Friday the 15th of February has been designated a Day of Prayer for Survivors of Abuse. In each Catholic Cathedral in 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 that 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 of 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 Church 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 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 an announcement today 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 child safeguarding.
We invite and encourage people to make contact with the Designated Liaison Person on 086 2183 011 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or at Raphoe Safeguarding Services, Safeguarding Office, Diocesan Pastoral Centre, Letterkenny, Co 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 listed below.
Tusla (Donegal) Letterkenny 074-9123672/074-9123770, Donegal Town 074-9723540 Buncrana 074-9320420
GARDA SÍOCHÁNA : Gardaí National Protective Services Bureau: 01 6663430 or 016663435.
In an emergency, please contact: Letterkenny: 074-9167100, Ballyshannon: 071-9858530, Milford: 074-9153060
“TOWARDS HEALING” A Counselling and Support Service for survivors of abuse by clergy. Helpline can be called on Freefone 1800 – 303 416. www.towardshealing.ie