The Catholic Church still has to pay the State more than half of the compensation money it promised to give for victims of physical and sexual abuse.

The Joint Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee heard this morning that while €480m had been promised, only €227m had actually been paid out.

Correspondence from the Department of Education showed that a further €253m was outstanding.

Chair of the PAC Seán Fleming said the balance should be paid as it was "money due to the State".

He said that this issue was supposed to be concluded by the end of the year but added: "I don't believe it." 

Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy said the total bill was in the region of €1.5bn.

The department's letter is part of a tranche of correspondence that the committee received over the summer months.