Child abuse report due in one month

 

Over 1,000 cases of alleged child sex abuse were pending, in one form or another, in the Eastern Health Board area alone, the Taoiseach told the Dail.

"I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that it seems as if an enormous number of organisations - community, voluntary and sporting, in one form or another - are affected by cases that are pending," Mr Ahern added.

Announcing the independent inquiry into the Derry O'Rourke abuse case, the Taoiseach said a report would be available in a month. The Government's view, he said, was that it was in the best interests of the children and the parents.

Following representations from several parents to various Ministers, the Government had decided that what was required, at least in the initial stage, was a private independent inquiry. The Minister for Tourism and Sport, Dr McDaid, will answer questions on the matter in the Dail today.

The Labour leader, Mr Ruairi Quinn, said that if the compellability of witnesses Bill was operative, the House could set up an inquiry with the powers to compel witnesses to attend.

Mr Ahern said there were difficulties in that area and there was much merit in looking at Mr Quinn's suggestion.

Asked by the Fine Gael leader, Mr John Bruton, if the Government was ruling in or out the possibility of a sworn public inquiry, Mr Ahern said that as he had stated last week, "We are ruling nothing out."