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Gardaí examining clerical child sex abuse reports

Those who try to hide information on abuse can be prosecuted under the Criminal Justice Act, Minister says.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

THE GARDA SEXUAL Crime Management Unit is examining the most recent series of reports into child sex abuse  in the Catholic Church, the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has said.

“(Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan) has informed me that the Garda Sexual Crime Management Unit is examining those reports in the context of establishing what further action may be necessary on the part of An Garda Síochána in relation to them,” the Minister said.

The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church of Ireland (NBSCCCI) yesterday published reports into four Catholic dioceses and three religious orders. They were the dioceses of Clonfert, Cork & Ross, Kildare Leighlin and Limerick. The congregations were involved were the Sacred Heart Missionaries, the Dominicans and the Spiritans. The reports found that there were 378 allegations of abuse relating to 146 individuals.

Minister Shatter said that “very understandable concerns” had been raised in relation to revelations in the reports. He said he wanted to reassure the public that the Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences Against Children and Vulnerable Adults) Act 2012 made it an offence not to disclose information about child sexual abuse.

“All too regrettably, many of the findings of the reviews underline how necessary the introduction of this legislation was,” he said.

Earlier today, the support group for survivors of sexual abuse said that where possible, senior churchmen should be investigated to see if they were in breach of the Criminal Justice Act 2006.

Findings of child protection reviews published>

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