Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children & Youth Affairs Anne Rabbitte says she’s extremely concerned about the ability of the Child and Family Agency to effectively carry out its work following the publication of a HIQA review of Tusla, which found considerable deficiencies in the way the agency handles child sexual abuse allegations.

This review was commissioned in response to the mishandling of an allegation made against Garda whistle blower Maurice McCabe.

Deputy Rabbitte commented, “While this particular case shone a light on suspicions that Tusla was not properly dealing with child sexual abuse allegations, which may have posed a potential risk to children and young adults, this report has now confirmed that there are significant failures in how Tusla handles allegations, many of which have known about for years.

“Unsurprisingly, recruitment has been highlighted as an ongoing issue in Tusla.  At the end of March in 2018, there were over 4,600 open cases awaiting the allocation of social care workers.

“The review also found very poor co-operation between Tusla and other state agencies, including the Gardai.  This is an issue that had already been flagged in Dr. Geoffrey Shannon’s audit and which had also been raised in the Garda Inspectorate report on how Tusla and the Gardai handle child sex abuse allegations.

“The issues highlighted in today’s review were identified more than 15 months ago.  Aside from commissioning this report Minister Zappone has done very little to address the concerns raised.  There has been no significant recruitment of social workers.  There have been no real attempts made to streamline co-operation between Tusla and other government agencies.

“Why has there been so little movement on either of these key areas?  How many reports are needed before action is taken?  Children are being put at risk and the Minister is simply not taking the necessary steps to protect them.

“Minister Zappone needs to answer this key question, but more importantly she needs to ensure that these extremely important issues are tackled”.

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