|Statement of the Archdiocese of Dublin On Child Protection
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin
December 23, 2008
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin notes that as a result of an investigation carried out by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church a situation has been reached in relation to a specific diocese in which the National Board now feels that agreed procedures regarding child protection are adequately in place with the full cooperation of that diocese.
The Archbishop is however extremely concerned at the fact that within a purported "one-Church-policy" there may in fact be a wide diversity in the interpretation and application of agreed procedures. This is of particular concern for the Archdiocese of Dublin where hundreds of priests from outside the diocese – from other dioceses and religious congregations - play an active role in many aspects of Church life in the Archdiocese of Dublin.
Having regard to that, the Archdiocese is aware of and appreciates the unique role that a single, independent National Office can play, as is evident in the current situation. For example, a single diocese would not have the same ability to elicit conformity of practice from a wide range of Church bodies.
Archbishop Martin has made it known both to the Irish Bishops' Conference and to the National Board that if serious doubts were to persist concerning the coherence and consistency of approach in any system he would find it necessary to implement his own system of accountable child protection.
Therefore, while continuing for the moment to apply norms compliant with "Children First", "Our Children Our Church" and any guidelines published by the National Office, Archbishop Martin awaits to be satisfied by the National Board, through reasonable written assurance, that all dioceses and religious congregations have committed themselves to a common system and are applying it in a uniform way.
The Archdiocese would be in better position to assess the situation were it to know something of the results of the audit commissioned by the HSE in the aftermath of the Ferns Report of all dioceses and religious congregations in the Republic of Ireland. No further information has been received on the status of that audit since it was launched two years ago.
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