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Minister Katherine Zappone told the Oireachtas about the alleged cases earlier this week.
Child and Family Agency

Tusla sets up helpline in wake of reports of 71 alleged abusers in Scouting Ireland review

It comes after Minister Katherine Zappone revealed the findings earlier this week.

CHILD AND FAMILY Agency Tusla has set up a dedicated helpline for anyone with concerns, or who wishes to make a referral on the foot of the recent Scouting Ireland report.

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone told an Oireachtas Committee on Wednesday that there is evidence that there were as many as 71 alleged abusers at Scouting Ireland according to an ongoing review.

A review has so far found evidence of 71 alleged abusers and 108 alleged victims based on the work to date, with most cases dating between the 1960s and 1980s, although there may be one from an earlier period, she told the committee.

She said that her understanding was that those alleged abusers were no longer working at the organisation, and that the CEO of Scouting Ireland confirmed to her that reports have been made to An Garda Síochána and Tusla.

Tusla said it was important to note that all referrals are being screened and accessed in line with its children first policy, and it was aware this was an “extremely sensitive issue” that “may cause upset and anxiety for those affected”. 

The number will be open this weekend and Monday to Friday next week from 9am to 4pm.

You can reach it at 1800 805 665.

On 27 September, Katherine Zappone announced that her department would freeze funding worth €900,000 a year after the Scouting Ireland’s board reinstated chief scout Christy McCann to chair an upcoming meeting.

McCann is one of four volunteers who were criticised in Elliott’s report over Scouting Ireland’s handling of the 2016 rape allegation. He later said that he would not chair the meeting, adding that he believed his re-appointment was “the wrong decision”.

Earlier this month, a new board was elected to “work with the CEO and executive team on implementing the new governance structures” and “engage with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to discuss future funding for the organisation”.

Zappone told the committee that she had made a decision last month to restore funding to Scouting Ireland until April next year based on changes at governance level and the appointment of a new board.

With reporting from Gráinne Ní Aodha 

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