Monday, May 17, 2010


Within the last week -
Children’s Ombudsman Emily Logan reminded us yet again that the HSE was failing to properly implement the State’s Children First Guidelines.

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin reminded us that strong forces within the Catholic Church still did not want the truth about the cover up of the sexual abuse of children by priests to emerge and added that there are worrying signs that despite solid regulations and norms these are not being followed throughout the Church with the rigour required.

This morning Ian Elliott of The National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) within the Catholic Church reported that within some areas of the church the commitment to put the safety of children before any other considerations has been tempered by a mistaken belief that it is possible to continue with past and familiar practices. This he said has led to a reliance on a defensive legal response when complaints emerge rather than a focus on safeguarding concerns and the elimination of risk to other vulnerable young people.

And on Friday last we were treated to the sight of Minister for Children Barry Andrews defend the failure of schools to properly implement Stay Safe & SPHE programmes in schools because such schools were entitled to their religious ethos.

This failure to advance the safety, welfare and protection of children is unforgiveable given what we have learned from the publication of the Ferns, Ryan and Murphy Reports and the Reports into the deaths of Tracey Fay and David Foley.

Part of the solution to the failures these Reports expose is the placing of Children First on a statutory basis and properly enshrining the rights of children into the Constitution. I repeat my call for the Government to advance this work as a matter of urgency – its continued failure to do so to date is an absolute disgrace.

END - 17/05/2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I wish to express my welcome for today’s report by the Office of the Ombudsman for Children into the implementation of Children First: National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children. I have long been of the view that the Children First Guidelines need to be put on a full statutory basis and the concerns raised in the Ombudsman’s Report reinforce for me the need for that course of action to be taken as a matter of absolute urgency.

Despite so many Reports in the last 12 months detailing our failure to protect children in this country we have had 2 revelations in the last 24 hours about failures to follow child protection guidelines.

Today the Children’s Ombudsman stated that insufficient efforts were made to drive forward implementation of Children First by the HSE internally and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin stated last night that within the Catholic Church there are worrying signs that despite solid regulations and norms these are not being followed with the rigour required.

It is imperative that the current Government respond to these continued failures by placing Children First on a statutory basis as a matter of urgency.

END - 11/05/2010