Here is the statement from Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh, in response to the report released Tuesday by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI).
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At my request, the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) recently carried out a Review of Safeguarding Practice in the Archdiocese of Armagh. On behalf of the Archdiocese I accept this Report in its entirety and, with the cooperation of our safeguarding personnel, I undertake to act promptly on its recommendations. With me here today, to launch this Report, are Coadjutor Archbishop Eamon Martin, Mr Pat McGlew (Director of Safeguarding) and Mrs Eleanor Kelly (Training Coordinator). I also welcome Mrs Edel O’Neill (Chair of the diocesan Safeguarding Committee).
The Review finds that this diocese is fully committed to safeguarding children and young people. Nevertheless, my first thoughts today are with those who were abused. ‘I know that for you, survivors of abuse and your families, days such as today are especially difficult. You have suffered terribly and I am truly sorry. I pray for you and will work to ensure that you are supported on your journey towards healing and peace’.
The Review acknowledges that all current child protection concerns are reported fully and without delay to the police and social services. The requirement to report is embedded in our practice. The statutory agencies, North and South, have confirmed “their considerable satisfaction” with the quality of communication and information-sharing with the Safeguarding Office of the Archdiocese.
The Review endorses our current policy and procedures. I am reassured that safeguarding practice in the Archdiocese conforms to the highest national standards. Forty five out of the forty eight assessment criteria have been fully met and the remaining three have been partially met.
At all times, whenever and wherever children are involved in Church activities, ‘vigilance’ is our watchword.
We must continue to do all we can to reach out to those who have suffered. The Archdiocese of Armagh supports the work ofTowards Healing (contact details below), a counselling and psychotherapy service for people who have been abused as children by persons working for the Catholic Church in Ireland. I also look forward to the provision, early in 2014, of Towards Peace, anew service offering spiritual support to those whose faith in God and in the Church has been affected by their experience of sexual abuse
I thank Ms Teresa Devlin and the team who carried out this thorough review. I am immensely grateful to the personnel of the Safeguarding Office, the Advisory Panel, the Safeguarding Committee, Trainers, and the multitude of lay representatives and clergy who have worked hard to reach these high standards. In the report they are described as “highly capable and motivated” people. Our combined efforts exemplify a local Church, working together, in the interests of children and young people.
While we acknowledge the Report’s findings that in the past the response was not as prompt, robust and coordinated as in the present, we will continue to do all we can to ensure that current high standards of safeguarding practice are maintained. As I have already stated, we must remain attentive and vigilant. Our children, and especially those who have suffered, deserve no less.
Contact numbers for Towards Healing, Designated persons and other statutory agencies are shown below.
Freephone 1800 303 416 (Republic of Ireland)
Freephone 0800 096 3315 (Northern Ireland/UK)
We also have a mobile number for texting purposes for our hearing impaired service users only: 085-8022859.
From Tuesday, 10 December 2013, the Towards Healing service will provide extended opening hours, over the following three days, and the service will operate on an extended hours basis from 11.00 am to 01.00 am on 10, 11 and 12 December 2013.
Diocesan Designated Officers
Pat McGlew Tel: (028/048) 3752 5592
Mob: 0044 78 4110 1687
Eleanor Kelly Tel: (028/048) 3752 5592
Mob: 0044 75 8432 3138
PSNI 0845 600 8000
An Garda Síochána
Dundalk 042 933 5577
Drogheda 041 983 6919
Ardee 041 685 3222
Dundalk 042 939 2200
Drogheda 041 983 3163
SHSST 0800 783 7745
NHSST 0300 123 4333
WHSST 0287 131 4090
NSPCC Childline 0800 1111
ISPCC Childline 1800 666 666