Following the publication of the Cloyne Report, Monsignor Brendan Byrne, Diocesan Administrator, explains where K&L stands in regard to safeguarding of children.

Safeguarding in Kildare & Leighlin Diocese

Message from Monsignor Brendan Byrne – Diocesan Administrator
14 July 2011

In the wake of the Cloyne Report, it is important to explain again how our own diocese – Kildare & Leighlin – stands in regard to the safeguarding of children. We value and encourage the participation of children and young people in all aspects of parish and diocesan life. Mindful of our duty of care towards them we have policies and procedures in place to establish environments where their welfare is paramount.

Before sharing our safeguarding information, I would like to acknowledge once more that our Church has been scandalised and shamed by what has been revealed in recent years. We continue to keep in prayer all who have suffered and all those who have so bravely uncovered the truth.

In regard to reporting allegations of abuse, Kildare & Leighlin Diocese has co-operated fully with the civil authorities – the HSE and the Gardaí. We have also co-operated fully with the independent monitoring agency set up by the Church run by Ian Elliot called the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC or ‘National Board’).

The HSE conducted an audit of our diocesan records in 2010. We have already publicised the following figures as submitted in that audit – that two K&L priests are ‘out of ministry’ and that we had received allegations against five deceased K&L priests. Since that time, we have received allegations against three other deceased K&L priests. Again since the HSE audit, we were also made aware of another allegation which quickly proved to be false after being reported to civil authorities. Like all dioceses, we will also be audited in due course by the ‘National Board’. Again we will co-operate fully.

In 2009, our diocese published a revised ‘policy and procedures’ document in regard to safeguarding children in line with the national ‘standards’ published by the ‘National Board’.

Keeping to those standards, our diocese has recruited and trained at least one designated person in each of our 56 parishes who is responsible for promoting best practice in relation to all parish activities involving children and young people and for dealing with child safeguarding concerns. The training is run in collaboration with the HSE and is based on the HSE approved ‘Children First – Keeping Safe programme’.

As well as the lay people trained to serve as parish designated persons, all our priests have completed the same training course. Our diocese requires all diocesan and parish staff, including all priests and seminarians, to apply for Garda vetting.

We are committed to remaining vigilant and revising our safeguarding policies and procedures as required. I would like to conclude by thanking all those who are part of our safeguarding structures either at diocesan or parish level.