Monday 22 January 2018

Religious 'must pay more' to abuse fund

Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

EIGHTEEN religious congregations who ran residential institutions where children were abused must pay more toward a compensation fund for victims, Education Minister Ruairi Quinn demanded yesterday.

He will write to each congregation separately in the next two weeks to outline his position, asking them to pay in total €600m in cash or property -- half the cost of the €1.2bn compensation fund.

"He's not satisfied with the response he's received to date from the congregations. The minister asked them for a 50pc contribution out of the €1.2bn bill but they haven't reached this target," a Department of Education spokesperson said yesterday in response to inquiries from the Irish Independent.

She added: "The €600m may not be paid completely in cash; we're also looking at the possibility of property being transferred. He'll be addressing the legal mechanisms for the transfer of school property in his correspondence. Given the findings in the Ryan Report, they need to step up to their responsibilities."

The department was unable to provide exact figures of how much the religious institutions had paid to date in cash or land.

In 2009, the Ryan Commission published its findings that children put into state care in religious-run residential institutions had suffered systemic abuse.

Meanwhile, a survivor urged yesterday that the deaths of up to 219 children in a home for Protestant unmarried mothers be made part of a government inquiry.

Survivor and campaigner Derek Linster accused the Government of discriminating against Protestants by failing to pay compensation for mistreatment at the Bethany mother and baby home.

The majority of children who died were illegitimate and born between 1922 and 1949.


Mr Linster said many of these children were victims of "starvation'' combined with a lack of proper care. He said the Government was spending €1.2bn on helping the "Catholic abused'' but insisted it was a "sectarian'' approach to confine state intervention to one particular denomination.

Former Bethany residents are angry that they have been excluded from the inquiry into allegations of abuse at the Catholic-run Magdalene Laundries.

Mr Linster, chairman of Bethany Survivors' Group, said the government of the time ignored what inspectors of the Dublin home were saying.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter has indicated there are no immediate plans to establish an inquiry into the Bethany home.

Irish Independent

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