Statement by Brian Lenihan TD, Minister for Children on the recommendations of The Ferns Report
A clear lesson from the Report of the Ferns Inquiry is the importance of adherence to proper procedures when allegations of child abuse are made. For that reason, the Government decided yesterday that Minister Brian Lenihan would urgently communicate with the Irish Bishops’ Conference to seek their confirmation, individually and collectively, that the Framework Guidelines of 1996 are being fully implemented, and that the recommendations of the Ferns Report would also be implemented.
In the Dáil this morning, the Taoiseach made clear that the Government’s duty in this instance is to ensure that proper child protection policies are, in fact, in place. The priority must be to protect children now and for the future. For that reason, he indicated that an inquiry in Dublin would not be sufficient, that an audit of compliance with the Framework Guidelines in all Dioceses was necessary at a national level. Accordingly, consideration is being given as a matter of urgency to the form and structure of that audit.
Priority is now being given to confirming, as a matter of urgency, that the arrangements now in place in Ferns, and which were endorsed strongly by the Murphy Inquiry, have been established and are being implemented throughout the country. A final decision on expanding the scope of the inquiry in Dublin which is being established will be decided by the Government in the light of the outcome of Minister Lenihan’s correspondence.