Thursday 18 October 2018

State lost high-stakes game with two nuns

Sam Smyth

Two nuns held a pair of deuces while the most experienced minister in the Government folded a full-house in a winner-takes-all game of poker with the Catholic Church.

That's what happened when Sister Elizabeth Maxwell and Sister Helena O'Donoghue got the then Education Minister Michael Woods to agree on a €128m settlement for the Catholic Church's responsibility for their abuse of children.

But securing an indemnity agreement from the Government against all future claims was an incalculable jackpot for the Church as many details of the systemic abuse in state institutions were still to be revealed.

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