The Vatican report published today offers no new perspective on the child abuse crisis or on strengthening child protection, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children Charlie McConalogue. It does, however, remind us of the need for prompter action on a range of concrete child protection measures.
Deputy McConalogue commented, “I welcome the fact that the report echoes the shame, sorrow and pain previously expressed by Church leaders in respect of the child abuse crisis in Ireland. The Vatican has again recognised the “sinful and criminal acts” that were the root of the crisis and the fact that “those who should have exercised vigilance failed to do so effectively.”
“This report is more of a pastoral document rather than a new perspective on what happened. The Vatican has endorsed the work of its own child protection watchdog, the National Board for Safeguarding Children, and indicated its satisfaction with the level of progress. It then focuses on rebuilding the Catholic Church in Ireland and strengthening its voice in the media and within the community.
“Child protection must be at the heart of everything that the Church does as it seeks to rebuild trust. However, it is ultimately the State’s responsibility to ensure that the mistakes of the past never happen again. Relying on the Church’s own watchdog is not enough; Fianna Fáil has called for full and independent inquiry into the handling of child abuse allegations in all Dioceses around the country. We are still waiting for the results of a HSE national child protection audit, six years after it was commissioned. We are still waiting for a commitment on a time-frame for the Referendum on Children’s Rights. We are still waiting for the 60 extra social workers who should have been appointed last year, as recommended by the Ryan report.
“I am again calling on Minister Fitzgerald to come before the Dáil with a progress report on the HSE’s child protection audit, and a broad time-frame for the much-awaited Referendum on Children’s Rights.”