Saturday 17 March 2018

Magdalene nuns 'have moral obligation to pay victims'

Justice Minister Alan Shatter
Justice Minister Alan Shatter

Fionnan Sheehan Political Editor

THE Government isn't planning to take legal action against a number of religious orders refusing to contribute to the compensation fund for Magdalene Laundries victims.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter can't force religious orders to give any funding towards the redress scheme but feels they have a "moral obligation" to assist.

The Coalition is preparing to pay out up to €58m in compensation to Magdalene survivors. And the Government is seeking a financial contribution from four religious congregations involved in running the institutions: The Good Shepherd Sisters, The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, The Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of Charity.

The four orders came back to say they don't intend to make a contribution. But the Coalition is not examining the option of taking legal action to force some form of payment.

The congregations are understood to have argued that a lot of their assets are held in trust and therefore can't be given to a fund.

"Where there's a will, there's a way. That's our attitude," a government spokesman said.

The amount of redress to be paid is dependant on the numbers who apply. The payments and support are expected to cost between €34.5m and €58m.

Mr Shatter said he regarded their response as "very disappointing".

"It is my view that the congregations have a moral obligation to make a reasonable contribution to the fund required under the Scheme and that view is shared by my cabinet colleagues."

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News