€850m paid out to 13,669 abuse victims

ALMOST €850 million has been paid out to date to people abused as children in institutions.

The Government said that the Residential Institutions Redress Board had made 13,669 awards up until the end of last May.

The average award has been €62,875, with the overall bill so far hitting €847m.

In April 2010, the then government announced that the Catholic religious orders, which ran these institutions, would pay half of the overall bill.

The Government released the details in its first report on Ireland’s human rights record to the United Nations.

The UN’s Universal Periodic Review will examine the report in October.

The report said that following a recent recommendation by the UN Committee Against Torture, the Government had set up an interdepartmental committee to examine the interaction between the state and the Magdalene laundries.

The report, which was published yesterday by the Department of Justice, said this would look at the need for a “restorative and reconciliation process”.

In addition, any complaint of serious abuse constituting a criminal offence would be “investigated and, where appropriate, prosecuted”.

The Government said it intended to convene a constitutional convention to examine reforms in several areas, including:

* Provision for same-sex marriage.

* Amendment to clauses on women in the home.

* Insertion of a clause to encourage greater participation of women in public life.

* Removal of the offence of blasphemy.

The Government said it was putting a number of referendums to the public, including reversing a Supreme Court judgement to enable Oireachtas committees to carry out full investigations and strengthening the rights of the child.

The report said legislation was being drafted to deal with a range of issues, such as banning female genital mutilation, ratifying a UN convention on disability rights, and protection for whistleblowers.

The Government also detailed other reports, reviews and strategies that were either planned, under way or nearing completion:

* An expert group will be set up in response to a European court ruling on abortion.

* A report on the legal recognition of trans-gender people is due to be submitted to the Social Protection Minister shortly,

* A National Review of Autism Services is currently under way;

* Child protection is to be transferred from the HSE to a new agency;

* A Forum on Patronage is examining how to reduce religious patronage of schools.

The Government also accepted there had been “unacceptable delays” in processing citizenship applications and that new measures would streamline the process.

* For the full report see www.upr.ie

More in this section