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Diocese of Down and Connor met 46 of 48 child safety objectives

The second-largest diocese in the country has dealt with cases involving 14 living priests in recent years, dealing with each of them properly, a report by the Church’s child safety watchdog has found.

Image: FeSeven via Shutterstock

THE LARGEST DIOCESE ever to be audited by the Catholic Church’s child safety watchdog has properly managed all of the incidents of child welfare concerns that have come to it in recent years.

That is the finding of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, the body responsible for overseeing the welfare of children in the Church.

Down and Connor, which is the second largest diocese in the country, was found to have dealt with cases involving 14 living priests under the current bishop, Noel Treanor.

In all of those cases, the board found that Treanor had “properly managed” the allegations. Seven were investigated by the PSNI, but found not to have enough evidence to warrant a prosecution.

Of the other seven, one is in jail, one is currently being prosecuted and five have been removed from their ministry.

The review set out 48 criteria for the diocese to fulfil, finding that it had hit 46 of those targets.

It recommended that the diocese hold an evaluation of the implementation of the 2009 Safeguarding Children document, make pre-2009 files more accessible, involve priests in the system and develop systems for monitoring compliance.

Bishop’s response

The Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Treanor said that the report showed the success that the diocese was enjoying with regard to child protection, but began by apologising again to victims of child sex abuse.

“As I publish this report, my thoughts and prayers are firstly with victims of child abuse and their families. They have experienced much suffering and pain and the church will always bear this wound. I pledge to continue to put all resources in place to help and support victims.

As I have in the past, I offer my unreserved apology for the pain of child abuse carried out by some clergy within this diocese and for the failure of the church when dealing with those so wrongfully hurt.

He added that the report would increase confidence in the Church.

“This review confirms that when people come forward today that they will be listened to and action will be taken promptly in conjunction with the relevant statutory authorities. Sadly for survivors, this improvement has come far too late.”

To read the report, click here.

Read: Archbishop of Cashel and Emly praised for speedy reaction to abuse claims

Read: Accused ‘Kiltegan Fathers’ on African missions “afforded too much tolerance”

Read: Just 12 Christian Brothers convicted after 870 allegations

Read: Diocese of Kerry dealt appropriately with 67 allegations of abuse about 21 priests

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