Contribution to redress bill disappoints Quinn

Wednesday 06 July 2011 11.18
1 of 2
Redress - Government believes the orders should pay half of the bill
Redress - Government believes the orders should pay half of the bill
Ruairi Quinn - Religious bodies' offers fall short
Ruairi Quinn - Religious bodies' offers fall short

The Government is to seek the transfer of church owned properties, including schools, to the State to help pay for the redress scheme for survivors of residential child abuse.

The Minister for Education has expressed disappointment at the offers made by the Catholic religious orders.

The Government believes the 18 congregations should pay half of the total bill of €1.36bn.

Speaking on RTÉ's Six-One News, Ruairi Quinn said their offers fell several hundred million euro short of what is needed and he will be seeking €680m from the institutions.

Mr Quinn said the 18 Catholic religious congregations had made a 'fantastic contribution' to education in Ireland.

However, he said if the money could not be realised he would call on the congregations to hand over the legal deeds of some of their properties to the State.

The minister said this approach affords the congregations the opportunity to shoulder their share of the cost of responding to abuse of children in their care.

A number of congregations have responded to the statements by Minister Quinn this evening.

A spokesman for the Oblates Fathers, who ran the Daingean reformatory in Co Offaly, welcomed the fact the minister is moving to set up the long-promised statutory fund to support victims of residential abuse.

He said the Oblates had offered a €20m cash payment for that fund in October 2009 and that money is still available.

A spokesman for the Christian Brothers said it is considering its position carefully in the light of Mr Quinn's statement and other documentation received today from the Department of Education.

A representative for the Sisters of Mercy, the Daughters of Charity and the Sisters of our Lady of Charity said they do not wish to comment at this time as the process is ongoing.

Belfast mayor meets clerical abuse victims

Abuse victims in Northern Ireland have said inquiries into institutional abuse 'should not have stopped at the border'.

Members of the group, Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse, were speaking today as they met Belfast Lord Mayor Niall Ó Donnghaile at the site of the former children's home, Nazareth House, on the Ormeau Road.

The group is calling for an independent public inquiry and for the establishment of a redress process.

The group said today's meeting with the Sinn Féin mayor was 'another step on the road to justice'.

Survivor Margaret McGuckin said it was time for past wrongs to be 'put right'.

She said her own experience of Nazareth House 'had been truly awful' and said she had been 'traumatised' by the experience.

Last December, a taskforce was set up by the Executive in a bid to establish whether there is a basis for an inquiry into institutional abuse in Northern Ireland.

It has been consulting with victims' groups and recently reported back its findings.

Amnesty International's Patrick Corrigan said there was a responsibility on the power sharing administration to deliver an inquiry.

He said the issue of institutional abuse has been 'quite rigorously addressed' in the Republic, 'a degree of truth and justice has been delivered' and that a compensation scheme has been put in place.

He said victims in Northern Ireland 'who suffered the same conditions' have received 'very little attention' and said that the government has 'not yet properly responded'.