Clerical child sex abuse allegations in Dublin continue to fall

Settlements cost archdiocese €22.4 million to date, including legal fees of €7.2 million

Diocesan director of safeguarding Andrew Fagan said the continuing decline meant the service could give more time  to ensuring the creation and maintenance of safe environments for children

Diocesan director of safeguarding Andrew Fagan said the continuing decline meant the service could give more time to ensuring the creation and maintenance of safe environments for children

 

Four new allegations of child sexual abuse involving its priests were received by Dublin’s Catholic Archdiocese this year, new figures show.

Three of the priests were dead and one was retired. It indicates a continuing decline in the number of complaints and allegations of abuse being processed by the archdiocese’s child safeguarding service and brings to 110 the total number of priests in Dublin against whom allegations have been made since 1940.

Of those, 12 priests or former priests have been convicted in the courts, with 277 civil actions taken against 54 priests or former priests. Of these, 215 cases have concluded and 57 are ongoing. Costs to date to the Archdiocese of settlements regarding child sexual abuse by priests are currently €22.4 million, €15.2 million in settlements and €7.2 million in legal costs for both sides.

This year more than 2,000 people took part in one-day safeguarding training sessions (953) and information sessions (1,161) at the archdiocese, more than double the figure for the previous 12 months.

Also 8,500 people were Garda vetted through the Archdiocese, an increase of 1,500 on 2015. It brings to nearly 54,000 the total number of people that have been vetted through the Dublin archdiocese.

Diocesan director of safeguarding Andrew Fagan said “we deal with complaints about a wide range of people apart from diocesan priests and there has been a notable decrease in the number of such cases coming to our attention since 2010. This proved true in 2016 also.”

The continuing decline in the number of complaints received meant the service could give more time and attention to the work in parishes to ensure the creation and maintenance of safe environments for children, he said.

This was reflected in the doubling of the numbers attending training and information sessions. Mr Fagan warned, however, that it was vital that no-one became complacent around the issue of child abuse, whether working directly in the Child Safeguarding Service or in a volunteer capacity in parishes.

The diocesan service was still very much alert to the need to help and support anyone who has suffered from child abuse and anyone who has concerns about child abuse, he said.