Members of the Public Accounts Committee wish for the remaining properties offered by the Catholic Church in Ireland to the State to be handed over before Pope Francis arrives in Dublin in August.
Members of the Irish Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have called on the Catholic Church in Ireland to hand over the remaining properties offered in the redress scheme for victims of abuse before Pope Francis visits Ireland in August 2018.
In 2009, in a voluntary agreement with religious congregations, 18 properties were promised to the Irish state to assist in covering costs in the aftermath of the Ryan Report. Nine of these properties are yet to be transferred while some €101.5m of the €110m in cash offered has been received by the state over the past nine years.
The Chairperson of the PAC Fianna Fáil TD Seán Fleming has said that he hopes to see the remainder of the property transferred before the highly anticipated visit of the Pope to Ireland this summer.
"You can't have legacy issues in relation to the redress scheme still unresolved when the Pope comes to Ireland," he said.
The delay has also been branded as “shameful” by committee vice chairman Alan Kelly while Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy noted that the voluntary offer of the properties was not a legally binding contract between the Irish government and the religious organizations.
The Irish Department of Education has said it is"actively pursuing the full completion of all outstanding contributions from religious congregations towards the costs incurred by the State in responding to residential institutional child abuse," adding that a target has been set for the transfer for the end of 2018.
The Association of Missionaries and Religious of Ireland (AMRI) has also stated that they are working with the department to complete the transfers as soon as possible.
"AMRI is aware that the individual congregations have made every possible effort to complete the transfer of properties to the State in accordance with their earlier commitments," their statement added.
A new project both digitises and recasts the Ryan Report on child abuse with the industrial schools. Please join me in reading - the act of bearing witness to these horrors is deeply important to us as a people. https://t.co/De8ue5a36c— Doireann Ní Ghríofa (@DoireannNiG) March 8, 2018
The Ryan Report investigated allegations of abuse in orphanages, industrial schools and church-run hospitals across the Republic of Ireland. The 2,600-page report concluded nine years of investigations into the claims by thousands of adults that they were abused for decades at reform schools and that the Irish government failed to do anything to stop it.