Wednesday 29 March 2017

Bishops silent on identity of abuse probe dioceses

Ailish O'Hora

Ailish O'Hora

Chief executive Ian Elliot (left) and chairman John Morgan at the publication of the National Board for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church's annual report in the Davenport Hotel, Dublin, yesterday. martin nolan

BISHOPS remained silent last night when asked which dioceses are being investigated for child abuse.

The Irish Independent contacted all 26 dioceses to ask if they were being audited by the church's own watchdog and if they fully complied with the child-protection procedures of the National Board for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church.

A spokeswoman for Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, currently out of the country, said that last month he published "a comprehensive update ... of all allegations made against clergy, which he reported to the Garda Siochana, the HSE and chief executive Mr Ian Elliott's board".

The board would not divulge the names of three dioceses under investigation after it revealed that in the year ended March 2011, church authorities withheld a staggering 219 abuse complaints from its own watchdog or board.

Last night a spokesman for the Diocese of Tuam would not confirm or deny whether it was currently part of an audit but added it had always fully cooperated with the board.

A parish priest in the diocese was recently stood down from his duties following an allegation involving a child.

Both Down and Connor and Waterford and Lismore confirmed they were not under investigation.

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Ossory said it had "complied fully with the board's best child-protection practice procedures" and was not currently being investigated. It also would have "no difficulty" cooperating with a State-wide probe into clerical child abuse.

A "disappointed" Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald warned church authorities anything less than full cooperation with investigations into abuse would not be tolerated.

Irish Independent

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