Tag Archives: Tusla

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Ms Zappone said she had listened to the concerns of adopted people and the changes, in her view, balance the right to privacy with the right to identity.

The new law, which will move to the committee stage in the Seanad today, has been delayed because of concerns about the privacy of natural or birth parents in cases where an adopted person is looking for information.

It is now proposed that the child and family agency Tusla would contact birth parents in relation to any request for information and, if they object to its release, the Adoption Authority of Ireland would make a decision.

Zappone – Adoption law giving access to records ‘a step forward’ (RTÉ)

Mairead Enright writes:

It is not at all clear how adopted people’s rights will be safeguarded by the above process, especially given Tusla’s poor history

This proposal is completely out of step with European norms. It is also a disproportionate measure which assumes adopted people are a “threat” to their natural parents’ wellbeing.

Once the new legislation is passed, the Attorney General is proposing that people adopted in future should have automatic access to their full file once they reach adulthood.

So these are discriminatory provisions affecting people adopted in the era of the laundries and the Mother and Baby Homes.

Together with proposals under the Retention of Records Bill 2019, which will seal testimonies of records of child abuse for 75 years, this legislation shows that the state is not willing to face up to the past.

If anything, this imposition of state control reinscribes the shaming and silencing mechanisms used against natural mothers under Ireland’s regime of forced (and often illegal) adoption.

People must have access, at a minimum, to their unredacted early life records *and* to their birth certs (which are already public records).

Natural mothers should also be able to access their state records.

Amendments to the Bill could also be used to establish meaningful information, matching and tracing services and an independent archive of relevant records.

There is a lot more wrong with the Bill, but the basic assumption that this category of adopted people should be quarantined in this way is highly objectionable and should be resisted.

Oh and before the AG says “but the Constitution”, there is no absolute constitutional right to anonymity. The right to privacy of natural mothers must be balanced against the right to identity.

And anyway framing this as “mothers vs adopted people” isn’t the point. Adults are capable of navigating this information regime, and the state should assist them to do so, not continue to frustrate them.

Meanwhile…

Garda whistleblower, Former Sgt Maurice McCabe and wife Lorraine McCabe at Dublin Castle last summer during the Disclosures Tribunal.

This afternoon.

Whistleblower Maurice McCabe, who left An Garda Síochána last year, has reportedly agreed a settlement for an undisclosed sum in his legal action against the force and Tusla.

Michael Clifford, of the Irish Examiner, reports:

The settlement came after weeks of negotiations between the legal teams for Mr McCabe and the Sate agencies over the 11 separate actions brought by the former garda sergeant and his family.

The actions were based on how Mr McCabe was dealt with in the aftermath of making complaints of malpractice in the force in 2008.

Maurice McCabe settles legal action against Garda Commissioner and Tusla for undisclosed sum (Breakingnews.ie)

Previously: Maurice McCabe on Broadsheet

Disclosures Tribunal on Broadsheet

Rollingnews



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)

Claire McGettrick tweetz:

A tiny sample of the pages which Tusla redacted in my adoption file before sending to me. I’m happily reunited with my mother for over 25 years, so who are they trying to ‘protect’ here? Adopted people are being left behind in so-called modern Ireland #EndSecrecyNow #Stand4Truth

Anyone?

Um

Anyone?

Pat Rabbitte is appointed as new chair of Tusla (The Irish Times)

Pat Rabbitte?

Rollingnews

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr. Katherine Zappone TD and CEO of Tusla Fred McBride at a press briefing in Government Buildings for the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in relation to Budget 2018 last November

This afternoon.

The Board of Tusla has today been informed of the decision by its CEO Fred Mc Bride to step down from his role and to depart the organisation at the end of September, 2018.

In a communication issued to staff this afternoon, the Deputy Chair of the Board, Mr Rory O’Ferrall said they had accepted with regret Mr Mc Bride’s decision and thanked him sincerely for his contribution to the organisation…

He added that while operating against a very challenging backdrop, it was widely recognised that Mr Mc Bride and his team had also presided over a period of considerable reform in which several important milestones has been reached in the advancement of child protection, welfare and support services for families in Ireland….

Mr Mc Bride acknowledged the work done by the 4000 staff within Tusla.

He said: “I want to acknowledge the hard working staff of Tusla and their unstinting commitment in the delivery of child and family support services nationally. I also want to thank the members of the Tusla Board for their ongoing support of the entire management team throughout some very challenging periods of my tenure, and to acknowledge in particular the Chair of the Board, Norah Gibbons at this time.”

A Statement from Tusla this afternoon following the stepping down of Fred McBride. who became CEO in February 2016 replacing this guy.

Disclosures Tribunal-related?

We may never know.

More as we get it.

Tusla

Previously: Tusla on Broadsheet

Rollingnews

Bill Kenneally

Last February.

Several men who had been abused by Waterford basketball coach Bill Kenneally held a press conference in the Buswells Hotel on Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.

Kenneally was given a 14-year sentence in 2016, for sexually abusing ten boys aged between 12 and 16 in Waterford between 1984 and 1987.

During the press conference in February, abuse survivors Colin Power and Jason Clancy said they believed gardai were aware of Kenneally’s abuse as far back as 1979.

The survivors’ claims of a cover-up of the abuse by gardai, members of Fianna Fáil, the HSE and Catholic Church are to be examined by a Commission of Investigation overseen by retired Circuit Court Judge Barry Hickson from next month.

Further to this…

This morning, Saoirse McGarrigle, in the Irish Mirror, reports:

The Child and Family Agency has refused to identify paedophile Bill Kenneally in the medical notes of a boy targeted by him…

Kevin Keating asked to see the 1987 file in which he detailed being lured to the pervert’s home, tied up and threatened if he told anyone about the abuse.

Tusla sent it to him – but the sadist’s name was blanked out despite the fact he was jailed for 14 years in 2016 – 29 years after Kevin first named him to a doctor. Mr Keating and other victims of the former basketball coach claim it proves health bosses knew of the abuse in the 1980s.

The Waterford man said: “The medical notes confirm I told her [the doctor] about the abuse. But there are parts of the papers blacked out. Bill Kenneally’s name has been hidden.

“But that should not be redacted. We know it’s his name there and this shows the HSE knew I and others were being abused by him at that time.”

In a medical report dated 1989 a paediatrician wrote:

Kevin was seen by me on several occasions between 22/10/87 and the summer of 1988.

“Kevin was a 14-year-old boy who was alleging sexual abuse by ______.

“One episode which occurred on the Halloween of ’86 when he was brought into a house and tied up.

“He was also making allegations other boys had been approached by the same person.

There is a question of money changing hands in some of these cases.”

Tusla refused to identify paedophile Bill Kenneally in medical notes of boy he targeted (Saoirse McGarrigle, Irish Mirror)

Previously: “We Know The Gardai Were Aware Of His Activities Since 1979”

Tusla CEO Fred McBride

This afternoon.

At a meeting of the Oireachtas committee on Children and Youth Affairs.

Tusla’s Chief Executive Officer Fred McBride is answering questions in respect of a report published by HIQA yesterday.

HIQA’s report looked at the management of allegations of child sexual abuse against adults by Tusla – after it emerged that Tusla had sent a notification containing a wholly false allegation of rape against Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe to An Garda Síochána in May 2014.

This false rape allegation was brought to the attention of the then Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan in the same month.

Sgt McCabe wasn’t made aware of this false allegation until January 2016 when Tusla wrote to him and told he was being investigated for this.

Between May 2015 and December 2015, Sgt McCabe was involved in the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation which examined his complaints about poor policing in Cavan/Monaghan and throughout this time, he never knew this false allegation had been documented by Tusla and sent to the gardaí.

It wasn’t until June 2016 that Tusla wrote to Sgt McCabe and told him a mistake had been made.

These matters are currently being examined by Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton at the Disclosures Tribunal.

The HIQA report identified 65 cases where the group failed to protect children at “potential risk” of abuse.

The meeting can be watched here.

The report can be read in full here

Related: Tusla identifies failures in 65 cases of kids at risk of abuse (Irish Examiner)

A protest outside Leinster House last January; HiQA’s Mary Dunnion, Phelim Quinn and Paul Morgan this afternoon; Minister for Children Katherine Zappone; Chief Executive, Tusla, Fred McBride

The [HIQA] team found that although 164 of the [Tusla] case files it reviewed were deemed to have been closed, it could not establish that they were.

It also found cases that were inappropriately closed as there were outstanding child protection concerns.

The report states that some children are being left at “potential risk” because of failures at operational level in Tusla to accurately record decisions and actions and to manage under-performance among its personnel.

from a gap between Tusla’s national policy and what is actually happening on the ground regarding the screening of allegations, the development and management of safety plans and Tusla’s communications with people against whom allegations have been made.

…inconsistencies in safety planning practice by Tusla meant that while some children were adequately safeguarded, others at potential risk were not.

It says that “some people were not told that an allegation of abuse had been made against them and others were given only limited information.”

Review finds Tusla must address serious shortcomings (RTÉ)

Rollingnews

Ellen Coyne, in The Times Ireland edition, reports:

A government agency [Tusla] has been accused of “punishing” a sexual violence victims’ group after Rape Crisis Network Ireland lost funding worth €300,000 because it questioned how the state was using abuse victims’ personal data.

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show that Tusla, the child and family agency, said it could not work with the network on a school sexual violence education programme because there was a “conflict of interest”.

It blamed a legal letter that the network had sent, which claimed Tusla was putting victims at risk by collecting and in some cases publishing data it had collected from crisis centres.

…[Independent Senator Lynn] Ruane said that she was extremely concerned by Tusla’s decision to refuse to work with the network on the project and suggested that the charity had been “punished for highlighting a problem”.

Rape charity ‘punished’ after challenging Tusla over data (Ellen Coyne, The Times Ireland edition)