The audit, released yesterday, recommended that the position should be filled by a non-clergyman.
Ian Elliott, from the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, also revealed that the priest who was appointed was uneasy with the role and had probably taken up the position out of loyalty to the Church.
“The safeguarding structure within the diocese is mainly staffed by lay people who have volunteered for their roles,” wrote Elliott.
“The Designated Person is a priest and he is more ill at ease with the tasks associated with his role. This discomfort is related to the fact that those against whom allegations are made are generally well known to him and in some circumstances life long friends.
“As a priest, (as is the case throughout the country), the task of being totally objective in these situations, can be very difficult and can add significant pressure to established colleague relationships.
“The recent introduction of a lay Deputy Designated Person is to be welcomed. This development should be built upon and it would serve the diocese well if the practice of appointing clerical designated persons was phased out in favour of lay personnel only. This development is being recommended in other dioceses.”
Mr Elliott said that following an interview with the clerical Designated Person it was clear that the guidelines were NOT referenced on a regular basis when handling complaints.
“In fact a number of the personnel in the safeguarding structure interviewed were not as familiar with the content of the various standards and guidelines as they should be,” he said.
“The Designated Person had not received any formal training in safeguarding when he took over the role in January 2009, though he previously had acted as support person and therefore had an awareness of the issues.”
Mr Elliott said the priest had since attended meetings and training organised by the National Office in Maynooth.
However he noted: “It is also evident it is not a role in which he felt comfortable but he undertook it out of a sense of responsibility and a desire to ensure better practice in the diocese.
“The role of Designated Person is not popular amongst priests and identifying someone to take this role on can be difficult. While conscious that the role needed to be filled it appeared that the Designated Person was not completely confident and at an emotional level was challenged by the tasks involved in the role.”
And Mr Elliott praised Bishop Boyce for accepting the audit in full but said he hadn’t always treated the issue with the significance needed.
“It is a matter of great regret to Bishop Boyce that his focus on victims’ needs was not greater in the past, and he now acknowledges that he has a very different appreciation of his safeguarding responsibilities as to when he first came into office,” said Elliott.
“The reviewers would accept that this is the case and would wish to commend Bishop Boyce on his willingness to learn the painful lessons of the past and to apply them to the current practice in the diocese.”
© 2011 donegaldaily.com, all Rights Reserved
The copying, republication or redistribution of donegaldaily.com Content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited by law.
Follow us on www.twitter.com/donegaldaily
Follow us on www.facebook.com/donegaldaily
Sell anything on www.donegaldailyclassifieds.comTags: