Senators seek to amend motion over child protection measures


SEANAD REPORT:SEVERAL SENATORS are seeking to amend a motion put forward by all parties and groups in the House calling on the Seanad to deplore the Vatican’s intervention “which contributed to the undermining of the child protection frameworks and guidelines of the Irish State and the Irish bishops”.

The motion, which will be debated today, asks the House to affirm its determination that the State will take all necessary measures to protect its children.

An amendment, in the names of Independents Ronan Mullen and Feargal Quinn and Fianna Fáil’s Jim Walsh and Labhrás Ó Murchú, seeks to delete the statement deploring the Vatican’s intervention and replace it with an expression of profound regret that the Vatican’s intervention in l997 had contributed to the undermining in the Cloyne diocese of the child protection frameworks and guidelines of the bishops.

It further notes the commission of investigation’s acknowledgement that the standards adopted by the church in Ireland are “high standards which, if fully implemented, would afford proper protection to children” and that the “standards set by the State are less precise and more difficult to implement”. Seanad leader Maurice Cummins (FG) said the all-party motion that had been agreed in the Dáil would be put at the conclusion of the debate.

Cait Keane (FG) said she supported the organisation of 500 priests – the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland – whose members were prepared to stand up against the bishops even though they were always patronised by the bishops.

At a time when there was concern at the strong nationalist views expressed by people such as “the individual in Norway,” it might be time to review the national anthem, Feargal Quinn (Ind) said. “ I am not sure whether the lyrics, as we hear them in English, are suitable. No doubt some will point to the British or French national anthems, for example, as similarly bloodthirsty.” Mary White (FF) said that “some people have a difficulty with the phrase ‘fianna fáil’.”

Describing Mr Quinn’s suggestion as unwelcome, David Cullinane (SF) said they must be careful not to allow extremists to set the agenda. Jim Darcy (FIG) responded that Mr Cullinan’s comments were “a bit like Hannibal Lecter extolling the virtues of vegetarianism”.

Mr Darcy said he agreed with what had been said about changing the the anthem. “Will the leader suggest the line changed from ‘laochra fail’ to ‘fianna fáil’ be changed back to the original wording?”

“Change it to ‘sinner fianna fáil’,” said Mr Mullen