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

Mr. Adrian Tennant:

Before I refer the Deputy to Dr. Lawlor to deal with the employment of the child protection officer, following which Mr. Elliott can come in, in terms of the audit going out to the dens, the tents and so on, an audit has to do that. Some of the issues we have had regarding the Tusla letter were about the lack of evidence that was presented to us or that we could understand might have led to some of the statements in it. In terms of some of the things that were stated about the overnights or the levels of supervision for our young people, we did not know where that came from. I was asked in various interviews the reason they would say that and I did not know why they said it. I do not want to but I disagree with the Deputy somewhat in that the spotlight is not just on the headquarters. It is very much a spotlight on the entire organisation. Our entire organisation can stand up and show that it is not just about the policy on the wall; it is about the practice that is carried out in scout halls and in camps North and South of this island. We will quite happily stand up and demonstrate that. When we talk about audits in regard to our practice, the practice happens on the ground and we can stand over that. The practice does not just happen in headquarters. Mr. Elliott is correct. When we talk about the review for the helpline we have to be very careful about the terms of reference because we want to get learning out of this and ensure that if there are issues we need to deal with, we deal with them, and they cannot all be captured by desktop exercises.