Kenny must act on all-island sex abuse proposals – Gerry Adams TD
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking in the Dáil today, has criticised the failure of the Taoiseach to respond to letters and calls from the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness for an all-island process to deal with the issue of support mechanisms for all of those who were victims of sexual abuse during the conflict.
Speaking during Taoiseach’s Questions on the issue of sexual abuse Gerry Adams said:
“Last November Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness wrote to the Taoiseach, to propose the establishment – through the North South Ministerial Council - of an all-island process to deal with the issue of support mechanisms for all of those who were victims of sexual abuse during the conflict.
“He set out the objectives:
· To support victims of abuse in all communities,
· To ensure greater access to counselling and other supports for victims
· And to facilitate victims and survivors in accessing the justice system and making official complaints.
“Survivors must be empowered to access these services and all parties should do everything possible to ensure those survivors who want to come forward feel safe in doing so.
“The anonymity and confidentiality of victims and survivors who may not wish to be identified must be acknowledged and protected.
“I also believe consideration should be given to the promotion of existing help lines to deal with this matter, and if necessary the establishment of dedicated ‘hot lines’ North and South to facilitate victims and survivors who wish to come forward.
“When he received no reply from the Taoiseach Martin McGuinness wrote again. In all he has written on three occasions and received no response.
“The Deputy First Minister has expressed his concern at the lack of engagement by the Taoiseach on the proposals. He has said that the Taoiseach’s comments in the media and in the Dáil call into question his commitment to establish a process which genuinely meets the needs of all victims.
“Addressing the needs of victims of abuse should be above party politics. And Martin McGuinness has urged the Taoiseach to move beyond commentary and to work with all of us to develop processes which place the needs of victims first.
“I have also raised this proposal in the Dáil before. Sinn Féin and I fully endorse the proposal by Martin McGuinness. We believe that the priority must be to ensure victims and survivors have access to professional services, including counseling and therapy and a channel through which complaints can be made to the appropriate statutory agency or police service.
“We also believe that this proposal should be prioritised by the administrations in Dublin and Belfast.
“Regrettably, there has been no substantive reply from the Taoiseach. It is extremely disappointing that instead of addressing this issue in a positive and constructive fashion the preference of some political leaders in this Dáil has been to use it as a political issue to attack Sinn Féin.”