The Government says it will continue to assert “moral pressure” on religious orders to provide more money to cover the costs of redress to survivors of residential abuse, with one survivors’ group claiming Pope Francis should become involved.
Following the publication of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report into the cost of the Ryan Report into child abuse in 2009 and redress scheme for victims, ministers renewed calls for the orders to share a 50/50 split of the huge costs.
Yesterday, Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Paschal Donohoe said the indemnity agreement struck with the religious by government 16 years ago is “very frustrating” and Education and Skills Minister Richard Bruton said “our hands are tied” when it came to options such as seeking title deeds to schools.
Separately, the Irish SOCA (Survivors of Child Abuse) group said Pope Francis should break the impasse.
“Enda Kenny should travel to Rome as soon as practical and demand a comprehensive and honourable settlement of all matters connected with the child abuse scandals which implicate the servants of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland.
“These matters have dragged on for too long.”
According to the C&AG report, the Daughters of Charity offered €10m after the Ryan Report’s publication but delivered only €4m.
A statement yesterday on behalf of the order said: “The Daughters of Charity have honoured virtually all of its commitments made to the Government in regard to redress and we are currently finalising the sale of property, and will then transfer the proceeds to the State, so as to honour our entire commitment.”
That followed a similar statement from the Christian Brothers and from the Sisters of Mercy, which according to the C&AG Report had, as of the end of 2015, delivered €24.9m of the €127.5m it pledged in 2009.
“The Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy has honoured all of its commitments to the Government in relation to the redress scheme.”
It said there had been delays in formal transfer of ownership of some properties and the economic downturn meant the State accrued reduced financial gains through property transfers.
The Department of Education said payments since the period covered by the C&AG report included another €11.2m in voluntary cash contributions from congregations, and four additional properties transferred under the 2002 Indemnity Agreement, with 11 yet to be completed.
Three properties were transferred to the minister for education while ministerial consents have been given for the transfer of Beaumont Convalescent Home to the HSE.
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