Minister urges bishop on report


THE FINDING of the Catholic Church’s National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) report into child protection practices in Cloyne diocese, “will have to be considered seriously by the Bishop [John Magee] and of course by the Catholic Church”, Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe has said.

He also said he had no powers to remove a bishop as patron of national schools in a diocese.

The NBSC report, published by Cloyne diocese on December 19th last, found child protection practices there had been “inadequate and in some respects dangerous’’. It also found the diocese delayed for years in one instance and for months in another when it came to reporting allegations of clerical child sex abuse to civil authorities, and that it had a policy of providing “minimal’’ information to such authorities.

Asked by RTÉ news in Cork yesterday whether Bishop Magee should continue as patron of 130 primary schools, some in the Minister’s own constituency, Mr O’Keeffe said “the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs [Barry Andrews] indicated some time ago that Bishop Magee should consider the grave outcome of the investigation [in Cloyne] carried out by the church itself’’.

From his point of view as Minister for Education, he said “the patron is the bishop of the diocese. The bishop is appointed by the clergy themselves. The patron has no role in the running of the school. The running of the school is under the auspices of the board of management.’’