Kilmore child protection measures 'a model of best practice'

Kilmore child protection measures 'a model of best practice'

Despite seven allegations of abuse against priests in the Diocese of Kilmore, an audit has found child protection measures are a model of best practice within the Church.

The review, which examined records from 1975 in Cavan and parishes in surrounding counties, found:

* All seven allegations were reported to gardaí and health board officials, but three of the clergy had died.

* Two of those still living were out of ministry or left the priesthood.

* One paedophile priest who was convicted of abusing a minor remains in prison.

* Another priest who lived in the diocese, but never worked there, was also known to be the subject of an allegation arising from their past ministry.

Separately, the Church watchdog was highly critical of the diocesan response to notorious paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth, which it found was inadequate and displayed a disregard for the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable young people.

"Although this priest was removed from ministry initially, he was later returned some years later," the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC) said.

"His priestly faculties continued to be renewed each year until he was again the focus of new allegations of abuse which eventually led to his conviction and imprisonment."

Cardinal Sean Brady earlier made an undisclosed settlement with one of Smyth's victims, who he swore to secrecy in 1975 following his investigation into their allegations of abuse.

Smyth, who died in prison after he was convicted of child abuse, was a member of the Norbertine Order based in the diocese.

The NBSCCC said none of the issues raised could be attributed in any way to the present bishop, Leo O'Reilly, or anyone currently in a safeguarding role in the diocese.

"However, it represents important learning for all those involved in safeguarding in the Church as to the tragic consequences of failing to recognise the risks posed by those that habitually seek to harm children and young people," he added.

Bishop O'Reilly said each allegation represented a person who has suffered.

"My thoughts today are very much with survivors of abuse," he said.

"I once again apologise to them and express my anger and deep sadness that they experienced this betrayal by those who should have brought them Christ's love and compassion."

The NBSCCC found there were no case examples of poor practice after the arrival of Bishop O'Reilly in 1998.

The audit said the overall view of current practice in child protection is of a consistently high standard and claimed the Diocese of Kilmore may be viewed as "a model of best practice within the Church" in this critical area.

A total of 84 priests work in the diocese, which comprises of 36 parishes across Counties Cavan, Leitrim and parts of Fermanagh, Meath and Sligo.

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