Results of Child Protection Inquiry in Cloyne May Be Published
Barry Andrews: Confusion surrounds status of two individual reports into sexual abuse
The Irish Times - Thursday, December 18, 2008 by Patsy McGarry, Religious Affairs Correspondent
THE NATIONAL Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC) has indicated that it may publish the results of an inquiry it conducted into child protection practices in the diocese of Cloyne earlier this year.
In a terse one-line statement last night NBSCCC chief executive Ian Elliott said “given that the Minister has made it clear that this report is clearly ours, we are considering all options available to us”.
In a statement yesterday Mr Andrews said that “confusion appears to surround the commissioning and status of two individual reports into child sexual abuse in the diocese of Cloyne.”
He continued that “the HSE, the statutory body charged with carrying out child protection investigations, carried out an investigation into clerical sex abuse in the diocese of Cloyne, a report of which was received by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs on December 4th, 2008”.
As part of that investigation, he said “the HSE considered a separate internal church report, written by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC). The origin of this (NBSCCC) report was that on receipt of a complaint of clerical sexual abuse in the diocese of Cloyne, the department informed the HSE and, also out of courtesy, informed the NBSCCC of this complaint, which then carried out its own internal investigation resulting in the NBSCCC report.”
He said “this internal report was not commissioned, paid for or evaluated by the Office of the Minister for Children. When it was discovered by the Office of the Minister for Children that the internal church report was not sent to the HSE, nor was it the church’s (ie the NBSCCC’s – which, though appointed by the Catholic Church, is independent of it – ) intention to do so, the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs forwarded the report to the HSE”.
The investigation carried out by the HSE, of which the NBSCCC report formed part, was “currently under legal review and a decision as to whether to publish the results of the investigation will be made on receipt of legal advice,” he said.
Four priests from Cloyne diocese had been withdrawn from active ministry following complaints of sex abuse. One was withdrawn almost 10 years ago, others more recently.