Tag Archives: Ian Elliott



From top: Interim CEO of Tusla Pat Smyth; Labour TD Sean Sherlock; Ian Elliott, interim Safeguarding Manager at Scouting Ireland; Katherine Zappone

On February 27 last, the Minister for Children Katherine Zappone published a four-page letter which had been sent from Tusla to Scouting Ireland on February 18.

It followed Ms Zappone announcing last December that Scouting Ireland had identified 212 alleged abusers and 317 alleged victims of abuse and this figure was likely to rise.

Tusla’s partially redacted letter referred to three lives cases, saying:

Gaps arose in three situations. In one case on cub camp, a child exposed himself and sexually assaulted children in the tent.

In another report, a child was exposing himself and behaving in a sexually in-appropriate way in front of his camp mates and in a third case, at cub camp a child was acting out a forceful sex act on other children in the tent who were afraid to sleep for fear of being assaulted themselves.

These live case examples highlight a number of areas of poor practice and have left children exposed to risk of harm.

In addition the practice by SI personnel, redacted, as Head of Safeguarding to interview children in the circumstances described above is very concerning.

The letter also criticised that a helpline set up for people to receive allegations in relation to Scouting Ireland was being manned by Scouting Ireland personnel.

It also made eight child protection recommendations to Scouting Ireland – including that Scouting Ireland should consider “the viability of continuing with overnight trips given the concerns outlined”.

Further to this…

Members of Tusla and Scouting Ireland answered questions at a meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs this morning and this afternoon.

This morning, interim CEO of Tusla Pat Smyth told the committee that the letter was never meant to be made public.

In addition, Labour TD Sean Sherlock asked Ian Elliott, interim Safeguarding Manager at Scouting Ireland, about an inter-agency meeting which took place two days before Ms Zappone made this letter public – on February 25.

Mr Elliott said the meeting had been initiated by Scouting Ireland in November and it was an attempt to bring An Garda Siochana, Tusla and Scouting Ireland together – so Scouting Ireland could “actively review” the practice, co-operation and collaboration of the agencies and to give them a chance to request any further information from Scouting Ireland.

Mr Elliott said Tusla’s letter, which Scouting Ireland received on Friday, February 22, was discussed at the meeting of the February 25.

He said:

“I raised it by means of two questions which were then answered by the two agencies and in their answers, Tusla’s representatives, made reference to the letter. I actually knew that the two senior managers who were there had been copied into the letter.

“I didn’t permit too much discussion about the content of the letter…An Garda was there and I didn’t feel it was appropriate for that to happen.”

It shocked me because I thought, well, you know, on one hand, we were receiving this letter, and on the other hand, well, I’m talking to people directly and individuals copied into this letter – they’re saying ‘no, everything’s fine, we have no concerns, we have no problems, no difficulties with what you’re doing and how you’re doing it’.”

Mr Sherlock put it to Mr Elliott that when Ms Zappone published the letter two days after this meeting, on February 27, “the bombshell was dropped” publicly – despite the issues apparently having been “addressed” at the meeting of February 25.

Mr Elliott agreed and said “that’s why the meeting was set up”.

He also said that he spoke with members of An Garda Siochana “at a very senior level” to ask if they were “absolutely satisfied” with how Scouting Ireland was operating and the “quality of information” that was going to the gardai.

Mr Elliott said: “I was assured that was the case.”

He added: “I don’t understand what has happened. If I could mention this. I think it’s important. If you’re going to criticise the practice of an individual in relation to safeguarding, then you need to have solid evidence.

“You need to actually examine either the case record or talk to the individuals involved in the practice… but none of that happened.”

Mr Elliott went on to tell Mr Sherlock that no case record has been examined by Tusla and no staff member of Scouting Ireland has been interviewed by Tusla.

Mr Sherlock said Mr Elliott’s comments have “thrown up a whole new can of worms”.

The TD said: “We had Tusla earlier on and we had a version of events, we have Scouting Ireland’s interpretation of events now and I just think it throws up a whole set of new questions…And there are now questions to be asked of department officials and the minister I think in respect of the matter arising out of the evidence we’ve just heard here.”

Watch the committee’s proceedings live here

Legacy of historic child sexual abuse in scouts ‘very painful truth’ (Jack Power, The Irish Times)

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Former CEO of the National Board of Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC) Ian Elliott

You’ll recall how, in March 2014, the former CEO of the church’s watchdog on child protection, National Board of Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, Ian Elliott told the Irish Independent that the Diocese of Down and Connor had blocked the release of information it had about  former priest Jim Donaghy, who was jailed for 10 years in 2012 for abusing two altar boys and a trainee priest.

The NBSCCC rejected the claim at the time.

Further to this, RTÉ Radio One’s This Week yesterday reported that Mr Elliott, whose role at the NBSCCC ended in June 2013, is taking a personal injuries case against the NBSCCC.

It is not known if the personal injuries case is related to the allegations pertaining to the Diocese of Down and Connor audit.

RTÉ journalist John Burke reported:

“My understanding is that the particular type of case which has been initiated by Mr Elliott in this case relates to a claim for stress in the workplace caused, allegedly, by a failure of the NBSCCC in this case to adequately support or protect his work while at the board.”

“In terms of the status of the application which Mr Elliott has taken against the board, and it’s important to explain first that the Personal Injuries Assessment Board operates a kind of clearing house for most types of injuries cases. You can’t take a personal injuries case in the courts without effectively going through this process first. So, effectively, the injuries board examines a case to see whether they can handle in it by consent between the parties or by some related means. And if not, they’ll formally release it which means they effectively decide that it can now proceed to a full civil litigation in the courts, if the applicant chooses.”

“Now, my understanding is that, earlier this month, the injuries board decided to release the case forward for litigation. And it’s also important to say that, by releasing the case, they don’t endorse or pass any judgement on the merit of a case. Essentially, what the injuries board has said is that the case is now released to proceed to the next stage which will be a court action.”

“The NBSCCC published a final version of that report [the audit into the Catholic diocese of Down and Connor] in December 2013 and it was reported some months later that Mr Elliott believed that that final report did not, in his view, reflect the original fieldwork that he had done during that process. The safeguarding board [NBSCCC] rejected the substance of those reports and said that they stood over the final published audit report, as an accurate reflection of the work of the board in preparing this audit into Down and Connor…We don’t know about the precise detail of Mr Elliott’s personal injuries case agains the board, other than our understanding that it relates to a claim for stress and psychological damages. He has not yet filed a plenary summons in a court which might be the most next likely outcome so it’s not until the subsequent stages of this that we would have more detail in terms of the specifics of Mr Elliott’s claim or whether it’s connected to that earlier dispute.”

“Mr Elliott met with the then Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald in February 2014, after he wrote to her, seeking a meeting. She then engaged in a series of written correspondence with the NBSCCC over the issue, copies of some of which we’ve obtained under a Freedom of Information request. Frances Fitzgerald wrote to the national board on the third of March last year, and a number of letters passed back and forth with the national board in which they categorically denied all of Mr Elliott’s allegations.”

“The issue has more recently been taken up by the current minister James Reilly, who met with the national board specifically on this issue in October last year. Now a spokesman for the minister described the disputed account of the audit report into Down and Connor as an internal matter between the national board and it’s former CEO. However he did say that the minister was reassured over the governance structures at the national board. And he also said that if such a dispute arose, again in the future, then a new procedure will apply, under which a High Court judge will be assigned to consider the differences in terms of the outcome of any report.”

There you go now.

Listen back in full here

Previously: On A Collision Course

‘By Covert Means’

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[From top: Former Chief Executive of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) Ian Elliott in September 2012 and Bishop of Down and Connor, Noel Treanor at a press conference after a meeting of the Irish Catholic Bishops Conference in Maynooth, Co. Kildare in 2008]

You may recall reports from earlier this month claiming that Mr Elliot – who carried out fieldwork in the diocese of Down and Connor in May 2013 – may sue Bishop Treanor over the December 2013 publication of the NBSCCCI review of safeguarding practice in the Diocese of Down and Connor, claiming the report failed to include a serious clerical child abuse case.

Mr Elliot told the Irish Independent that the diocese blocked the release of information it had about  former priest Jim Donaghy, who was jailed for 10 years in 2012 for abusing two altar boys and a trainee priest.

The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland rejected the claim in a statement on its website this week while also claiming that Mr Elliot “has not yet responded to our correspondence with him”.

This morning, Patsy McGarry reports:

Last night Mr Elliott told The Irish Times that he “stands resolutely by the comments [he] made” and that it was untrue of the board to say he had not responded to its correspondence. “We have been in communication through our respective lawyers.”

Catholic Church child protection board rejects criticisms of audit by Ian Elliott (Irish Times)

Church watchdog denies omissions in abuse report (Irish Independent)

Related: Ian Elliott may sue Catholic bishop over child protection report (BBC, March 8, 2014)

Previously: “By Covert Means”

Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland