Tusla recommends Scouting Ireland consider ending overnight trips

Children's Minister Katherine Zappone

Tusla has written to Scouting Ireland calling for an urgent review of how the organisation manages current child protection concerns.

Children's Minister Katherine Zappone has also told the Dáil that Scouting Ireland have been told to consider the viability of continuing with overnight trips and have been ordered to carry out an immediate review of the supervision of children involved in scouting.

Ms Zappone has confirmed that in recent days Tusla, the child and family agency, has written to Scouting Ireland highlighting serious concerns about that organisation.

Widespread historic abuse in the organisation was uncovered late last year by Ian Elliot, who has been tasked with examining Scouting Ireland’s records.

The continuing internal review has identified 313 alleged victims and 237 alleged abusers. The majority of the alleged abuse occurred between the 1960s and 1990s, in legacy scouting organisations which merged to form Scouting Ireland in 2004.

However, Tusla has now written to the organisation outlining issues about the implementation of Children First, the national guidelines for the protection and welfare of children, and has made eight recommendations to Scouting Ireland.

Reading a section of the letter to the Dáil, Ms Zappone said: "I wish to inform parents and deputies immediately of eight recommendations which the child safety and protection experts of Tusla have made to the chief executive of Sourcing Ireland.

"Firstly it is imperative that a proposed meeting between Scouting Ireland Board of Management is progressed without delay.

"Secondly the actions of key personnel holding a role in safeguarding within Scouting Ireland may have been compromised and that further consideration may have to be given to this.

"Consideration should be given to nominate the CEO of Scouting Ireland to be the principal liaison in relation to work on Children First.

"A sub-committee should be put in place to review the child safeguarding statement and procedures throughout the organisation.

"An urgent review of the manner in which Scouting Ireland manage current child protection concerns and disclosures from children should commence.

"There should be an immediate review of the supervision of children involved in scouting.

"Scouting Ireland should consider the viability of continuing with overnight trips," Ms Zappone said.

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