THE HSE AND gardaí are investigating concerns raised about the welfare and protection of children who attended a boarding school in Carraig na bhFear, Co Cork run by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald and Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said in a joint statement that they welcomed the action taken by HSE National Director Gordon Jeyes and Detective Superintendent John McCann of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Investigation Unit.
The statement added:
In the context of serious allegations that have been made they, however, believe it is important to state that they have been assured that none of those against whom allegations have been made are currently engaged in any work activities which bring them into contact with children.
The ministers said they are limited in what they can publicly state at this time so as not to say anything which could impact upon the garda and HSE inquiries. Anyone who may have any information regarding the investigations is asked to contact the HSE or gardaí.
Late last month, Senator Mark Daly used parliamentary privilege to name a priest and former teacher at the school against whom several allegations were made to gardaí. The complaints were made, the senator said, between 1985 and 2008.
Following Daly’s Seanad address, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart issued a statement saying it was “in full compliance with all the necessary guidelines” regarding child protection. The order said it had brought all allegations made known to it over the years to the attention of the HSE, gardaí and the National Office for Safeguarding Children.
It also apologised to the victims of clerical abuse by members of its order:
We again sincerely apologise to those who were abused by members of our Order and we take this opportunity to again ask anyone who was abused by one of our members to report to an Garda Siochana, if they have not already done so. We will also offer whatever pastoral assistance we can to people who wish to make contact with us.