05/06/2009

Church Leaders To Discuss Abuse Scandal With Pope

Irish Catholic Church leaders will meet the Pope on Friday evening to discuss the high profile child abuse scandal.

Cardinal Sean Brady and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin are travelling to Rome to discuss the shockwaves generated by the Ryan Report with Pope Benedict XVI.

Both Church leaders will also meet the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, for further talks in two weeks time.

Yesterday, the 18 religious orders exposed in the Ryan Report for institutional child abuse agreed to a full audit of their assets and to make further contributions to victims.

The decision came after a meeting between the congregations, Brian Cowen and Batt O'Keeffe, on Thursday.

The independent audit will report back to Government within two weeks, and the orders have also agreed to submit a substantial contribution to a trust and to conduct the process in an open and transparent manner.

Minister for Education Batt O'Keeffe said the congregations had apologised and said they wanted to "co-operate fully" with the Government and would report back in two weeks. Mr O'Keeffe added that this would allow the congregations to have made substantial progress in relation to the substantive additional funding they are going to put in place.

(DW/JM)

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