A member of the Public Accounts Committee has called on the Catholic Church to pay its share of the spiralling costs involved in the operation of the redress scheme and child abuse inquiry.
PAC member and Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal Alan Farrell has accused the Church of failing to meet its obligations both morally and financially.
“The total cost of the child abuse inquiry and redress, as of December 31st 2016, is €1,443 million as highlighted by the Comptroller & Auditor General this morning,” said Deputy Farrell, “the target was to have this cost shared equally between the State and the congregations – with both contributing €760 million.”
“The congregations have failed to meet their obligations, and what one would expect to be their moral duty, in terms of their contribution to the cost of the child abuse inquiry and redress.
“The contribution of the congregations came to €193 million – not even marginally close to the €760 million which should have been paid. `
“This means that, instead of contributing €760 million, the State actually paid €1,294 million.
“In my view this is completely unacceptable.”
Deputy Farrell believes the actions of the Catholic Church show disregard to those who have suffered as a result of cleric abuse.
“The fact is that, to date, the congregations have contributed the equivalent of 23% towards the total cost – this can simply not be allowed to stand and cannot be deemed acceptable in any way.
“Following the publication of the Ryan Report, in 2009, an offer of cash and property was made to the value of €353 million by the congregations, which was subsequently revised to €226 million in September 2015.
“However, the fact remains that, six years after the Ryan report was published, and despite the commitment by the congregations, only €85 million of that €226 million has been received by the State.
“The church still holds vast assets in this country. It is imperative that they not shirk from their responsibility to the people of Ireland, particularly the victims of institutional abuse.”
Meanwhile survivors of institutional abuse are urging the Taoiseach to seek an immediate papal intervention between the Catholic religious orders and the State over the Church’s continued failure to meet their responsibilities with regard to their contribution.
Advocacy group “Irish Survivors of Child Abuse” said in a recent statement that the Pope was the “only power on earth” to which the orders were likely to respond.
“Enda Kenny should travel to Rome as soon as practical and demand a comprehensive and honourable settlement of all matters connected with the child abuse scandals which implicate the servants of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland.