Seven recommendations have been made by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland following a review of policy and action in the Archdiocese.
The seven key standards outlined in legislation were examined in great detail and recommendations made following assessment of the Archdioceses response to each standard. Five of the seven recommendations were made in relation to the delaing with, and management of, allegations.
The recommendations are:
*The designated person from Cashel and Emly Archdiocese should consult his colleagues in the motropolitan area with the view to developing a process flowchart to guide action in all cases where there is an ellegation of child abuse.
*The designated person should employ NBSCCCI case file template for future cases, ensuring that a narrative account of all actions is recorded.
*Archbishop Clifford must initiate all Church action through formal decrees and ensure that there are written precepts on file outling the restrictions on a priests ministry.
*Archbishop Clifford must ensure that the newly appointed support person is offered induction and support in her role and that a written protocol is developed which clarifies how this role will assist complainants.
*Archbishop Clifford should develop a written agreement with all religious congregations within his Archdiocese whereby he is informed of information that a member of the religious order has been removed from ministry following an allegation/concern of child abuse.
*The Safeguarding Committee inclusive of the Safeguarding Co-Ordinator should consider how to develop child friendly awareness raising to empower children and create a greater awareness of who to go to if they have a concern about abuse with the Church setting.
*The designates person should promote the services of the support person amongst existing and new complainants and consider developing a protocal for support services.
The review states that the Safeguarding Committee are a key element of implementing and monitoring standards. They meet every six weeks to review and monitor all safeguarding issues in the Archdiocese and annual parish audits have been conducted since 2009 and reports made by the Safeguarding Co-Ordinator to the committee and Archbishop Clifford.
“It is very evident that safeguarding is a live issue in Cashel and Emly. The policies and procedure document was re-drafted in 2013 and was up-dated in line with national legislation and Church guidance, Having a full time Co-Ordinator was helped to instill enthusiasm for safeguarding.
“There was no sign of complacency in the Archdiocese, While inevitably, there was a degree of preparation and perhaps anxiety at the review being undertaken, there was also evidence that safeguarding has consistently been on the agenda of Archbishop Clifford and his safeguarding personnel for a number of years,” the rpeort states.
Archbishop Clifford told The Tipperary Star this weekj that he welcomed the report and fully accepts its recommendations.
“The majority of the recommendations have been implementedand the remainder will be completed as speedily as possible.
“I re-iterate my sincere apologies to those who have been harmed in this manner by priests of the Diocese. What happened to them was an outrageous betrayal of the priests’calling and deserves our complete condemnation. Their suffering continues and we once again offer them not only our prayers but assistance in any way we can.
“While the structures are hugely important, the safeguarding of children in our Diocese could not have been the subject of complimentary remarks from the NBSCCCI without the work being done on a daily basis by the priests, religious and the many volunteers.
I am most grateful to the Diocesan Committee for Safeguarding Children, the Child Protection Delegate, Bill Meagher, and Sr. Carmel Bourke, the Diocesan Child Protection Co-ordinator. I would also like to thank the National Board for
Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church for their guidance and assistance
over the past number of years. I also appreciate thisvaluable and helpful
assessment of safeguarding policies and practices in our Diocese.