Statement of the Bishop of Ferns on the occasion of the publication of the NBSCCCI audit Report for Ferns Diocese
Good morning everybody and welcome, thank you for joining us this morning.
The diocese welcomes today’s publication of the audit Report for Ferns diocese. I extend my gratitude to the National Office for Safeguarding Children for accepting our invitation to come to Ferns and undertake this review.
At the outset, I would like to acknowledge how the publication of the Report may occasion the re-awakening of pain and hurt among those who have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of some priests of the Diocese of Ferns.
I again apologise unreservedly for the failings that led to such pain and hurt. As Bishop Eamonn Walsh said in 2005 “There are no excuses for what happened in the past. However, the most effective response to what cannot be changed in the past is what we are doing today, and what we will do in the future”.
I accept the findings and recommendations of this Report and I welcome it as yet another step on our diocesan journey towards achieving best practice and healing.
The positive findings in today’s Report reflect the combined efforts of the following groups who assist – and have assisted – the diocese over the past decade.
• The Diocesan Advisory Panel which is composed of therapeutic, managerial, social services, legal (civil and canonical ) personnel.
• The Inter Agency Group – Gardai, HSE, and Diocesan Office Team – which meets regularly to discuss safeguarding matters.
• The Diocesan Safeguarding Committee – made up of lay and clerical members.
• The Parish Representative – 93 lay volunteers operating all over the diocese.
• The team at the Diocesan Offices at Summerhill.
• The National Office in Maynooth.
• The Holy See.
The recommendations and directives of all the above groups have been fully accepted and implemented.
I attribute the positive nature of our Report to the combined efforts and talents of all the people mentioned -focussed in a systematic way – on all aspects of Child Safeguarding in our diocese.
I thank the priests and people of the diocese for their support and co-operation at local level.
The diocese has noted the recommendations in the Report. Numbers 1 and 4 have already been implemented. Numbers 2 and 3 are being addressed in consultation with the National Office.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sr Helen O’Riordan who has just completed her term as Outreach Co-Ordinator for the diocese and whose work is highly commended in the Report. Over the past ten years Sr Helen has worked tirelessly at local and national level in developing and implementing new and progressive safeguarding policies. For this, I say a genuine word to thanks to her today.
Safeguarding remains an on-going priority in our diocese, so as I bid farewell to Sr Helen, I publicly welcome her successor, Colette O’Doherty.
I wish Colette well in what is a very important and demanding role, co-ordinating all our efforts to create a safe environment for children and young people, to participate in Church activities in the Diocese of Ferns.
Notes to Editors
• The report is available in full on the diocesan website – www.ferns.ie
• Diocesan Delegate: Marian Stack, Mobile: 0851055992 Email:[email protected]
• Assistant Delegate: Fr Denis Lennon 053-9124417
• Outreach Support Person: Colette O Doherty, Office: 0539174972, Mobile: 0879474513, Email: [email protected]
• Photo – Bishop Brennan extends a word of welcome to newly appointed safeguarding co-ordinator for Ferns, Ms. Colette O’ Doherty and a word of gratitude to Sr. Helen O’ Riordan, for her ten years work in this post, from which she has now retired.
For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (1) 505 3017