Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs

Governance and Child Safeguarding Issues in Scouting Ireland: Tusla and Scouting Ireland

10:00 am

Dr. John Lawlor:

It is really important to reflect on the output. There is a much deeper and broader understanding of the truth of the hurt and abuse caused to young people over decades in scouting. That is a very painful thing for me to say, as somebody who has been in the scouts since I was a kid. I believe, however, that what our helpline and staff did has resulted in the truth being evidenced. The truth is now available. It is a very painful and difficult truth but it is the truth that had to be told some day. A great service has been given by those who served on the helplines to the victims who carried hurt for many years. That needed to be done and was done very effectively, openly and compassionately. That had to happen. Those who abused children in their care over all the decades in scouting betrayed the vast majority of volunteers, who served young people so well over the time. That is a deep hurt in scouting. It is hard for us to credit that it could happen but it did. A tiny minority was involved but they had a devastating impact on the young people concerned. That truth had to be revealed. Our staff, under the direction of Mr. Elliott, did a great service to Ireland in revealing that truth.