May 6, 2013

The head of the Catholic Church’s child safeguarding watchdog in Ireland said he is encouraged by the latest audits of the handling of abuse allegations by dioceses and a religious congregation.

Ian Elliott, head of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, said the seven audits, published April 24, show “clear evidence of steady progress in developing robust safeguarding structures” in the Church.

“The overall picture is a very positive one with the vast majority of the criteria used to assess performance against the review standards as being fully met,” he said.

While commending the overall picture, some of the audits are critical of past failings.

In Clogher Diocese, for example, the review found that retired Bishop Joseph Duffy “consistently missed” opportunities to prevent abuse.

The review covered the period from Jan. 1, 1975, to last December.

Overall, however, the safeguarding board described the results as “gratifying.”

Elliott singled out the parishioner-volunteers in every parish who are responsible for ensuring that safeguarding procedures are adhered to.