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Review of Safeguarding Practice in Clogher Diocese.

On Wednesday, April 24th the Review of Safeguarding Practices in the Diocese of Clogher was launched at a Press Conference held in St. Macartan’s College, Monaghan. This comprehensive review was undertaken by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland. The Board began work, after an invite by Bishop MacDaid, in Early November 2012. All documentation relating to cases of abuse by priests in the Diocese was examined and interviews were held with key personnel. They also examined the safeguarding policies and procedures that now apply within the Diocese.

At the outset the review thanks the Bishop, his staff, and the volunteers engaged in safeguarding in the Diocese for their openness and willingness to engage and commended the enthusiasm and commitment to effective safeguarding that was found during the review process in Clogher. They point out that Bishop MacDaid has, since his ordination as Bishop in July 2010, worked strenuously to ensure that good working relationships were maintained with the key statutory safeguarding agencies in both jurisdictions for his Diocese which includes The Gardai, the PSNI, the HSE and the HSC Trusts.

The report is clear that many mistakes were made in the past and the Chairman of the Press Conference, Fr. Shane McCaughey, described the publication of this Review as a major step in the Diocese’s journey of healing the hurt which has happened in the past and a reassurance that our church is now a very safe place for children, both now and into the future. The Review states that the issue of safeguarding children effectively is prioritised in this Diocese, which has ‘developed a framework of volunteers and staff and tasked them with the responsibility of ensuring that this happens’. It means that every effort is being made to make sure that the hurts and mistakes of the past cannot be repeated and that no one need suffer in silence.

However as Bishop MacDaid stated at the conference – ‘this is a good news story but there is further work to be done’ and we can never become complacent. The Review finds that the Diocese is fully compliant with 41 of the 48 standards laid down by the Sponsoring Body and is partially compliant with the remaining 7. It makes recommendations as to how the Diocese can improve its procedures to keep within what is accepted as safe practice. Bishop MacDaid also urged anyone who had suffered abuse at the hands of priests or religious to get in touch with the civil authorities and to make contact with the Diocese and promised that the Diocese would give whatever assistance it could to them.

In recent decades the Church has taken a huge hit and our faith has been tested. The actions of a few and the inaction of fewer still has tarnished our image and left people with terrible suffering and trauma. This needs to be a step into the future where we refocus on the good and work together to rebuild and that by defeating evil, the good will triumph. Clogher is giving the lead and the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland will work towards achieving safe practice in all dioceses.

The full Review can be read and downloaded from the diocesan website at www.clogherdiocese.ie

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Fr. Shane McCaughey,

Press Confertence Organiser.

Bishop Liam S. MacDaid,

Bishop of Clogher.

Mr. Brendan Kelly

Designated Person for Clogher

Ms. Deirdre Boyle
Chairperson of Clogher Safeguarding Committee

Mr. Pat Drury

Coordinator of Safeguarding Services in Clogher Diocese.

Ms. Elaine Murphy

Director of Clogher Diocesan

Safeguarding Training.