State Meets Church To Agree Abuse Cash

The Dublin Government is to establish a statutory fund for former residents of church institutions with €110m in cash, which religious orders intend to contribute towards over the next few years.

It has asked the 18 Catholic orders, in whose care children were abused, to increase their latest property-and-cash offer by more than €200m.

After Judge Sean Ryan uncovered widespread abuse in State-funded and church-managed industrial and reformatory schools, there was widespread anger that the religious were paying less than 10% of the reparations.

Yesterday, the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, along with the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Science Mary Coughlan and Ministers Dermot Ahern and Mary Harney and Minister of State Barry Andrews held separate meetings in Government Buildings with representatives of religious congregations and with groups representing survivors of residential institutional child abuse.

The Taoiseach stressed that the additional contributions needed to be capable of being assessed by the public for their significance by reference to the full resources available to the congregations and in the context of the costs of well over a €1 bn being incurred by the State.

The Government view is that an ultimate outcome that reflects the conclusions in the Ryan Report regarding the responsibility of the State and the congregations, and so resulted in the overall costs in responding to residential institutional abuse being shared on a 50:50 basis between the taxpayer and those responsible for the residential institutions, would be appropriate.

The final cost of the response to residential institutional abuse is estimated to reach €1.36bn. While the main element of that cost is the Redress Scheme, other costs include the cost of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse and the Education Finance Board.

In addition to the original €128m contribution under the 2002 Indemnity Agreement, the Congregations are now offering significant additional contributions, which they have valued at €348.51m.

The all party Motion passed by Dáil Éireann supported the proposal for a Trust to be set up and managed by the State for the support of victims and for other education and welfare purposes.

The Government is proposing to utilise the cash element of the Congregations’ offers of contributions which is intended to amount to €110m over the next few years, to establish a Statutory Fund and will be consulting with the former residents as to the exact nature of the fund, how it will operate and the uses to which it will be put.

The Government is very conscious of the ongoing pain suffered by so many former residents and reiterates once again its apology to them and its commitment to the full implementation of the Ryan Report recommendations.


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