Page last updated at 22:43 GMT, Friday, 2 January 2009

Clerics to take child commitment

Catholic altar
Written assurances are to be sought from clerics

Every cleric in Ireland must commit in writing that they will implement child protection guidelines, the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland has said.

Cardinal Sean Brady said a report into abuse allegations in the Diocese of Cloyne in County Cork had brought more "anxiety to victims of abuse".

The report by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBS) was published last month.

It said abuse allegations had not been properly responded to.

Cardinal Brady said the NBS will seek a written commitment from every bishop, religious congregation and missionary society to implement all the statutory guidelines.

Just before Christmas, a report compiled by NBS found the Catholic Church had not responded properly to abuse allegations.

A review of child abuse inquiries in the Diocese of Cloyne found that Church authorities broke their own rules on reporting allegations.

"The findings of the recent report of the National Board into the handling of allegations by the Diocese of Cloyne have brought further anxiety to victims of abuse," the cardinal said.

"For many, these findings have brought into question the efforts of thousands of volunteers and trained personnel who are fully committed to implementing statutory guidelines and agreed Church policies on safeguarding children throughout the Dioceses and parishes of Ireland.

"I realise the extent to which so many people now feel let down, angry and bewildered by recent events."

He said he had suggested that the board examine the possibility of conducting a "review of current child safeguarding practice in every diocese across the island in cooperation with the relevant statutory authorities".

"At all times the welfare of children must be the paramount consideration," the cardinal added.

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