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Broad welcome for Cloyne abuse referral
[Posted: Thu 08/01/2009 www.irishhealth.com]
The One in Four charity has welcomed the Government decision to refer the diocese of Cloyne for investigation by the Dublin Archdiocese Commission into clerical sex abuse.
However, One in Four and other organisations have questioned what they feel are major deficiencies in a HSE audit of child protection procedures in all Catholic dioceses.
One in Four says the referral move may finally reveal the extent of the mishandling of allegations of abuse in the Cloyne diocese.
Executive Director of One in Four, Maeve Lewis, said a review of administrative procedures alone will not uncover the full truth, and it is vital that people who have been sexually abused are actively invited and encouraged to come forward to give evidence.
The Government yesterday asked the Dublin Archdiocese Commission to examine how sex abuse allegations against clergy were handled in the diocese of Cloyne.
A HSE audit into child protection policies in all dioceses had concluded that there we no need for the referral of any diocese to the Dublin commission.
However, the Minister for Children Barry Andrews said he believed there was evidence that pointed to the fact that Bishop John Magee of Cloyne did not faithfully report actual compliance with child protection procedures and the manner in which sex abuse allegations had been dealt with.
On that basis, he decided to refer Cloyne diocese to the commission.
One in Four said it was disappointed with the HSE review of the dioceses.
"The failure of the bishops to furnish factual information regarding the allegations, the decisions made about their veracity, the methods of investigation and the outcomes renders the review worthless," it said.
The ISPCC said it was concerned that the audit was unable to obtain all the information initially set out in the audit, as this left many important questions unanswered.
It also welcomed the decision to refer the Cloyne diocese to the commission.
Meanwhile, the Dublin Rape Crisis centre said while it broadly welcomed the referral decision, it was perplexed by the HSE audit's recommendation that no diocese needed to be referred to the Commission.
The Centre pointed out that the the report showed that all the dioceses did not complete a section of a questionnaire which made up the bulk of the information about the cases of alleged abuse.
"If the Cabinet's decision is to refer the Diocese of Cloyne to the commission, then why not refer all the other dioceses?"
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