Politicians tell religious to pay

Politicians tell religious pay
Taoiseach Enda Kenny leads calls for the Church to pay ‘its share’ of €1bn redress bill

Enda Kenny has told the Catholic Church that it has an obligation to pay the compensation it owes to survivors of abuse. In 2002, an indemnity agreement was signed between the State and 18 religious congregations.

It stated that the Orders had to hand over €128 million in cash and property and the figure increased to €353 million upon the publication of the Ryan report. In return, the State would indemnify these Orders against legal actions from former residents.

However, the Government feels that while it has held up its end of the bargain, the religious congregations are failing in theirs.

“I would expect congregations and the Church to reflect on the seriousness of this and measure up to their requirements,” Mr Kenny told RTÉ. “We had a position following the residential institutions and the amount of restitution to be made there, and that hasn’t been – what was set out in the beginning.”

A Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) report showed that just 13 per cent of the redress scheme had been paid by Catholic congregations that ran residential institutions where children were abused.

None of the religious orders had come close to paying their contribution of the €1.5 billion scheme. And of the €226 million which had been paid, the report showed that only €85 million has been received by the State. Irish Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, expressed his frustration at the lack of progress made by the religious congregations in meeting the costs of residential institutional child abuse.

“I’m massively disappointed that 15 years on, from the indemnity agreement which relieved these religious orders from any cases being taken against them, we’re still so far off meeting the level of contribution that is expected,” he said.

Paschal Donohoe, Irish Minister for Public Expenditure, added that it was important for the religious congregations to apply the same moral code they expect of others to themselves.

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