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Thursday 14 December 2017

Failure of Catholic institutions to contribute to redress scheme 'exceptionally disappointing'

Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe Photo: Tom Burke
Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe Photo: Tom Burke

Chai Brady

The Government has called the failure of some Catholic institutions to contribute fully to the redress scheme as "exceptionally disappointing".

Several Catholic bodies have yet to pay back the full State bill which adds up to €1.5bn to compensate people who suffered institutional abuse.

Minister Paschal Donohoe said the Church should adhere to a higher moral code, apart from the legal agreement that was made in 2002, at the Dublin Institute of Technology in Grangegorman on Friday.

"The overwhelming duty that we now have though is to those people who suffered during that point in our history - who suffered from abuse," he said.

"And that's why the Government is committed to putting the resources in place to make sure that the redress and support is available to those victims and crucially to avoid them having to go through a tough and public process in our legal system.

"So for our churches who correctly point to a higher moral code, it's particularly disappointing to see that code has not been adhered to in the contribution that they have made," he said.

It has been found that the Christian Brothers have withdrawn an offer to give the State an interest in school playing fields worth €127m. 

"The offer, 49 pitches I think, would represent a contribution to the State's meeting of that €1.5bn. The truth is those pitches were in use within schools, they were not being handed over to the State, they were being retained in a Joint Trust," said Education Minister Richard Bruton.

"The Government of the day, under Minister Quinn, sought that firstly there would have to be permission if they were to be sold and if there was permission they would receive 50pc of the proceeds – that was not agreed to.

"So clearly the benefit of the State from money that was presented as being worth €127m simply wasn't going to be of such benefit of the State so it was rejected as a proposal," he said.

He added that he intended to meet the with the religious orders to discuss this, saying that the Orders pledged after the Ryan report that they would pay the €127m.

Several other institutes have not fully repaid what they have pledged to contribute to the State.

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