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The indemnity deal at a glance

The indemnity deal brokered between the Government and 18 religious orders was signed in the late days of the last government in June 2002.

The Oireachtas did not vote on the indemnity deal and the agreement, signed by former Education Minister Michael Woods, was finalised after the Dail was dissolved and before the new Dail had met.

There was no public scrutiny of the deal, which was carried out with the limited knowledge of the then Attorney General, Michael McDowell.

The secret deal would lead to disputes between Woods and McDowell.

Under the deal, religious orders were awarded indemnity against all legal claims if they paid €128m in cash and property.

Total liability was estimated at €300m even though no detailed analysis was carried out by any government department.

The Government estimated there would be 2,000 claimants. In the end, there were more than 14,000.

Total liability is currently estimated at €1.2bn.