The State has reached a milestone in securing church assets to cover the cost of abuse redress after the Christian Brothers fulfilled its pledge to complete its contribution of €30 million.
This largely completes cash pledges worth €110 million from religious organisations who offered in the aftermath of the publication of the Ryan report to part-fund redress and support for 15,000 former pupils.
However, religious congregations have yet to transfer more than twice this amount in the form of property which they pledged to hand over to the State about a decade ago.
In all, the total cost of the State’s contribution to redress for survivors of residential institutions is likely to be in the region of €1.5 billion.
Some 18 religious congregations involved in the management of most of the residential institutions in which child abuse took place have made contributions toward costs incurred by the State.
To date, they have contributed more than €235 million of the €480 million which they have offered to contribute.
They have made these payments under two rounds; a legally binding indemnity agreement in 2002, and “voluntary offers” made in 2009 following the aftermath of Ryan report.
The bulk of money they agreed to pay under the 2002 indemnity deal – €128 million – has been paid. The transfer of two out of 60 properties remain to be fully completed.
The 2009 Ryan report, which found there had been endemic abuse and neglect in the institutions run by religious congregations, led to calls for these organisations to contribute about half of the cost of the €1.5 billion redress costs.
While a total contribution of some €725 million was sought by the government at the time, the congregations offered €480 million.
This included money paid under the 2002 indemnity deal, plus further cash and properties valued by the congregations at just over €352 million.
Of this sum, about €110 million has now been paid in cash, while 18 properties have been accepted for transfer to the State. Three of these remain to be fully transferred.
Caranua, the independent State body set up to help people who, as children, experienced abuse in residential institutions, is responsible for managing these funds.
The Department of Education has pointed out that when account is taken of property offers not accepted and changes in the valuation of properties previously offered, the total value of the voluntary offers achievable will be significantly lower than this €352 million figure.
Latest figures due to be released on Monday show that the Christian Brothers has contributed €30 million to date.
Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh welcomed the contributions made by the Christian Brothers as it “fulfils the congregation’s pledge to complete its voluntary contributions”.
“These payments ensure that Caranua has access to the full €110 million in cash contributions which were committed to. Most importantly, the financial contributions will allow Caranua to continue its supports for survivors,” he said.
He said a further portion of the contribution made by the congregation – almost €500,000 – is to be paid to the new National Children’s Hospital, as required under law.
This is provided for under the provisions of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012, which states that no more than €110 million in contributions may go to the fund.
Any amounts in excess of that figure must go to the funding of the development of the National Children’s Hospital.