Publication of the Dromore Safeguarding Review Report 13th October 2023

The Diocese of Dromore has published today the Report of the Second Review of Child Safeguarding Practice in the Diocese undertaken by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland at the invitation of Archbishop Eamon Martin, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese. 

The Review process, which began in March 2023, assessed compliance with Safeguarding Children Policy and Standards for the Catholic Church in Ireland, 2016. The Reviewers also looked at governance arrangements in the Diocese and any opportunities for learning and development. The child safeguarding standards examined in the Review are as follows:

Standard 1: Creating and Maintaining Safe Environments 

Standard 2: Procedures for responding to Child Protection Suspicions, Concerns, Knowledge or Allegations. 

Standard 3: Care and Support for the Complainant. 

Standard 4: Care and Management of the Respondent. 

Standard 5: Training and Support for Keeping Children Safe. 

Standard 6: Communicating the Church’s Safeguarding Message. 

Standard 7: Quality-Assuring Compliance with the Standards. 

The Reviewers considered changes and developments in the diocese since the last Review in 2011. Child safeguarding practices and arrangements, including strategic plans, operational policies and guidance were examined. Written records were reviewed and, as part of the process, the reviewers met with a range of people, including parents, young people, Youth Leaders and safeguarding personnel within the Diocese. They also visited some parishes and spoke with representatives of religious congregations, PSNI, Social Services and a survivors’ group. 

The Reviewers saw evidence that the diocese co-operated fully with a PSNI investigation in 2018/19 into allegations of abuse in St Colman’s College and that the Diocese apologised unreservedly and publicly for the hurt and damage caused to victims and survivors. 

The Review commends a number of initiatives taken in the Diocese of Dromore, including: 

  • reaching out to and offering support to complainants and their families;
  • giving assurance around the child safeguarding arrangements within the Diocese; 
  • reaffirming and publicising the Diocese’s commitment to ensure children and young people are kept safe as they participate in the life of the Church; 
  • reconnecting with parishes and young people, post Covid-19. 

In their conclusions the Reviewers state that they ‘are satisfied with and assured by the safeguarding arrangements within the Diocese based on evidence from documentation examined, supplemented by engagement with Archbishop Eamon Martin, his safeguarding team, Local Safeguarding Representatives, Youth Ministry leaders, parents, young people, and the Safeguarding Committee’. 

Based on their meeting with survivors and the suggestions made by them, the reviewers believe that there is scope for further diocesan consultation with survivors of abuse. The reviewers state that they ‘observed commitment at all levels to providing and supporting a safe environment for all young people involved in Church ministry’. In discussions with the parishes, the reviewers say that it was evident to them ‘that there is good teamwork, collaboration and support from the safeguarding team who are committed to providing good governance around standards of practice, and to having policy, procedures, and guidelines in place across the parishes’. 

The reviewers remarked that ‘everyone who engaged with them during the review process had demonstrated a good awareness of their role and responsibilities in safeguarding children. They are dedicated to keeping young people safe, whilst providing an environment that nurtures and supports them in their social, emotional and spiritual development’.

Welcoming today’s publication of the Review Report, Archbishop Eamon Martin, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Dromore said, 

‘I am grateful to the many lay people, religious and clergy who are engaged in safeguarding at parish and diocesan level throughout the Diocese of Dromore.  We are determined to ensure that children and other vulnerable people are safe and protected in all Church activities and that any allegations received are promptly referred to the statutory authorities and processed in line with best practice. We are very much aware of the terrible wrong done to innocent children in the past and we are doing everything in our power to prevent anything like that happening again.  I encourage everyone to read the Review report in full and to be vigilant to ensure that the Diocese remains fully committed to safeguarding today and in the future.’

A full copy of the Review Report is available on the Dromore Diocesan website www.dromorediocese.organd will also be published in the coming days by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland


Please click here to download the report.