First Group of Child Protection Trainers receive certificates from Dr Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland

04 Dec 2005





“Today marks an important stage in the development of best
practice in working with children and young people in our parish
communities” – Archbishop Brady

The following is the address of Dr Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and
Primate of All Ireland at the presentation of certificates to the first
group of child protection trainers at a ceremony in St Patrick’s’ College,
Maynooth, today, Sunday 4th December 2005:

It is my privilege to be with you to present the certificates to the newly
accredited Diocesan Child Protection Trainers. I acknowledge each of you,
your families and friends.  In a particular way I welcome Wendy Osborne
and her team from the Volunteer Development Agency in Belfast to whom we
are sincerely grateful.  I also thank, in a special way, Mrs Kay Hyden,
National Director of Training in the Child Protection Office for her splendid
work in all of this.

I thank all of you for your contribution to this undertaking.  I thank you,
you who have agreed to give generously of your time and energy to follow this
Course.  I congratulate you on successfully completing the Course.  I know
that it has involved quite an amount of sacrifice in terms of time and travel
and energy.  I thank you in anticipation for the service, which you are going
to give, in the future, in delivering training to others throughout
the dioceses and the parishes.  For all of this we are truly grateful.

Today marks an important stage in the development of best practice in
working with children and young people in our parish communities.  Ever
since the establishment of the Child Protection Office in 2001, the Bishops’
Conference has been committed to developing Child Protection Practices
which are in keeping with Statutory Guidelines, North and South.

With this end in view the National Training Strategy was devised in 2003.
Our partnership with the Volunteer Development Agency began in 2004.  In
all of this the Church is demonstrating its commitment to children and
to ensuring their safety and wellbeing.  This training, which you are
have undertaken, will assist the dioceses in implementing, in a practical
way, the Guidelines as outlined in the new document Our Children: Our Church
This document is to be launched before the end of December.  I am confident
that the training which you have received and which you will, in turn,
deliver, will help to enhance the children’s experience of their Church.

As a Church, we are determined to learn from the past, no matter how
painful that learning may prove.  And one thing we have learned, very
clearly, is to value and properly esteem the dignity of every child.
For every child is made in the image and likeness and God.  Every child
has a right to be listened to, nurtured and protected in a safe and
loving way.  This is what today is all about; recognising that every
child, like every adult, is precious in the sight of God.  Every child
needs protection and attention, from their parents first of all and from
all those into whose care their parents decide to entrust them.

We gather here today on the Second Sunday of Advent.  Advent is the
season of hopeful preparation.  It is a time when we prepare ourselves
to remember the birth of the child, the child, Jesus, who is the Saviour
of the world.  We belong to a Church, which is intimately linked to the
birth of a child. A Church, which continues the presence of the same
Jesus in the world. The Church is the Body of Christ and it tries, at
all times, to have the mind of Christ.  Christ wanted the children to
come to him because he said, “Heaven is made up of people like little

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

Notes to Editors:
* The Irish Bishops’ Conference national training strategy was established
in 2003 to implement policies and procedures within dioceses for the
protection and welfare of children that would be wholly in keeping with
statutory guidelines in this area (Children First, Department of Health
and Children, 1999 and Cooperating to Safeguard Children, DHSSPS, NI) and
in order to prepare for the introduction of ‘Our Children: Our Church’.
* A core aspect of the national training strategy involves trainees
undertaking a course based at St Patrick’s’ College, Maynooth, leading
to an Open College Network Certificate (OCN) called: “Keeping Safe: Training
the Trainers’ Programme”.
* The first graduates of this course – 19 in total (representing 9 dioceses)
received their certificates from Dr Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and
Primate of All Ireland. A further 25 are currently in training (21 from
an additional 9 dioceses and 4 from CORI).
* The Director of the Volunteer Development Agency in Northern Ireland
Ms Wendy Osborne, OBE was in attendance.
* The programme has been designed by the Volunteer Development Agency in
Northern Ireland as a tool to help community and voluntary agencies in
the implementation of statutory child protection guidelines in both
* The programme is directed by Mrs. Kay Hyden, national training Director
of the Irish Bishops’ Conference Child Protection Office (CPO). Presenters
include CPO tutors trained through the Volunteer Development Agency and
the Acting Director of the Child Protection Office in addition to a number
of specialists including:
* Ms. Susanne Phelan, Child Care Manager, Dublin East HSE
* Detective Sergeant Gerry Deegan, Domestic Violence & Child Abuse Unit,
Harcourt Square
* Dr. Kevin Mc Coy, Social Care Consultant and former Chief Inspector
of Social Services for Northern Ireland
* Mr. Brian Mc Kee, Director, Youth Com, Diocese of Down & Connor,
POCVA nominated officer
* Dr. Tim Bartlett, Director Public Policy, Irish Bishops Conference
* Dr. Michael Mullaney, Canon Lawyer
* Dr. Hugh Connolly, Moral Theologian and Vice President,
St. Patrick’s College,  Maynooth
* Ms. Emma Campbell, Tutor Trainer, The Agency, Belfast