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Friday 23 February 2018

Just a fifth of Ryan social workers in place

Edel Kennedy and John Cooney

FEWER than one in five of the 270 new social workers promised in the wake of the damning Ryan report on sex abuse have been employed.

One year on from the publication of the report into abuses suffered by thousands of children by members of religious orders, the Health Service Executive (HSE) was unable to say how many full-time social workers are employed.

It has been confirmed that there is no formal inspection of child protection and welfare services in local HSE health offices.

On the eve of the first anniversary, tomorrow, of the publication of the report into the "systematic abuse" of children at institutions run by religious orders, a large number of the 99 "specific actions" laid out in the subsequent Ryan Report Implementation Plan, have yet to be implemented.

Last year Minister for Children Barry Andrews promised an additional 270 social workers as part of the action plan.

However, the HSE said that the process was "ongoing".

The Irish Independent has learned that the first 50 posts have been assigned with some already beginning work -- but 220 posts remain empty.


Figures were unavailable last night for the current number of social workers but the most recent figures show that numbers have been dropping.

At the end of September 2009 there were 2,161 full-time social workers, down from 2,236 at the end of December 2008. The problem will be further compounded when a large number retire this year.

The report also recommended that children who had been in care be interviewed so that they could advise the service on failings or problems they experienced. Mr Andrew's office confirmed last night that just 16 out of 201 young people had been interviewed to date. Work is also "ongoing" on a method of evaluating the extent to which services meet the objectives of the national childcare policy.

Last night a senior nun called on the Government to reach an "equitable" settlement with victims of abuse in industrial schools as quickly as possible.

A final decision on financial reparations has not been reached by the Government after a series of meetings with 18 religious congregations. The Irish Independent learned last night that the Government plans to meet survivors' groups from June 7 onwards.

Sister Marianne O'Connor, secretary general of Conference of Religious of Ireland, said agreement needed to be reached "sooner rather than later".

Irish Independent

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