Religious orders criticised over child protection
Three religious congregations have been severely criticised for their child-safeguarding practices by the child protection watchdog.
The National Board for Safeguarding Children found the Norbertine order, the De La Salle brothers and the Sisters of Nazareth required "urgent corrective action" in their protection of children.
Notorious paedophile Fr Brendan Smyth was a member of the Norbertines. The audit of the Norbertines, who were formerly based at Kilnacrott Abbey in Co Cavan, was published by the National Board (NBSCCCI) on Tuesday. Reviewers refer to the order as "notorious" for its "mismanagement" of Smyth, who died in prison in 1997.
Criticising the Nobertines' "significant history of poor child-safeguarding practice", the child protection watchdog reveals it looked at a total of 103 child safeguarding concerns or allegations in relation to four Norbertine priests.
Another member of the order referred to as 'Priest A' admitted the sexual abuse of 13 children, both in Ireland and abroad. He served a prison sentence and was later laicised.
This last tranche of safeguarding audits of religious congregations by the NBSCCCI also covers the De La Salle Brothers, the Sisters of Nazareth and Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd.
A total of 512 allegations of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse against 146 priests and nuns were looked at leading to five convictions in the courts.
According to the NBSCCCI, the audit of the De La Salle Brothers, Norbertines and Sisters of Nazareth showed "substantial wrongdoing". The Sisters of Nazareth, according to the audit, were "exceptionally slow to take up their responsibility for child safeguarding".