the survival of the State and its religious mission. It was a crusade to create a cultural myopia, prosecuted by Church and State, through legislative and non-legislative means. A cause pursued so vigorously that it left those who bore witness to the illusory nature of the founding myths, no matter how inadvertently, to be branded as other, non-Irish, anti-Catholic, taboo figures to be feared and despised. A reality that contributed substantially towards the unchecked abuse of children in Ireland’s industrial and reformatory schools for decades to come.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAgontology, Power and Harm: The study of Ignorance in the Criminological Imagination.
EditorsAlana Barton, Howard Davis
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-97343-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-97342-5
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Child abuse
  • Ireland
  • Censorship
  • Church
  • State
  • suppression
  • secrecy


Dive into the research topics of 'The Ideology and Mechanics of Ignorance: Child Abuse in Ireland 1922-1973.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this