Sunday 22 April 2018

Irish charities fire staff over sex abuse

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)

Alan O'Keeffe

Trocaire's executive director Eamonn Meehan revealed a staff member was dismissed immediately after the charity investigated an accusation of sexual exploitation in 2016.

It is understood the dismissed man was a citizen of an African country where the charity was working.

In a statement released on the development agency's website yesterday, Mr Meehan said: "We held an investigation which found that the individual had breached our code of conduct. He was dismissed immediately. There is now a criminal investigation into that incident and Trocaire is assisting the local authorities. This is the only such incident relating to staff members to have been reported to us."

Trocaire has a "zero tolerance" approach to abuse or exploitation, he stated.

The charity has policies and procedures to prevent abuse or exploitation, he said.

His statement followed reports concerning sexual exploitation by Oxfam staff in Haiti.

It was reported yesterday that the Concern charity investigated accusations of sexual misconduct against more than 12 staff in the last decade. More than three-quarters of those staff, all working overseas, were dismissed.

And Goal dismissed about five staff members working overseas in the past eight years as a result of allegations of sexual misconduct, according to The Irish Times.

Oxfam UK has been embroiled in a damaging sex scandal involving some employees who were working in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake who had hired prostitutes and downloaded pornography. Four workers were fired and three others were allowed to resign.

In an interview yesterday with The Guardian newspaper, Oxfam chief executive Mark Goldring again apologised over allegations of sexual abuse by Oxfam staff in Haiti, but insisted that criticism of the charity sector was disproportionate.

"The intensity and ferocity of the attacks makes you wonder, what did we do? We murdered babies in their cots?" he was quoted as saying.

"Certainly the scale and intensity of the attacks feels out of proportion to the level of culpability."

Sunday Independent

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