FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Statement on The Murphy Report
Jillian van Turnhout, Chief Executive, Children’s Rights Alliance
26 November 2009
“Today’s welcome publication of the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation Report (The Murphy Report) again highlights gross inadequacy in response to allegations of child abuse. This comes six months after the publication of the Ryan Report. The Children’s Rights Alliance is deeply shocked by the systematic cover-ups detailed in the Murphy Report and believes it is nothing short of a disgrace.
The Murphy Report quite rightly states that the primary responsibility for child protection must rest with the State and that all institutions must be open to scrutiny. No institution should ever be afforded exempted status. Clearly, avoiding scandal and protecting individual or institutional interests was put before the welfare and best interests of the child. This must never happen again. And certainly not in a country that recently celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The extent of the cover-ups will have further eroded public confidence in the child protection and care systems. As a matter of priority we need to place a legal duty on all those working with children to comply with the Children First: National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children. This was a central recommendation in The Ryan Report. A group has now been established to oversee the delivery of the Ryan Report Implementation Plan and it is imperative that the work of this group is transparent, that it reports directly to the Oireachtas and must include a non-governmental voice.
We all must respond to Murphy, Ryan, Ferns and other reports by taking steps to bring about a new culture for children in Ireland that respects children, listens to them, believes them, and acts on their concerns. We must foster a culture that respects children’s rights and will not tolerate child abuse. The Alliance, therefore, reiterates its call, made in response to the Ryan Report, that a constitutional amendment to strengthen children’s rights would provide a fitting ‘living memorial’ to victims of childhood abuse.
In the coming weeks, politicians from each of the political parties have a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to make a difference to children, as the Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children issues its final report on 16 December. We call on them to live up to their obligations and put forward wording for a strong children’s rights constitutional amendment. The Committee’s report will be a test of how committed our politicians are to the rights of children and in protecting each and every one of them from abuse.”
Jillian van Turnhout