On behalf of Bishop Séamus Freeman, SAC., who is currently on sick leave, and on behalf of the Diocese of Ossory, I welcome today’s publication of the Review of Safeguarding Practice in the Diocese of Ossory, undertaken by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland.
This Review is the result of the invitation by Bishop Freeman in June 2012, to the NBSCCCI to examine all Safeguarding files as well as all Policies and Procedures in the Diocese of Ossory.
In the wake of this Review, I am conscious of, and express my heartfelt sorrow to all who have suffered as a result of abuse by Church personnel. My thoughts and prayers are with you today. I am deeply sorry for what has happened to you and to your families and I pray that the Lord Jesus will give you healing and peace.
The Safeguarding Report follows a full review in June of this year of safeguarding case files as well as interviews with key safeguarding personnel in our diocese and in the statutory authorities, i.e. An Gardai Siochana and HSE.
I confirm both An Garda Siochana and HSE personnel have been made aware of all allegations and I want to thank them for their work with us. The diocese remains committed through our Inter Agency Meetings (Diocese, An Garda Siochana and HSE) to working with the statutory agencies to ensure that all aspects of children’s welfare are managed promptly and professionally.
The diocese fully accepts the findings of this Review and all 12 recommendations contained therein towards improving our safeguarding practice. I am glad to say that a number of these recommendations have already been implemented and all listed recommendations will form part of our revised Policy and Procedures.
I wish to thank priests, religious, laity and all diocesan safeguarding personnel who work tirelessly to ensure that best safeguarding practice is adhered to in our diocese. The Diocese of Ossory values and encourages the participation of children in parish liturgies and in activities that enhance their spiritual, emotional and social development.
If you have a safeguarding concern I encourage you to contact our Designated Team, An Garda Siochana and/or HSE. Contact details are displayed in all churches in our diocese and also included on our website: www.ossory.ie.
I draw your attention to the Counselling service Towards Healing, which assists survivors of child abuse. The telephone number is 1 800 30 34 16.