Religious orders yet to agree to pay into mother and baby home redress scheme

Religious orders yet to agree to pay into mother and baby home redress scheme

 It is the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth, Roderic O'Gorman's intent to start the redress scheme 'as soon as possible' in 2023.  Picture:PA

The six religious orders involved in Mother and Baby homes have yet to agree to pay towards a redress scheme a year after it was announced.

Children's Minister Roderic O'Gorman and his officials remain in discussions with the leaders of the Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland, as well as religious congregations, however, no agreement has been reached on the amount that will be contributed to the State redress scheme.

The Government cannot compel the orders to make any payment, but it is requesting orders to help pay for some of the cost of the €800m redress scheme, which Mr O'Gorman hopes to have in place in the coming months.

A spokesperson for the Department of Children said the Government believes that all relevant parties have a "collective responsibility" to respond to Ireland's legacy in relation to the Mother and Baby institutions.

The discussions in regard to seeking a contribution from the religious congregations towards the Mother and Baby Institutions Payment Scheme are ongoing. In order to allow for open engagement throughout, and keeping with the standard approach taken to matters of negotiation, it was agreed that this process, while ongoing, would be treated as confidential.

"The department will inform Government, survivors and the wider public of the outcome to these negotiations when this process is concluded," the spokesperson said.

Negotiations 

It is understood that a number of meetings have been held with the Bon Secours sisters, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Sisters of St John of God, Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Sisters of Mercy and the Daughters of Charity as well as a Catholic lay organisation, the Legion of Mary about their contribution to the redress scheme.

The Mother and Baby Institutions Payment Scheme was approved by the Government in November 2021, after the publication of the final report of the commission of investigation.

At the time, Mr O'Gorman said that religious orders should make "a significant contribution" to redress.

The redress scheme will include financial payments for an estimated 34,000 people and a form of enhanced medical card for an estimated 19,000 people who were resident in Mother and Baby and County Home Institutions, at a cost of approximately €800m.

A spokesperson said Mr O’Gorman is focused on delivering the scheme as soon as possible, and it is his intention to bring the Mother and Baby Institutions Payment Scheme Bill to Government seeking approval to publish and introduce it to the Houses of the Oireachtas in the coming weeks.

In parallel with the legislative process, the Department is working intensely on the administrative arrangements needed to operate the scheme and deal with applications so that the scheme can open as soon as possible in 2023, after the legislation is enacted.

Campaigners and survivors have criticised the scheme over a number of limitations that have been put on accessing redress, which they say means it will only be open to around 40% of survivors.

These include the fact that a person must have spent at least six months as a child in a home to qualify for the payment.

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