Irish government to release report on child abuse by teachers

The Irish government will release its report on the child abuse in schools by teachers and principals in the coming weeks, Education Minister Simon Coveney has said.

Mr Coveny said he wanted to “reopen” the issue after it was revealed that more than a million children in Irish schools were abused in the 1990s by the late Noel Cumming.

The Government is now planning to release the findings of a consultation on child protection in the schools after a delay.

Mr Cumming, who was a leading figure in the abuse, has been a strong advocate of the reforms in the past, particularly as he was a member of the education committee in the late 1990s.

He was appointed head of the Government’s child protection agency in 2011.

The former teacher was jailed for more than 20 years last year for abusing children.

His conviction and the trial of two other people for their roles in the same offences will be included in the report.

Mr Clarey said the report would provide evidence to the Government that the reform agenda is working and the Irish Government is committed to it.

He said the consultation would be “very well received by all parties involved”.

A spokesman for Mr Coen said the Government has “no plans” to change the current system and will work with all stakeholders “to implement the reforms”.

He said there are “no formal plans for any changes to the system” at this time.

The consultation on reforms will be released on Friday, the Department of Education said.

A spokesperson for the Irish Association of School Principals (IASP) said the agency is “pleased” that the government is taking the report into account.

“We believe the current structure and governance of the schools is a matter for the Government and will continue to work with the Government to provide the best possible service to our students,” the spokesperson said.

“It will be important to remember that the current process is a process of trial and error.

We believe the best solution is to review the current structures of the school, with a view to a future review and reform process.”

The Minister for Education, Micheál Martin, said the government was “committed” to tackling child abuse.

“Today, we are proud to announce that we will release the first of two reports on the abuse in the Irish education system, the first being published this month.

This report will give us the opportunity to make changes to ensure that the Irish schools continue to be a safe and welcoming place for children to learn and develop,” he said.