Ireland’s Religious Orders now not paying compensation

Ireland’s Religious Orders have so far failed to pay their share of the compensation for their part in the institutional child abuse settlements for victims.

In 2002 the Irish Government brokered a deal which saw the Orders involved awarded indemnity against all legal claims by institutional abuse victims if they paid 120 million euros (NZ$208m) in cash and property. The government estimated there would be 2,000 claimants.

With eventually more than 14,000 claimants, the Orders increased their offer, however only two of the 18 Religious Orders involved have replied positively to make up the shortfall.

BBC News reports that the State’s bill is now 1.36b euros (NZ$2.35b), and it cannot pay the bulk of the these claims. The new Minister of State is saying the Orders much pay 50%.

The Irish Government has warned the country that there will be cuts to services unless the Religious Orders pay their share, and that they’ll send in the bailiffs on the 16 Religious Orders.

“Of the properties offered to the State, only 12 have been identified as of potential immediate benefit to the State and these will be pursued,” Education Minister, Ruairi Quinn said.

There will be blocking orders on transferring title without prior consent of the Department, he said.

The respective Religious Orders have offered many acres of property, schools, convents, convalescent homes, a rehabilitation hospital and nearly 50 playing fields, however they are still way short of what is required.

During Ireland’s property boom, some religious orders sold tracts of land to developers for large sums. Quinn said religious orders had made about 600 million euros (NZ$1.04b) from property deals during the boom.

“They realised values of the order of 600 million but we don’t know what is there now,” he told Irish state broadcaster RTE.

Several Religious Orders have signalled their willingness to meet Education Minister Ruairi Quinn.

Representatives from the Brothers of Charity, the Presentation Brothers and the Christian Brothers all confirmed they would be meeting Quinn, however other Religious Orders contacted by the Irish Times refused to respond to Quinn’s comments, many saying it would be inappropriate to go ahead with the proposed meeting.

The Government said it has only received 20.6m euro (NZ$35.6m) in cash to date.


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