More religious orders to pay extra over abuse

MORE religious orders have bowed to pressure to provide extra funds for survivors of institutional child abuse – but half of those involved have still not said how they will respond to the controversy.

Nine of the 18 orders that were signatories to the notorious 2002 indemnity deal, restricting their contribution to victims’ compensation to just a tenth of the estimated €1.3 billion cost, have said they are prepared to make additional payments.

Others have either not yet spoken publicly or insisted they have already discharged their debts to victims. Some declined to reveal their intentions prior to a joint meeting with Taoiseach Brian Cowen, likely to take place in the next fortnight.

Mr Cowen last night resisted opposition demands for an independent audit of the orders’ assets, saying he would first give them a chance to voluntarily divulge the full extent of their wealth before discussing how much extra they should pay.

He warned, however, that he expected the offer from the orders to be “substantial”.

Fr Seán Healy of the Conference of Religious of Ireland, which represented the 18 orders in negotiations that led to the 2002 deal, called on the orders to dig deep, saying he personally did not know prior to the publication of the Child Abuse Commission report the massive scale of the abuse perpetrated.


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