Confidentiality and Children First

Dear Editor, Frances Fitzgerald introduced the Children First Bill in the Dáil on Wednesday, April 30.

This highlights again the fact that it envisages that there has to be no exceptions to it and that it will be a ‘catch-all’ operation imposed on all organisations in the field of ‘helping’ organisations. A close reading of the Bill makes it clear that its implementation will impose reporting demands on any and all situations where children could even remotely be at risk. As such it will reach out into all aspects of society, especially the family home where most abuse occurs. 

There are very few voluntary bodies whose core ethos is confidentiality to callers and were they to breach that, would betray themselves and those they seek to help. The main pressure on them to comply with the new legislation appears to be the threat of financial measures i.e. they will lose their State funding.

Already the Catholic Church has turned its face against complying and has demonstrated that it is unthinkable for it to comply with this new Bill in regard to the Sacrament of Penance.

Yours etc.,

Anthony J. Jordan,

Dublin 4.