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State to pay €50 million in legal fees for religious orders

The payouts arise from the work of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, which was set up in 2000 and published the Ryan Report in 2009.

Image: AP Photo/Petr David Josek

THE STATE WILL pay up to another €35 million to religious orders for their legal costs arising from the activities of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.

The Commission, which was set up in 2000, has been investigating allegations of abuse at institutions dating back to around 1940 to determine the extent and perpetrators of abuse. The bill payments were agreed at the time it was set up.

The investigations led to the publication of the Ryan Report two years ago, which found that sexual and physical abuse was ‘endemic’ in institutions run by the Catholic Church in Ireland.

The Commission posted a notice online last month calling on all relevant parties to sent their legal fee submissions by 28 October. It also says it wrote to all the solicitors on record with the Commission to notify them of the deadline, which it says is being imposed so that it can “facilitate the timely completion of its work” and plan for any outstanding liabilities.

The next state payments follow €22 million it has already contributed towards the legal bill of third parties, most of which were religious orders, Carl O’Brien and Patsy McGarry report in the Irish Times.

Vatican relations

The government has renewed its criticism of the Vatican’s stance on child abuse allegations in Ireland, following the release of the Cloyne Report and Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s subsequent comments criticising church leaders for failing to investigation the claims.

The Vatican responded by saying that it was “sorry and ashamed for the terrible sufferings” of the victims of abuse and their families. It said Kenny’s claims were “unfounded” and rejected accusations that it had diminished the document’s impact or hampered the inquiry.

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Yesterday, the government reaffirmed its position that the Vatican failed to cooperate full with the inquiry into abuse allegations in the Cloyne Diocese.

Speaking earlier today on Morning Ireland, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said that the Vatican had frustrated inquiries into child abuse by failing to provide information.

Read: Government’s views on Vatican and Cloyne Report unchanged >

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