The National Conference for Safeguarding Children in Tullamore on Thursday 13 October began with Mass celebrated by Bishop Michael Smith.

In his homily, the Bishop thanked the many volunteers at parish, diocesan and national level whose efforts are creating the safest possible environment for young people in the Church.

The Conference was attended by several representatives of the Diocese of Meath including Mons. Sean Heaney, Joan Walshe, David Gavin, Antoinette Shaw and Fr Paul Crosbie.

In the keynote address, Archbishop Eamonn Martin, Archbishop of Armagh, referred to the work of “Towards Healing”, the Church’s counselling service for victims of abuse. Since 2011, “Towards Healing” has provided 141,410 hours of face-to-face counselling and supported 1,732 victims last year.

The Conference also heard from Teresa Kettelkamp, a member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, established by Pope Francis in 2014 to advise him on child safeguarding measures.

Bishop Smith was joined at the Mass by the Bishop Fintan Monahan, the newly appointed Bishop of Killaloe.  It was his first opportunity as Bishop to celebrate Mass in Tullamore, which is the parish where he received his First Holy Communion and Confirmation.

PHOTO: Bishop Fintan Monahan, John Morgan (Dublin), Teresa Campbell (Scotland), Teresa Kettlekamp (Vatican), Teresa Devlin (Maynooth) and Bishop Michael Smith.