Thursday, 10 November 2005
Ferns Report: Statements.
Ulick Burke (Fine Gael)
I yield to your ruling, a Chathaoirligh. In one instance an eminent person was clearly put in place because he was a personal friend. Again we see the "safe hands" attitude.
We are talking about the failure of the Department of Education and Science and the failure of the Garda in some instances. The health board was probably one of the statutory bodies that did vindicate itself to some degree. However, in all instances what screams from the report is the fact that people were in denial. They refused to accept what happened. People in authority pushed the matter sideways to ensure it was forgotten.
I complimented the Minister on taking a proactive attitude towards this report. His work to date is commendable. However, I ask him and the Minister for Education and Science to take immediate action with regard to the boards of management. What is happening with these boards, and what happened previously, cannot be allowed to continue. There must be a reappraisal of the boards.
I urge them to do whatever is necessary to investigate the link with suicide, particularly with regard to the group I mentioned. In addition, it is important that the vetting which has been mentioned so often in the past few days is implemented for all, both religious and lay personnel, who are involved at any level with children. Ultimately, it is inevitable that the churches will lose out dramatically for a period. That is evident from the younger generation and it is no wonder.
In the communications the bishops have with the Minister they must be up front in providing information. I am certain that this is latent in all the other dioceses, probably proportionate to the populations. When one considers that this applies to 3% of the religious, how much more does it apply to lay people? There is something there and it must be removed. It is a cancer in our society and I hope all the resources necessary will be provided by Government to remove it.