Local Safeguarding Policy | Ireland

The Local Safeguarding Policy for Ireland (LSP-I) combines the provisions of the global and regional Prelature policies with local civil and ecclesiastical safeguarding standards, protocols and guidance, reflecting the canonical and civil responsibilities arising in the course of the activities of Christian formation undertaken by the North-West Europe region of the Prelature of Opus Dei on the island of Ireland.

Version 1.2 — 28 February 2023

The INTRODUCTION sets out the guiding principles and situates LSP-IRL in the context of the Regional and Prelature Safeguarding Policies.

The main POLICY SECTIONS address the Seven Safeguarding Standards for which the NWE Region is responsible:

Section 1 — PREVENTION of harm

Section 2 — RESPONSE to concerns

Section 3 — COMPLAINANT care

Section 4 — RESPONDENT procedures

Section 5 — TRAINING of personnel

Section 6 — COMMUNICATION of policies

Section 7 — AUDITING of compliance

Each SECTION comprises three parts, containing the relevant provisions of the global (PSP), regional (RSP) and local (LSP) policies:

Part A – Prelature Safeguarding Policy - "PSP" (for the Prelature of Opus Dei)

Part B – Regional Safeguarding Policy - "RSP"  (for the Region of North-West Europe)

Part C – Local Safeguarding Policy - "LSP-I" (for Ireland)

Part C of LSP-I is in turn subdivided into 3 sub-sections:

I. Ecclesiastical - Ireland

II.   Civil - Republic of Ireland

III. Civil - Northern Ireland.

Key Safeguarding Agencies in Ireland

Police (RoI)

Gardaí National Protective Services Bureau (GNPSB)

Detective Superintendent

Garda National Protective Services Bureau (National Child Protection Unit)

Harcourt Square, 

Dublin 2, D02 DH42

Tel.: +353 1 666 3430, +353 1 666 3435


Web: GNPSB Portal

Social Services (RoI)

Tusla Child and Family Agency

TUSLA is the statutory Child and Family Agency for the Republic of Ireland. 

The Children First public policy in Ireland relates to

Excerpt from the Tusla website:-

TUSLA - The Child and Family Agency, has a primary responsibility to promote the safety and well-being of children. An Garda Síochána also have statutory responsibilities for the safety and welfare of children.

Everyone must be alert to the possibility that children with whom they are in contact may be suffering from abuse or neglect. This responsibility is particularly relevant for professionals such as teachers, child care workers, health professionals and those working with adults with serious parenting difficulties. It is also an important responsibility for staff and people involved in sports clubs, community activities, youth clubs, religious/faith sector and other organisations catering for children.

The Agency should always be informed when a person has reasonable grounds for concern that a child may have been, is being or is at risk of being abused or neglected.

Child protection concerns should be supported by evidence that indicates the possibility of abuse or neglect.

A concern about a potential risk to children posed by a specific person, even if the children are unidentifiable, should also be communicated to the Agency.

The guiding principles in regard to reporting child abuse or neglect may be summarised as follows:

Contact: Tusla Child and Family Agency

Floors 2-5, Brunel Building

Heuston South Quarter

Dublin 8 

Telephone: +353 1 771 8500 


Web: Tusla (Child Protection & Welfare)

Guidance: Children First National Guidance 2017

Training: Children First e-learning programme

Cross-Border issues

See the Protocol Between Northern Ireland and Ireland for Handling Inter-Jurisdictional Child Cases

Police (NI)

Anyone with an immediate concern about the safety or welfare of a child or young person in Northern Ireland should contact the PSNI without delay so that an emergency protective response can be made. 

A referral may also be made directly to the PSNI where a crime is alleged or suspected. Report the matter directly to the PSNI Central Referral Unit on 101, and you will be put in contact with a specially trained police officer who will speak to you confidentially. 

In an emergency situation dial the police emergency number 999.

Current Contact Details (cf. Down & Connor Safeguarding Office for additional resources)

Social Services (NI)

Health and Social Care Trust (HSCT) - Local Social Services Gateway Teams 

Anyone with a concern about the safety or welfare of a child or young person in circumstances other than an emergency should contact the Single Point of Entry Team in the relevant HSCT Gateway Service (Mon-Fri: 9.00am-5.00pm) during normal working hours. This includes parents or family members seeking help, concerned friends and neighbours, professionals and individuals from statutory or voluntary organisations. Even where individuals are unsure about whether a concern needs to be referred, they can contact the HSCT to obtain advice. Referrals outside normal working hours should be made to the Regional Emergency Social Work Service (RESWS). 

Contact details during normal  hours (Mon-Fri: 9.00am-5.00pm) are as follows:

Belfast HSC Trust +44 28 9050 7000

South Eastern HSC Trust +44 300 1000 300

Northern HSC Trust +44 300 1234 333

Southern HSC Trust +44 28 3756 7100 / Freephone: +44 800 7837 745

Western HSC Trust +44 28 7131 4090

Outside normal working hours and in an emergency (Friday 5.00pm – Monday 9.00am, including Bank holidays):

Regional Emergency Social Work Service +44 28 9504 9999 


Where an allegation of child abuse is made, by any person, or, where grounds exist to suspect that a child is being abused, the referring professional should not in these circumstances be conducting further enquiries or passing information to other parties until after the outcome of the joint assessment between HSCT and the PSNI has been completed in accordance with the Joint Protocol or other relevant policy and procedures. Any subsequent action taken under the Joint Protocol should be taken in liaison with the PSNI.

Staff and volunteers in organisations should follow their own internal policy and procedures in raising a concern or making a referral about the safety or welfare of a child or young person to a HSCT. Statutory and voluntary organisations must keep a record of all discussions to ensure that all relevant information is provided through an appropriate shared response to the HSCT.  

Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI)

The Beeches

12 Hampton Manor Drive

Belfast BT7 3EN

United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 28 95 361810


Web: SBNI Portal

Manual: SBNI Manual


P.O. Box 1085

Belfast, BT5 9BD

United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 300 200 7888



National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland

The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (registered as Coimirce) is a company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital. It was incorporated in 2008 and its founding members comprise of the Archbishops and the Episcopal Secretary of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, together with the Director General of the Conference of Religious of Ireland (CORI), a nominee of the executive of CORI, the Executive Secretary of the Irish Missionary Union (IMU) a nominee of the Executive Board of the IMU.

The main object of the company is to provide advice, services and assistance in the furtherance of the development of the safeguarding of children within the Roman Catholic Church on the island of Ireland and to monitor compliance with legislation, policy and best practice and to report on these activities annually, all as comprehensively set out in the Memorandum and Articles of Association.

The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland is funded through the Sponsoring Bodies:

The Prelature of Opus Dei in Ireland has committed to abide by the standards and policies of the NBSCCI in a Memorandum of Understanding dated 2nd June 2009.

Safeguarding Coordinator - Prelature in Ireland

The Safeguarding Coordinator of the NWE Region of the Prelature (or the Deputy Coordinator for Ireland) is also the Designated Liaison Person for all concerns involving faithful of the Prelature in Ireland (see Article 213). 

To report a concern, you can contact the Coordinator on the mobile number below, or if you prefer, complete an online form or email a written report (using this template) to the Safeguarding Coordinator.

Current appointment

Name: Fr Brendan O’Connor 

Address: Knapton House, 30 Knapton Road, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, A96 XA46

Mobile: +44 7726 775560 (dedicated safeguarding number)

Email: (general) or (for confidential reports)

Protocol for dealing with institutional complaints to the Prelature

In order to promote healing processes in the case of serious and reasonable complaints of an institutional nature, the Prelature has a protocol of action which currently provides for the following:

1) Complaints will be heard in the country to which the facts refer.

2) Where it has been deemed appropriate, the regional vicar has set up an office of healing and resolution competent for these circumstances.

3) The complaint should be directed to the offices of the regional vicar of the respective region by contacting the coordinator via the following email addresses: for Great Britain, for Ireland.