Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Call to reaffirm child protection

Maeve Lewis, of support group One-in-Four, wants the Government to reaffirm its commitment to child protection

The Government must reaffirm commitments to protect children on the first anniversary of the damning Murphy Report into clerical child sex abuse.

Support group One-in-Four said there are worries that promises to improve services may not be kept because of the economic crisis.

Executive director Maeve Lewis said: "The Murphy Report revealed a shameful era in Irish society. On the anniversary of its publication we must reaffirm our commitment to protecting the children of today. We owe this much at least to those who have suffered so greatly."

One-n-Four, which has been contacted by about 1,000 survivors in the past 12 months, urged the Government to address promised improvements in child protection services. The country was also promised a referendum on children's rights but no date has been set.

Ms Lewis said: "Many have lived lives devastated by the impact of sexual abuse in childhood. But with the support of our professional therapy and advocacy services, people have begun to turn their lives around.

"They have faced the pain of their past. They have made positive decisions to protect other children by reporting their abuser to the Gardai and the HSE. They have taken the first steps in moving from only surviving to engaging fully with life."

The Murphy Report was published on November 26, 2009, and described horrific abuse of children and the refusal of church authorities to properly deal with paedophile priests.

It dealt with only a sample of 46 priests and allegations against them but went to expose how clerics were not punished because the Catholic hierarchy in Ireland was granted police immunity.

Bishop Donal Murray and Bishop Jim Moriarty, both named in the report, and former auxiliaries in Dublin, had their resignation accepted by the Vatican.

Two other auxiliaries Bishops Ray Field and Eamonn Walsh offered their resignations which Pope Benedict has not accepted.

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