Tag Archives: Scouting Ireland

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)

From top: Minister for Children Kathrine Zappone; Scouting Ireland said it has identified 237 alleged abusers among its ranks

The Minister for Children Katherine Zappone last November told the Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs that safeguarding expert Ian Elliot had found evidence of 71 alleged abusers and 108 alleged victims of abuse.

She warned the numbers could rise.

A month later, Ms Zappone said Scouting Ireland had written to her and said the organisation had since identified 212 alleged abusers and 317 alleged victims of abuse.

Again, she also warned that this figure is also likely to rise.

Further to this…

Jack Power, in The Irish Times, on Saturday reported that Mr Elliott has identified 313 alleged victims, and 237 alleged abusers.

This morning, Mr Power reports:

Children were sexually abused by scout leaders on hikes in the woods, in tents on camping trips, and in local dens, according to statements from 30 alleged victims preparing to take legal action against Scouting Ireland.

Grooming was a common feature of the alleged abuse, with many perpetrators employing similar methods of singling children out for favourable treatment, before going on to molest them, according to the accounts.

“A lot of the time it would have happened in tents, sometimes it would have happened just out in the woods. It could happen in a car, in a minibus, in a scout hall – a lot of the kids were abused on multiple occasions,” according to Daniel O’Connell, a solicitor representing 30 alleged abuse victims.

The Scouting Ireland confidential freephone helpline is 1800 221199.

The number is operational from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Scouting Ireland has also set up a confidential email address: safeguarding@scouts.ie

Scout leaders sexually abused children on hikes, in tents, claim victims (Jack Power, The Irish Times)

The Scouting Ireland homepage, yesterday.


In this morning’s Irish Times, Jack Power reports:

Aisling Kelly, chair of the organisation’s new board, told a private meeting of senior volunteers on Monday night a picture was emerging of “extensive, prolonged, and at times organised child sexual abuse” from the organisation’s past.

“It happened within all levels within the organisation, all strata within the organisation, all counties. It is a situation where people knew of and protected alleged abusers. It’s a situation where people allowed abusers to move from group to group,” Ms Kelly said.

Related: 212 Alleged Abusers And 317 Alleged Victims

(Thanks Pal Joey)

From top: Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone; Scouting Ireland logo

This afternoon.

Via the Department of Children and Youth Affairs:

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, has today  provided an update on the numbers of people coming forward with information about alleged abuse within scouting.

Minister Zappone says she has received a written update from Scouting Ireland which confirms that based on the continued review of historical files and 123 calls to a confidential helpline, they have now identified 317 alleged victims and 212 alleged perpetrators.

Minister Zappone said

“The increase in the number of alleged victims and alleged perpetrators identified during the past two-weeks are a matter of grave concern and once again underline the serious challenges facing Scouting Ireland.

As more people come forward with further information to Scouting Ireland, Tusla the child and family agency, Gardaí and other front-line support services these numbers will in all probability increase.  The public should be aware of this. 

All the agencies involved continue to work on providing verified figures. Supporting victims is my top priority. I would encourage anybody who has been abused or who wishes to name an alleged perpetrator to come forward.”

The Scouting Ireland confidential Freephone helpline is 1800 221199.  The number is operational from 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday.

More as we get it.

Previously: 71 Alleged Abusers And 108 Alleged Victims


This afternoon.

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone informed a meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs about a review of Scouting Ireland records by safeguarding expert Ian Elliot.

She said she was informed last night that Mr Elliot found evidence of 71 alleged abusers and 108 alleged victims of abuse.

She added: “This is based on his work to date and the number may change.”

She said most of the alleged abuse occurred between the 1960s and 1980s but one case may be from an earlier period.

She said none of the alleged abusers are currently working with Scouting Ireland and that reports have been made to Tusla and An Garda Siochana in respect of the alleged abusers who are still alive.

Scouting Ireland finds evidence of 108 child abuse cases (The Irish Times)