Earlier this year, I invited the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) to conduct a Review of Safeguarding Practice in the Diocese of Achonry.
The Review is
published today, December 10, 2013.
The Review is both comprehensive and
independent. It involved a full and detailed audit of the current
structures and policies in place to ensure the safety of children in all
church activities in the parishes and the diocese. Case files were
examined and interviews were conducted with key safeguarding personnel.
My first thoughts on the publication of the Review are for those who
suffered abuse, and especially within the Diocese of Achonry.
of children causes incalculable damage and deep and lasting suffering to
the most innocent of lives and to their loved ones. It is entirely
reprehensible, a serious crime and a grave sin. It is all the more
grievous when the perpetrator is a person in a position of trust, such
as a priest, who is called to be a minister of the Good News of love,
compassion and justice.
Today again I want to say to any person who has suffered this
terrible crime, that with deepest sorrow and regret, I apologize. I am
at the same time deeply aware of how inadequate such sorrow and apology
are in face of the pain and suffering experienced.
And I wish to state
that I am ready to receive and listen to any person who has suffered
abuse or family member, and that this diocese is committed to offering
support and help.
And I further encourage anyone who has suffered this
terrible injustice to report the matter to the Health Service Executive
and the Gardai.
I welcome the Review Report published today on the current situation
regarding safeguarding in the diocese. I want to thank NBSCCCI for
conducting the review.
I am greatly encouraged by the fact that the
report clearly shows that the structures and practices in effect in the
Diocese of Achonry today are in keeping with current best practice
standards as laid down by the civil authorities in this country and by
the National Board itself.
This diocese endeavours to guarantee that it is safe for children to
be involved in all Church activities. We are intent on maintaining and
continually reviewing our practices and structures so as to ensure the
absolute priority of safety for all children. In this regard, the
recommendations in the report are most welcome and will now guide the
work of the safeguarding committee in the immediate future.
will be maintained as an absolute priority in this critical area. That
is our assurance to all parents and children.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many people at
diocesan and parish level who have been actively involved in the
development and establishment of what we can now say are robust
I want to thank the priests and religious of
the diocese, the Diocesan Safeguarding Committee, the parish
representatives, and the various volunteers who have embraced the task
of making our diocese safe for children with such enthusiasm and hard
work over the past number of years. We have worked together well and
will, please God, continue to do so.
Furthermore, I would like to thank the Health Service Executive and
the An Garda Síochána who along with the National Board and its officers
have been our constant support in the diocese in this area and the
development of our policies and structures.
Finally, I invite the people of the diocese to take the time to read
this report and to reflect on its findings as we all continue together
to work to ensure that we truly are the church of Jesus Christ in