Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Religious orders' payouts may vary

The compensation that religious orders pay to victims of clerical sex abuse could be based on the gravity of the crimes

The compensation that religious orders pay to victims of clerical sex abuse could be based on the gravity of the crimes inflicted by their members, it has emerged.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn said he is confident the 18 orders responsible for horrific child abuse in the Ryan Report will meet a shortfall of up to 375 million euro.

But he revealed the level of responsibility could be assessed.

"There was some discussion as to the degree of responsibility each congregation may have and it was agreed that they would be facilitated in having that established with the redress board," he said.

"If each one of them contributes on that basis we will end up with an overall 50/50."

A small group of protesters picketed and shouted outside the Department of Education as representatives from 14 of the religious orders left after talks. The Sisters of Mercy boycotted the group meeting, while three others could not attend.

Mr Quinn said he planned to enter into bilateral discussions with each of the orders, including the Sisters of Mercy, to see how each can arrive at a settlement which is fair and reasonable.

The state is to cover the other half of the 1.36 billion euro bill for clerical child abuse claims. A 110 million euro cash fund to support counselling should also be operational by January.

Mr Quinn stressed the state is as responsible for survivors, who he described as battered and bruised people.

"There is perhaps a sense that we collectively, and the media, are focusing in unfairly on the religious congregations when in fact the state neglected its responsibility as well," he said.

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