Catholic Communications Office response to comments by Baroness Nuala O’Loan
In response to published comments today by Baroness Nuala O’Loan concerning the reviews undertaken by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, the Catholic Communications Office wishes to clarify that this review process has already begun to publish reports; that it is continuing with its work and that it will continue until all of Ireland’s dioceses and religious congregations are reviewed.
In response to erroneous reports in the media last July, the National Board for Safeguarding Children stated that it has had “no refusal to cooperate by bishops with the audit. Rather there is a commitment to the Board, by the bishops, to support this process and to go forward in partnership to foster, throughout the Catholic Church, best practice child safeguarding.”
Baroness O’Loan also expressed a view that the National Board for Safeguarding Children “is understaffed and under resourced”. Last March, as part of the bishops’ response to mark the first anniversary of the Pastoral Letter of Pope Benedict XVI to the Catholics of Ireland, bishops and religious congregations publicly committed financial support for safeguarding children and young people in the Church and for the ongoing care of those who have been abused by way of supporting:
• The National Board for Safeguarding Children and related safeguarding activities at diocesan and national level; and,
• A five-year €10 million fund for the Towards Healing helpline and professional counselling referral service (formerly known as Faoiseamh).
In response to the reported comments of Baroness O’Loan “that there may today still be men in active ministry, against whom allegations were made, which were never investigated,” the Catholic Church in Ireland has guidelines and procedures for addressing concerns, suspicions, allegations and disclosures of abuse and this involves referral to An Garda Síochána/PSNI and the Health Service Executive/Health and Social Services. It is the duty of anyone with any such concerns to bring these to the attention of the appropriate civil authorities.
Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678