Thank you for raising this issue.
Over the past number of years, there have been examples of organisations not upholding high standards of child protection in Ireland. In response to such situations, a number of policy and legislative improvements have been made to child protection standards over recent years. In particular, the Children First Act 2015, which was fully commenced in 2017, provides for a number of key child protection measures, including improving child protection arrangements in organisations providing services to children.
The Act places an obligation on these organisations to keep children safe from harm, to carry out a risk assessment and to develop a Child Safeguarding Statement (CSS) that outlines the policies and procedures that are in place to manage any risks identified. The Act also provides for Tusla to establish and maintain a register of non-compliance for organisations who fail to provide a copy of the CSS to Tusla when requested to do so. Tusla has established a Child Safeguarding Statement Compliance Unit (CSSCU) to support implementation of these provisions of the Act. The register of non-compliance is available on the Tusla website www.tusla.ie.
Tusla has advised the Department that its Child Safeguarding Statement Compliance Unit engaged with St John's ambulance in 2019 and it was deemed to have a compliant safeguarding statement.
While nothing can undo abuse people have experienced in the past, I hope that this provides some assurance that there are strong measures in place to protect other young people now and in the future.
I'm sure you can appreciate that I cannot comment on matters before the courts, which is the case in this situation. I must also advise that the remit of my Department does not extend into the governance of this charitable organisation.