Thursday, 10 November 2005
Ferns Report: Statements.
Mary Henry (Independent)
I do not believe Bishops Herlihy and Comiskey should be the only individuals singled out for criticism. The issue must have been discussed with all the bishops when it first arose because they took out insurance at the time to deal with it.
On the Health Service Executive and legislative changes required to ensure third parties can take a more active stance, it is unfortunate that legislation passed by this House relatively recently precludes people from being more active. I encourage the Minister of State to ensure legislation is introduced as soon as possible making provision for the crime of wilful endangerment of children.
The Minister of State will have a little laugh when he learns that at the time the South Eastern Health Board was not in a position to investigate gross abuses against children, I was having considerable difficulties with it regarding a book on women's health published by the then Department of Health. On the basis that the part of the book dealing with breast feeding also featured a small section on contraception, the health board decided it was unsuitable for distribution, notwithstanding the fact that it was produced by a Department. Rather than preventing adult women who could make decisions for themselves from reading a book, the board should have been addressing what was happening to children who had been disgracefully abused.