Belfast Telegraph

Enda Kenny: Catholic church must act on compensating abuse victims

The Catholic church must measure up to its responsibility when it comes to compensating those who suffered abuse in institutions run by religious orders, Enda Kenny has said.

The Taoiseach urged church authorities to reflect on the issue following last week's revelation that orders have paid just 13% of a 1.5 billion euro bill for a long-running inquiry, redress and compensation.

Earlier on Sunday, Minister for Health Simon Harris called on the Vatican to put pressure on Catholic orders to stump up the agreed 50% share of the costs.

Asked about the issue on his visit to the US, Mr Kenny said: "I think the church and the congregations should measure up to the responsibility that they accepted here.

"We had a position following the residential institutions and the amount of restitution to be made there and that hasn't been what was set out at the beginning. I would expect that the congregations and church would reflect on the seriousness of this and measure up to their requirements."

He added: "I referred a number of matters to the Pope when I met with him last year and I would expect that the Vatican would respond to those."

The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, known as the Ryan inquiry, and the Redress Board cost a total of 1.5 billion euro (£1.3 billion) by the end of 2015, according to the Comptroller & Auditor General (C&AG).

In the dying days of the government in 2002 then education minister Michael Woods arranged a controversial indemnity deal with 18 religious orders that they would hand over property, cash and assets worth 128 million euro (£111 million) to cover some of the costs.

The C&AG said 21 million euro (£18 million) of this was left to be transferred to the State at the end of 2015.

But the audit also revealed that a second deal was agreed after the Ryan report was published in 2009 - cataloguing decades of abuse and cover-ups in institutions for children - which agreed to an additional 353 million euro (£306 million) of cash and property being handed over. That was subsequently reduced to 226 million euro (£196 million) in 2015.

The C&AG's office found only 85 million euro (£73.7 million) from the new deal has been handed over.

The watchdog has called for the redress scheme to be evaluated in the hope that lessons can be learned for future inquiries.

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