Monday 18 November 2019

Taoiseach reveals his 'shock and disgust' at alleged child sex abuse case in Munster

The officer was taken to University College Hospital to be treated for non-life threatening lacerations
The officer was taken to University College Hospital to be treated for non-life threatening lacerations
John Downing

John Downing

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has spoken of his horrified reaction at the emerging details of the sex investigation in the south-west of the country.

"The crimes alleged are shocking, abhorrent and truly disgusting," the Taoiseach frankly told the Dáil.

The latest appalling child sex abuse allegations in the south-west of the country have highlighted serious gaps in the State’s ability to deal with these types of offences, Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin has said.

Mr Martin said he did wish to comment on the horrific cases being investigated in Munster. 

But he warned that only 45pc of recommendations in a 2012 Garda Inspectorate report on fighting child sex abuse had been implemented more five years on.

The Fianna Fáil leader said it took up to 2017 for a recommended victims’ helpline to be established. There were still no child advocacy centres, as recommended, and alarmingly, inexperienced and untrained gardaí were still interviewing child sex victims and taking their statements.

“Why is there such poor implementation of the Garda Inspectorate report?” Mr Martin asked the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar.

Mr Varadkar said that sex abuse was the most heinous crime – and child sex abuse was the worst of all. He congratulated gardaí engaged in the investigation and also paid tribute to Tusla staff.

The Taoiseach conceded that there was outstanding work to improve facilities to investigate and clamp down on child sex abuse.  But he said recent legislation strengthened the law to curb child pornography and the use of social media for “grooming” of children for sex abuse.

Mr Varadkar said the Government would continue to work with An Garda Síochána to improve facilities to fight child sex abuse.

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