Minister Andrews Shows Bravery Amid HSE Silence

Published date: 
7 Jan 2009

Press Statement

“The Children’s Rights Alliance warmly welcomes today’s Cabinet decision announced by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Barry Andrews TD, to notify the Commission of Investigation into the Dublin Archdiocese of the need to carry out an examination of the operation of child protection practices and policies in the Catholic Diocese of Cloyne.

The Alliance commends the Minister for his bravery and leadership in making this decision, particularly in light of HSE advice to the contrary.  I am concerned that the HSE, given the evidence presented, advised the Minister that it did not see the need to refer the Cloyne Diocese to the Commission.  This begs the question: is the HSE not able to hear alarm bells ringing? 

The Minister today launched the national audit of Catholic Church Dioceses.  I am deeply concerned that the substantive part of the audit, Section 5, which sought information on the reporting of complaints and allegations of sexual abuse, was not completed.  There is no legitimate excuse for the non-completion of this section by the dioceses, and this includes the absence of legislation relating to soft information, as asserted on this occasion.  Section 5 required numerical information in the main and thus would not have infringed on any individual’s right to a good name.  Actions speak louder than words; hiding behind excuses is inexcusable.

During this afternoon’s press conference, the Minister referred to the ongoing drafting of soft information legislation, based on the Interim Report of the Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children (September 2008).  I call on the Minister to now outline a clear timetable for the drafting of this crucial legislation.

The Alliance notes that the Cabinet will be discussing child protection again in three weeks time and urges them to take on board our set of proposals for immediate action in the area of child protection, outlined in a letter to each Cabinet Minister yesterday.”
Jillian van Turnhout, Chief Executive

Notes to Editor:
The Alliance letter to each Cabinet Minister is available on request.


Children's Rights Alliance