State to pursue religious orders for €250m extra over abuse

Government seeks 50:50 sharing of revised €1.46bn cost of redress

A journalist takes notes beside the report of the  Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, also known as the Ryan report, on its release  in May 2009. Photograph: Peter Morrison/AP

A journalist takes notes beside the report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, also known as the Ryan report, on its release in May 2009. Photograph: Peter Morrison/AP



The Government has decided to pursue the religious orders for another €250 million to cover the costs of redress for institutional abuse.

The congregations had agreed to contribute €480 million towards the redress process which, it is now estimated, will cost €1.46 billion.

The Cabinet decided yesterday on the recommendation of Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn that another €250 million should be sought from the congregations to ensure a 50:50 sharing of the costs between the religious and the State.

In a statement Mr Quinn said the final cost of the redress response was now expected to reach €1.46 billion.A 50:50 sharing of the costs between the taxpayer and those responsible for managing the institutions involved would require a €730 million contribution from religious congregations.

“The combination of all contributions offered by the congregations to date, both under the 2002 indemnity agreement and subsequent to the Ryan report, amount to €480 million – a shortfall of €250 million on the target 50 per cent share. Offers from the congregations have comprised cash and property elements,” said the statement.

Property and cash
It added that the Government would pursue the remaining funds due to ensure a 50:50 sharing arrangement.

“The Cabinet also agreed that every effort will be made to complete outstanding issues relating to properties offered by congregations as part of the settlement.

“A pragmatic approach will be adopted. For example, some properties will be transferred for use in the public and voluntary sectors, while others will be sold and the proceeds used to augment the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund to provide services to survivors.”

The statement added that the Minister would be engaging with the four congregations that have indicated a willingness to consider the transfer of educational infrastructure additional to what has already been offered.

“The Government is obviously disappointed that the congregations have not agreed to a 50:50 share of the very considerable cost for redress,” said Mr Quinn after the Cabinet meeting.

He said the Government decision represented the most pragmatic way to maximise the level of contributions to be made by the congregations and the management bodies so the taxpayer did not bear an unreasonable burden of the costs.

“Following the unanimous Dáil resolution in 2009 on a fair sharing of redress costs, I have actively pursued this approach since taking office,” he said.

Holding on to records
The Minister also secured Cabinet agreement in principle to bring forward legislative proposals to allow the retention of the records of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, the Residential Institutions Redress Board and the Residential Institutions Review Committee.

In 2010 it was estimated that the final costs incurred by the State relating to institutional child abuse would be €1.36 billion. This figure has subsequently been reviewed and was revised up to €1.46 billion.

The figure is comprised of €1.242 billion on the redress scheme and associated legal fees; €88.6 million for the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse; €110 million for the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund; €10 million towards the cost of the Faoiseamh Counselling service; and €12.7 million towards educational programmes for former residents.

The revised estimate is due to the number of late applications received by the redress board during 2011, prior to the removal of the board’s power to accept late applications received on or after the September 17th, 2011 (provided for in the Residential Institutions Redress Amendment Act, 2011).

Of the €480 million so far offered by the congregations €176 million has been handed over mainly in the form of property and about €55 million in cash.