Friday 21 July 2017

Allegations are 'very troubling', says former pupil Varadkar

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar Photo: Tom Burke
Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar Photo: Tom Burke
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Former King's Hospital student Leo Varadkar says allegations that a 13-year-old was sexually assault on the campus are "very serious and troubling".

The Social Protection Minister is among a list of high-profile alumni from the worlds of politics, sport and entertainment who attended the Dublin school.

"I would expect them [the allegations] to be fully investigated by the relevant authorities without delay," he told the Irish Independent.

"I would expect every school to be fully conversant with child protection laws and guidelines."

Ex-tánaiste Joan Burton, whose daughter attended the school, expressed similar concerns saying the situation was "very sad for the school community".

The Labour Party TD expressed concern at reports that it took five days for the alleged incident to be reported to gardaí.

"The key point is that child protection protocol must be followed, including making contact with the appropriate authorities as quickly as possible," she said. "Everyone should act immediately when an incident comes to attention."

Children's Minister Katherine Zappone said that at this stage her department was not carrying out any investigation into the situation but it was monitoring developments.

"I think it is very distressing to hear what has been reported in the news. I know that [child protection agency] Tusla and other statutory agencies are responding," she said.

"We need to be vigilant in relation to any form of abuse of children and young people. That's a very strong priority of myself and this Government."

Asked if she would instigate any investigation into the alleged delay in reporting the situation, Ms Zappone said: "I have to wait to see what comes back in relation to this initial investigation and then we'll take the next steps."

Her Cabinet colleague Education Minister Richard Bruton said he was very "disturbed" by the allegations of sexual abuse at the top fee-paying school.

"The allegations are very disturbing, but there are now authorities investigating this," he said.

Fianna Fáil's spokesperson on children Anne Rabbitte described the alleged delay in reporting the situation as "shocking".

She said that the timelines set down in the child protection laws must be carefully adhered to.

Irish Independent

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