The Government is to establish a statutory fund for former residents of institutions with €110m in cash, which religious orders intend to contribute over the next few years.

It has asked the 18 Catholic orders, in whose care children were abused, to increase their latest property-and-cash offer by more than €200m.

The Government has promised to reserve any additional cash contributed for the planned National Children's Hospital.

After Judge Sean Ryan uncovered widespread and often unspeakable abuse in State-funded and church-managed industrial and reformatory schools, there was widespread anger that the religious were paying less than 10% of the reparations.

Last May, Taoiseach Brian Cowen demanded significantly more.

Yesterday, Mr Cowen made public the orders' proposal to almost quadruple their contribution with a top-up that they value at €349m.

But the Government said that is still €200m shy of what the religious should pay in order to share the burden equally with the taxpayer.

The fund will administer €110m that the orders have already promised in cash over what the Government calls ‘the next few years’.

Ministers are to consult with the former residents about its exact nature, how it will operate and the uses to which it will be put.

The Government says that more detailed work and discussion with the congregations will be required in relation to the detail of their property offers.