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Last Updated: Monday, 13 March 2006, 11:33 GMT
Church abuse moves 'are welcomed'
Church scene
Dioceses on both sides of the border have released figures
The Catholic Church's move to share all information on the possible abuse of children with the PSNI has been welcomed by the government.

A director of child protection is to be appointed for the church in NI.

Catholic Primate Sean Brady has announced a series of measures in response to the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults Order.

NIO minister Shaun Woodward said he applauded the moves by the Archbishop and his fellow bishops.

"It is my clear expectation that any organisation which is involved with children must have policies and procedures in place that comply with the statutory requirements to protect children as well as conforming to good practice standards," said the minister.

"To this end, I welcome moves by the church to produce guidance for NI on this basis."

'Safeguarding children'

Archbishop Brady said the welfare and protection of children and vulnerable adults was "a priority for the Catholic Church in Ireland".

"As a result we can now say that everything that is in our knowledge from 1965 to 2005 - proven or unproven - has been reported to the relevant authorities.

"We cannot undo the hurt caused in the past but we can put in place measures which will enhance the scope of protection afforded to those placed in our care. This remains our priority."

He added: "We want the church to be at the forefront of best practice in this area.

"We want everyone in the church to know what actions to take if they have concerns about the safety of a child.

"We want those actions to be effective and we want to work in full cooperation with the DHSS, PSNI and other agencies who can assist us in safeguarding children."

He said the NI bishops were voluntarily offering their own names for vetting as part of the commitment to ensuring best practice.

The issue of clerical sexual abuse came to the fore again in recent months following the Ferns inquiry which found that 21 priests had abused children in County Wexford over the past 40 years.

Dioceses on both sides of the border have released figures outlining allegations of child sex abuse throughout the years.

Diocese releases abuse statistics
28 Oct 05 |  Northern Ireland
Abuse claims 'against 26 priests'
27 Oct 05 |  Northern Ireland
Bishop to make statement on abuse
26 Oct 05 |  Northern Ireland
Bishops discuss child abuse
22 Apr 02 |  Northern Ireland

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