Child Abuse Audits Won't Be Complete for Five Years

Article excerpt

Byline: Neil Michael Chief Reporter

THE ONGOING review into the Catholic Church's safeguarding practices could take another five years.

The Irish Daily Mail has been told that given the amount of work needed to review child protection practices at all the country's dioceses, the review is 'unlikely' to be completed before 2016.

On Wednesday, when the first set of reviews were published, the National Board of Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church boss Ian Elliott said it would take 'at least two years'.

But it emerged last night that many of those facing review do not even know when their reviews will start.

Other dioceses, when approached by the Irish Daily Mail, simply refused to say whether or not a review of their child protection policies and practices was under way. So far just five dioceses - Ardagh, Dromore, Kilmore, Derry and Raphoe, and the Tuam Archdiocese - have had their reviews completed.

Those reports, which were all critical of the way allegations of abuse had been handled in the past but complimentary of how they are handled now, were published on Tuesday.

They revealed that 164 abuse allegations had been lodged with gardai in the past 36 years against 85 priests, but that there were just eight convictions.

But the next round of reports will not be published until next May or June at the earliest, and they will only focus on four dioceses and two congregations.

One diocese to be reviewed is Limerick, where 23 priests have had abuse allegations made against them since 1940, but none have been convicted.

Until 2009, Limerick shared a case management committee with the Diocese of Cloyne. The committee was heavily criticised in the Cloyne Report for putting the interests of abusers above those of their victims. Last night, a spokesman for the Limerick diocese said: 'We can confirm that the Limerick diocese wrote to the NBSCCC in November and requested that it be the next diocese audited by them. …