Abuse victims slam $14 million counselling plan

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Victims of clerical abuse in Ireland have slammed the offer of an extra $14million funding for counseling services from the Catholic Church.

The Conference of Irish Bishops announced at the weekend that it would co-fund a free and confidential helpline and counseling referral service for abuse victims.

But the Irish Independent reports that the offer has been condemned as a ‘waste of money’ by the Right To Peace Survivors group.

Their spokesman Michael O’Brien has even suggested that the $14million earmarked for the scheme would be better spent on providing accommodation and medical care for elderly victims living rough in England.

“Only one-in-three survivors has opted for counseling,” O’Brien, a former Fianna Fail mayor of Clonmel, told the Independent.

The proposed counseling service would be co-funded by the Catholic Church and various orders within Ireland.

Over $30million has already been spent on Faoiseamh, a confidential counseling service set up by the Conference of Religious in Ireland.

The Independent reports that the new service, called Towards Healing, is to expand on the work of Faoiseamh by helping victims through group work, practical workshops and a link to statutory and non-statutory services.

The announcement was made in a document, ‘Towards Healing and Renewal’, which was circulated in parishes across Ireland over the weekend.

Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland Sean Brady encouraged mass goers to read a message he described as a: “short but very important pastoral document.”

Archbishop Brady added: “As a result of the grievous wrong of abuse, for many survivors their faith in God and the church has been profoundly damaged.”

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