Summaries of HSE diocese audits

Thu, Oct 11, 2012, 01:00

Below is a summary of the HSE audit findings for each diocese:


The diocese failed to include allegations that fell within the ambit of the audit, including claims against seven deceased priests and one widely publicised allegation

One priest in question is still ministering elsewhere in the world and it is not clear if he was ever formally risk-assessed, but church authorities in that country have been notified of the allegation.


This includes most of counties Longford and Leitrim and parts of counties Cavan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo and Westmeath.

Four allegations were provided by the diocese, including two against deceased priests. The diocese reported difficulties in contacting the HSE to report two allegations against one priest. It informed the gardaí six days after receiving the allegations and tried to contact the HSE 10 days after receiving them. It eventually made contact 17 days after receiving the allegations.

The audit said all allegations should ideally be reported within one to three days to the civil authorities. “It is appreciated that this diocese has experienced difficulties in contacting the HSE when the designated child care manager was on leave.”


This archdiocese includes almost all of Co Louth and Armagh, and parts of counties Meath, Derry and Tyrone but the audit refers only to the portion of the archdiocese in the Republic.

Eight allegations were made against two deceased priests while two living priests had allegations made against them. “The diocesan audit returns state that neither priest has been convicted of child sexual abuse.”

Recommendations include putting arrangements in place for seeking the view of parents, children and carers about policies and practices; the development of a complaints policy and a clear statement on confidentiality.


This archdiocese includes most of Co Tipperary and parts of Co Limerick.

Details of 11 allegations were provided by the diocese, two of which were against deceased priests. One priest accounted for four allegations and is out of ministry.

There was a nine-year period in relation to one allegation being reported to the civil authorities “and the reason provided by the diocese was that the complainant did not wish to report the allegation”.

The archdiocese said there was no child protection concern as the priest had already been removed from ministry at the time of the allegation but the audit said “whether or not a priest has removed from ministry is immaterial to whether an allegation should be reported”.


The diocese includes most of Co Fermanagh and parts of counties Tyrone, Monaghan, Donegal, Louth and Cavan but the audit refers only to the portion of the diocese in the Republic of Ireland.

Some 18 allegations were made against five priests but 14 of those were against one priest. A further allegation was made against a deceased priest in relation to an incident abroad.

The length of time it took to report allegations to the civil authorities was “varied and lengthy and not in compliance with Church guidance”, the audit found. It said it was not acceptable that three of the four allegations notified to the diocese in 2009 took from over one month to over three months to be reported.

“It is also disappointing that in 2006 and 2010 the diocese stated in its audit returns that it had reported all allegations promptly, when in fact this was not the case in the reporting of 11 out of 13 analysable allegations.”


The diocese of Clonfert includes parts of counties Galway, Offaly and Roscommon. Details of 11 allegations were provided to the audit. It found that there was “ substantive time” taken by the diocese in reporting eight allegations. In one case there was a two year delay and in the remaining seven it was between seven and 13 years.

The seven allegations were notified to the diocese between 1997 and 2002 but not reported to the HSE or gardaí until 2010. When the diocese completed an audit questionnaire in July 2009 it said four allegations were known to it. “However the most recent diocesan audit returns indicate that when that questionnaire was completed ten allegations were known to the diocese.”


This diocese includes most of Co Cork. Data on 30 allegations was provided to the audit, including 12 against deceased priests. The remaining 18 were made against nine priests, three of whom are in ministry.

The report said a forensic psychologist chosen by the HSE had undertaken risk assessments of a number of priests in the diocese. “However it is not clear if the three priests in ministry who have had allegations made against them have been risk assessed.”

It said there continued to be room for improvement in speed of reporting allegations to the civil authorities.


This includes Cork city and part of Co Cork. Details of 47 allegations were provided by the diocese, including five against deceased priests. Of the surviving priests, three had six or more allegations made against them, accounting for half of the allegations.

No priest currently ministering in the diocese was the subject of an allegation. Two priests out of ministry in the diocese had allegations made against them elsewhere in the world.

The report said data quality was “poor with incomplete dates provided in over a quarter of cases”. It said that while the speed of reporting had “improved considerably, there is substantive room for improvement [and] the diocese must strive to ensure that all allegations are reported promptly.”


The diocese of Derry includes some parishes in Co Donegal and in these; auditors found all criteria in relation to keeping children safe have been met.

Policy on dealing with children was said to be clear and there was detailed guidance on dealing with allegations of abuse.

One priest in the diocese had an allegation made against him in the Republic of Ireland. This priest is now retired and was not risk assessed on the basis that prior to the allegation he lived in Northern Ireland where social services did not seek any further action in the part of the diocese.


Dublin was among two dioceses noted for its prompt action in responding to immediate risk of children in the community.

The report noted “substantive improvements” in the reporting of allegations in the Dublin diocese in recent years despite past failings. Work on foot of the Murphy Commission findings was evident, it said. It described progress as “steady and sustained”.

The audit recommends policy on keeping children safe be more explicit in how individuals who pose a risk to children are managed. It also finds that there does not appear to be a complaints procedure for matters that do not reach the threshold of abusive behaviour.

Diocesan policy was also found not to fully set out processes for dealing with some forms of unacceptable behaviour, or provide guidance that made it clear that discrimination on race, gender, religion, sexuality and political views was unacceptable. The audit also calls for better guidance on the personal/intimate care of children with disabilities.

Data quality on allegations was described as “fair” with incomplete dates in 11 per cent of cases. There were 293 allegations; six were notified to the diocese by the HSE and 16 by the Garda Síochána

In 24 cases, it could not be said with certainty how long it took to report them to the civil authorities while in 173, this was known. There were 74 allegations against 17 deceased priests.

Of 174 allegations the diocese notified to civil authorities from Jan 1st, 1996 to July 31st 2010, 21 were notified in one to three days, seven in four to seven days, 19 within a week to a month, 11 in one to five years and 14 in five to ten years. Specific reasons for timescales were cited in respect of most allegations, the report said.


Policy on safeguarding children and reporting allegations was seen to meet standards.

Data quality in the diocese was found to be “good”. The findings were said to be “unusual” in that ten priests had one allegation made against each with two allegations attributed to an eleventh.

Two allegations notified to the diocese in 2002, relating to the same priest, took just over two and a half years to be reported. The allegations related to alleged incidents elsewhere in the world.

One 2002 allegation was reported to the Gardai within a week but not reported to the HSE until five years later on the basis that the “Church assumed Gardai would report to the HSE through protocol”.


While in the main, policy on safeguarding children and reporting allegations was seen to meet standards, auditors recommend the diocese asks for photo ID when recruiting staff and volunteers.

Of 45 allegations, in three cases, the diocese could not provide a date for when the it was first notified of the allegation. Of 25 allegations where it was known how long it took to report them to civil authorities, just three were reported within three days.

While the audit concludes there was considerable improvement in the speed of reporting after the Ferns Report, it says that “it is clear allegations continued not to be reported in accordance with church guidance” with most of the allegations reported after the publication of the Ferns Report not reported with “immediacy”.


The audit recommends the diocese develops a better policy on the management of individuals who pose a risk to children; addresses clearly the issue of dealing with unacceptable behaviour, develops a whistle-blowing policy and an equality policy.

Of 17 allegations of abuse recorded, nine were against deceased priests.

Although the diocese answered “yes” when asked if allegations of abuse were reported to civil authorities in the next working day, auditors say “it is clear there were delays in the reporting of five allegations”.

The audit concludes data quality in the diocese was “poor” with full dates for the receipt of allegations by the diocese not recorded.


The audit finds that diocesan policy fails to state how individuals who pose a risk to children are managed. It recommends that its complaints procedure be clarified, that the diocese develops a written plan for the safeguarding of children and develops an equality policy to deal with discriminatory behaviour.

The data quality in the diocese was found to be “good” with allegation figures for the diocese attributable mainly to one priest against whom seven of the nine allegations in the diocese were made.


One of the smallest dioceses subject to the audit, three priests in the diocese had allegations made against them. Two are not in ministry and have not been formally risk assessed. The third is no longer on loan to or resident in the diocese. The allegations in all cases were reported by the diocese to civil authorities within between 1 day and one month.

No priests in this diocese have been convicted of child sexual abuse according to the diocesan audit returns.


The audit recommends the diocese develops a policy on the management of individuals who pose a risk to children and adopts a policy of reporting allegations without delay to civil authorities. It also recommends more detailed explanation of policy on what to do when allegations are identified.

Of 46 allegations of abuse, of those that could be categorised in terms of the time it took for the diocese to report them to the civil authorities, 25 were not reported within one to three days. Some 20 cases took longer than a month to report, and nine took longer than year.

Some 13 priests in the diocese had allegations made against them.

The audit found “significant non-compliance with church guidance concerning reporting periods in the past, including after the introduction of Church guidance in 1996”.


The reporting record of Raphoe, both in quality of information and speed of reporting was found to be “poor”.

Information was “difficult to decipher” and there were problems with dates.

Almost 80 per cent of the allegations that could be categorised took more than a year to report.

There were five allegations against 12 priests (82 per cent were against four priests) in the reporting period.

Raphoe met many of the standards but recommendations included develop a policy on managing those who pose a risk to children and a complaints policy.


The report is very critical of the information on allegations provided by the diocese. It found “significant omissions” from the audit returns to be “concerning” and describes the quality of data as “poor” , particularly in relation to dates.

There were 27 allegations against nine priests since 1996. Two were reported to the HSE decades after the diocese was notified. The diocese was under the “mistaken impression” that the Meath diocese was handling allegations against a priest in Ossory. One priest still in ministry had allegations against him but it was not known if he was risked assessed, the report said.

Among the recommendations were developing its own customised policy document on child safeguarding and a training strategy for all personnel who contact children.


Record keeping on allegations was a “matter of concern” and it “took a number of requests” for the HSE to receive dates on allegations for the report.

It also raised concern that 12 allegations known to the Garda “appear not to have been known to the diocese”.

There were three allegations, one historical case which was notified to the HSE a month and a half after the allegation was received by the diocese. The diocese said it took a number of weeks to ascertain the name and contact details of the complainant.

Among the recommendations for the diocese were to develop an approach to managing those who posed a risk to children and clarify the timescale and circumstances for reporting allegations to the civil authorities.


The diocese did not comply with expected standards of reporting times in five of eight cases between 1996 and 2009. There were 40 allegations against 13 deceased priests, 18 of these against one priest.

The diocese largely satisfied much of the standard but recommendations all those who have contact with children should have photo ID and sign a safeguarding policy.


Data quality in the diocese was described as “acceptable” with complete dates in almost all cases and most reported promptly.

“The improvements in practice in the diocese are substantial and have been sustained” it said. There were 21 allegations against 9 priests.

Among the recommendations for change were development of a policy on the management of those who pose a risk for children, address issue of dealing with unacceptable behaviour more clearly.


The diocese had good data quality and a “proactive approach”. There were 22 allegations against 11 priests (two priests accounting for almost half of allegations). It said there was a "clear rationale" underpinning the time it took to make reports.

Among the recommendations were that all personnel sign acceptance of the policy and that the policy addresses management of those who pose a risk to children


It met most standards but among the recommendations were that its policy address more clearly the issue of unacceptable behaviour and develop guidelines on intimate care of children with disabilities.

The data provided by Kilmore was found to be of high standard despite misunderstandings that the Garda would notify the HSE, which has been resolved .

There were four allegations against two priests which took between 4 days and a month to report to authorities.


The diocese met all criteria in relation to all of the standards.

The diocese did not strictly adhere to the guidelines in reporting allegations covered in the report but the time beyond the three day guideline was “short” and in a number of cases “reasonable”

There were 22 allegations made in the diocese (10 against two priests) and an additional 11 against deceased priests.