€1.5m land sale funded clerical sex abuse payouts
A CATHOLIC Church diocese sold off a piece of land and invested the money in a trust fund to pay off claims from people who suffered clerical sex abuse.
The diocese of Killaloe sold the land in Ennis to the town council for €1.5m, which it used to set up the special fund in 2002.
Outgoing Bishop Willie Walsh revealed the money was invested and grew over a number of years. However, the fund was also frequently depleted by payouts and is now almost empty.
Bishop Walsh will be succeeded in his position by Fr Kieran O'Reilly at a special ordination ceremony at Ennis Cathedral on August 29.
The trust fund was primarily set up to help victims of clerical sex abuse and those hurt by the church.
In one case, money from the fund had been paid to a man who claimed he had been taken advantage of by three priests.
Bishop Walsh said some €40,000 was paid out to the man from the fund while he gifted him another €25,000 from his own personal funds.
The money from the fund was typically used for people who had suffered clerical abuse while they were children.
The man in question was a young adult when the alleged abuse happened.
"I would hope that my motivation was one of genuine care for this person who had been so hurt by a priest," Bishop Walsh said.
However, this did not make up for what had happened to him, he said.
The man has claimed the abuse severely affected him.
Bishop Walsh said he had frequently been in debt but did not have any regrets.
"I am told by some people I am very naive when it comes to helping some people. I do give away a fair bit of my own money to people in need. I am not a spender," he said.