Tuesday 28 February 2017

Second diocese admits it is running out of cash

Paul Melia and David Whelan

The church says it relies on donations from Mass-goers to
fund its activities
The church says it relies on donations from Mass-goers to fund its activities

A SECOND diocese rocked by the clerical sex abuse scandal has admitted it is under "extreme" financial pressure.

On Wednesday, the Archdiocese of Dublin said a fall in donations and the cost of settling abuse claims meant it was near financial collapse.

Yesterday, the Diocese of Cloyne said it was also struggling to make ends meet.

In a statement, the diocese said it had sold property and used cash reserves to meet day-to-day expenses, but those options were now "almost exhausted".

Just last month the Murphy Report investigating the diocese's handling of abuse allegations sharply criticised Bishop John Magee after it found he falsely told the State and the HSE that the church was reporting all abuse allegations to civil authorities.

It also found that he had misled another inquiry by creating two different accounts of a meeting with a priest-suspect, one for the Vatican and the other for diocesan files.

Yesterday, the Irish Independent contacted each diocese in the country and asked if they were under financial pressure. Seven admitted that resources were stretched, with Cloyne saying it depended on weekly collections to make ends meet.

"The finances of the diocese of Cloyne have come under extreme pressure from a number of sources over the past few years," it said in a statement.

Reserves

"While in the past the diocese has sold property and used reserves in order to meet its commitments, this option is almost exhausted.

"Ultimately the diocese and each parish depend on the generosity of the faithful in the weekly collections and other contributions for the funding of our activities and the meeting of our commitments. We are continually grateful for their generosity and support."

Falling numbers at Mass, a drop in donations and settlements with abuse victims means dioceses across the country are also under pressure.

•Ardagh and Clonmacnoise said the recession had an affect on finances, but that it was not linked with abuse cases.

•In Galway, there was "definitely" a fall in donations and "some of it will have been an effect of the abuse cases".

•Collections in Kilmore are falling, while Monaghan has "limited financial resources".

•Tuam said its finances were "not an issue of concern".

•Limerick said it had cut spending, adding there had been a fall in collections.

•Meath said its accounts were being prepared. Ferns, Waterford and others were not in a position to respond to requests for information.

•Kildare and Leighlin said it had cut spending, but recorded a surplus of €11,000 last year.

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