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1/2...llegal adoptions, including sale of baby, known to HSE since 2012…

Evidence of multiple illegal adoptions with at least one child sold to the US from the Tuam mother and baby home was uncovered by the HSE as early as 2012.

Bessborough mother and baby homes by Declan McKeown, a consultant public health physician and medical epidemiologist of HSE Medical Intelligence.

The drafts date to October 2012, two years before the Tuam babies scandal.

They were completed as part of the HSE’s examination of the State’s role in the Magdalene Laundries, under the McAleese inquiry.

In one draft, from October 18 of that year, Dr McKeown noted the Tuam archive contained evidence that one child was sent to a US couple in 1957 for a price.

“Some of the records are well-kept, however, and show that, in one case of an infant being sent to a family in Louisiana, in 1957, a sum of approximately £50 was paid to the order by both the adoptive parents and by the natural [birth] parents,” wrote Dr McKeown.

Under the Adoption Act, 1952, it was illegal for an “adopter, parent, or guardian of a child” to receive any payment in return for the adoption of a child, unless the payments were towards the maintenance of the child or to a solicitor.

Dr McKeown said the adoption records contained in the Tuam archive showed multiple illegal adoptions, which were not processed by the Adoption Board.

The adoption records are scanty, but a number of records do exist, which appear not to have gone through the Adoption Board. Processing an adoption through the Adoption Board would have been the accepted practice at the time.

Dr McKeown’s drafts also revealed that there were letters from “senior Church figures, requesting the nuns to identify babies for adoption to the USA” indicating that the Catholic Church hierarchy was also directing this practice.

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2/2...In one case, the child of a named woman is suggested for transfer to American adoptive parents, a briefing paper states.

Dr McKeown concluded by suggesting the archive needed to be fully examined for possible “criminal issues ”, but noted “an enormous amount of work” remained to be done.

“The archives need to be examined for clinical, accounting, and ethical irregularities, of which there are numerous clues in the material already uncovered.

“Additionally, there may be legal or criminal issues underlying the documentation, and it is critical that these potentials are out ruled as soon as possible, given the increased public interest in the issue of adoption practice in Ireland, particularly in the 1950s.”

A final draft of the briefing paper, containing concerns about adoption and infant mortality at Tuam and Bessborough, and citing the 1957 case, was sent to the national director of the HSE’s quality and patient safety division, Philip Crowley, and to the then national director of HSE children and family services, Gordon Jeyes, the following day.

The briefing paper had been sent one week after a note of a teleconference with the then assistant director of children and family service, Phil Garland, and then head of the medical intelligence unit, David De La Harpe, expressed concern that what was being discovered in Tuam “may prove to be a scandal that dwarfs other, more recent issues with the Church and State”.

This note was revealed by the Irish Examiner in 2015.

A series of questions were put to the HSE, including whether any of the evidence discovered in 2012 was ever reported to a government minister or to the gardaí.

It declined to answer the questions, stating it did not wish to “inappropriately encroach” upon the work of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission.

“The HSE is currently liaising with the commission, in relation to the disclosure of all documentation relevant to their work,” a statement said.

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1/2...Survivors want to be admitted to redress plan ‘without delay’…

Minister to fully implement recommendations of report on flawed administration of redress scheme

Women who worked in Magdalene Laundries, but were refused redress by the Department of Justice, have said they need to be admitted to the scheme “without delay”.

Their demands came as Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan announced proposals to fully implement the recommendations of the Ombudsman following the publication, last November, of a scathing report which highlighted the flawed administration of the Magdalene redress scheme.

The Ombudsman’s key recommendation was the department fully reconsider, with a view to accepting, the applications of women who worked in one of the listed Magdalene Laundries but who were registered on the books of a training centre or industrial school in the same building attached to, or located on, the grounds of the laundry.

An interdepartmental group chaired by the Department of An Taoiseach will deal with the matter. It will deal with issues such as the numbers involved and the likely cost.

The Government will closely consult with the Ombudsman throughout. It will report no later than three months after its first meeting.

There will also be a review of cases, conducted by barrister Mary O’Toole, in which there had been a dispute over the length of stay in a Magdalene Laundry.

The Taoiseach and the justice minister have made clear that this will be a “time-limited process” and that both reviews will be completed “as quickly as possible”.

However, a number of women who worked in the High Park Magdalene Laundry but were excluded from the scheme as they had been admitted to the laundry via the An Grianán training centre, in the same building, have said any reviews need to be speedy.

Survivor Lyndsay Rehn pointed out that the review process could take “a month or a year” and that women like her have already proved their case in applications submitted to the Department.

“We have more than proved our length of stay and our words should be accepted.
Putting us through a possible inquisition yet again is not acceptable nor helpful,” she said.

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2/2... “We, as survivors, have no trust in religions records and state agencies records are not reliable either. All redress payments should be paid before this Government goes on summer holidays this year.”

Karen Busher, also admitted to An Grianán and worked in the laundry, said any additional review needed to be completed without delay.

“I was wrongfully excluded from redress even though I proved that I worked in the laundry like so many other women who were granted access to the scheme.

“I am not seeking anything I am not entitled to so this needs to happen without any further delays.

I, and others like me, have waited long enough,” she said.

Solicitor Wendy Lyon, of KOD Lyons law firm who represents a number of women excluded from the redress scheme, said it was “unnecessary” for further arrangements to be put in place for these women to be granted redress.

“The minister’s decision is welcome, if long overdue, and I hope there won’t be another long delay in actually implementing it.

Many of these women have had their applications in for a number of years and their residence in the institutions has already been verified,” she said. “It seems unnecessary that any new or complex arrangements would have to be put in place to grant them access to the scheme.”

Ombudsman Peter Tyndall has firmly asserted that the women the women do not face any further unnecessary delays in being granted access to the scheme.

His report, published last November, following a year-long investigation and found the Department of Justice had wrongly refused some women access to redress by using an “overly narrow” interpretation of the scheme.

The investigation found the Department was overly reliant on evidence and, often the word, of the religious congregations “to the exclusion of other evidence”.

The personal testimony of survivors had been only considered “as a last resort”.

The report said it was “inexcusable” a number of women lacking capacity who had been accepted to the scheme in 2013 had yet to receive redress payments.

These women had been “effectively forgotten” due to a delay in fully enacting the Decision-Making (Capacity) Act. Seven have since died.

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Magdalene redress refusals to be reversed…

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan will brief Cabinet today of his intention to fully implement the Ombudsman’s recommendations on the Magdalene laundries redress scheme.
Last November, the Ombudsman, Peter Tyndall, published a scathing a report into the scheme, which found that the Department of Justice had wrongly refused some Magdalene laundry survivors access to redress payments.

The report made a number of recommendations, the key one being that the department fully reconsider, with a view to accepting, the applications of women who worked in one of the listed Magdalene laundries but who were recorded as having been “admitted” to a training centre or industrial school in the same building, attached to or located on the grounds of the laundry.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the justice minister met the ombudsman on April 10. At the meeting, which was described as “positive and constructive”, Mr Flanagan indicated that he fully intended to work with the ombudsman to give effect to the recommendations made in the report.

On foot of that meeting, Mr Flanagan will today brief Cabinet of his intention to bring forward proposals to fully implement the ombudsman’s recommendations.

A memo will be brought to Cabinet in the next couple of months with finalised plans for implementation.

Many of the women excluded from the redress scheme were in the An Grianán training centre in the High Park Magdalene Laundry in Dublin.

They were denied access to the scheme by the department because they had been admitted to An Grianán and not the laundry directly, even though they had worked in the laundry.

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Man convicted of raping daughter does not accept jury’s verdict…

Court told one assault came after suicide attempt, another followed complaint about school photo

The barrister for a man who was found guilty of raping and sexually assaulting his daughter has told a court that his client does not accept the jury’s verdict and maintains his innocence.

The 47-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the victim’s identity, was found guilty by a Central Criminal Court jury of three counts of rape, five counts of anal rape and six counts of sexual assault of his daughter in Co Mayo and abroad between 2006 and 2010, when the girl was aged between seven and 11.

The court heard the man anally raped his daughter after she complained about how she looked in her school photograph and on another occasion after she attempted suicide.

The man has eight previous convictions in Ireland and nine abroad.

The victim was in care when she disclosed to her social workers that her father had “behaved inappropriately” towards her and an investigation commenced, the court heard.

The man, who had a problem with alcohol and was intoxicated when he committed these offences, denied everything when he was arrested by Gardaí.

A Garda told Alex Owens SC, prosecuting, that the victim had refused to provide the court with a victim impact statement as she believed this would make her responsible for the length of her father’s sentence and without one the responsibility may be taken away from her.

The Garda agreed with counsel that the man raped his daughter in 2006 following a bereavement and he was intoxicated at the time. The family later moved abroad where the victim was sexually assaulted by her father a number of times by sticking his hand underneath her underwear and touching her genitals.

The Garda said the abuse had a very serious and traumatic effect on the victim which resulted in her making a number of suicide attempts.

Michael P O’Higgins SC, defending, said his client does not accept the jury’s verdict and he maintains his innocence.

“I am therefore limited in what I can say by way of mitigation,” he added. He said his client intended to appeal his conviction as soon as possible.

Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy remanded him in custody until April 23 when he will be sentenced

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Paedophile priest Father Paul Moore 'poisoned my life'…

A man who was sexually abused by Catholic priest Paul Moore when he was just five years old has said the ordeal "poisoned my life".

Andi Lavery, who was Moore's youngest victim, has given BBC Scotland permission to publish a picture of him which was taken in May 1977.

He said: "I was assaulted that day. Moore was present when the picture was taken."

Mr Lavery said the impact of the attacks was incalculable.

He has waived his right to anonymity and spoke out after Moore was jailed for nine years for sexually abusing him, two other children and a student priest

Mr Lavery told BBC Scotland: "It has poisoned my life.

"It has cost me relationships.

"It has cost me jobs.

"It has cost me my health.

"It has cost me my profession.

"It is like the asteroid hitting the dinosaurs and it is never the same again.

"It has been the most maligned destructive force possible and there is no earthquake rescue team coming saying 'How can we help?'

"I still continue to suffer today, even after the verdict."

Mr Lavery told his devoutly Catholic mother about the attacks but, although she believed him, he claimed: "She just didn't want to know."

More than 40 years later he was in court to see Moore being sentenced.

Mr Lavery said: "I saw Moore's face when he was going to the cells and he has not changed since I was five.

"He has not changed one bit.

"He is still a real clear and present risk to any child he can ever get near."

Mr Lavery, who suffered a panic attack while giving evidence, remains angry about the way the Catholic Church handled his case.

And he said he could never forgive Father Moore.

Mr Lavery said: "This is the man that said he would put God inside me.

"I put him inside a cell."

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1/2...Prisoner who claimed State failed him as a child gets €50,000…

Now 30-year-old man claimed he was physically and sexually abused in foster care
Approving a €50,000 settlement for a prisoner, Mr Justice Kevin Cross told the man he would have to keep on his medication on his release from prison and wished him well for the future.

A prisoner who claimed he was failed by the State as a child when put in foster care has settled his High Court action for €50,000.

The now 30-year old man was placed in State care at age four and claimed he was physically and sexually abused while in foster care and never properly treated for his ADHD condition.

He is in solitary confinement and was in the past jailed for violent attacks.

The High Court heard on Friday the case had settled without an admission of liability.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the settlement of €50,000 towards the man’s future care and directed the prisoner, who heard the ruling via video link, not be identified in any way.

In opening the case earlier this week, Hugh O’Keeffe SC, for the prisoner, said the man was first taken in to care when he was four years old due to the neglect of his mother and it was their case there has been an “abject failure of the State” in his case.

He said the man’s life had been a “litany of very sorry circumstances” and, since the age of 17 years had spent most of the time incarcerated for anger related crimes.

Counsel said no adequate plan was put in place to treat the man’s ADHD when he was a child.

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2/2...The man has since been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and is getting treatment for that, counsel said.

He said the prisoner’s main worry is that he has nobody and nowhere to go when he is released.

The prisoner by video link said the settlement figure was acceptable and he had been out of trouble for one and a half years since he started the medication to control his condition.

He sued the Ministers for Justice and Health, the Attorney General, the HSE and the Irish Prison Service for alleged negligence and breach of duty and claimed he was sexually abused while in foster care as a child.

He claimed he was in the care of a foster family for 10 years during which time he alleged he was assaulted, battered, falsely imprisoned and abused.

He further claimed, when he left aged 14, he was not provided with a safe environment in which to live and was allegedly given drugs and raped.

Since aged 17, the man has spent most of his time in prison and has been incarcerated at various prisons where it is claimed his various conditions were not diagnosed or treated as they should have been.

It was further claimed there was failure to implement any or any suitable or adequate code of ethics or rules of good practice for foster parents and failure to take any or any adequate steps by means of screening, enquiry or character assessment before appointing the boy’s foster family.

The State denied all the claims and pleaded some or all of the injuries alleged were caused by the man’s own acts by behaving aggressively and violently and engaging in criminal activity.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross told the man he is going to have to keep on his medication on his release from prison and wished him well for the future.

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St Finbarr’s infant burials may not be investigated…

The Mother and Baby Homes Commission and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) have refused to say whether all the infant burials discovered in unmarked graves in a Cork city cemetery will be investigated.

An Irish Examiner investigation, published last month, revealed that three grave plots in St Finbarr’s cemetery, in Cork City, contain the remains of at least 21 children some of whom were buried as late as 1990.

Two of the graves are unmarked, while the third has just one name, despite 16 children being buried in the plot.

One of the unmarked plots is owned by the now closed St Anne’s Adoption Society, while the largest plot was owned by the St Patrick’s Orphanage, run by the Mercy Sisters.

It operated a nursery for St Anne’s Adoption Society. The final plot is a non-perpetuity plot, indicating that it is unowned.

All three plots contain children who were in the care of the Bessborough Mother and Baby Home one of the institutions under the remit of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission.

The remainder of the infants one of whom died as late as 1988 and is in an unmarked grave have no connection to Bessborough and are therefore outside the remit of the commission.

However, they represent the same cohort of infant deaths being examined namely, the children of unmarried women who were to be adopted.

The Irish Examiner asked both the commission and the DCYA if all of the burials in the plots would be investigated and if the terms of reference would be extended to include St Anne’s Adoption Society.

The DCYA said there are “no plans” to further extend the commission’s terms of reference, saying it had “sufficient scope to examine the issues raised, in so far as they relate to the children who were resident for a time in the named institutions [listed under the terms of reference]”.

Asked again if all of the burials including those which are not connected to Bessborough would be examined, the DCYA said it was “not in a position to address the question”, as it does not hold the records of St Anne’s Adoption Society or those of the cemetery.

When this information was then offered to the DCYA, it responded by stating that the Irish Examiner should “contact the commission directly”.

The same question was put to the commission, which responded one week later, but declined to answer.

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Minister Zappone requests Tuam babies research…

Children’s minister Katherine Zappone is requesting a copy of research which states that new advanced genomic technologies should allow for the identification of remains at the site of the former Tuam Mother and Baby Home.

A team of experts in genomics from University College Dublin and Trinity College have challenged the findings of Ms Zappone’s expert technical group (ETG) advising Government about managing the Tuam site.

The ETG had said that the “commingled” nature of the remains made it “particularly challenging to realistically isolate individual remains”.

However, the report also pointed out that Ireland may be bound by human rights law to investigate the deaths to the fullest degree possible.

It had outlined five options which the Government could pursue when managing the location, ranging from doing no further investigative work, to a full forensic excavation and analysis of all human remains.

However, the UCD/TCD team of genomics experts said new advanced genomic technologies should allow for the identification of remains at the Co Galway site.

The findings are published in a submission to the public consultation process by Galway County Council. It is written by David MacHugh, Jens Carlsson, and Stephen Donoghue from UCD, and Trinity’s Dan Bradley.

Ms Zappone has requested a copy of the submission so that it can be reviewed by the ETG. In a statement, the Department of Children said the minister had made it clear on publication of the ETG report that neither she nor her department had a preferred option in terms of the Tuam site, and that stance remains.

Historian Catherine Corless, whose work led to the discovery of a mass grave in Tuam, said the submission “couldn’t have come at a better time” as a decision on how to proceed at the site will be taken next month.

“You would wonder though, why the specialist team used an outdated report on the possibilities of DNA testing when up-to-date information on DNA testing was at hand,” said Ms Corless. “Also, why did they not consult with local DNA experts?”

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1/2...Richard Farnell was found to have lied in his evidence to an inquiry into child exploitation at a council school and hostel.

Labour has suspended a former Rochdale council leader following the release of a report into child sex abuse which reveals he lied during the inquiry.

Richard Farnell told a panel that he did not know about claims of widespread sexual exploitation in the town between 1986 and 1992.

His refusal to accept responsibility for events was described as "shameful".

Mr Farnell claimed his colleagues had not informed him of claims that boys as young as eight at the council-run Knowl View school and Cambridge House Hostel were being sexually targeted by men from as far afield as Sheffield.

But the panel said it "defies belief that Mr Farnell was unaware of the events involving Knowl View school."

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse concluded on Thursday that authorities showed a "total lack of urgency" to address exploitation at the school.

Professor Alexis Jay, who chaired the inquiry, said she was "deeply disturbed at the evidence of extensive abuse and the institutional responses to that abuse".

"Many of those who testified to their abuse have never had the opportunity to see justice through the courts," she added.

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2/2...The inquiry report also found that opportunities to prosecute Cyril Smith the late Liberal MP believed to have perpetrated abuse - were missed.

There was an "unwillingness of those at the highest level" to believe a prominent figure was capable of child abuse, the inquiry concluded, while boys at the school were regarded not as victims but "authors of their own abuse".

It heard that Smith, who received a knighthood despite a string of sex allegations, showed a considerable interest in children in care as his political career progressed.
Witnesses reported that he sexually assaulted them on the pretext of medical examinations.

A Lancashire Police file detailing evidence against Smith was given to the Crown Prosecution Service in 1998 - but they advised no charge should be faced despite there being a "realistic prospect of conviction".

A CPS spokesperson said their approach to such cases was now very different and lawyers would likely have charged Smith if considering the same evidence today.

"Since those decisions were made, training and guidance for prosecutors handling child sexual abuse and rape cases have been subject to huge change," they said.

The inquiry did not find evidence of a cover-up, however.

Daniel Wolstencraft, a member of the inquiry's victim and survivor consultative panel, called the findings "momentous".

"These lads from the age of nine up to 11 came forward and they have been branded liars," he said.

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A 90-year old County Tyrone man has appeared in court on historic sexual abuse charges against a male child....

Vincent Lewis of Annagher Road, Coalisland, but current in custody, is accused of indecently assaulting the child.

He is also accused of committing an act of gross indecency.

The offences are alleged to have occurred on dates between 1983 and 1985.

A police officer told Dungannon Magistrates Court the charges could be connected to the accused.

Lewis dressed in a brown coat and black trousers, spoke only to confirm his identity and that he understood the charges.

He struggled to stand whilst in the dock and appeared quite frail.

A defence solicitor said his Lewis is currently a sentenced prisoner and asked for bail on the new charges to be revoked.

District Judge John Meehan agreed and ordered Lewis to appear again by video-link on 9 May 2018

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1/2...Historical abuse victims secure judicial review in bid to win compensation

Victims of institutional abuse in Northern Ireland have won High Court permission to challenge the ongoing failure to provide them with compensation.

They were granted leave to seek a judicial review of alleged failures by the authorities in London and Belfast to implement the recommendations of a major inquiry in the absence of Stormont.

Lawyers representing a group of those abused in children's homes have issued proceedings against the Secretary of State and the Executive Office.

With many victims in poor health and others having passed away since their campaign began, the group claims both bodies have legal powers and duties to step in and ensure payouts.

In January 2017, the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry concluded that there should be a public apology to those who suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse between 1922 to 1995, and compensation ranging from £7,500 to £100,000.
Inquiry chairman Sir Anthony Hart has since made repeated pleas to politicians to act on his recommendations and provide the financial, social and educational support as a matter of urgency.

Earlier this year the head of the Civil Service in Northern Ireland revealed work was under way on draft legislation aimed at implementing the inquiry's proposals. But legal action has now been launched in a bid to compel the authorities to take immediate steps.

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2/2...Barry Macdonald QC argued that the Secretary of State "had residual executive powers to give effect to a redress scheme for victims of abuse".

"In the alternative, senior officers in the Executive Office have the power and duty to do so," he added.

Tony McGleenan QC, for the Secretary of State, countered that it was an issue for the devolved institutions.

And counsel for the Executive Office argued work was continuing on the draft legislation to deliver the inquiry's recommendations and achieve what the victims are seeking.

However, Mr Justice McCloskey granted leave for a judicial review after ruling that an arguable case had been established.

The judge added: "There's a seemingly indefinite moratorium in Northern Ireland affecting the Executive and the legislature.

The court had experience of this in more than one judicial review case - there have in fact been several.

"One of the consequences of this moratorium is that members of the Northern Ireland population are driven to seek redress from the High Court in an endeavour to address aspects of the void that has been brought about by the absence of a government and legislature."

He also pledged: "The substantive hearing of this case will not be later than September 2018."

Outside court a solicitor representing the victims and survivors said they were being re-traumatised by the delay.

Claire McKeegan of KRW Law added: "Since the campaign began many of our clients have sadly passed away without obtaining the redress that they so greatly need and deserve. Many of these individuals are elderly and infirm."

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1/2...Identifying Tuam babies difficult, not impossible, says Varadkar…

Zappone to examine report from UCD-TCD scientists on DNA extraction at burial site

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone will bring proposals to Cabinet about the prospects of identifying babies in a mass grave in a former religious-run institution in Tuam, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said.

Speaking in Limerick, Mr Varadkar said a report on the issue previously filed to the State did not say that it was “impossible” to identify the nearly 800 remains at the former mother-and-baby home.

“It may have said it was difficult, but not impossible,” he went on, adding that Ms Zappone wanted to consult the relatives of those who died in Tuam and those who were held there, and with locals in the town.

Meanwhile, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs said a report from UCD and TCD scientists, which argues that DNA advances means that the remains can be identified, will be examined.

Ms Zappone said she was “very interested to see that other experts in the field of forensic archaeology and genetics have a different view” to the experts she appointed.

The expert technical group which she had appointed will inform her of their opinion on the submission, and this would be part of her decision-making process on what to do next, she said.

Meanwhile, one of the authors of the UCD-TCD report, genetics expert Prof David McHugh, expressed confidence that the latest DNA extraction and analysis techniques would succeed.

They have successfully identified whole genetic profiles of remains that were thousands of years old.

This had also been achieved with infant remains, which were smaller and posed particular difficulties.

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2/2...Difficulties to be found on the grounds of the former Bons Secours home in Tuam could be overcome, he argued, especially if the remains were in walled chambers, which could have helped their preservation.

He acknowledged it would not be possible to identify every skeleton, but by focusing on petrous bone samples from the skull, it was possible to identify remains of many of those buried there.

Historian Catherine Corless, whose research revealed the mass grave, said she expected the Government would “play down” the possibility of deploying the latest DNA technology because of the costs involved.

“It is the least that can be done for these babies, who were given no name, just discarded and forgotten about,” she told RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke. “We know it can be done and it should be done.”

Ms Corless said a database could easily be set up, which would allow for families who believe they may have relatives buried in Tuam to come forward to give DNA samples, which could then be used to identify babies.

Anna Corrigan of the Tuam Babies Family Group, which represents families with relatives in the grave and survivors from the home, said she believed politicians are unwilling to tackle the issue.

There “is a distinct possibility” that some children “are not there, and that the death rate plummeted after the introduction of the 1952 Adoption Act, which is highly sinister, so we need the DNA. We need the bodies exhumed,” she said.

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Pope Francis admits 'grave errors' in Chile sex abuse scandal…

Pope Francis's climbdown followed a visit to Chile by one of the Vatican's most experienced sexual abuse investigators

Pope Francis has acknowledged that he made "grave mistakes" in the handling of a sexual abuse crisis in Chile, saying he felt shame, and inviting victims he had once doubted, to Rome to personally seek their forgiveness.

In letter to the Chilean hierarchy he blamed his errors on a lack of "truthful and balanced information".

The climbdown follows a visit to Chile by one of the Vatican's most experienced sexual abuse investigators, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, who investigated claims that Bishop Juan Barros, who was appointed by the pope in 2015, had covered up sexual abuse of minors by his mentor Father Fernando Karadima.

During the Pope's visit to Chile last January, he told reporters there was not a single piece of evidence against Barros and that all the accusations were slanderous.

The Pope's about-turn has been welcomed by the Irish child abuse survivor, Marie Collins, who resigned last year from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors alleging that the Vatican bureaucracy was obstructing its work.

This morning she tweeted: "Vindication at last" for Barros' accusers, including Juan Carlos Cruz who she had failed to persuade the Vatican to appoint to the Commission.

"They told the truth but the Pope accused them of "calumny" based on the word of his clerical colleagues. Archbishop Scicluna did an excellent job with his investigation," Ms Collins added

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Catholic priest jailed for nine years for child sex abuse…

Catholic priest has been jailed for nine years for sexually abusing three children and a student priest in crimes spanning more than 20 years.

Father Paul Moore, 82, committed the crimes in various locations in Ayrshire between 1977 and 1996.

The court heard how he abused one boy at a school, another at a leisure centre and a third on the beach at Irvine in the 1970s.

He was also found guilty of indecently assaulting a student priest in 1995.
The judge Lady Rae told Moore he was guilty of despicable crimes and a gross breach of trust.

She also said the victims had shown considerable courage in coming forward.

The youngest was just five when the priest abused him in his primary school.

The court heard that the priest groomed some of his victims by taking them swimming or out for meals before sexually abusing them.

A BBC Scotland investigation revealed five years ago that Moore confessed his abuse to his bishop in 1996.

Bishop Maurice Taylor, 91, gave evidence in the trial and told the court Moore admitted he had "an attraction to young boys" and had "a desire to abuse minors".

The bishop sent him to a treatment centre in Toronto and to Fort Augustus Abbey in the Highlands.

Moore was removed from the pastoral ministry after his admission but continued to live in a house purchased by the church.

The priest, who was identified in court as Francis Moore but was known as Father Paul, was found guilty after a trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

The Crown Office praised the courage of his victims in coming forward.

Kenny Donnelly, procurator fiscal for sexual offences, said: "The actions of Francis Moore have had a devastating impact on the lives of his vulnerable victims.

"He was trusted and respected by the community he served while all along he was abusing his position of trust.

"Thanks to the bravery of his victims in coming forward to report what happened to them, he is now paying the consequences for his actions."

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1/2...Abuse services group fails to convene…

The State’s national body tasked with developing services for victims of child sexual abuse has not met since October 2016.

The multi-agency group, led by Tusla, has only met three times since it was established in May 2015, but is supposed to meet every three months.

The revelation follows the publication last month of a highly critical report by the Garda Inspectorate, highlighting the State’s continuing failure to establish regional child centres providing all services medical, policing, and therapeutic for sexually abused children.

The inspectorate called for these centres back in 2012.

The National Steering Committee for Sexual Abuse Services was tasked with setting up four of these centres, in addition to providing national multiagency oversight, co-ordinating regional responses, and establishing three forensic examination centres, in Cork, Dublin, and Galway.

This committee replaced the HSE Ferns 4 Steering Committee, set up in 2011, which was also tasked with developing these services.

Cari, a charity for abused children, is on the steering group. Chief executive Mary Flaherty criticised the lack of progress and said the steering process was “not working”. Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, gave details on the national group to the Irish Examiner on the back of questions submitted after the publication of the

Responding to Child Sexual Abuse report by the inspectorate a month ago.

That report said: “Even though there appear to be commitments at very high levels in the Garda Síochána and Tusla to develop child centres, there are still no centres of any type or model in operation and there has been very little progress in the last five years.”

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2/2....Asked when it was due to meet again, Tusla said the committee would now be reviewed by the inter-departmental implementation group which the Government announced after the inspectorate’s report.

Tusla said a multi-agency group had been established to develop a service in Tusla West, stretching from Limerick to Donegal. Ms Flaherty said this group was the “most comprehensive” of the four regions, but moving at a “snail’s pace”.

She said the intention to set up a service in Galway was “logical” as it already had a specialist 24-hour forensic examination centre for children the only dedicated service, she said, in the country, compared to six units for adults.

She said there were more than 70 children in Limerick on a waiting list for up to 18 months. There are two assessment and therapy services in Dublin in Temple Street Hospital and St Louise’s Unit in Crumlin.

In May 2016, Tusla said it was developing a specialist multidisciplinary service in North Dublin, Louth/Meath, Cavan/Monaghan region. Ms Flaherty said this group, which Cari also sits on, does not involve the gardaí (unlike Tusla West) and had “now lapsed”, having not met for “almost a year”.

She said Cari had 30 children in Dublin on a list who, at present capacity, would be waiting close to a year for a service. Her colleague, Eve Farrelly, said waiting times for children were “unacceptable”.

The National Children’s Hospital will have a forensic examination service when it opens in 2021. Ms Flaherty said it was not clear what was happening in the Southern or the South Dublin/Midland regions, and Tusla did not provide information on them.

On the implementation group, she said someone had to “crack the nut” around leadership.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs said “governance and logistics” for the centres would be addressed in the Implementation Group.

The inspectorate report said joint interviews of child victims by a social worker and garda had ceased and there were only 16 trained social workers. Tusla said 52 social workers are expected to be trained by end of 2019.

Contact Cari: 00353 -1- 890 92 45 67

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Humberside Police still failing some children, review finds

The latest review followed an inspection of Humberside Police in 2016
Humberside Police is still failing in some areas of child protection, investigators have found.

A post-inspection review by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary found issues with the protection of children involved in domestic abuse cases.

In one case, a man who reported his partner for assaulting him with a child present had been investigated five years earlier for child grooming.

No risk assessment was carried out until months later, inspectors said.

Of the 35 cases assessed in the post-inspection review, inspectors found the force's practice to be good in just nine cases, with 17 requiring improvement and the remainder found to be inadequate.

Inspectors found failings with risk assessments had resulted "in significant backlogs of cases which require attention", and the force was criticised for how it deals with children in custody.

However, the review carried out in November recognised the force was making improvements to ensure children involved in domestic abuse incidents were identified and referred to other agencies in a timely manner.

Improved understanding...

In 2016, a report found custody officers and staff had limited knowledge of child safeguarding and their role within this.

There was also confusion between the appropriate circumstances in which they could request alternative and secure accommodation for children.

The post inspection review found no additional training had been provided to custody officers and staff due to time limitations and shift patterns.

Inspectors said staff also reported children may still be kept in custody overnight due to a lack of available transport to take them to more appropriate accommodation.

Some children also stayed in custody due to the lack of availability of "an appropriate adult".

But the review found that despite the lack of formal additional training, staff had an improved understanding of the differences between alternative and secure accommodation.

The force was also praised for its management of sex offenders and how it deals with children in online abuse investigations.

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