Scouting Ireland faces Pandora’s box of historic abuse cases

Irish Times

April 21, 2018

By Jack Power

[Note: This important article was not included in Tracker at the time it was published.]

Audit of hundreds of files not yet begun despite safeguarding expert’s recommendation

Locked away in Scouting Ireland’s national office in Larch Hill, Tibradden, south county Dublin, sit hundreds of past child-protection case files in an alarmed room under lock and key, some dating back decades.

Most staff working in the organisation’s headquarters go about each day without a thought about the ageing folders gathering dust in the organisation’s national office near the Co Wicklow border, which is sheltered by woods and is set amid surrounding campsite fields.

The potential revelations within those safeguarding files about how past cases were handled, which range from minor incidents to more serious allegations of abuse, remain undisturbed.

But an initial look at a small number of serious sexual abuse allegations among the historic files showed they “haven’t been handled well”, according to one senior source.

A full audit of all historic cases of alleged abuse, which five months ago safeguarding expert Ian Elliott recommended should take place, has not started. In January he told Scouting Ireland’s board again the historic review should be a “priority”, given that “past practice has been shown to be suspect regarding alleged abuse” cases.

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