Statement from Bishop William Crean, Bishop of Cloyne on the Review of safeguarding practice in the Diocese of Cloyne

12 May 2014

Statement from Bishop William Crean, Bishop of Cloyne, on the Review of safeguarding practice in the Diocese of Cloyne published today by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland

I warmly welcome the publication today of the review of safeguarding practice in the Diocese of Cloyne by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland.

At the outset, I again extend my heartfelt apologies to all those who suffered abuse at the hands of a minority of priests of Cloyne. Their actions were not only reprehensible but a total betrayal of trust given to people who should have been their protectors and not their abusers.

The diocese has come a long way but the work goes on to ensure best practice in safeguarding every child in Cloyne. The Board has conducted a very thorough and worthwhile audit of safeguarding practice in our Diocese and made a number of recommendations. I thank the National Board for their help in the past and for their approval of our work, our policies, and initiatives.

I accept the recommendations for the direction they give for progressing the vital work of safeguarding children. We have implemented and are continuing to implement them. The ongoing support of the National Board is very much appreciated.

The report has been very complimentary of all the effort that has gone into ensuring the safety of all children in the Diocese of Cloyne. That will, I am sure, be welcomed by all the people of Cloyne, clergy and laity. It does, however, also show us how certain improvements can be made and this is most welcome.

The National Board says its reviewers were impressed by the dedicated personnel, both clerical and lay persons, on whom I as Bishop can rely to implement policies at both diocesan and local parish level. In particular its reviewers were impressed by the dedication and commitment demonstrated by the Cloyne Diocesan Safeguarding Children Committee, Chaired by Mr Con Lynch.

The report says that I as Bishop am fortunate to have the support of such enthusiastic and committed people in promoting safeguarding within the diocese. I can only heartily concur with those sentiments and say how grateful I am  for all the sterling effort, time and commitment that is shown on a daily basis by this Committee. I particularly acknowledge the contribution of Ms Rosarie O’Riordan, Child Protection Training Coordinator, and  the hundreds of others, including priests, parish safeguarding representatives, and other parish volunteers,  who are engaged in this vitally important work.

Mr Bill Meagher has also been of enormous importance in safeguarding children in Cloyne diocese given his role as Diocesan Designated Liaison Person (DLP). Mr Meagher’s  experience, expertise, interpersonal skills and commitment are vital  in our ongoing efforts to ensure that where any suspicions of abuse arise the appropriate action is swiftly taken.

It is also timely to acknowledge and express our appreciation for the support, guidance and assistance afforded to us by An Garda Siochana and the Child and Family Agency (formerlyHSE). Our relationship with both organisations is excellent, as the report finds, and we greatly appreciate their help and guidance.

While the report is generally very complimentary of our efforts, safeguarding children is still a work in progress. Vigilance must be our watchword and in an ever-changing world we continue to review our protocols, standards and procedures so that if there are any suspicions, concerns or allegations of abuse they are dealt with expeditiously and correctly.

On my Ordination Day some 15 months ago I committed myself to do all that I can, with others in the diocese, to continue to bring healing and new hope to the lives of all victims of abuse and their families. Today I re-iterate that commitment. I can promise them, as well as all parents and children in Cloyne, that we will never relent in our efforts to prevent such abuse happening again.

For further information contact: Michael Keane, Insight Consultants, 086 824 4500
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