Demands for explanation as Tusla employee pleads guilty to possessing child porn

Demands for explanation as Tusla employee pleads guilty to possessing child porn

Demands have been made for an explanation from Tusla after an employee of the child protection agency pleaded guilty to possessing more than 2,000 image of child porn.

Denis O’Donovan, who worked in an administrative role with Tusla at the time of the incident, pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Court this week to possessing more than 2,000 image and 12 videos of child porn.

Galway East TD Anne Rabbitte, who is the Fianna Fáil spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs, said this is “disturbing revelation” which requires an immediate response from Tusla.

“We need to be able to trust Tusla with the protection of our children and young people,” Deputy Rabbitte said, adding that the case highlights the need for “vigilance and caution”.

“We know that people who want to abuse children will do their utmost to gain access to children and young people,” Deputy Rabbitte said, and asked what vetting processes are in place in Tusla to stop such people from entering the agency.

Anyone who is seeking employment that will have them in contact with children or vulnerable adults must undergo garda vetting under the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012–2016.

According to a Garda witness who spoke in court, O’Donovan did not have any contact with children in his job at Tusla.

O’Donovan is no longer employed with the child protection agency.

Gardaí became aware of the child porn in O’Donovan’s possession when they were alerted to it by the National Child Exploitation Co-ordination Centre in Canada.

Deputy Rabbitte concluded by saying that Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone “Must immediately lay out how she intends on dealing with this issue and the extra measures Tusla will be putting in place in order to ensure that this type of thing does not reoccur.”

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