Local scouts get backing from parents

A scout leader in Dundalk has stated that he and his colleagues have received nothing but support from parents around Dundalk in the wake of the recent scandal which has cast a shadow over the organisation nationwide.
Tusla, the agency responsible for the wellbeing of children in Ireland, recently sent a letter to Scouting Ireland calling for an “urgent review” into the manner in which the organisation manages child protection concerns and disclosures and questioned the current viability of overnight trips. Those comments followed a review which revealed that there have been as many as 71 alleged abusers and 108 alleged victims in the Scouting Ireland organisation with most cases taking place between the 1960’s and 1980’s.
Gerry Byrne, a leader at the St Patrick’s Scout group on the Castletown Road says he was shocked and saddened by the allegations of abuse which emerged recently but insisted that he believes that current safeguarding procedures are stringent and fully protective of children.
“Like everyone, I was shocked and saddened at the things that have happened in the past, but Scouting Ireland now has what I believe to be the most stringent rules and regulations around safeguarding.
“All parents that I have spoken to since this scandal first arose have complete support for our group and acknowledge what we do for their children. I’m hopeful that Scouting Ireland can recover from this scandal and continue to grow and provide the wonderful scouting experiences that I know it can.
“Scouting in Dundalk has been going for over 65 years and during that time we have had thousands of youth members who experienced what scouting has to offer. We have quite a large group with over 200 members. In recent years we have camped in Finland, Japan, France all over the UK and Ireland and most recently our Venturer’s Section spent New Year’s Eve in Kandersteg International Scout Centre in the Swiss Alps.
“Our meetings involve games and challenges aimed at increasing the youth members understanding of what we are showing them at the time, from simple knots to building large pioneering structures, from boiling water to cooking for a patrol of eight on an open fire on camp, from basic maps reading to navigation a 30km overnight hike, from basic first aid to Learning to be competent in CPR, and much more.
“All our leaders have been Garda Vetted, done on line E-Learning Safeguarding Training & Child Protection Training, (Currently a two-day course which must be done before any contact with youth members) and we do regular Safeguarding refresher training,” stated Gerry.

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