Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Minister defends planned abuse reporting law

Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald has reiterated her intention to apply the planned new reporting requirements on child abuse across all organisations and individuals working with children.

She was responding to Cardinal Seán Brady's warning that undermining the vow of secrecy surrounding Confession would challenge the right of every Catholic to freedom of religion and conscience.

Immediately after the Cloyne Report revealed Catholic Church cover-ups of clerical child sexual abuse, Ms Fitzgerald said the sacrament of Confession could not be used to claim exemption from new reporting rules the Government intended to introduce.

Ms Fitzgerald has now said she intends to bring the draft heads of the planned Children First Bill to Government in coming months and applying its new statutory reporting requirements across all organisations and individuals working with children.

She recalled that Taoiseach Enda Kenny had told the Dáil in July that the Irish people deserved and required compliance by all Church authorities here with the obligations to report all cases of suspected abuse to the State's authorities in line with the Children First National Guidance, which would have the force of law.