Church to publish child protection reports next week


REPORTS INTO six Catholic dioceses by the church’s child protection watchdog are to be published next week.

The reports by the National Board for Safeguarding Children and conducted in Raphoe, Derry, Dromore, Kilmore, Ardagh Clonmacnoise and Tuam archdiocese, were completed months ago.

Each report can only be published by the decision of the relevant bishop and, it is understood, that in all instances this was agreed some time ago.

The reports follow an investigation by the National Board for Safeguarding Children into child protection practices in each diocese and mark a beginning of such a review of all 26 dioceses in Ireland as well as other Catholic institutions. The reports are to be published individually and locally by each of the six dioceses, on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week (December 6th and 7th).

Delay in their publication has not been explained though it had been indicated that the relevant six bishops wished first to inform fellow members of the Irish Bishops’ Conference before doing so.

That was scheduled to take place at the bishops’ autumn meeting which took place at the end of September.

One bishop who would have an interest in two of the reports had his resignation for health reasons accepted by the Vatican on Wednesday last.

Bishop Séamus Hegarty (71) served as Bishop of Raphoe from 1982 to November 1994 when he was installed as Bishop of Derry.

Three weeks ago it was reported he had sent a letter of resignation to Pope Benedict which he hoped would be accepted.

“Very recently, I received a diagnosis of a condition which is, unfortunately, irreversible and progressive. I am now receiving treatment for this condition,” he said then. It meant he was “no longer able to fulfil the role of diocesan bishop due to my medical condition,” he said.