Friday 25 May 2018

Victims in plea over payouts for abuse

John Cooney

Catholic bishops have been urged to rebuke the Government for not paying cash payments directly to victims of sexual and physical abuse by religious orders.

The impassioned plea to break a 16-month impasse since the publication of the Ryan Report into institutional abuse was made yesterday by two leading survivors at a meeting in Dublin with bishops.

Last night, Michael O'Brien, the head of Right to Work survivors' group, said he warned the bishops that the Government and religious orders were avoiding implementing the report.

"It is my belief that the Government and religious orders are now preparing to dump the Ryan Report," Mr O'Brien told the Irish Independent. His fears were shared by Christopher Heaphy, a former resident of Greenmount in Co Cork.

Last December, Cardinal Sean Brady announced that the amount of compensation to be paid by heads of Ireland's 26 dioceses would be explored by a delegation of bishops.

Yesterday, Mr O'Brien and Mr Heaphy told the delegation the Government has coerced the orders into negotiating only through it to the exclusion of the wishes of victims' groups.

Last April, Taoiseach Brian Cowen ordered 18 religious orders to pay €680m -- half of the expected €1.36bn bill. And next month a Statutory Trust Bill will be presented to the Dail allocating €110m to survivors for education.

But Mr O'Brien said that elderly survivors just wanted cash to be handed over to them to meet health bills.

Irish Independent

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