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Report is damning indictment of Church and State – Ó Snodaigh

26 November, 2009 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin Social Affairs spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has described the report on clerical sexual abuse in the Dublin diocese of the Catholic Church as a damning indictment of both Church and State.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“The report exposes glaringly how the most powerful men in the Catholic Church in the Dublin diocese conspired to protect abusers of children. It represents a gross betrayal of generations of children by powerful people in clerical and State authorities.

“Especially damning is the conclusion that the State authorities facilitated the cover-up and allowed the Church to be beyond the reach of normal law enforcement. Senior Gardai, up to and including the level of Commissioner, repeatedly turned a blind eye to crimes of clerical sexual abuse.

“The Government must take immediate action in response to the Report’s finding that the legislation governing the role of the HSE in dealing with child sexual abuse is inadequate and that there is a need to clarify that role. It is of great concern, as the Report states, that the HSE has given the impression to the Church authorities and the Gardaí that they can do more in the area of child sexual abuse than they actually have the power to do.

“Like the Ryan Report, this report must also serve to prompt the Government to act urgently to protect vulnerable children today. The recent HIQA National Children in Care Inspection Report, which led to the closure of the facility at Ballydowd, highlights State failure to protect children. It exposes what it calls ‘serious deficits in standards aimed at safeguarding vulnerable children, including lapses in vetting procedures for staff and foster carers working with children’.

“The woefully inadequate state of our child protection services has been repeatedly exposed. There are insufficient social workers and other front-line workers and support systems in place. The HSE knows of cases where children are in grave danger but the services are not in place to make the interventions required. The nightmare of child abuse is not sadly a thing of the past. It is happening every day. Most of this abuse takes place in the family home. If the services are not in place then the State today will be just as culpable as it was in the past when it conspired with the Church to cover up the abuse of children.” ENDS

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