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Dublin Archdiocese 'committed to protecting children' despite halving staff at safeguarding service

Five people have been let go from the unit, as part of a wider redundancy programme in the Archdiocese.

File photo of a priest preparing Communion at mass
File photo of a priest preparing Communion at mass
Image: Shutterstock/l i g h t p o e t

THE DUBLIN CATHOLIC Archdiocese has begun restructuring the support services it provides to parishes after halving the number of staff working in the Child Safeguarding and Protection Service (CSPS).

The number of staff working in the CSPS has been reduced from 10 to five people in recent months as part of a wider redundancy programme in the Archdiocese.

A voluntary redundancy scheme was made available to employees in June 2020 due to financial shortfalls caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, the overall number of staff employed by the Archdiocese has reduced from 82 to 42.

In a statement to The Journal, a spokesperson said that despite the cutbacks the Dublin Archdiocese “remains committed to upholding the highest standards in relation to the protection of children and vulnerable adults”.

The CSPS is tasked with keeping children and vulnerable people safe throughout the Dublin area.

The service provides training for priests and parish workers; deals with complaints and concerns about child protection matters, reporting to gardaí where necessary; and monitors the activities of priests known to have abused children in the past in order to minimise the chance of them doing so again.

Last year, the Archdiocese saw a significant decrease in its financial income due to the fact churches were at various periods either unable to hold masses or else had to hold masses with a greatly reduced congregation.

In 2020, there was a 70% reduction in the common fund – money collected at masses from which all priests are paid a monthly allowance, and an 80% fall in the share fund – money used to refurbish parish churches, build parish centres and fund the diocesan administration of central services.  

In May 2020, then-Archbishop Diarmuid Martin confirmed that priests in Dublin had agreed to a 25% pay cut. The current Archbishop, Dermot Farrell, took over the role earlier this year, after the redundancy process was introduced.

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‘Making the best of our resources’

The spokesperson said the CSPS will continue to work with priests, parishes and parents/guardians to keep children and vulnerable adults safe.

The CSPS office continues to be led by its director Andrew Fagan, who works closely “with the relevant statutory authorities and the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland, so as to maintain best practice in safeguarding standards”, the spokesperson said.  

“We are currently working on ways of making best use of the resources available to us by, for example, partnering with other organisations to deliver services and using information technology to deliver safeguarding training, one of our core activities.

“The needs of each office will be kept under review to ensure that all essential services continue to support parishes and their mission,” they added. 

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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