Belfast Telegraph

Child abuse files review urged

Fiona Neary from the Rape Crisis Network has called for an urgent review of all HSE child abuse files
Fiona Neary from the Rape Crisis Network has called for an urgent review of all HSE child abuse files

A full-scale review of all child abuse files within the Health Service Executive (HSE) must be taken immediately, it has been warned.

Sex abuse campaigners said the Roscommon child care case uncovered devastating shortcomings in the State's child protection system.

Fiona Neary, of the Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI), suggested a question mark now remains over all other potential cases until a nationwide audit was completed.

"Can we be confident that we have a system which is fit for purpose when the voices of children are denied within the very practice of child protection?" she said.

The HSE said an independent expert was carrying out an audit of neglect cases in the HSE West, South and Dublin Mid Leinster areas.

But Ms Neary said all alleged occurrences of abuse and neglect needed to be urgently examined in light of the shocking revelations in the Roscommon ordeal.

Ellen O'Malley-Dunlop, chief executive of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, said the publication of the Roscommon report at last allowed the voices of the abused children to be heard. "If we ever needed confirmation of the necessity to enshrine the Rights of the Child in our Constitution, the HSE report unequivocally gives us that confirmation," she added.

Ms O'Malley-Dunlop commended the children for their courage and tenacity and urged that they be given the privacy to grow and develop as children and young people.

"The next and crucial steps must be the implementation of the recommendations of this inquiry so that we never again have to witness any more of our children enduring what these six children endured," she said.

Fine Gael children's spokesperson Charlie Flanagan echoed calls for the Constitution to be amended to include the protection of vulnerable children. "This again illustrates the need for a referendum on amending the Irish Constitution to enshrine children's rights and, as the report says, 'ensure that the voice of the child is heard when courts are considering the matters that affect them,'" he said.



From Belfast Telegraph