Irish Catholic Church unable to foot $1.84 billion abuse bill
Government vows to pursue every means possible to get the compensation
The Irish Minister for Education, Ruari Quinn, says that religious orders in the country that have been found culpable in the sexual abuse of children are not able to pay their share of the compensation owed to victims.
However, he also went on to say that he is still going to pursue every means possible to get the compensation from them.
The total compensation package for victims of sexual abuse is some $1.84 billion dollars and the plan was for it to be split between Irish taxpayers and religious orders where abuse took place.
The Residential Institutions Redress Scheme is the authority that makes the awards to victims of abuse.
Its mission, according to its website, is to “make fair and reasonable awards to persons who, as children, were abused while resident in industrial schools, reformatories and other institutions subject to state regulation or inspection.”
There are 18 religious orders under the authority’s jurisdiction.
It now seems that the onus will be placed on the taxpayer to stump up more than the 50 percent originally planned.
Quinn is trying to get the orders to hand over deeds of schools and other property assets to redress the cash shortfall, but many of the properties are now owned by trusts and not directly by the orders.
“Please give us the title deeds of your educational infrastructure,” is what Quinn is asking of the religious orders in question, according to the Irish Independent.
"The property market has collapsed; the market value of capital assets has plummeted,” he added.
"Nobody wants to bankrupt the orders, who have made a positive contribution for generations to this country, for which this country is grateful, myself included."
Quinn wants the schools to continue to operate but wants ownership transferred to the government so that the orders can be seen to be doing as much as possible to pay their share.
"As there is a considerable shortfall to be overcome to realize the 50pc contribution towards the ultimate cost of the response to residential institution child abuse, I would request your congregation's views on how a sharing of the costs on a 50:50 basis will be realized."
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