For almost 10 years now the Archdiocese of Tuam has been putting in place measures to ensure the safety of all children who are involved in the life of the church. The Archdiocese has just published a leaflet which summarizes much of the work done in the area of Safeguarding Children and this leaflet will be distributed at all Masses in the Archdiocese this coming weekend.
In his introduction to the leaflet Dr Michael Neary, apologises for the hurt caused and the damage done and goes on to say ‘that any act of contrition on behalf of the church for its obvious failures in our care for children ‘must be accompanied by a sincere determination that the wrong done or the hurt caused will not happen again’.
As far back as 2004 the Archdiocese has had a Safeguarding Children Policy in place. In 2009 the policy was revised and includes core procedures and a code of best practice which assure the safety and wellbeing of both children and those who have responsibility for their care. The diocesan policy is policy for every parish and is fully compliant with civil legislation and church guidelines.
Each parish of the Archdiocese has in place a Local Safeguarding Representative whose role it is to ensure that Safeguarding Policy is fully implemented at local level. All Local Safeguarding Representatives and all priests of the Archdiocese have received fully accredited ‘Keeping Safe’ training. In addition to Keeping Safe training all priests and all Local Safeguarding Representatives have been Garda vetted.
In speaking about the work which has been done Archbishop Neary emphasised the enormous amount of time and energy has gone into the training and awareness-raising of all adults who have contact with children in a church setting. He went on to say that ’Best practice in how we deal with children/young people is no longer an ideal but rather it is the norm in our parishes. No one who has a concern for the welfare of a child is in any doubt as to what needs to be done in order to ensure that child receives appropriate care’.
The Archbishop finishes his Introduction by saying ‘Despite the procedures now in place we must be careful to avoid any complacency. Our goal is clear – to make the Catholic Church the safest environment possible for our children…. Our children deserve nothing less.’