A survivor of abuse in scouting circles in Cork says the apology by Scouting Ireland to victims has come too late, as some are already dead.
The man, who does not want to be identified, was speaking after the publication yesterday of a report into the handling of abuse allegations in scouting circles over a 70-year period.
Safeguarding expert Ian Elliott compiled the report, Historical Sexual Abuse in Scouting: A Learning Review.
In his report, Mr Elliott said that individuals who had a sexual interest in young people rose to positions of power and influence on occasion, and controlled any fledgling accountability processes, preventing known offenders from being removed from scouting.
“Cronyism thrived and remained a significant problem in scouting up to and including the reviewer’s involvement with Scouting Ireland,” said Mr Elliot.
“Any objective examination of the evidence presented to this review, would lead to the conclusion that scouting failed to protect vulnerable young people and allowed risky individuals to operate for too long a period. There was a reluctance to hold people to account and to recognize the reason why the organisation existed at all which is to serve the needs of young people in a positive way.”
The Cork abuse survivor said he was concerned to read Mr Elliott's commentary that cronyism remained an issue up to his involvement with Scouting Ireland.
He said: “I would say if that is the case, the apology is qualified.”
He added that many people have died before hearing the apology from the chairman of Scouting Ireland, Adrian Tennant, yesterday.
Mr Tennant said: “As chairperson of the board of Scouting Ireland, as an adult volunteer, and as a father, I wish to make an organisational apology to the victims and survivors of historical sexual abuse in Scouting who were failed. On behalf of Scouting Ireland, I unreservedly apologise to you.
“We are sorry for the hurt caused to you and the legacy of that hurt which many of you still live with today. We know we cannot take away that hurt. But we do want you to know that you have been heard.”
The apology comes as gardaí in Cork are preparing a file for the DPP following the arrest in February of an elderly man, following complaints of abuse in scouting circles in Cork, made by more than 20 men over a 30-year period.
* The Scouting Ireland Helpline is open Monday – Friday 9.30am – 5.00pm. Freephone 1800 221199 (ROI) and 00353 87 0934403 (NI).