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Martin denies parish payout to sex victims

DUBLIN'S Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has denied claims that parish funds are being used to meet child sex abuse claims.

The Dublin Archdiocese is currently facing 172 civil actions in relation to claims against 44 priests in Dublin.

Today, Archbishop Martin denied reports that money being given on the plate in parish collections was being used to pay for these claims and that Dublin parishes had been asked to donate any surplus funds for abuse claims.

Money from parishes, he said, was being transferred to a fund "used for many purposes". This fund included bequests and donations.

"None of the funds that come from parishes have been used as yet" for abuse claims, he added.

The Archbishop was responding to a report in the Irish Catholic newspaper which said it had uncovered documents from a meeting between the Archbishop, 27 senior priests of the diocese and the diocese financial committee on May 6.

The documents indicated there was not enough money to meet sex abuse claims in the future and that this fund was already in deficit.

Editor Gary O'Sullivan said a spokesperson for Archbishop Martin had confirmed to the newspaper that money was being donated by parishes.

Dr Martin said he had no idea how many claims there would be in the future and more and more claims were arriving.

Meeting claims for sexual abuse was part of a "much larger crisis of finance in the diocese".

He said they had asked parishes which had a surplus to see if there was a way they could contribute to the general fund for the pastoral needs of the diocese.

None of that parish money had been used for child sexual abuse claims and "if that were to happen I would make that abundantly clear".

The archbishop said he had an obligation in law to see that funds were set aside for all probable future liabilities.

The money in the general fund was used for a variety of purposes. "If money from parishes is being used for child sexual abuse claims I will say that."

The Irish Catholic report, he added, was not true at the moment. "It could happen" in the future.