€193m redress plan legal bill

More than €193.5m has been paid out in legal costs relating to applications for the Government’s redress scheme for victims of institutional child abuse.

The Residential Institutions Redress Board (RIRB) said legal fees had accounted for almost 20% of all compensation awards paid to former residents of industrial schools and other institutions.

In its just published annual report for 2016, the RIRB said legal fees for processing all applications had totalled €193,539,124 including €628,004 approved during 2016.

The average costs and expenses paid to solicitors including payments for medical reports amounted to €12,224 per case.

The RIRB, which was established in 2002 to make financial awards to people who were abused as children while residents of 139 institutions, has now processed a total of 16,650 applications, which resulted in total compensation payouts of €969.9m.

A breakdown of figures show 15,581 applicants received financial awards while 1,069 cases were either withdrawn, refused or no award was made.

The average awards was €62,250, with the largest single amount at €300,500.

A total of 48 former residents received a sum of between €200,000 and €300,000 with a further 280 being paid compensation of between €150,000 and €200,000.

Almost half of all awards were for a sum between €50,000 and €100,000.

There were a total of 562 applications from the spouse or children of a person who was entitled to redress but who had died since May 1999 without submitting a claim.

All recipients were offered free, confidential and financial management advices by the Money Advice and Budgeting Service.

RIRB chairman Mr Justice Esmond Smyth said its remaining ongoing work was limited and being carried out by a reduced staff.

The RIRB dealt with a total of 2,766 late applications which were allowed after an extension of the original deadline for the scheme in December 2005 was approved up to September 17, 2011.

The vast majority of late applications were accepted and awards made.

The RIRB also said its records were being deposited with the National Archives where they would be sealed for a period of 75 years A total of nine cases were referred to gardaí on the grounds that fraudulent claims were being made. All investigations have been concluded and one resulted in a criminal conviction.

The Government has estimated the final cost of investigating and responding to the abuse in the institutions will be around €1.5 billion with the cost of the redress scheme accounting for 82% of the total.


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