Statement by Rt Rev. Mgr Michael Ryan, Vicar General, Diocese of Ossory on Behalf of Bishop Seamus Freeman SAC, on the occasion of the publication of the Review of Safeguarding Practice in the Diocese of Ossory
Press Release – Tuesday, 10th December 2013
Statement by Rt. Rev. Mgr. Michael Ryan, Vicar General, Diocese of Ossory, on the occasion of the publication of the Review of Safeguarding Practice in the Diocese of Ossory, undertaken by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland, NBSCCCI.
“The diocesan policy states to satisfy the implementation of this Policy the Diocese of Ossory adheres to “Safeguarding Children Standards and Guidance document for the Catholic Church in Ireland, in doing so the diocese is making a firm commitment to following the national standards. Page 7.
“The Reviewers acknowledge the significant contribution made by the committee and safeguarding representatives who volunteer willingly to support the work of safeguarding in Ossory diocese.” Page 18.
“The introduction of a central safeguarding office is a welcome initiative in the diocese and the current co-ordinator has initiated a number of commendable steps to strengthen safeguarding at parish level.” Page 19.
On behalf of Bishop Séamus Freeman, SAC., who is currently on sick leave, and on behalf of the Diocese of Ossory, I welcome today’s publication of the Review of Safeguarding Practice in the Diocese of Ossory, undertaken by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland.
This Review is the result of the invitation by Bishop Freeman in June 2012, to the NBSCCCI to examine all Safeguarding files as well as all Policies and Procedures in the Diocese of Ossory.
In the wake of this Review, I am conscious of and express my heartfelt sorrow to all who have suffered as a result of abuse by Church personnel. My thoughts and prayers are with you today. I am deeply sorry for what has happened to you and to your families and I pray that the Lord Jesus will give you healing and peace.
The Safeguarding Report follows a full review in June of this year of safeguarding case files as well as interviews with key safeguarding personnel in our diocese and in the statutory authorities, i.e. An Gardai Siochana and HSE. I confirm both An Garda Siochana and HSE personnel have been made aware of all allegations and I want to thank them for their work with us. The diocese remains committed through our Inter Agency Meetings (Diocese, An Garda Siochana and HSE) to working with the statutory agencies to ensure that all aspects of children’s welfare are managed promptly and professionally.
The diocese fully accepts the findings of this Review and all 12 recommendations contained therein (See Review of Safeguarding Practice in the Diocese of Ossory on www.ossory.ie ) – towards improving our safeguarding practice. I am glad to say that a number of these recommendations have already been implemented and all listed recommendations will form part of our revised Policy and Procedures.
I wish to thank priests, religious, laity and all diocesan safeguarding personnel who work tirelessly to ensure that best safeguarding practice is adhered to in our diocese. The Diocese of Ossory values and encourages the participation of children in parish liturgies and in activities that enhance their spiritual, emotional and social development.
If you have a safeguarding concern I encourage you to contact our Designated Team, An Garda Siochana and/or HSE. Contact details are displayed in all churches in our diocese and also included on our website: www.ossory.ie I draw your attention to the Counselling service Towards Healing, which assists survivors of child abuse. The telephone number is 1 800 30 34 16.
Copy of the Review of Safeguarding Practice in the Diocese of Ossory, is available on www.ossory.ie
Media contact: Rev. Dermot Ryan, Diocesan Communications Officer, tel. 056 7753620, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
At the invitation of Bishop Séamus Freeman, SAC., the National Board for Safeguarding Children, St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, will carry out a Safeguarding Audit in the Diocese of Ossory. The Audit will begin on Monday, 17th June 2013.
Bishop Freeman welcomes this visit to our diocese by staff from the National Board and ensures that the diocese will fully co-operate in making all safeguarding files available.
Bishop Freeman encourages anyone who has a child safeguarding concern or wishes to report an allegation of child abuse to contact the Diocesan Designated Team and An Garda Siochana and HSE.
The safeguarding committee should consider in their next revision of diocesan policy and procedures, a template which follows the seven safeguarding standards and which sets out how the diocese manages those who pose a risk to children.
Revision of the diocesan policy and procedures document is currently underway and will be ready for publication by Spring 2015.
Bishop Freeman must ensure that old case management files are reorganised using a chronological system. The practice of using the NBSCCCI case file template should continue for all new cases.
A person has been assigned to this task and secure office space has been allocated in order to carry out reorganisation of old case management files.
Bishop Freeman, having reviewed the case referred by the reviewers must now ensure that the recommendations of the National Case Management Reference Group (NCMRG) have been followed.
Prior to issuing celebrets and/or letters of good standing for priests from the diocese, but not ministering in the diocese, Bishop Freeman should read all relevant records and make appropriate enquiries from the Church authority of where the priest is ministering to ensure that there are no matters of concern relating to priests of his diocese.
This recommendation has been taken and will be adhered to at all times.
As part of restructuring of old files into chronological order, Bishop Freeman should ask his designated person to detail all information relating to named victims and ensure that all these details are passed to the civil authorities for their investigations.
This is currently a work in progress (See recommendation 2)
Bishop Freeman should consider appointing a part time lay person to the role of designated person and case manager to ensure there is no conflict of interest and to deal with cases from start to finish.
Two new Designated Liason persons have been recently appointed. They will receive training from the NBSCCCI early in 2015.
The safeguarding coordinator must review all procedures within the diocese to ensure they have detail which sets out how each aspect of Standard 3 is met.
Parish audits have been conducted throughout the diocese and compliance to diocesan policy and procedures has been found to be good.
A review audit will be conducted in Spring / Summer2015.
The safeguarding coordinator should continue to meet all safeguarding representatives and parish priests on a regular basis to provide them with a written role description for the safeguarding representative and offer support for their role as safeguarding representatives. Review of Safeguarding Practice in the Diocese of Ossory
This is an ongoing procedure in the Diocese.
The chair of the safeguarding committee should, alongside all committee members draft a committee constitution and annual work plan for presentation to Bishop Freeman.
A safeguarding committee constitution has been drawn up.
The safeguarding coordinator, in consultation with Bishop Freeman and the safeguarding committee should develop a communications plan stating how safeguarding will be promoted throughout the diocese. Consideration should be given to having a safeguarding newsletter, identifying one Sunday in the year to highlight the importance of Safeguarding in the Church, and by issuing regular pastoral letters.
New safeguarding literature for children/young people, parents and general public has been produced and was circulated to all parishes for Safeguarding Sunday which took place on 1st Sunday in Advent, 30th November 2014.
Child friendly posters for sacristies have also been produced.
Information has been provided for inclusion in Parish Newsletters.
Bishop Freeman in consultation with his designated persons should clarify role descriptions for those involved in the management of allegations and the subsequent safety plans.
See Diocesan Structures
Bishop Freeman should establish a diocesan safeguarding strategic group comprising himself, his designated people, the safeguarding coordinator and others as required to develop a three year safeguarding plan and an annual review of safeguarding in the Diocese of Ossory
Bishop Freeman appointed a Director of Safeguarding as recommended by the Safeguarding Comittee. The Bishop will have regular meetings with the Director who is responsible for co-ordinating all safeguarding matters in the Diocese of Ossory.
A Five Year Safeguarding Plan has been drawn up. This will be monitored and reviewed on an annual basis.