Dail hears enquiries into Scouting Ireland abuse allegations extended abroad

Dail hears enquiries into Scouting Ireland abuse allegations extended abroad

Gardai have reached out to police forces overseas about alleged child sexual abusers who had been involved with Scouting Ireland, the Dáil has been told.

Speaking during Leaders' Questions, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said that reports had been made to “police forces in jurisdictions where many of the alleged abusers may be living”.

He was responding to questions from Fianna Fail's deputy leader Dara Calleary after revelations on Wednesday that 108 sexual abuse cases involving 71 alleged abusers mainly from the 1960s and 1980s were found within Scouting Ireland.

During exchanges, Mr Flanagan said that none of the alleged abusers were still with Scouting Ireland.

Reports of the cases identified to date had been made to the Child Protection Agency Tusla and An Garda Síochána, he said.

Mr Calleary queried what the Government was undertaking to allow people who have so far remained silent to come forward.

He demanded a special helpline be established to enable them to come forward in confidence.

Dail hears enquiries into Scouting Ireland abuse allegations extended abroad

Mr Calleary in highlighting the scale of the issue, said the revelations “opened a new and insidious and grotesque litany of sexual abuse over many decades in Scouting Ireland”.

A review in the wake of allegations by a young woman led to the resignation of the board of the scouting body and the temporary withdrawal of State funding to Scouting Ireland

Calling into question the ability of Scouting Ireland to effectively get on top of the scandal, Mr Calleary said the “drip drip of information has to be stopped” to help restore confidence to the scouting in Ireland.

He said that people who had been abused while part of Scouting Ireland would have to have confidence to come forward.

In response, Mr Flanagan said he was “appalled at the abuse” and added that every support would be made available in order to ensure that victims could come forward and be assisted in their pursuit of justice.

The Minister acknowledged the new board in Scouting Ireland and the review of governance issues conducted by former senator Jillian van Turnhout whose report was completed in June this year.

Mr Flanagan stressed that the board had pledged to fully implement all the recommendations.

He said there would be due process and “my department will assist in any way possible with the other departments and State agencies as appropriate”.

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