Fianna Fáil has demanded that the damning report into the sexual abuse of children in the Irish scouting movement be fully debated in the Dáil.
The report from child protection consultant Ian Elliott found that people with a “sexual interest in children” dominated the leadership of the movement for decades and were protected by a culture of “cover up” and cronyism.
The findings claimed there was “was cover up and there was a failure to report” when instances of sexual abuse occurred, and that abusers were able to protect each other within the organisation and even facilitate abuse for each other.
Fianna Fáil’s children’s spokesperson Anne Rabbitte called for the report and its findings to be fully debated in the Dáil and actions put in motion to support victims.
“The victims need the full support of the State. My party will be writing to the Ceann Comhairle asking that this report be debated in the Dáil at the next opportunity. It is important the full report is absorbed and debated by Dáil Éireann and steps agreed to support the victims of these historical abusive acts,” she said.
“What the report uncovered was that ‘individuals who had a sexual interest in young people rose to positions of power and influence’. Ian Elliott also notes, however, that he encountered ‘significant limitations’ in completing his work, which means the true extent of how the system so badly failed children is not clear.”
In the report, Mr Elliott detailed how attempts were made within Scouting Ireland to “discredit” his work “as a way of deflecting attention away from my recommendation that senior volunteers should be held accountable for their actions”.
The report found that “cronyism thrived and remained a significant problem in scouting up to and including the reviewer’s involvement with Scouting Ireland”, while there was “an almost complete absence of any concern for the young people that were abused”.
CEO of victims group One in Four, Maeve Lewis, said the findings made for “grim reading”, and efforts must be made to bring any living perpetrators to justice.
“The organisational dysfunction described by Mr Elliot is astonishing, and makes for very grim reading,” she said.
“Active abusers rising to leadership positions supported by other abusers, protecting and supporting each through a culture of cronyism.
“Non-offending leaders actively suppressing the reporting of concerns through a desire to protect the good name of the organisation. Chaotic record-keeping. No allegations reported to the Gardaí. Children’s lives destroyed with a total lack of concern for their welfare.”
Ms Lewis said the recommendations, which have been accepted by Scouting Ireland, need to be monitored by independent experts.