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Quinn says he is 'disappointed' at redress money offered by religious congregations

Minister Ruairí Quinn also said that a memorial will be created for the victims of institutional abuse in Ireland.

Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

EDUCATION MINISTER RUAIRÍ Quinn has said he is “disappointed” by how little money religious congregations are willing to put forward for redress for residential institutional child abuse.

The Government plans to address the contributions towards the Response to Redress by the 18 religious congregations, which is in the region of €1.36 billion.

It will establish a Residential Institutions Statutory fund to support victims of residential institutional abuse, which will be funded by the cash portion of the money offered by the congregation, €110 million.

Former residents – 13,000 of them in all – who have received money from the Residential Institutions Redress Board will be eligible to apply for support from the fund.

The Redress Board will also be wound-up this year.

A memorial for the victims of institutional abuse will be created, as was recommended in the Ryan report.

The Government believes the cost of the redress should be halved between taxpayer and those who ran the institutions where children were abuse.

Quinn said that only a quarter of the property offered to the state by the congregations was of interest to the state and the value of these 12 properties  only came to €60 million.

He called once more for the religious congregations to augment their original contribution of €348.5 million to meet half of the redress costs and said he has written to them seeking a meeting.

Despite the State’s call for the congregations to supplement their original offers, only two out of the 18 congregations have replied positively to make up a shortfall of some €200 million.  One congregation has offered to give €1 million towards the costs of the National Children’s Hospital and to refund some or all of its legal costs, while another offered to transfer a former primary school. None of the other congregations have supplemented their original offers.

In April, Quinn called on the orders to consider handing over school infrastructure to contribute towards the money they owe.

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Minister Quinn said that with Government approval he proposes to seek a legal mechanism that would mean the titles to school infrastructure properties would be transferred to the state.

He is also asking congregations to transfer their properties that are currently rented by the state and properties that are identified as being of specific interest to the State.

He commented:

I recognise that there are complex legal issues to be addressed to realise the transfer of school infrastructure.  Nevertheless I believe that this approach affords the congregations involved the opportunity to shoulder their share of the costs of responding to the horrendous wrongs suffered by children in their care, while at the same time, recognising the legitimate legacy of their contribution to Irish education.

The management of other institutions within the redress scheme have also been asked to make a contribution to the costs and their potential to transfer school infrastructure will be explored.

The minister will meet with survivors of abuse and representatives from religious congregations about these measures.

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