NEWS

Bishop says diocese wants to reach out to those who suffered abuse by church personnel

Friday is a designated day of prayer for survivors of abuse

Michelle NicPhaidin

Reporter:

Michelle NicPhaidin

Email:

michelle.nicphaidin@donegaldemocrat.com

Bishop says diocese wants to reach out to those who suffered abuse by church personnel

This Friday has been designated a day of prayer for survivors of abuse. In each Catholic Cathedral is Ireland the Bishop will lead a ceremony of blessing and dedication of a candle of atonement. 

In the Cathedral of St Eunan and St Colmcille in Letterkenny, Bishop Alan McGuckian will lead the ceremony of blessing at the 10am Mass.

The Bishop said: "It is very important we pray for the intentions of all those who have suffered abuse within the church and that we make atonement for the great wrong that has been done. We also recognise how difficult it is for people who have been abused to break the silence.

"In the past year Fr Con Cunningham, a priest from the diocese, was sentenced to prison for child abuse. The diocese wants to reach out to anyone who was abused in the past by him or by any other priest or priest personnel. 

"I, as Bishop of this diocese want to ensure that anyone who has suffered abuse at the hands of a priest or church personnel will be supported and that all that all matters brought to the attention of the diocese will be referred to the relevant authorities."

The diocese of Raphoe has appointed a new designated liaison person for child safeguarding. In making the announcement, Bishop McGuckian thanked both Kathleen Gallagher and Paddy McDaid who have served generously in the role for many years. The Bishop has appointed Margaret Northage, who also holds the role of diocesan safeguarding co-ordinator, as the new designated liaison person whose role is to support, encourage, advise and continue to raise awareness of safeguarding. 

The public are being encouraged to make contact with the liaison officer on 086 2183 011 or email at raphoesafeguarding@gmail.com or at Raphoe Safeguarding Services, Safeguarding Office, Diocesan Pastoral Centre, Letterkenny, County Donegal. 

If anyone has a child safeguarding concern or wishes to report an allegation directly to the statutory authorities they should contact the local HSE and ask to speak to the duty social worker or they may contact An Garda Síochána at one of the numbers below. 

Tusla (Donegal) Letterkenny 074 91 23672/074 91 23770, Donegal Town 074 97 23540 or Buncrana 074 93 20420.

The number for the Gardaí National Protective Services Bureau is 01 666 3430 or 01 666 3435. 

There is also a counselling and support service for survivors of abuse by clergy called "Towards Healing" and this helpline can be contacted for free on 1800 303 416. You can also access this service by going to www.towardshealing.ie.