March 16, 2023
Complaints review shows St John Ambulance needs radical reform – Kathleen Funchion TD

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Children, Kathleen Funchion TD, has welcomed publication of Dr Geoffrey Shannon’s independent review into child sexual abuse allegations at St John Ambulance.

Teachta Funchion said:

“To learn St John Ambulance currently does not have a finalised child protection policy and their garda vetting procedures remain incomplete is totally unacceptable.

“I also add my voice to calls for the board to step down.

“The review highlights consistent contemporary inaction following a significant number of complaints of sexual abuse and grooming as far back as the 1970s.

“Dr Shannon found the organisation failed to act, investigate, or notify Gardaí even when there was knowledge or suspicion of serious sexual abuse of children.

“I am currently engaging with fellow members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Children, Disability, Equality, Integration and Youth to request Minister O’Gorman appear before us to discuss assurances Tusla previously provided about the organisation’s safety.

“Serious concerns have been raised with me and in the media today, that Tusla provided assurances the State agency had no current concerns about historical child sexual abuse in St John Ambulance, or more regarding the organisation’s current child protection procedures. Today’s review seriously calls into question the State agency’s judgement. 

“Finally, I would like to commend survivors who have expressed relief their stories are now out there, and their decades’ long campaigning has exposed an organisation that failed them.”

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