We need to know what is wrong with Tusla

It’s hard to believe that it took Tusla, the State’s child agency, up to FIVE months to report suspected cases of child sex abuse to gardaí.

We’re all entitled to believe - entitled to assume and take for granted - that, after all this country has been through in respect of the most horrible and repeated expositions of child abuse, that current practice would be the most streamlined, the most, most modern, the best in class.

It’s the least that justice demands.

But, again, we are left confused to the point of angry - left without adequate explanation.

In fairness to Tusla, there is no reason to believe that anybody in that agency is motivated by anything less than the very best of intentions.

So, there must be other reasons why the health watchdog, HIQA, would publish such a shockingly critical report of Tusla’s failure to report, in a timely manner, suspicions of child abuse to gardaí, the only people charged with investigating these matters.

It’s either lack of resources or incompetence - or, perhaps, a mixture of those.

Kerry’s TDs need to create a great deal more fuss about this hugely important matter. They need to hold the Government to account for the sufficiency of money spent on this service in Kerry.

And, if enough resources are being provided, then the matter of competence comes into play.

We simply must not leave this matter to internal resolution alone.

The public is entitled to demonstrable assurances that the right thing is being done by children who, by virtue of they coming into contact with Tusla in the first place, are vulnerable and need our help.

Our representatives in the Oireachtas have a bounden duty to demand public statements from the relevant Government Ministers which explain the reasons for the current failures, the resources available to Tusla and the plan and timeline for issues to be put right.

Otherwise, we’ll be having further terrifying inquiries into more State failures in 10 or 15 years time - when it’s too late to do anything about them.