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Girls put to work in a Magdalene Laundry in Ireland Photo by: Google Images

Irish government to pursue religious orders over $1.92 billion for victims

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Girls put to work in a Magdalene Laundry in Ireland Photo by: Google Images

Minister Ruairí Quinn has announced government plans to pursue further contributions from religious congregations towards compensation for those who were victims of physical and sexual abuse while under State and Church care.

The Minister for Education and Skills, Quinn has secured Cabinet approval to continue to pursue a 50:50 ($330 million / €250m) sharing of the costs of the redress process between the religious congregations and the State.

The final costs of the redress response are expected to reach $1.92 billion (€1.46 billion). A 50:50 sharing of the costs between the taxpayer and those responsible for managing the institutions involved require a $964 million (€730m) contribution from religious congregations.

The combination of all contributions offered by the congregations to date, both under the 2002 Indemnity Agreement and subsequent to the Ryan Report, amount to $634 million (€480m) – a shortfall of $330 million (€250m) on the target 50 percent share. Offers from the congregations have comprised cash and property elements.

Following today’s decision, the Government will maintain its position of a 50:50 sharing of the costs and will continue to pursue the remaining funds due. The Cabinet also agreed that every effort will be made to complete outstanding issues relating to properties offered by congregations as part of the settlement. A pragmatic approach will be adopted. For example, some properties will be transferred for use in the public and voluntary sectors, while others will be sold and the proceeds used to augment the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund to provide services to survivors.

Minister Quinn will also be engaging with the four congregations that have indicated a willingness to consider the transfer of educational infrastructure additional to what has already been offered.

Speaking afterwards, the Minister said, “The Government is obviously disappointed that the congregations have not agreed to a 50:50 share of the very considerable cost for redress. Today’s decision represents the most pragmatic way to maximise the level of contributions to be made by the congregations and the management bodies so that the taxpayer does not bear an unreasonable burden of the costs. Following the unanimous Dáil resolution in 2009 on a fair sharing of redress costs, I have actively pursued this approach since taking office.”

The Minister also secured Cabinet agreement in principle to bring forward legislative proposals to allow the retention of the records of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, the Residential Institutions Redress Board and the Residential Institutions Review Committee.
 

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