Here’s how Minister for Children, Barry Andrews explained his part in the Cloyne child abuse scandal
Interviewer: “When did you first read this report?”
Minister: “When I received the report from the church board I simply handed it on to the HSE because that is exactly what the post Ferns scenario requires us to do, to ensure that the HSE as the child protection authority in the State investigates any concerns about child protection, that’s what I did.”
“So you didn’t read it, you passed it on.”
“But this is part of the questioning of protocols and responses because I suppose it is a learning curve for everyone in trying to cope with the scandals but do you think that was the best way for things to be?”
“That’s the we have learned is the best way, it’s not for the Minister for Children to investigate matters, it’s not for any government minister to investigate any issue.”
“Is that not neutral to the point of detachment?”
“No, it’s not. The HSE is a state authority and it has the function of ensuring that child protection practice in the State is very good. It’s my role to ensure that the HSE are doing that job so if I get a report about child protection concerns from any authority, sporting organisation or anybody, I wouldn’t investigate, I would pass it on to the HSE who have the staff and who have the statuary function under the Child Care Act to investigate these matters.”
“Does not reading mean that you don’t know anything about it, you barely read the title on the cover and you say – I don’t want to know?”
(At this point the Minister decides not to answer the question but instead reverts to political waffle)
“What’s absolutely lost in all of this is that we had an audit already in place on the part of the HSE in relation to Cloyne, so it was an unusual set of circumstances… blah blah blah.”
It’s crystal clear from this interview that Minister Andrews does not see child protection as an important matter. He’s apparently very happy to hand over total responsibility to the HSE, a discredited, unaccountable and completely self-serving organisation, an organisation that regularly puts the lives of Irish citizens at risk.
Barry Andrews is a young politician with the likelihood of a long and prosperous career as a member of the most corrupt and irresponsible political party in Ireland. Irish citizens and in particular Irish children are likely to pay the price.