De La Salle Brothers criticised on ‘late’ child protection policy

Order did not fully meet any of board’s standards on managing abuse allegations

The Catholic Church’s National Board for Safeguarding Children was unequivocal following its review of child protection standards where the De La Salle Brothers were concerned.

"Something has gone badly wrong in relation to how some members of the De La Salle Brothers in Ireland have interpreted their mission to teach and witness to children and so to lead them to God," it said.

The congregation had been “incomprehensively late for a large religious congregation involved in the provision of schools to produce its first written policy and procedures in 2011. It is noteworthy that the Church in Ireland first iterated guidance on child protection in 1996.”

Child protection policy

It said that “of the 14 schools in which the De La Salle Brothers still have an involvement, four do not have a child protection policy available on their school websites”.


When it came to management of abuse allegations not one of the board’s seven standards was fully met by the congregation. The board also had reservations “about the quality and completeness of case records in the De La Salle Brothers”. What was available was “all evidence of substandard case recording”.

It found that 185 sexual abuse allegations had been made against 76 Brothers in both jurisdictions on the island, 14 still living at time of review. Police were not informed in an estimated two thirds of cases where contemporaneous notification was required.

Residential care

It also found that 438 men made applications to the Redress Board for compensation related to alleged abuse while they were in residential care at the De La Salle Finglas Children's Centre in Dublin.

At the time of the review in 2015 there were 77 Irish De La Salle Brothers, with an average age of 75. The congregation is involved with 11 schools, nine in the Republic and two in Northern Ireland, with three brothers active in full-time teaching.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times