Priests asked to pay into abuse fund


The Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Dr Dermot Clifford, has written to priests and curates in his diocese asking them to contribute to a fund established to compensate victims of clerical child abuse.

In a statement today, the archbishop confirmed he had written to all 85 clerics in the 46 Tipperary and Limerick parishes, requesting voluntary contributions to the “clergy contribution fund”.

The fund was established five years ago to help the diocese cope with mounting debts incurred as a result of child protection issues.

Dr Clifford said the initiative came from the most recent meeting of the diocese’s council of priests at which it was proposed that the archbishop make a renewed appeal to the priests of the diocese for the restoration of the fund.

In his letter, the archbishop suggested parish priests contribute €60 per month and curates contribute €50 per month, which had the potential to net the diocese more than €50,000 per annum.

Details of how the fund was to be administered or how the money was to be used were not mentioned.

“Issues relating to the cost of the child protection are confidential and no details will be forthcoming,” Dr Clifford’s statement said.

The statement also said that Bill Meagher, a former child care manager with the Health Service Executive in the mid-west region, had been appointed to become the diocese’s child protection delegate, a role he has held in the diocese of Cloyne for the past year.

Archbishop Clifford, who is also the apostolic administrator of Cloyne, said last month that he planned to establish a special healing programme for victims early this year in the diocese of Cloyne.

As part of the programme, abuse survivors are to be afforded meetings with Bishop John Magee and Msgr Denis O’Callaghan.

The Commission of Investigation into the Diocese of Cloyne was highly critical of failings by both Bishop Magee, who resigned as bishop of Cloyne last year, and Msgr O’Callaghan to properly investigate and report complaints.