News archive 2005, Towards Healing

Statement from the Diocese of Limerick on Child Protection

PRESS RELEASE

26 OCTOBER 2005

STATEMENT FROM THE DIOCESE OF LIMERICK

ON CHILD PROTECTION

The level of hurt that exists in our society due to child abuse cannot be
measured. Child abuse has been a sad and tragic reality of our history and
we must do all in our power to ensure that it does not occur now or in the
future. We as a society and as Church must be there to support each other,
especially the hurt and vulnerable, in whatever way we can.

Bishop Murray said, “The Good Samaritan is our model. We must not, like
the priest and Levite in the parable, pass by on the other side, failing
to see somebody’s suffering because we are too wrapped up in our own business
to notice. To be a Good Samaritan means being available to listen, to
learn, to understand and to offer wholehearted help”.

We must all work together to ensure that all youth activities that take
place in any church context in the Limerick Diocese will be done in such
a way as to provide children with the safest possible environment.

The safety of children is of paramount importance in all parish activities.
To this purpose, the Diocese of Limerick has the following measures in place
to ensure the protection of children.

The Limerick Diocesan Child Protection Policy comes from the ‘Irish Catholic
Bishops’ Conference’, “Working with Children and Young People in The Catholic
Church Community in Ireland”, July 2003. This is the policy, which applies
for the Limerick Diocese. * The ‘designated person’ (Diocesan Delegate) is
Canon James Ambrose, P.P., Drumcollogher, Co. Limerick, 063 83032. The assistant
delegate is Fr. Gerard Garrett, 021 4963653.

Limerick Diocese organised Diocesan meetings in conjunction with the Child
Protection Office in Maynooth. These meetings explored child protection
issues with representatives of all parishes, including Priests.

The Diocese also sought independent/professional advice about the way forward,
which is now guiding the work of the Child Protection Committee.

The Child Protection Committee of the Limerick Diocese meets on a monthly basis.
Meetings are co-chaired by Ms. Catherine Kelly, Director of Limerick Youth Service
and Fr. John O’ Shea, Parish Priest of Abbeyfeale. The purpose of this committee
is to provide training in the area of child protection for every parish in the
Limerick Diocese.

* Two members of the committee, Fr. Derek Leonard and Ms. Aoife Walsh are
qualified as child protection trainers for the diocese. Both work in Youth
Ministry at the Limerick Diocesan Pastoral Centre.

* To date, eighteen people from the diocese are being trained as facilitators
in the area of child protection with Fr. Derek Leonard and Ms. Aoife Walsh.

* These facilitators will visit each parish in their cluster (group of parishes)
during the coming months and will present an information session in child
protection for those working with young people.

* The information session is for those working and ministering to young people
and children in parishes. Any group using parish property to work with children
will also need to attend this session.

* The aim of this information session is that each parish will produce its own
child protection policy and that each person working with young people in a
Church context is fully aware of Child Protection Guidelines.

* This parish policy will be displayed alongside the current diocesan child
protection notice in all parish properties. The Diocesan Child Protection
notice is a list of contacts (e.g. Gardaí, H.S.E., Midwest Area, Canon James
Ambrose and Fr. Gerard Garrett) that can be made if anyone has a concern
regarding the welfare of children.

* To ensure that each parish formulates its own policy, the parish Pastoral
Council/Committee will be required to ratify the policy and will then submit
it to Fr. Derek Leonard and Ms. Aoife Walsh at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre.
A record of each parish policy will be kept at the Pastoral Centre. Bishop
Murray will check that this information is clearly displayed when he visits
the parishes for Confirmation.

Case Management Committee
The Limerick Diocese also has in place a “Case Management Committee”. This
committee is jointly set up with the Diocese of Cloyne. It is chaired by Fr.
Gerard Garrett of the Limerick Diocese. This committee meets at least every
three months. This is a competent group of expert people (Solicitor, Canon Lawyer,
Psychologist, Retired Garda Officer, Pastoral Counsellor, Priests, Youth
Worker and Secondary School Principal).

It has two functions – Advisory and Supervisory.
Advisory
* It advises Bishops Murray and Magee on how best to proceed in individual
concrete cases.

Supervisory
* It hears from the ‘designated person’ whose function it is to hear and
inquire into complaints on behalf of the Bishop.
* It also hears from the ‘contact persons’ (appointed by the Bishop) whose
function it is to provide pastoral support and ongoing contact and information
for complainants and accused.
* It keeps individual cases under ongoing review.

Designated Person
If you have a concern regarding child protection please contact:
Fr. James Ambrose P.P., Drumcollogher, Co. Limerick. 063 83032 or
Fr. Gerard Garrett, 021 4963653.

You may also contact Bishop Murray through the Diocesan Offices at 061 315856.

It is further planned, that the names of local people along with the
‘designated person’, will be displayed in every parish-meeting place. This
will be to ensure easy access for any person with a concern regarding the
welfare of children.

The Bishop, Priests and Staff of the Limerick Diocese are committed to the
protection of children. We thank the people of the Diocese for their support
through some very difficult years. Together, we are committed to ensure that
the Church’s ministry to children can take place in a confident and safe
environment.

E N D S
Further information from:
SEAMUS MADIGAN
086 8441609
DIOCESAN SPOKESPERSON
smadigan@limerickdiocese.org

Case Management Committee,
Fr. Gerard Garrett,
021 4963653

Some useful website links:

Child Protection Office: www.cpo.ie
“Working with Children and Young People” July 2003: Download

Irish Bishops Lenten Pastoral 2005, “Towards Healing”
www.catholicbishops.ie/specialfeatures/towardshealing

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