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Monday 25 September 2023 Dublin: 16°C
RollingNews Blackrock College in Dublin
# Abuse
Inquiry launched into sexual abuse at schools run by religious orders
The Education Minister said that the inquiry would be survivor-led.

EDUCATION MINISTER NORMA Foley has announced a scoping inquiry into allegations of historical sexual abuse at schools run by religious orders.

Speaking at Government Buildings, Foley said that she wanted to see survivors of abuse come forward and that the inquiry would be survivor-led.

“I want survivors to be central to what we propose to do. To do that, we need to engage with as many survivors that feel that they have capacity to come forward,” Foley said.

“I want them to know that this will be a process where they will be central to all that we will seek to achieve, that we will value their contribution and it will be a safe space for them to do so.

“I think the whole purpose here in the first instance is to ensure that survivors have a space to come forward.”

When asked if she expected religious orders to cooperate with the inquiry, Foley said that she expected them to be “forthcoming”.

The inquiry was agreed by Cabinet this morning and is due to be led by Senior Counsel Mary O’Toole.

The inquiry itself will be informed by reports from experts from a range of areas, in particular child protection, restorative justice and survivor engagement.

Following the inquiry – which is expected to take approximately eight months – O’Toole will submit a report with recommendations on next steps to Foley.

Foley had previously described alleged child abuse at Spiritan schools as an “appalling act” and that there needed to be a “serious response” set out by the Government.

In late 2022, then-Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed that a public inquiry would be carried out by the Government into the Spiritans Order, in Blackrock College and elsewhere.

In November 2022, 233 people had made allegations of abuse against 77 Irish Spiritans in ministries across Ireland and abroad. Of these, 57 people alleged they were abused on the Blackrock College campus.

Anyone seeking to register their interest in the inquiry process is asked to visit