A KEY religious congregation contributing to the special fund for victims of institutional abuse has rejected suggestions that millions of euro in compensation was being withheld.
The Oblates of Mary Immaculate confirmed it has €20 million in a special account waiting to transfer to a victims’ trust as soon as the Government could take it. But so far the state has failed to set up this trust, despite promising it after the publication of the Ryan Report almost two years ago.
The contribution would double the amount already signed over to an account set up in advance of the proposed €110m statutory trust for former residents of institutions run by religious orders.
Provincial of the Order, Fr William Fitzpatrick, denied suggestions that religious orders had failed to fulfil their promises simply because the account set up by the Government had so far only received €20.6m — less than a fifth of what was expected.
Fr Fitzpatrick said he received a letter from the department earlier this month which suggested progress on the issue was pending.
“I can speak for the Irish Oblates and say we have promised €20m cash. However, we are still waiting for the Government to establish the trust, which was announced in May 2009. The money has been placed in a designated account and will be paid as soon as the account is set up by the Government.”
The departmental letter to Fr Fitzpatrick said a new law will be brought to Government to advance the matter.
“The department has, following a comprehensive consultation process, prepared proposals together with a General Scheme of a Bill to provide for the Statutory Fund, which will be submitted to the minister and Government.”
The Oblates had €82m in assets at the time a Government panel assessed the value of the portfolios held by the 18 religious orders.
However, it did not have the vast property portfolio of other bodies and instead opted to pay cash by way of compensation.
More than half of its 46 members in Ireland are older than 70.
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