Saturday 24 June 2017

State redress scheme won't be reopened despite Tuam revelations

Richard Bruton. Photo: Tom Burke
Richard Bruton. Photo: Tom Burke
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Education Minister Richard Bruton has said there are "no plans" to reopen the State's redress scheme for institutional abuse despite the latest revelations surrounding the Tuam baby scandal.

The scheme, which has to date cost almost €1.5bn, closed to new applicants in September 2011.

It emerged last week that religious orders who ran residential institutions where children were subject to abuse have paid just 13pc of the costs.

A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), published by Mr Bruton, confirmed that the State had received just €85m of the €226m that was due from the Church.

A spokesperson for Mr Bruton confirmed that the scheme would not be reopened for new entrants.

"The redress scheme has been closed to new applicants since September 2011 and the work of the Redress Board is largely complete. There are no plans to reopen it.

"The total cost of the scheme, currently some €1.477bn, is expected to reach €1.5bn," the spokesperson told the Irish Independent.

The issue of the State's contribution to the redress scheme is now the subject of a bitter row with Government.

Senior Cabinet figures, including Taoiseach Enda Kenny, have called on Church leaders to "measure up" and pay more of a share.

Read more: Failure of Catholic institutions to contribute to redress scheme 'exceptionally disappointing'

There have also been calls for the Pope to intervene in order to put pressure on religious orders.

Earlier this month it was confirmed that significant quantities of human remains had been discovered beneath the former St Mary's Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Co Galway.

It followed painstaking work by local historian Catherine Corless, whose work has led to the setting up of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission.

Remains were found in 17 underground chambers at the Tuam site.

Bon Secours nuns ran the home from 1925 until its closure in 1961.

Last week, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said the revelations surrounding the treatment of women and their children in mother and baby homes cannot be "wallpapered" over.

"The sad facts which are once again emerging into light around the way children and mothers were treated in Church-run institutions lead us once again to challenge the Church in Ireland to a deep self-examination and repentance.

"It is not something that can be wallpapered over or interpreted by clever spin doctors," Archbishop Martin said.

"Everything must be done to enable the truth to emerge.

"As believers we must again turn to Jesus and profess we have failed his teaching. We must confess the role of the Church in the building up of a culture which failed to recognise the presence of Jesus in the smallest and weakest."

The senior cleric also dismissed the suggestion that such treatment "happened when times were different".

Irish Independent

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