Irish Episcopal Conference holds special meeting on Child Protection

31 Oct 2005


31 OCTOBER 2005



A special meeting on child protection was held today by the
Irish Episcopal Conference in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth.

The Bishops apologised to all those people hurt at the hands of
abusers in the Church. Bishops expressed their deep sadness at
the findings of the Ferns Inquiry and especially those pages
retelling the pain experienced by those who have suffered.

The Bishops discussed the report of the Ferns Inquiry at length.
Arising from the report, the Minister for Children, Mr Brian Lenihan TD,
wrote to the President of the Episcopal Conference, Archbishop Seán Brady.
The Bishops discussed the issues raised in the letter from
Minister Lenihan.

The Bishops agreed to respond rapidly and positively to the proposals
outlined in Minister Lenihan’s correspondence.

The Bishops restated their commitment to ensuring that the Church
sets an example of best practice in the area of child protection.
At today’s meeting, the Bishops agreed to publicly launch the Church’s
new national policy, Our Children: Our Church, next month.
The Bishops are committed to implementing this document from parish
level up.


* Our Children: Our Church represents the child protection
policy of the Bishops, Conference of Religious in Ireland and the
Irish Missionary Union (ie the Sponsoring Bodies) This document provides
a set of policies and procedures which apply to anyone – both religious
and lay – who has a responsibility for the protection of children and
young people in the life of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

* Our Children: Our Church expresses the commitment of the Catholic
Church in Ireland to the consistent and determined implementation of
up-to-date policies and procedures which reflect best practice in the
area of child protection. Our Children: Our Church was approved
unanimously by the Irish Bishops’ Conference last June and the document
was then sent to the Holy See for approval.

* The new National Board for Child Protection will include professionals
from child care, psychology, theology, law, academia, education and
business and will include parents. It will also establish a National
Office for Child Protection to implement its policies and in conjunction
with the Sponsoring Bodies, will recruit a Chief Executive.

* Maureen Lynott, who helped produce Our Children: Our Church, said
of it that the: “implementation of the principles and policies will place
the Catholic Church at the forefront of best practice – nationally and
internationally – regarding the protection and welfare of children.”

Further information:

Martin Long Director of Communications (086 172 7678)
Brenda Drumm Communications Officer (087 233 7797)