Abuse victim payments 'fell short' - Quinn

Wed, May 9, 2012, 01:00

MINISTER FOR Education Ruairi Quinn expressed disappointment at the contribution offered by religious institutions to help victims of abuse.

He said the Government believed the cost of the response to residential institutional abuse, estimated at over €1.36 billion, should be shared on a 50:50 basis between the State and those who ran the institutions.

“With a 50:50 sharing requiring a contribution of €680 million, the congregrations’ offer fell short by some €200 million, even if all properties had been acceptable and their values confirmed,’’ he added.

Mr Quinn said the House would be “aware of my disappointment at the offers made to date and that I am continuing to pursue the 50:50 division with the management bodies involved’’.

He said that under the 2002 indemnity agreement, the 18 congregrations had contributed €128 million in cash, property and counselling services.

Following the publication of the Ryan report, the House had called on the congregrations to provide further substantial contributions by way of reparation.

In their responses the congregrations had offered cash of some €110 million and offered to transfer properties, mainly in the health and education sectors, valued at €235.5 million, to various State agencies and voluntary organisations.

Mr Quinn was introducing the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Bill 2012, establishing a fund to provide counselling, health, education, housing and other services for victims of abuse in residential institutions.

Mr Quinn said that the publication of the Ryan report, with its catalogue of systemic abuse, shocked a nation that had thought it was beyond being shocked.

“The litany and scale of the abuse, recounted by anguished voices, caused us all, as a people, to be ashamed and to apologise to those whose childhoods were stolen and who, in many instances, could not live full lives as adults,’’ he said.

Mr Quinn said that the commission’s conclusions were unequivocal and damning, detailing the failures of those who managed the institutions and the State’s failure to protect its vulnerable children.

The report, he added, had justified the decision to establish the board to compensate survivors outside of the court system.

“The report’s findings are an indictment on us all and it is our duty to ensure that the lessons of the past are learned and that such abuse is never repeated,’’ he added.