Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Thomas Byrne TD says the management at St King’s Hospital secondary school have serious questions to answer over their handling of an alleged sexual assault.

Deputy Byrne made the comments after media reports that the school delayed reporting the alleged abuse for four days.

“The first concern of everyone should be the welfare of the child in question. This is an alarming case and must be investigated thoroughly,” said Deputy Byrne.

“It’s important to note that once any child protection concerns come to light they should be immediately referred to social workers. This allows the child protection authorities to assess if there are any ongoing risks to children. This process does not seem to have been followed in this case as school management appear to have waited a number of days before referring the case to Tusla.

“The delay in reporting the case to Tusla appears to be unjustifiable and calls into question whether the welfare of other children was put at risk as a result. There is a statutory obligation on schools to report child protection issues as they arise. It is not up to the school management to conduct a preliminary investigation.

“The Department of Education needs to urgently remind schools of their reporting responsibilities in relation to allegations of sexual abuse. It is essential that schools know how to handle any child protection complaints that come to light and that they understand their duty to report cases to social protection authorities. The implementation of child protection policies cannot just be taken for granted,” said Deputy Byrne.