Written Answers. - Child Abuse in Swimming.

Liz McManus


33 Ms McManus asked the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation the action, if any, he intends to take arising from the Murphy report into allegations of sexual abuse of young swimmers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15146/98]

Bernard J. Durkan


51 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation the measures, if any, he proposes to take arising from the recently published Murphy report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15200/98]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 33 and 51 together.

The Government considered the Report of Inquiry into Matters relating to Child Sexual Abuse in Swimming last week, and on Wednesday 17 June, 1998, I formally submitted it to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Tourism, Sport and Recreation.

The Joint Committee decided at its meeting that evening that the full contents of the report would be annexed to their interim report on the subject of child protection in sport for submission to each House of the Oireachtas. The Joint Committee state that this will facilitate immediate discussions on implementation of the report's recommendations and enable Members of the House and interested parties to submit their observations to the committee for consideration in the context of their final report. Observations have been looked for within six weeks.
I have written to Dr. Breda McLeavey, chairperson of the expert committee which drew up the Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children's Sport in Ireland in 1996, and asked her to reconvene the committee to review the contents of the code in the light of the Murphy report, which, incidentally, makes no specific recommendation in relation to the code.
Recommendations relating to the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, mandatory reporting and prosecution policy have been referred to the Departments of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Health and Children and Justice, Equality and Law Reform respectively for their consideration.
However, the vast bulk of the recommendations in the report relate to the Irish Amateur Swimming Association. The IASA was given a copy of the report on 17 June and was requested to give it urgent and immediate consideration. The IASA has since provided me with its executive council's initial response. This response includes the executive council's proposed strategy for the implementation of the report's recommendations. I indicated in a subsequent reply to the association that I shall consider the issue of funding as soon as it has completed its proposed consultations with its wider membership who must be satisfied as to the adequacy of procedures and arrangements in place in their organisation to secure a safe environment for their younger members.
The Irish Sports Council, in conjunction with the National Coaching and Training Centre, have begun planning a seminar for later this year for the national governing bodies of sport. The purpose is to ensure the widest dissemination among sports organisations of the inquiry's recommendations, the outcome of the review of the code of ethics, the findings of the Joint Oireachtas Committee, and, most of all, to underline once again the importance of ensuring the protection of their younger members.