Enniscorthy Guardian

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€1.8m mortgage taken out on palace to cover abuse claims


■ The Bishop's Palace in Summerhill, Wexford.

■ The Bishop's Palace in Summerhill, Wexford.

■ The Bishop's Palace in Summerhill, Wexford.

THE BISHOP'S palace in Summerhill, Wexford has been remortgaged for €1.8 million to help the diocese cover the cost of continuing sex abuse settlements.

The 20-year mortgage was taken out within the past six months and the annual repayments are €120,000 a year, of which the diocese will be in a position to pay half, according to the Diocesan Communications Officer Fr. John Carroll.

'Looking at the overall finances, it can pay €60,000 a year,' said Fr. Carroll, adding that in the current property market, it wouldn't make sense to dispose of diocesan assets.

The property assets of the diocese include the Bishop's house, St. Peter's College and seminary, playing pitches in Coolcotts and agricultural land on the Rosslare Road.

As anger mounted over the bishop's comments, Fr. Carroll said on Tuesday that Bishop Brennan wasn't appealing for donations from parishes.

He said the bishop had been approached by clergy and lay people in parishes asking if they could do anything to help and it was within this context that he made his statement.

The bishop merely wished to further that idea in view of the fact that people were coming forward.

'He was saying maybe we will have to go this way. He was asking people to look at the needs of the diocese, to see what response could be made,' said Fr. Carroll.

The Barntown curate said it was not possible to estimate the total amount involved in the 13 settlements outstanding

The annual repayments on the 20-year mortgage are €120,000 a year property which comprises diocesan offices was within the past six months.

He said the €1.8 million was raised with 'a view to the totality of the 61 settlements.'

'Up to 80 per cent of the settlements have been made. The last stage of the journey is being reached, with offers of help coming forward.' he said.