'Substantial' payments sought from orders

 

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE:THE GOVERNMENT has accepted all of the childcare ecommendations made by Judge Seán Ryan, Taoiseach Brian Cowen said last night.

However, he said: “It is clear that the report has found a much more systemic volume of abuse in institutions than was previously known or accepted by the orders.

“The Government has therefore decided to call on the relevant congregations to provide a substantial additional contribution in view of the moral responsibility they continue to hold in these matters.”

Minister of State for Children Barry Andrews will now draw up a plan to implement the 24 measures necessary to improve child welfare.

The Government will also follow through on Judge Ryan’s recommendation that a memorial should be erected to mark the victims of abuse, using the words of the apology given in 1999 by the then-taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

Mr Cowen said after a Cabinet meeting: “We will do everything we can to make recompense to people, based on what has happened thus far. We will get a full implementation plan from Minister Andrews.”

Asked how much the congregations should now pay, he said: “I think the court of public opinion in this matter is very persuasive and I also think the example that has been given by the Christian Brothers in their statement today is, I hope, a prelude to similar statements by other congregations who have responsibilities in this matter.”

Mr Cowen said some of the extra money should go to help to pay compensation to victims who have not yet received awards from the Redress Board and some to provide extra care and counselling for those already compensated financially.

“We already have people who still await provisions in relations to the redress scheme,” he said.

“It would be possible to make some contribution towards meeting that redress without in any way impinging on the existing agreement.”

On Monday, Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey said extra money from the orders should be used to provide more services for victims, not to cut the State’s compensation bill.

Mr Cowen said he would meet the congregations shortly and he hinted that some form of independent examination of their financial positions would now be necessary.

“Religious guilty of child abuse must be made accountable for their crimes “no matter how long ago”, the Taoiseach added.