24/05/2012 Child Protection Update 2012

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The Child Safeguarding and Protection Service (CSPS) of the Archdiocese of Dublin has published its annual Child Protection Update – giving statistical information on child sexual abuse by priests in the Dublin Diocese.

Speaking at a briefing on the CSPS report, Director of the Service Andrew Fagan said the Diocese provided regular updates on its work and made them publically available. He said this exercise is vital in keeping the public informed and reassured of the ongoing efforts to maintain high standards in child safeguarding.

New information, compiled following an extensive internal review of the work of the service was made available which details the extent of abuse carried out by 10 serial abusers. The figures also show a sharp decline in the level of incidents of abuse recorded since the 1980’s.

Mr. Fagan said that despite years of reports, guidelines and training both inside and outside the Church, many people still had a skewed perception of what Safeguarding children in the Catholic Church involves. “There are a number of key messages, which it is important for people to understand,” said Mr. Fagan, “In Dublin, child safeguarding operates to a high standard and Dublin parishes are now safer places for children. While the majority of allegations of abuse reported to us now, relate to sexual abuse which may have occurred many years ago, it is still crucial to be vigilant and to work to ensure standards are maintained,” said Mr. Fagan. 

Andrew Fagan added that the Archdiocese of Dublin is one of just a small number of organisations in Ireland, North and South, which supervises men who are deemed a risk to children. The service, while not without its limitations, aims to minimise the risk of these men offending again and is more extensive than services currently provided by the State.

The Archdiocese has for many years, implemented child safeguarding guidelines as set down by the State (Children First) and the Church (Safeguarding Children). All allegations of child sexual abuse received by the Diocese are reported to the Gardai and the HSE. To date, the Archdiocese has also shared this information with the Murphy Commission of Investigation and two Garda Inquiries.

In 2011 a new suite of training modules was developed by the National Board for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church.  This new training has involved thousands of priests, employees and volunteers in the Diocese as well as its agencies and parishes.


  • Last year almost 1,000 people participated in training and information sessions for the Safeguarding of Children in the Archdiocese of Dublin


  • To date, over 26,300 people, including bishops, priests, parish workers, Diocesan staff, agency staff, ancillary staff in schools and volunteers have participated in Garda Vetting.

Since last year’s publication of statistics:


Allegations of child sexual abuse were reported against 4 priests of the Archdiocese of Dublin who were not previously the subject of complaints.


  • A suspicion of child sexual abuse was raised against 1 priest of the Archdiocese who was not previously the subject of complaints.


  • The total number of priests of the Archdiocese against whom allegations of child sexual abuse have been recorded is now 98. This relates to a period of over 70 years. 


  • In that time around 1,350 priests have served in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

 Arising from the current review[1] the service published information it has on 10 priests and former priests whom it has categorised as serial abusers of children as well as an analysis of when incidents of abuse are alleged to have occurred over the past six decades.

Details of the review of serial child abusers included the following information:



Number of Allegations/Suspicions

Criminal Conviction

Current Status




Dismissed from clerical state. No contact with Diocese




Dismissed. No contact with Diocese








Laicised. Supervised by Diocese




Laicised. No contact with Diocese








Out of Ministry.  Supervised by Diocese.




Out of Ministry.  Supervised by Diocese.




Out of Ministry. Supervised by Diocese




Out of Ministry.  Supervised by Diocese


The service also conducted an analysis of the allegations against the 98 priests or former priest and categorised them by the last decade in which the abuse is alleged to have occurred.  

  • 2% of these priests are alleged to have abused in the 1940’s
  • 4% of these priests are alleged to have abused in the 1950’s
  • 23% of these priests are alleged to have abused in the 1960’s
  • 27% of these priests are alleged to have abused in 1970’s
  • 34% of these priests are alleged to have abused in the 1980’s
  • 9% of these priests are alleged to have abused in the 1990’s
  • 1% of these priests is alleged to have abused in the 2,000’s


To date,

  • 199 civil actions have been taken against 46 priests of the Diocese; 135 have been concluded and 64 are ongoing.
  • The costs, so far, to the Archdiocese for settlement of claims regarding child sexual abuse by priests is currently at €15.2 million (€10.3 m in settlements and €4.9 m in legal costs for both sides).
  • 10 priests or former priests of the Diocese have been convicted in the criminal courts ENDS



[1] This review also found that in a small number of cases allegations recorded in the past referred to behaviour that did not fit the definition of child sexual abuse as defined in the National Guidelines Children First and Church Guidelines Safeguarding Children

Further information:

Communications Office, Archdiocese of Dublin 01-8360723

Email communications@dublindiocese.ie