October 24, 2005

Ferns report will stress need to strengthen child protection

Irish Times

The Ferns inquiry report, expected next Tuesday, will raise issues on the relationship between the Department of Education and church authorities over child abuse allegations. The State's child protection measures must be greatly strengthened, the report urges. Liam Reid, Martin Wall and Patsy McGarry report.

It will highlight the lack of vetting procedures for school boards of management and will advise that Government reinforce mandatory reporting and other strict child protection measures.

It is understood the 271-page report will be presented to the Cabinet on Tuesday by Minister of State for Health Brian Lenihan. It will not be circulated to Government Ministers in advance. Just four copies are extant and these are with Minister for Health Mary Harney, secretary general at the Department of Health Michael Scanlan, Mr Lenihan and Attorney General Rory Brady.

Mr Lenihan will brief Wexford TDs and MEP Avril Doyle after the Cabinet meeting, while Bishop Eamonn Walsh, apostolic administrator of Ferns diocese, will hold a press conference in Wexford to respond.

The report will disclose details of allegations made since the 1960s against 25-30 priests of the Ferns diocese, eight of whom are dead. Only those priests convicted in the courts, who are deceased, or against whom allegations are deemed proven, will be named. The inquiry received evidence from over 100 complainants who will not be named.

Posted by kshaw at October 24, 2005 07:59 PM