Thursday, 8 June 2017


Image result for down and connor


Hello Bishop Pat,

A friend has alerted me to the fact that the D+C Diocese child protection arrangements for all of their youth clubs are 2 years out of date. 

I checked on the safeguarding office website and if you search for youth centres it shows the whole policy which should have been reviewed and checked in 2015.

I am shocked that in this day and age and with all that's went on that D+C still are not taking their responsibilities seriously in protecting the thousands of children and teenagers who go to youth clubs all over the diocese.

My friend also tells me that the Youth com office beside Castle Court, Belfast, also no longer has anything to do with the d+c youth clubs leaving them without guidance or regulation. 

How is this able to happen? Why does nobody in power think that they should be protecting the children in these clubs? 

Thank you for raising this point.

Is any part of the Down and Connor (or any diocese) policies on Safeguarding out of date or in need of review?

Maybe those who know more about these matters might enlighten us.

Would a failure to review / update put children or vulnerable adults in any danger?


Image result for catholic church safeguarding

Not so long ago I sent a person I regarded as a vulnerable adult to an Irish Catholic bishop to discuss their abuse / manipulation by a priest of the diocese.

The person in question immediately formed the impression that the bishop regarded their presence as a nuisance and was obviously on the side of the priest.

The bishop wanted to offload the person on to the diocesan safeguarding officer who in turn wanted the person to attend a counsellor chosen by the diocese!

I advised the person to find and attend a completely independent counsellor - which they did - and which the diocese grudgingly paid for.

This, and other cases, has led me to the conclusion that in many cases the diocesan safeguarding officer is there as much to protect the bishop and the diocese as they are to protect children and vulnerable adults.

I do not believe this to be good.

I believe that the diocesan safeguarding officer should have a healthy disengagement from the bishop and the diocese.

To this end it might be a good idea if the person was not a Catholic and blinded by some faith ideas about priests and bishops.

I believe that they should ideally not have their offices on diocesan property - but on independent property paid for by the diocese.

And then we come to the safeguarding person's salary. How much is it? Who pays it? Is the salary known to the public?

The add below appeared in the Guardian newspaper and was for a non faith body. It was offering up to £60,000 per year.

Lead Safeguarding Officer

Sheffield, South Yorkshire£48,004 - £56,405 with an allowance of up to £4,000

Priests have told me that in some dioceses the person can get £90,000 per year? 
Is this true?
If someone is paying you £60,000 - £90,000 a year can you be objective?
Does he who pays the piper not call the tune?
Would it not be better that safeguarding persons are part of a professional body,appointed by that professional body and paid by the professional body - withchurches etc being invoiced separately for costs?
Image result for fine dining
One diocesan priest told me that he was recently taken to lunch by the diocesansafeguarding person to a fine dining lunch and noticed the safeguarding personpay for the lunch with a diocesan credit card?

Could this be true?
Does that kind of thing not work against independence?
Is it good for a diocesan safeguarding person to socialise with bishops and clergy.
I am left with many doubts and questions.
Can anyone enlighten us?


  1. Nothing to do with you. Simple!

    1. I think that safeguarding is to do with All of us!

  2. And what did the diocese of D and C have to say when you contacted them for clarification? Or what did the diocese say to "Kat" who contacted you about this?

  3. Most if not all who work with vulnerable folk have to do safeguarding training and also have DBS check in the UK

  4. Pat yesterday there was mention of imminent appointments in Raphoe and Galway. This is nonsense. Local papers (and parochial news stations picked up on it) had a slow news week and wrote that a new bishop for Raphoe must be imminent since a new papal nuncio was appointed. However, the papers just ran with hypotheses which in turn became a rumour and was then treated as fact. There will be NO announcement tomorrow. The Curia would not allow an announcement without the new nuncio being in situ. He has not arrived yet. It would be bad (diplomatic) manners to announce anywhere without him being in situ. Unless ( and it's a big unless) the Pope has decided to intervene personally in Raphoe and appoint his personal MC Mgr Kevin Gillespie. He is the only Irish person which the Pope has daily personal contact with. Kevin is about 44 or so and is constantly at the Pope's side and originally from Raphoe. Other than the Pope announcing him as bishop, there will be no announcement tomorrow. Remember JPII appointed John Magee to Cloyne and he had a similar job to Kevin.

    1. I am inclined to agree with you.

      I would expect episcopal appointments to be announced by the new nuncio.

      But who knows?

    2. Well you will eat your words tomorrow Rev. And your theory about the nuncio the pope and Mgr Gillespie is wrong. Wait and see.

    3. Bishops have been appointed before without a resident Nuncio being in place.

    4. 13.15 Bishop Boyce will make a special announcement of interest to his diocese tomorrow after the 10am mass in st Eunans cathedral on the feast of st colmcille. It will be carried on the cathedral webcam service for those who doubt. Prepare to eat your biretta with crumbled humble pie for the main course.

  5. I am a qualified independent safeguarding advisor and CPP Officer. I will make just one short relevant point. Just because the date on a Child Protection Policy is over, it does not mean the policy itself is out of date or no longer being adopted by the organisation. Good practice indicates that an organisation should REVIEW its policy every year. THAT DOES NOT IN ANY WAY IMPLY THAT IT NEEDS TO BE ALL REWRITTEN. When the organisation reads and discusses every page of its policy document in the annual review - - as it should - - a decision is taken as to whether anything needs to be added or subtracted eg say pages 7-9 gives specific good guidance on overnight camps for teenagers but the school or youth club has ceased to offer these trips then those pages will be deleted in the review. A new page on say, cyber bullying may be added if that is seen to be becoming an issue. But the rest of the policy can stay the same. It is still absolutely relevant. Next year, that club may only need to state "Updated in 2018" if no other issues have arisen. So the particular document that is referred to in the blog may be completely still in date in all its good guidance. But it should clearly indicate that! It should clearly state the date of the REVIEW and the website should reassuringly show that reviews do take place. She is correct about that. (I am certainly not employed by the Church in my Child Protection Officer role. I merely wanted to clarify that point and try be of help as Pat requested.)

    1. Thank you for that clarification. It is particularly helpful from someone in the safeguarding field.

      Can you see any danger in a safeguarding officer being too "friendly" with members of the organisation they are supervising?

    2. Pat, I know too of a Cleric who was wined and dined by the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer. It was all paid for with a Diocesan credit card and put down as expenses by the safeguarding person. Even taxis were used on the same occasion and covered by "expenses". Is this not highly irregular? I know for a fact that safeguarding issues were not discussed during the meal as the Cleric told me himself, they spent their time discussing other clergy and the diocese in general. How do Dioceses justify paying Safeguarding Officers very high salaries with expense accounts? I would hate to think they get too close to some clergy and use it as an opportunity to gossip about other Clerics.

    3. To independent safeguarding officer - the d+c child protection office insisted on use of this policy in Parish Youth clubs they wrote a policy specially for them. They have failed to update this policy. They have failed to provide other policies in relation to children who attend youth clubs. They have learned nothing and continue to expose children.
      As far the youth office in Berry Street many other clergy will confirm that it is a white elephant and a well resourced white elephant at that. How the woman now in charge of it got her job while her husband is one of her bosses is worth investigating Pat.

    4. I am the independent Child P. Officer - Thanks for responding. I fully agree with the updating you suggest. Of course you are correct in this! If they are exposing children to careless safeguarding, then they are also exposing themselves. You already know that I regard the children as the priority but I merely make the point that it is foolish to lay oneself open to misunderstanding etc... I wonder if any of those Youth Organisations involved hold an Annual General Meeting? That would be a good time to raise your concerns and demand answers.

  6. (I am the poster at 12.49)Thank you, Pat for reply. Yes, you certainly have a point in that the CPP Officer has to be able to act professionally and correctly and is fully trained (and retrained after around three years to update) to be able to recognise and deal with issues of pressure to act in certain ways or to produce an expected outcome on any case that arises. There are very specific guidelines about dealing with colleague /peer /parental pressures and the well-being of the child or vulnerable adult is always PARAMOUNT, a priority which informs your decision. Confidentiality is very important and the young person must be certain he is being respectfully heard and dealt with by an adult whom he can completely trust and that the adult has no other hidden agenda and that he will get sympathy, fairness and justice. The CPP Officer helps to ensure that other members of the organisation are adhering to the agreed rules and that potential abuses are quickly corrected and nipped in the bud. This may involve correcting careless practices that have crept in eg with regard to supervision or always working in twos and it may involve speaking to young persons individually and creating awareness of what is and isn't acceptable behaviour and the behaviour he should expect from his peers and supervisors. It often involves speaking to parents. Rules in the policy document are always there for a good reason and they exist to protect the child but also, by the same token, to protect the carers and Staff leaving themselves open to accusation or misunderstandings. I hope this helps a little. I do not get any additional salary for being in this role and as it's a big responsibility, I doubt if too many people would volunteer if they only had financial gain in mind. It can involve a lot of work in your holidays and in your own time eg retraining days

    1. That's the theory. Now what's the practice?

  7. I had a situation with a local primary school and yhe child reported somethingto me that disturbed me. Now wishing to approach the matter im a mature and informed manner I decided that to approach the PP for advice and counsel in what to do.

    I highlighted the problem and the advice given was to send a letter about the concern to the head who would in turn follow the investgative procedure in dealing with it.

    Grand I tought that was the best way to go without causing to much of a storm and ensuring the ussue would never happen to a child again in the future. It was thankfully my childs last few months at the school.

    Well a short time went past and I recieved a letter which in many ways assulted me as a parent for raising the issue in the first place and that my child must be a lair for it could not happen. The letter came from the same PP on parish paper.

    The PP forgot that I mentioned other children who suffered the same abuse, it was as if their situation was not my concern.

    So as for safe guarding anyone I feel that reports to the employing organisation such as described in the blog are compromised to look after the employer the RC church.

    As for the living youth, its a select club that deals with kids from wealthy, privileged backgrounds. Just look at their recent holiday jaunts to Rome etc etc no underprivileged can affoard that and in some cases collections are held in parishes to fund it. I know that the living youth have a yearly collection sent to them from each parish.

    But of course they will justify how it's spent and likely defend it well, I can state however that I haven't seen it in this or any other local parishes. You will however hear Gift or Alpha program mentioned but if this was investigated it would lead you down shirt roads I'm sure.

    For Noel Treanor however it all looks good and promotional in his Living Church Project which is basically dead. For the unapproachable Noel it's the best he can do, to be seen being a what a Bishop is on paper at least.
    Noel sits safe guarded by a big fence in his palace away from the riff raffs of the church. Politically he's got it all covered and the boxes are ticked for safeguarding himself.

    1. Yes - those were my thoughts. The only agencies to report safeguarding issues to (to my mind) are the police and social services. As a mental health nurse working with younger people I have done this numerous times. Some of them were fortunately not necessary but I have not regretted it once.

  8. According to the Independent (Uk) the Scottish Episcopal Church has voted to allow same sex marriage. Now wouldn't that solve lot of our problems.

    1. Wow! If true, there is going to be much finger-nail bitin' and wagons-circling in other denominations.

      Get ready for a theological gunfight.

    2. Theological gunfights are for flutes in suits and have an academic value. The main yardstick I would look to is the sensus fidei the person in the street. For the benefit of some highbrows the ordinary person is capable of constructive reflection and choice.

    3. But the 'flutes in suits' will have their theological gunfight, Sean. They're just too trigger-happy not to.

      What will the sensus fidei of 'Joe Public' make of it all? Some, through subservient fear, will be complaisant; others, through self-belief, will object. Who will win this toss of a coin? My money is on the dissenters.

  9. Yes it sure is true. News of great joy Bishop Boyce will make announcement tommorow morning after 10am mass. New bishop will be announced got it from a very good source within the dioceses. The names that have been battered around are not the ones not even rev Gillespie he is for another diocese. You will be very surprised. A man who is good great pastoral experience in many fields. Very good with the people and well respected were ever he goes. He is in his 40s also. He will make an excellent Bishop. Please pray for this man.

  10. Jane are you on the vodka again?

  11. No....wish I was. I have been married for 43 years and I tend to think of it as a joining of souls. Why can't gay people have that?

  12. Will there be a new bishop of Raphoe or a joining if Derry and Rahpoe?

    Just a thought.


    What is the announcment about

  14. I heard a while ago that there was a possiblity of Galway and Clonfert joining into one diocese. I said nothing of it. Now that you mentioned the above Derry and Raphoe , kinda makes sense now

  15. There won't be a joining together Pat, firstly clergy in both Dioceses would have to be consulted about the prospect. To my knowledge that hasn't been carried out. One question that would be posed if clergy wanted to remain north or south of the border rather than it thrusted upon them. That question hasn't been asked in Raphoe or Derry. Normally when these negotiations take place each diocese doesn't want to give up parishes that are better off than others. When they tried to negotiate a new Diocese of Thames Valley in England the three Dioceses that were involved wouldn't relinquish their richest parishes and it all fell through. Basically it all came down to money.

  16. Yes 19.46, I remember the discussions some years ago about a new Diocese of Thames Valley. Basically it all boiled down to Portsmouth not giving up some of its Berkshire parishes including Windsor. Birmingham not giving up its Oxfordshire parishes including Henley on Thames. Northampton not giving up its Buckinghamshire parishes including Beaconsfield and Eton. You are quite correct to say it all came down to money in the end.

  17. Time we had some scandal. I'm bored.

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