ACP meet with members of the National Board for Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland
Meeting in Maynooth between members of the National Board for Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland and the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) on January 25th 2017.
On January 25th 2017, Frs. Brendan Hoban, Tim Hazelwood and Sean McDonagh from the Association of Catholic priests (ACP) met with Teresa Devlin CEO of The National Board Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland and Peter Kieran who is a Director of Safeguarding. .
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the section in the policy document on the Care and Management of the Respondent as it is presented in the Safeguarding Children Policy and Standards for the Catholic Church in Ireland 2016. This states that “the Church authority has in place a fair process for investigating and managing child safeguarding concerns. When the threshold for reporting has been reached, a system of support and monitoring of respondents (cleric or religions) is provided.”
The member of the National Board brought attention to the fact that there is now up-dated guidance on managing anonymous allegations of abuse – which were not clear in the past.
Since the well-being of priests is the central focus of the ACP ministry, it is important that ACP has regular meetings with the National Board for the Safeguarding of Children so that ACP can be informed about any development in this area which touches on the lives of priests. Naturally, when appropriate, the ACP can make suggestions about how this area might we be developed in the future. Both sides want to make this process as fair, transparent and Christian as possible.
The meeting ended at 12.30pm and we thanked Teresa Devlin for the invitation and agreed to have regular meetings in the future.
In the context of the investigation into treatment of whistleblowers in the Garda Síochána, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: ““You cannot have a country if everybody against whom allegations are made has to step aside.”
Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald addressed calls for the Garda Commissioner to stand aside. She said: “An allegation is not a conviction.”
This, of course, is an important principle in a justice system. It is vital to maintain this, lest we become guilty of further injustice against an innocent person.
An allegation may in time be proved true, or incapable of being established, or shown to be false. No justice system can guarantee being able to establish the truth in the case of every allegation.
Would that this clear principle were also observed in the case of allegations of sexual abuse of children, regardless of who is the target of the allegation.