Statement by Monsignor Brendan Byrne, Diocesan Administrator
The publication today of the review of Safeguarding Practice in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin prompts us to be mindful once again of the stories of people who have suffered great pain over many years. My thoughts today are with the survivors of abuse and with their families and I respectfully apologize to them for the hurt and offence they have carried and are still carrying.
On behalf of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin I want to thank the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC) for conducting such a thorough review of the Safeguarding Practice in the diocese. As the report details, 18 allegations of sexual abuse were made against 10 priests of this diocese in the period covered by this review (January 1975 to May 2012). These allegations involve 8 deceased priests and two living priests who remain out of ministry. Both the Gardaí and HSE have been notified of all allegations and I want to thank them both for their work with us on all these matters. This diocese remains committed to working in partnership with statutory authorities to ensure that all aspects of children’s and young people’s welfare is managed promptly, professionally and justly.
While the review comments that the diocese ‘has had relatively few cases to deal with’ (in the last ten years this diocese has had to respond to one allegation against a serving priest of this diocese), it makes a series of recommendations so that this diocese can ‘develop its current structures to make them more robust’. I accept in full the recommendations proposed in this review. Along with this statement, I am today publishing a schedule for how this diocese intends to fulfil the twelve recommendations in this report. This work has already begun. We look forward to welcoming the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC) back to the diocese in the coming months to review the completion of this schedule.
While very significant progress has been made in creating and sustaining a culture of safety for children and young people in parish and diocesan activities this review challenges and encourages us to attain the highest standards possible. In welcoming the publication of this review I wish to reaffirm the commitment of our diocese to be fully accountable to the highest safeguarding standards.
I would like to thank all those who are involved in the work of Safeguarding in this diocese. May the Lord continue to inspire us in this vital work. In conclusion we pray again for the gift of healing and peace, particularly for those wounded by the deep wrong of child abuse.
The figures that there are allegations against two living K&L priests and 8 deceased is already in the public domain. In statement issued after the Cloyne report, Monsignor Byrne explained the figures as they had been submitted as part of the HSE audit. This statement is on the diocesan website – www.kandle.ie
Kildare & Leighlin annually accounts for expenditure in regard to safeguarding costs. As previously announced this diocese has spent €115,617 on Safeguarding covering counselling, training, legal fees and insurance. In 2009 Bishop Moriarty published figures in regard to two settlements – see below. This statement is available on the diocesan website – www.kandle.ie
• The diocese has contributed to the settlement of two civil cases involving priests of this diocese
• In 2004 the diocese contributed to a financial settlement in a civil case involving a deceased priest of this diocese. At the time of his death in 2002, this priest was facing very serious criminal charges but died before the scheduled trial took place. The diocese contributed a total of 133,835. As was the practice at the time, the diocese received 90% of this payment from the Stewardship Trust.
• The diocese contributed a total of 175,000 to the settlement of a civil case against the priest of this diocese who was convicted in the courts in 2009. A further 24,300 was also paid in legal fees in 2009 along with 27,359 in 2008. A combined total of 226,659.
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