October 26, 2005

Inquiry on abuse may become a national audit

The Irish Times

An official inquiry due to be held into the handling of clerical abuse complaints in the Dublin archdiocese may be expanded to include other dioceses if a national audit of child protection measures indicates a need for such an investigation. Liam Reid and Patsy McGarry report

In a statement last night, Minister of State for Children Brian Lenihan said the audit would seek to establish whether each diocese was complying with internal church guidelines from 10 years ago on how to deal with abuse complaints.

Mr Lenihan's announcement followed publication on Tuesday of the Ferns inquiry report which severely criticised the Catholic Church's response to allegations of abuse against 21 priests.

The inquiry found that the Ferns diocese is currently implementing proper child protection measures, removing priests from active ministry once an allegation is made. Yesterday, Opposition politicians called for a wider inquiry to establish whether other bishops were allowing priests to continue in ministry despite allegations.

Last night, victims' representative groups raised concerns about the lack of detail on how the Government's proposed audit would be carried out. Mr Lenihan said that "consideration is being given as a matter of urgency to the form and structure of that audit".

Posted by kshaw at October 26, 2005 10:07 PM