Religious orders still refusing to accept 50/50 redress process

The Government has admitted it has got “nowhere” in convincing religious orders to pay for half of residential abuse claims.

Religious orders still refusing to accept 50/50 redress process

In July, Education Minister Ruairi Quinn secured Cabinet approval to continue to pursue a 50/50 sharing of the costs of the redress process between the State and the 18 orders named in the Ryan Report.

However, speaking to RTÉ, Mr Quinn admitted the congregations continue to argue against a 50/50 split with the State in terms of compensating victims of residential abuse.

Asked where the Government was in terms of getting movement on this with the orders, Mr Quinn said “nowhere”. He also suggested that, in the absence of congregations contributing, the taxpayer would have to make up the shortfall of over €200m.

“They won’t accept the principle of 50/50,” he said. “They’ve paid out some money, they’ve come back with a certain amount. They’re shy about €200m and if I had that my problems would be solved.”

Without the orders contributing a 50% share, “everything has to be put on the table” in terms of making up this shortfall, said Mr Quinn.

“We’ve spent €1.4bn, we the taxpayers, on redress,” he said. “The original deal that was an outrageous deal with Michael Woods and Bertie Ahern. I have tried to get the religious congregations to accept, along with us, the State, that 50/50 portion.”

The final costs of the redress scheme for residential abuse is expected to reach €1.46bn.

To date, the combination of all contributions offered by the religious congregations, both under the 2002 Indemnity Agreement and subsequent to the Ryan Report, amounts to €480m — a shortfall of €250m on the target 50% share.

However, just €175m of the €480m committed in 2009 has been paid over.

Department of Education memos revealed that much of the €480m committed by the congregations was based on unrealistic property values.

Many of the properties offered by the orders were not considered useful to the State or agencies such as the HSE. Others did not have a clean title.

Twelve years after the indemnity deal was signed, legal discussions remain unresolved in relation to 20 properties that were offered to the State as part of the original €127m package in 2002.

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