I welcome and fully accept the findings and recommendations of the NBSCCCI Review of Safeguarding Practice in the Diocese of Kerry which we publish today.
I want to start by calling to mind all people everywhere who were
abused as children and particularly where that abuse occurred in the
Church within the Diocese of Kerry. Their suffering past and present is
truly horrific. Abuse of a child in any form is evil.
It is a serious
crime and a grave sin. It has caused incalculable, lifelong damage to
the lives of innocent children and their families. Such abuse is even
more disgraceful when it is perpetrated by a person who holds a position
of trust in the Christian community; by a person who professes a Gospel
which speaks of love, justice and care for all, including the most
vulnerable in society.
To any person who has been abused by a priest or anyone else in the
Diocese of Kerry, and to their families and friends, I want to express
my sincere sorrow and regret that such crimes were committed. I have met
and listened to survivors of abuse and I am horrified at the abuse they
have suffered and how it has profoundly affected their lives.
I encourage anyone who has been abused as a child to report the
matter to the Health Service Executive, An Garda Síochána or the
Diocese, seeking support and help.
The publication of today’s Review, details an independent objective
assessment of current safeguarding practice in the Diocese of Kerry. It
documents the progress the Diocese has made in terms of establishing
robust safeguarding policies and procedures.
safeguarding measures endeavour to guarantee that all Church activities
within our Diocese are a safe place for children to be involved. They
also ensure that complaints or concerns with regard to child abuse are
dealt with in a prompt, sensitive and professional manner.
always dealt with in conjunction with the HSE and An Garda Síochána.
I take this opportunity to thank all the people who have been
involved in the safeguarding structures in our Diocese over the years:
Designated Persons, Priests, the Committee for Safeguarding Children,
Support Persons, diocesan office staff, etc.
I thank local Parish
Representatives, Trainers, Parents and all those who work in a voluntary
capacity at parish or diocesan level to ensure that we are doing all in
our power to safeguard children and all who are involved in church
activities. I thank the HSE and An Garda Síochána for their professional
advice and assistance over the years.
I thank Teresa Devlin and all the
Staff at the National Office for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic
Church for the professional manner in which they have carried out this
Review and for their continuing availability to give us guidance.
I urge everyone involved in our Diocese both laity and clergy to take
time to read the Review for themselves and to reflect on what personal
contribution s/he can make to child safeguarding. Let no one in the
Diocese of Kerry be found wanting in our efforts to safeguard children.
Today we focus on the findings of the Review in terms of the Diocese’s
standards in current safeguarding practice. It is imperative that our
work in this area remains a key priority. We will continually strive to
fully safeguard all children in our care.
The Diocese of Kerry will
implement all the recommendations of the Review. Many of these
recommendations centre on our current major project of renewing our
Diocesan Policy document. This project is currently nearing completion.
Our Diocesan Policy on Safeguarding states the following:
The Diocese of Kerry values and encourages the participation of children
and young people in parish liturgies and in activities that enhance
their spiritual, physical, emotional and social development.
recognise and uphold the dignity and rights of all children and young
people. We are committed to supporting and safeguarding children in a
way that promotes their human dignity and integrity as children of God.
In keeping with this we undertake to do all in our power to create
safe environments for children and young people, to ensure their safety
from physical, sexual and emotional abuse or neglect.
As I make public this Review today I take this opportunity to invite and
encourage every person in the Diocese to join me in renewing our
commitment to always uphold and work for the highest standards in child