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Dublin: 13°C Saturday 23 October 2021

No convictions on over 50 abuse allegations against religious orders

The latest tranche of child protection reviews examines allegations against 20 orders.

Image: Shutterstock/Diego Cervo

A NEW REPORT has found that no criminal convictions were made on 53 allegations of abuse against Catholic priests, brothers or sisters across 20 religious orders in Ireland.

The allegations were levelled against 44 members of the Legionaries of Christ, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and the Mercy Sisters between 1941 and 2009.

However, the review said that the three orders had made “positive strides … in ensuring that the environments within which they currently work have good safeguards for children”.

The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) noted that 17 other orders and congregations that have more limited contact with minors received no allegations of child sexual abuse during this period.

There was one allegation of emotional abuse, but the reviewers found that it was “appropriately dealt with”.

Safeguarding practices

The report found that all 20 orders now operate safeguarding practices to ensure prompt reporting of allegations to civil authorities.

Teresa Devlin, CEO of the NBSCCCI, said: ”What we are seeing here are a series of good habits having been created.

Reporting to the civil authorities is prompt, case files are recorded correctly and risk is properly assessed.
But what is most heartening here is that child safeguarding is an engrained component of the religious life and child related activities of these orders and congregations. It has become a reflex and their first consideration.

The reviews are the second batch to be published under the current review guidelines of the NBSCCCI, which was established in 2006 to foster the prevention of child abuse in the church.


The organisation encourages those who have suffered abuse to get in touch with Towards Healing, a support service for survivors of clerical and religious congregations’ abuse, which is independent although funded by the Catholic Church.

The service can contacted on freephone 1800303416 in the Republic of Ireland or 0800 0963315 in Northern Ireland from 11am-8pm Monday to Thursday and from 11am-6pm on Fridays.

Towards Peace, which provides spiritual support for survivors of abuse by Catholic Church personnel in Ireland, can be contacted at 01 5053028 from 10am-5pm Monday to Thursday.

Read: Archbishop reveals concerns about recent cases of possible abuse by priests

Read: Crowds turn out to support family of Dublin girl who failed to get place in local school

About the author:

Catherine Healy

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