Abuse report 'only part of the story'
CHURCH OF Ireland Primate Archbishop Alan Harper welcomed an audit report of church work with young people as good news for Irish children and those who work with them, at a time when the country is still reeling from the fallout of the Ryan report on child abuse in industrial schools.“It is important to say that there is a great amount of good news out there, a lot of positive things that need to be said, and it would be an enormous pity if the good news was, so to speak, blocked out by the enormous furore of the negative,” the archbishop said.
“That is not to minimise the negative experiences of those who have suffered in the past, except to say that isn’t the whole story, its only part of the story,” he added.
The archbishop was joined by Minister of State for Children Barry Andrews and representatives from youth agencies at the report launch in Church of Ireland House in Dublin yesterday.
Archbishop Harper praised the findings of the audit report, which revealed that over 26,000 young people aged between 11 and 25 years are active in the church’s youth work per week. A further 3,000 adult volunteers provide support assistance to this work.
The Church of Ireland has expanded its youth work initiatives in recent years to encompass programmes which work with immigrant young people, organise youth clubs, run silver bands and undertake faith development programmes. Mr Andrews said that it was a very challenging time for those working to further children in the State.
He said that although there was a vast amount of legislation seeking to improve the lot of young people, obtaining uniformity in implementation codes was now of vital importance.
“I think we have come an awful long way from the problems that were identified in the Ryan report, it was another country to be quite honest, but they have been replaced by a new fresh set of problems that require our attention even more,” he said.