Child safety ‘issue for school boards’

THE Department of Education has told the country’s primary school principals that they are charged with the implementation of child protection in their schools and not the bishops acting as patrons.

The Primary Principals Network (IPPN) has said it has “deep-rooted” concerns in relation to child protection in primary schools and that it wants the child protection guidelines put on a statutory footing.

IPPN director Sean Cottrell said the survivors of abuse and their families need the prosecution, conviction and sentencing through the courts of Church personnel who failed to handle abuse complaints properly.

They said they supported Archbishop Diarmuid Martin’s statement that any bishop named in the Murphy Report be held responsible for their action. Up to 80% of principals said the named bishops should not remain as school patrons.

A spokesman for the Department of Education said that bishops have “little or no say” in the running of schools and that the role of bishop as patrons was largely ceremonial.

The Education Act 1998 makes no provision for the removal of a patron.

Meanwhile, Irish Catholics were last night urged to send a Christmas message to the Pope demanding he take action over the child abuse scandal.

A survivor of institutional abuse revealed he will be using a new online service launched by the Vatican to demand the Pontiff reform the Church and apologise to the people of Ireland.


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