Diocesan Child Protection Measures

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Management Arrangements

Limerick Diocese is committed to promoting the welfare of children in all church related activities and providing assurance to parents/guardians. In order to ensure this the Diocese has a Safeguarding and protection framework.

  • Limerick Diocese has had a Designated Person in place since 1996 whose role is to receive all child protection complaints. This position has been held by lay people since 2008.
  • In 2011 the Diocese appointed its first Director of Safeguarding Children to oversee all aspects of child protection in Church related activities throughout the Diocese. Ger Crowley, a former Head Social Worker and Director of Child Care Services in the statutory child protection services. His remit incorporates the role of Designated Person.
  • The Diocese has authorised the Director of Safeguarding Children to review all cases in the diocese since 1940. This authorisation includes formal permission to access all information/files in diocesan possession.

The Diocese has three Safeguarding Children Committees

  1. Case Management Advisory Panel, chaired by retired Chief Supt. Gerry Mahon
  2. Policy/Training Committee, chaired by Catherine Kelly, Director of Limerick Youth Service
  3. HR & Vetting Committee, Chaired by Mr John Murphy


Interagency Arrangements
  • Any complaints or allegations made to the diocese are forwarded to the HSE, An Garda Síochána and the National Office for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church. All Child Protection Complaints made to the diocese have been notified to the statutory authorities.
  • In addition to regular direct communication, representatives of Limerick Diocese meet four times annually with the HSE and An Garda Síochána to review all Diocesan files.  
  • Limerick Diocese fully cooperated with the HSE’s national audit of Church Child Protection Practices


Prevention Arrangements
  • The priests of the diocese have all been the subject of Garda Vetting and all parish volunteers who have occasion to work with young children are required to undergo Garda Vetting.
  • The Diocese has three people who have been certified as “Keeping Safe Trainers”.
  • Some fifty people in the diocese have trained as local Safeguarding Representatives for their pastoral areas. A lay Training Officer has trained these representatives to respond to queries about safeguarding training, policies and procedures. Twice every year all priests of the Diocese receive Child Safeguarding information/training.
  • Every parish:
  1. Applies the Limerick Diocesan Child Safeguarding Policy and each church has an Information Poster on display
  2. Has received a copy of the new Standards and Guidance Document for Safeguarding Children
  3. Has received two posters about best practice, one with specific reference to Altar Servers. Sacristans and priests have availed of training in relation to this
  • Since 2004 in excess of 1,500 people including diocesan clergy, have attended parish-based information sessions on Safeguarding Children in the Limerick diocese.


National Arrangements
  • Limerick Diocese works collaboratively with the National Office for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church. It is one of six dioceses participating in a pilot project aimed at developing a National Advisory Service.
  • Diocesan trainers are working with the National Office to develop new national training initiatives.
  • Limerick Diocese supports the work of the Towards Healing Helpline which provides telephone counselling and psychotherapy referral service for those who as children, suffered physical, emotional or sexual abuse by persons engaged in Church related activities. Website: www.towardshealing.ie.


Limerick Safeguarding and Child Protection contact information
  • Anyone with a child protection concern may contact:
  1. An Garda Síochána, Henry St. 061-21 24 00;
  2. HSE West, 061-48 27 92 (Office Hours);
  3. Diocesan Designated Person 087-32 33 564 (Dedicated Mobile)


Child Protection Complaints since 1940 - update
  • Based on Diocesan files, the following is the update on the complaints in the Limerick Diocese since 1940. These figures constitute a record of allegations made and suspicions raised of child sexual abuse and are irrespective of the eventual outcome of investigations by the civil authorities:
  1. Since 1940, some 520 priests have held a diocesan appointment in the Diocese of Limerick. In these seventy years complaints have been made to the Limerick Diocese regarding twenty six priests. The vast majority of complaints relate to matters dating back some decades.
  2. 14 of the twenty twenty six are deceased.
  3. No priest currently in ministry in the Diocese is under Garda investigation.


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