Statement by Archbishop Michael Neary on the launch of the Review of Safeguarding Practice in the Archdiocese of Tuam
The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church has reported on the Audit which it conducted in the Archdiocese of Tuam. The Report is being published today.
The report illustrates that strong procedures have been put in place to ensure that children are safe and cherished here in the Archdiocese of Tuam.
I warmly welcome the Report of Ian Elliott, the CEO of the National Board, and am very happy that he has adjudicated so positively on the way things are being addressed in our Archdiocese. This is an enormous tribute to all working in this area. It is very encouraging to see that their work has been recognised, affirmed and appreciated in the Report. They convened and worked long hours to address the problems of sexual abuse in a fair and transparent manner. I want to thank all who were involved in this important work for the way in which they have given so generously of their time and expertise. Each parish now has a trained Child Safeguarding Representative.
I am grateful to Ian Elliott, the members of the National Office and the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church for their guidance, availability and on-going support.
As Archbishop I have had to address these sad situations. I was convinced that it would be impossible to do so without involving lay people, particularly parents and especially mothers who have been nurturing, cherishing and protecting children day in day out. I appointed an Advisory Panel, men and women, professional and highly qualified lay people, religious and priests from whom I have taken advice in dealing with cases of abuse. Conscious of the urgency and centrality of safeguarding children the Safeguarding Committee has worked diligently and voluntarily to ensure that the safest possible environment is created for children in the Catholic Church in our Archdiocese.
This is not something, however, about which we can become complacent. The safeguarding and cherishing of children in the Catholic Church must continue to remain a challenge for all of us.
Foremost in my thoughts are the survivors of child sexual abuse and their families, the harm and the hurt which they have experienced and the courage which they displayed in telling their story. I have apologised to them in the past and wish to reiterate my apology today. I invite anyone who has been abused to come forward and report the matter either to the Archdiocese and/or to the statutory authorities. Counselling help is available at the dedicated helpline; Towards Healing – Freephone 1800 303416 or log on to www.towardshealing.ie.
Further information: www.tuamarchdiocese.org