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Dr Katherine Zappone TD, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, has welcomed progress by Tusla in dealing with cases of sexual abuse. 


Friday 11 January 2019

Minister Zappone welcomed the publication of a progress report by the Expert Assurance Group on steps taken by Tusla to improve their handling of child sexual abuse cases. 
Minister Zappone said, “I welcome the publication of the Expert Assurance Group’s first quarterly report. I appreciate the clear information provided which demonstrates the work being done to guide Tusla in implementing HIQA’s recommendations.”

The Minister added, “I am pleased that the third interim report of the Disclosures Tribunal was taken into consideration. I am looking forward to the second quarterly report.”

The Expert Assurance Group has overseen progress on joint working structures between Tusla and An Garda Síochána and on the ongoing establishment of dedicated retrospective abuse social work teams in each region. The Group will continue to support Tusla on its implementation of HIQA’s recommendations, with particular consideration given to governance and workforce strategy.

In March 2017, Minister Zappone asked HIQA to undertake a statutory investigation into Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. The investigation team visited 6 Tusla areas including the Cavan/Monaghan area.  HIQA’s report, published in June 2018, identified risks within Tusla’s systems for managing referrals, safety planning and managing retrospective cases. HIQA made four key recommendations, one of which was the establishment of an expert quality assurance group to support and advise Tusla’s implementation of the recommendations.

The EAG will report to the Minister each quarter. The first report is available here: 



Notes for Editors

The Chair of the expert quality assurance and oversight group, referred to as the Expert Assurance Group (EAG), was appointed by Minister Zappone on 29 of June 2018. Its full membership was appointed the following month and encompasses a wide range of expertise:

  • Dr Moling Ryan, Chair;
  • Dr Helen Buckley, Fellow Emeritus at the School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin;
  • Ms Michele Clarke, Chief Social Worker, Department of Children and Youth Affairs;
  • Mr Andrew Lowe, Public Policy Consultant;
  • Dr Conor O'Mahony, Lecturer in Law, University College Cork; 
  • Mr Gerry Verschoyle, HR Consultant.

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs accepted the recommendations contained in the HIQA report, as published on 14 June 2018, in particular recommendation 4 which is the establishment of an expert quality assurance and oversight group (the EAG) to support and advise on the implementation of the HIQA Report’s recommendations:

  • Recommendation 1: Tusla Action Plan.
  • Recommendation 2: Educational Pathway for Social Workers and an Operational Review (Workforce Plan).
  • Recommendation 3: International Review of Best Practice in the Regulation of Children’s Social Services.

The EAG agreed at an early stage that the Third Interim Report of the Disclosures Tribunal, which was published in October 2018, should also be part of its consideration.