Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Call for single All-Ireland Child Protection Body after Howard revelations

20 September, 2005


Commenting today after reporting restrictions were lifted concerning the litany of previous sexual offences committed by Robert Howard the man who was recently acquitted of murdering Tyrone teenager Arlene Arkinson, Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew called for early progress on the establishment of a single all-Ireland body to be responsible for holding standardised children protection information.

Ms Gildernew said:

" The lifting of the reporting restrictions today concerning the previous litany of sexual offences committed by Robert Howard over four decades across Ireland and Britain makes hugely disturbing reading.

" The fact that individuals like Robert Howard have been able to move from jurisdiction to jurisdiction committing the most serious sexual offences should focus all of our efforts on ensuring that we see a single all-Ireland body to hold child protection information.

"Previously when Bairbre de Brún and Martin McGuinness were Ministers they initiated a process that would allow for the setting up of an all-Ireland register to protect children, young people and vulnerable adults.

"Before the last elections Sinn Féin also published its Children's Charter. It included the demand for the immediate establishment of a single all-Ireland body that would be responsible for holding standardised child protection information and supported by the Department of Heath in the north, the Department of Health and Children in the South and the two Departments of Education. This would work within a wider EU and global context.

" The activities of sexual abusers know no boundaries so it is vital that a key tool in protecting children and young people should not be confined by borders. This loophole presents clear dangers and needs to be closed." ENDS

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