May 18, 2005

No Hidden Cameras or Gay Supervisors in Irish School Dressing Rooms Insists Human Rights Group


BELFAST, May 18, 2005 ( - The discovery of a hidden camera in a boys changeroom in a prestigious Catholic school in Northern Ireland has prompted the Irish Anti-Trafficking Coalition (IATC) to push police to launch an investigation. The Abbey Christian Brothers School in Newry explained that the camera was installed to catch a theif. However that trite explanation without investigation raised the ire of parents including a politician whose son is a student at the school.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) launched an investigation after pressure from the IATC. spoke with IATC Director Gregory Carlin about the incident and related issues. While he acknowleged that he, and not the Catholic hierarchy pressed for a police investigation, he said that it was not clear that the hierarchy were aware of the situation and added, "The church's position on these matters is unequivocal."

Speaking of the criticism the secret filming receeived, Carlin said, "It has been condemned by politicians and sexual abuse organizations. Before a (hidden) camera can be installed in a school, a qualifying assessment has to take place in order to ensure compliance with three statutes, the Data Protection Act 1998, the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Sexual Offences Act 2003. The filming of children in a changing room is completely unacceptable."

Carlin has also been involved in advising Catholic schools about homosexual teachers in roles as supervisors in change rooms. Asked about this, Carlin replied, "We also advise the Catholic Church not to have male teachers viewing 14 year old girls in dressing rooms. The principle is entirely the same, it is not in the least controversial. It is not a question of picking on anybody, we have consulted with gay rights organizations. The general legal consensus is that the prohibition that legitimately precludes opposite gender supervision in changing rooms can sensibly be related to gender and orientation. The potential for prurient viewing is a perfectly legitimate legal exception."

Posted by kshaw at May 18, 2005 08:32 PM