Parliamentary Question: Deputy Niall Collins
CONCERNS have been expressed that an independent review into the handling of a case of alleged child abuse in Limerick – involving up to 16 children – is not yet underway.
Details of the proposed ‘serious incident’ review were announced in March by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone with the agreement of the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan.
The review relates to a complex case which allegedly involves the abuse and sexual exploitation of a number of young children within a small number of families.
Eleven adults were arrested by gardai from the Limerick garda division in March as part of an ongoing criminal investigation.
A number of children have also been placed in State care.
Further details of the case and related investigation cannot be reported as a court order remains in place.
In reply to a Parliamentary Question submitted by Deputy Niall Collins, Minister Zappone confirmed the review is not yet underway as the terms of reference have not been finalised.
“The Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, and member of the Review Panel, Dr Geoffrey Shannon, is assisting with drafting the terms of reference for the review. These Terms of Reference have been submitted to the Attorney General’s Office in draft format, and are currently being considered by the Department of Justice and Equality, before they are finalised,” she stated adding that no timeframe for the review has been set down.
Deputy Collins told the Limerick Leader he is concerned at the delay given the seriousness of the allegations, some of which date back two years.
“It’s very disappointing that they are still deliberating on the terms of reference.
“It’s an issue of significant public interest and public concern and the government really needs to realise that there is a sense of urgency and move on with it,” he said.
“It’s not acceptable that we are having this undue delay and there needs to be progress as soon as possible,” he added.