Dear Scouts and Scouters,
We thank you for your commitment, your patience and understanding during these current circumstances for Scouting Ireland.
We can confirm that Scouting Ireland met recently with Minister Zappone and her officials. The meeting was constructive and we are committed to taking the necessary steps to restore the confidence of the Minister, our members and the wider public in the governance procedures in Scouting Ireland. The withdrawal of funding is very serious for our organisation and we will work to satisfy the Minister and her officials in this regard so that funding can be restored to enable Scouting Ireland continue to provide valuable youth services throughout the country. We welcome at this time the confirmation by the Minister that all grants from the Education Training Boards (ETB) are not affected by her recent decision to withhold funding from Scouting Ireland.
As you may be aware, the Board / National Management Committee (NMC) have accepted in full the report by Ian Elliott into our safeguarding procedures. The recommendations from this report are being acted upon, as reported in the recent Safeguarding Update by the National Secretary to members.
The implementation of these recommendations, as well as our ongoing and continuing work with Ian Elliott will strengthen Scouting Ireland in this very important area into the future.
We are aware of recent statements posted on our official channels criticising the case review undertaken by Ian Elliott and claiming inaccuracies in it. The Board / NMC totally disassociates itself from these remarks and regrets that Scouting Ireland platforms were used to communicate them.
We once again extend our thanks to Ian Elliott for his dedication, commitment and integrity in undertaking this valuable work on behalf of our organisation and we look forward to continuing to work with Ian Elliott.
Christy McCann, Chief Scout has temporarily stepped aside from his role in Scouting Ireland. Mr McCann has taken this decision, supported by the Board / NMC, to help ensure the current investigation is allowed to continue without delay and further distraction. The National Treasurer, Annette Byrne, has been elected by the Board / NMC in the role of Chairperson for the interim period.
Therese Bermingham, Chief Commissioner (Adult Resources), Dave Shalloo, Chief Commissioner (Youth Programme) and Ordinary Member, Ollie Kehoe, have also voluntarily stepped aside pending the outcome of the investigation that is underway.
By way of clarification, in relation to a report published in the Irish Times dated Saturday 21st April, we can inform you that the adult volunteer against whom the allegation was made voluntarily informed Scouting Ireland of the allegation and abstained from all Scouting activity. In August 2017, a letter from Tusla to the adult volunteer stated their investigation had found the allegation made against them was "unfounded". On the basis of this letter, which cleared the adult volunteer of wrongdoing, they were readmitted to Scouting Ireland. Scouting Ireland have written to Tusla seeking an urgent meeting to better understand this matter.
The article in the Sunday Business Post of Sunday 22nd Apri), contains a number of points that have been misquoted. In particular the comments attributed to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) are incorrect. The Board / NMC and the CEO are fully behind and in support of the current governance project which will result, if approved, by National Council in a structure at national level in Scouting Ireland that will provide significantly improved governance by the Board, with the assistance of the CEO.
Our volunteers at all levels work tirelessly to provide a safe, fun, learning environment for our youth members. Scouting is a safe place for all involved and we as your Board / NMC remain committed to resolving this current challenge to Scouting Ireland as quickly as possible. Equally we continue to offer our support to any members, parents, supporters or members of the public that may be concerned by the recent media coverage that referenced Scouting Ireland.
Please be assured of our absolute commitment to safeguarding and the protection of our members and volunteers. On behalf of the Board / NMC we thank all our volunteers, for their continued commitment to the young people we all serve during this challenging time for Scouting. The dedication of our volunteers, who do so much to protect the children and young adults who partake in scouting activities every day is valued.
Yours in Scouting,
Annette Byrne Charles Mc Guinness
Interim Chairperson National Secretary
On behalf of the National Management Committee of Scouting Ireland and Board of Scouting Ireland Services CLG