The Shame of Ireland

The Shame of Ireland

Minister says orders can't pay their share of €1.5bn abuse bill

By Katherine Donnelly

Saturday April 07 2012

EDUCATION Minister Ruairi Quinn yesterday admitted publicly for the first time that religious orders don't have the cash or assets to pay their share of the compensation bill for abuse.

And he said he had no intention of bankrupting the orders -- which leaves him facing a massive battle to recover their half of a €1.5bn bill.

The taxpayer is already picking up €750m of the expected final cost but now faces having to pay far more.

In the place of previous offers, Mr Quinn now wants the orders to hand over the deeds of schools and medical facilities to finally settle the deal on compensating victims of abuse in residential institutions.

However, it may prove difficult to implement the handover of deeds as many schools controlled by the orders have been placed in trust and are no longer in the ownership of the orders.

Trusts are complex legal entities, and NUI Maynooth law lecturer Neil Maddox said that the Government was facing a "legal headache" on this front.

So far, the orders have paid, or are in a position to pay, about €200m -- although in some cases, over a longer timescale than originally planned.

Mr Quinn told the Irish Independent: "The property market has collapsed; the market value of capital assets has plummeted.

"Nobody wants to bankrupt the orders, who have made a positive contribution for generations to this country, for which this country is grateful, myself included."

But the Government is not backing down on its demand that 18 congregations covered by the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme split the cost 50:50 with the taxpayer.

The religious orders never accepted the principle of 50:50, and when they topped up their contribution offer in 2009, they did so on a "voluntary" basis.

As the Redress Board, which has made 14,000 awards to date, nears the end of its work, the figure being put on the final cost of the scheme and associated matters is €1.5bn.

The minister accepts the orders are not in a position to come "remotely close" to paying 50pc of the bill but, he said, "they can do something else".

He asked them: "Please give us the title deeds of your educational infrastructure."

The Government is also interested in medical facilities.

Mr Quinn said there was no question of requiring them to vacate properties, or hand over patronage of schools -- rather to make the Government, and ultimately the taxpayer, the "landlord" of the property.

Mr Quinn has met the orders in recent months and is in the process of sending letters to the 18 congregations setting out his position, in a bid to bring finality to the long-running saga.


He said he wanted a written response from them so that he could report progress to the Government. The letter states: "As there is a considerable shortfall to be overcome to realise the 50pc contribution towards the ultimate cost of the response to residential institution child abuse, I would request your congregation's views on how a sharing of the costs on a 50:50 basis will be realised."

The move comes as the Redress Board, which was set up in 2002, finalises its work. In another significant development, the Cabinet last Tuesday approved the shape of legislation to set up a trust, backed by a €110m statutory fund, to provide ongoing support for victims.

It has been generally welcomed, but religious orders and others are concerned that the proposed fund is restricted to those who have already been through the redress system.

The Oblates, one of the 18 congregations, welcomed the decision to establish a trust for former residents but said access to the trust should not be confined only to those who have received payments under the redress scheme.

"We have already emphasised to the Department of Education that access to the trust should be open to all former residents of these institutions, based on need and the fact that many are now elderly and in need of advice, counselling and other supports."

London-based emigrants' rights activist, Sally Mulready, recently appointed a member of the Council of State by President Michael D Higgins, said a small number of people who were among the most vulnerable of the survivors' population should not be excluded from the trust.

"Their failure to apply in time to the Redress Board is part of that vulnerability," she said.

- Katherine Donnelly

Irish Independent


Views: 67

Comment by Rob Northall on April 8, 2012 at 17:28

Assets of C.O.R.I. Members    
Christian Brothers    
Total    656.1
Brothers of Charity    
Total    184.5
Oblates of Mary Immaculate    
Total    54.6
Presentation Brothers    
Total    48.3
Sisters Of Mercy    
Total    998
Presentation Sisters    
Total    481
Sisters of Charity    
Total    440.2

Grand Total    2862.7

Figures are in Million Euros    
Is that 2.8 Billion give or take 62 million?    
As we Welsh say "CHWARE TEG!"    

Comment by Geraldine Jackson on September 7, 2012 at 18:47

I Would NOT trust Rauiri Quinn if he was the last Person with me on the Planet.  Nor do I Trust Sally Mulready British Labour Party Politician . NO WAY.

Comment by Geraldine Jackson on January 1, 2013 at 14:22

The Roman Catholic Church was the STATE when Innocent Babies and young children were Sentenced and Detained in their Child Prisons where  Just children yet  were subjected to Slave hard Labour , Brutality ,Neglect ,Starvation, Rape ,Sadistic Beatings , We are talking about Children here whose whole Lives have been DAMAGED by The STATE ,Out of FEAR  many of those who survived fled out of Ireland their own country to many part's of the World and were Totally Vulnerable and Bruised both Mentally , Physically , Spiritually, and after many long years of Abuse just dumped out into a forgotten World where no one remembers you or if they do after so many years of separation they are strangers ,After the children were made to suffer NOTHING in the child (Now Adult's life was as Bad so survivors tended to put up with one further form of ABUSE or another as NOTHING could HURT us as much as the Abuse we suffered as children  that MONUMENTAL HURT  lived on  in the  Adult world  in a state of POST TRAUMATIC STRESS . THE LOSS CAN NEVER BE REPAIRED.

Comment by Geraldine Jackson on January 1, 2013 at 14:24


Comment by Geraldine Jackson on January 1, 2013 at 14:35

Where ?  ARE ALL THOSE WHO SAY THEY ARE INVOLVED WITH HUMAN RIGHTS??? For which they get funding from the STATE, do Survivors who were Incarcarated through out their childhoods locked up with the Abusers not matter as much to you?????

Comment by Geraldine Jackson on January 1, 2013 at 14:36

Or at all. 

Comment by Geraldine Jackson on January 1, 2013 at 15:06

The Papal Government   in the Vatican , The Papal  State in Rome which includes the Vatican were responsible along with their puppet's in the Irish Government  ie  Eamon de Veleria  and his Cronys  these people  dominated and Ran the State in Ireland with an Iron Fist ,They Raped not only Ireland's children but also Raped the Land ending up owning most of it ,They took Money from the poor leaving whole Families to starve ,  They  disregard the Suffering caused to Irish children while detained in Industrial schools  they caused  mass destruction in Ireland of whole Families forever , YES they must be made to pay proper compensation to each of those Children , And NOT hand the money due to the survivors to the CORRUPT Government who keep it  for their own use BUT  hand it over to the Survivors individually  , They know the names of all the survivors.

Comment by Geraldine Jackson on May 11, 2013 at 18:19

How many children of Brave Soldiers who fought in WW2  were Locked up in Industrial Reformatory Schools. in the 1940's 1950's out of spite.

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