Levy increase not linked to settlement fund, says diocese

 

A RECENT increase in levy on parish income in Derry diocese “arises from increasing costs borne by the diocese and is not linked to the Stewardship Trust Fund,” a spokesman for the diocese said yesterday.

“The diocese is obliged to pay the costs associated with providing services at diocesan level, many of which are directly availed of by parishes. The increase in levy is not linked to any special fund, diocesan or national, for compensation arising from child sexual abuse allegations. The size of levy increase is due to a prudent assessment of costs associated with running the diocese,” he said.

The spokesman added that the diocese does not contribute to the Stewardship Trust Fund.The fund was set up by the Irish Catholic Bishops in 1996 to administer a €10.6 million settlement arrived at between them and the Church and General insurance company.

Under its terms, the company was released from liability by the church for claims arising from clerical child sex abuse in Irish Catholic dioceses between 1987, when insurance was put in place by almost all the 26 Catholic dioceses on the island, and 1996. Money from the trust has been used to assist dioceses with compensation payments to victims of clerical child sex abuse.

The Derry diocesan spokesman was responding to queries prompted by a statement from Derry members of the Voice of the Faithful Ireland group yesterday.

It said: “Catholic parishioners in Derry diocese have learned that an additional 3 per cent levy for diocesan purposes on parish collections, an addition that was withdrawn after protests in 2005, has been restored by the diocese without prior explanation.”