| 11.4°C Belfast

Bishop Walsh: No child sex-abuse complaints in my diocese for 20 years

An Irish Bishop has claimed no complaint of child abuse was made against any priest in his diocese over the past 20 years.

Addressing a group of parish workers and clergy in Killaloe, Bishop Willie Walsh assured Catholics in his west of Ireland diocese that the "church is a very safe place" for children.

"There is no complaint of something that happened after 1990," said Bishop Walsh who has ruled the diocese for the past 16 years.

"In other words in the past 20 years there has been no complaint in relation to an incident that happened within those 20 years," he added.

"All the complaints that I have met and dealt with have been prior to 1990. I just want to reassure you that things have changed."

Bishop Walsh said he could not guarantee that nothing happened since 1990 but thought this was a fair indication.

"So, I confidently say that a lot of things have changed in this area."

Bishop Walsh was speaking at the launch of a new diocesan policy document titled Safeguarding Children which was issued to all parishes

The new policy and procedures document outlines preventative measures, training, definitions, principles and procedures for safeguarding children in all aspects of church activity.

But while it accepts that disclosures of abuse must be reported to the Garda and the HSE, it retains the controversial clause of advising parish workers to report first to the diocesan priest in charge of child protection.

Irish Independent

Belfast Telegraph