‘Groundbreaking’ Irish Journalist Mary Raftery Dies

The Irish broadcaster and journalist Mary Raftery died this morning.

In the early hours of this morning she passed away at St. Vincents Hospital in Dublin following an illness. She was 54 years old.

Fianna Fail Leader Micheál Martin expressed his sympathy saying: “Mary was a groundbreaking, inspirational journalist who made a major contribution to Irish public life. Through her work Mary raised the level of public debate in this country and touched many lives”.

Unanimously held in high esteem, Irish Secretary Seamus Dooley referred to her as “a fearless journalist who was always willing to ask awkward questions, to seek out uncomfortable facts and to shine a light in the darkest corners of Irish society”.

Well renowned for her 1999 ‘States of Fear’ documentary, Raftery explored the issue of clerical abuse in schools in Ireland, prompting then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to apologise to the victims of abuse on behalf of the state.

As a direct result of Raftery’s work, the Residential Institutional Redress Board was established, which has compensated 14,000 individuals so far.

Following the ‘States of Fear’ documentary, Raftery collaborated with Eoin O’Sullivan from Trinity Collage Dublin to pen ‘Suffer the Little Children – The Inside Story of Ireland’s Industrial Schools’.

Her 2002 documentary ‘Cardinal Secrets’ with Mark Peelo, which investigated child clerical sex abuse allegations in the Archdiocese of Dublin, set in motion Dail Eireann passing the 2004 Commission of Investigation Act, followed by the establishment of the Murphy Commission in November 2009.

Raftery joined RTE in 1984 and was involved in programmes such as Today Tonight and Evening Extra.

In 2002, she began writing for The Irish Times and teaching at NUI Maynooth.

‘Behind the Walls’, her final documentary was broadcast in September last year and examined Irish psychiatric hospitals.

She is survived by her husband David Waddell and their son Ben.

Read the story here: http://insideireland.ie/2012/01/10/groundbreaking-irish-journalist-mary-rafferty-dies-48919/ 

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