Diocese of Dublin rules out 'taking money from the baskets'
THE diocese which faces the largest compensation bill for victims of clerical abuse yesterday ruled out asking parishioners to help towards the multi-million euro payout.
The Archdiocese of Dublin has already paid out in the region of €11m, including €7.6m in settlements and €3.4m in legal costs for both sides. A further €6m has been spent on child protection and related services.
However, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Dublin said no contributions from parishioners had been used to pay for any costs relating to child abuse to date and she did not anticipate that situation arising in the future. "We have not had to take any money from the baskets," she said.
While it is impossible to know how big the bill will ultimately be, the diocese has set aside funds which it believes will be adequate. "Future liability has been accounted for," the spokeswoman said.
Bishop Willie Walsh of Killaloe was alone among his colleagues yesterday in confirming that he would consider asking parishioners to help pay compensation costs, "if it became necessary". The diocese has paid out €1.8m to date in compensating victims of abuse.
Bishop of Kilmore Leo O'Reilly said it was the responsibility of each diocese to manage its own financial affairs. However, he indicated that Kilmore would not follow suit: "It is our policy to meet such costs out of discretionary funds," he said.
Bishop O'Reilly said he did not believe the Vatican should be required to step in to meet spiralling costs of compensation, saying: "It is the responsibility of each diocese to meet whatever costs it incurs in this or in any other matter."
Kilmore is one of a number of dioceses which have not paid any compensation to victims of clerical abuse.
Limerick has registered 18 allegations but no convictions and no civil actions. Kerry has paid out €550,000 in 12 cases, with another four pending.
A spokesman for the Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Treanor said that, to date, "all our compensation has been paid from diocesan assets".