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States of Fear


States of Fear (1999) is a documentary series produced by Irish journalist and filmmaker Mary Raftery (1957-2012).

States of Fear was broadcast on RTE and detailed the abuse children suffered (between the 1930s and 1970s) in reformatory and industrial schools.

The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse was subsequently established in 2000, and the Ryan Report was delivered in May 2009.

Fintan O’Toole writes (We Don’t Know Ourselves, p. 519):

“What Mary Raftery set out to do in 1998 was to tell the whole story of a system that incorporated fifty-two institutions and incarcerated something close to 50,000 children. She understood that the only way to do this was to listen in depth to hundreds of survivors. She and her researcher Sheila Ahern did what no official body had ever done in the history of the state, which was to treat the evidence of those who had been locked up and abused under its watch as valid.”

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