Bruton criticises congregations for not meeting cost of residential abuse

Religious congregations have only contributed 13% to the total cost

Bruton criticises congregations for not meeting cost of residential abuse

Education Minister Richard Bruton speaking in Dublin | Image: Rollingnews.ie

Updated 18:55

Minister for Education, Richard Bruton has expressed his disappointment at the lack of progress made by religious congregations in meeting the costs of the child abuse redress scheme. 

A new report from C&AG shows that progress has actually gone into reverse, with diminution in the value of the offers made by religious congregations. 

The report confirms that congregations have so far offered the equivalent of about 23% of the cost, while contributions actually received represent about 13%.

It means that religious congregations will have funded 21.1% of the total cost of residential abuse, while the State will have funded 78.9%.

The total costs of over 1.5bn were to be split 50-50 between the State and Religious congregations, meaning the church would have to contribute €760m.

Legal cost payments of almost €193m have been paid to 991 firms, 17 have received between €1 and €5m, while seven have been paid amounts between €5 and €19m each. 

"Lack of progress"

Speaking about the report today, Minister Bruton said "The Ryan report revealed the horrors suffered by thousands of children in residential institutions managed by religious congregations and funded and supervised by the State.

"As we remember the horrendous abuse that was suffered we have to remind ourselves that these children were among the most vulnerable people in Irish society at that time, whom both the State and the religious congregations were meant to be protecting and cherishing.

Mr Bruton continued by saying the report "also details the lack of progress made by the religious congregations in either delivering on the offers which they have made or in increasing those offers with a view to meeting the 50% target which successive Governments have reaffirmed.

"In fact, the progress has gone in reverse, with one substantial offer having been withdrawn and some valuations falling."

He finished by saying "As Minister for Education and Skills I find this hugely disappointing and massively frustrating, that the organisations responsible for protecting children and managing the institutions in which these horrendous acts took place would apparently place so little value on that responsibility."

Christian Brothers response 

The Christian Brothers recently responded saying that they still intend to pay all of the €34m cash pledge offered to the State in 2009.

They also say they're prepared to hand over control of school playing pitches which are worth around €100m. 

The payments are not being transferred to any State body, but instead into the hands of a Trust which runs the country's Christian Brothers schools on its behalf.

In a statement the Christian Brothers said "Of the €34million cash pledge, €24m has been honoured with the final €10million being paid on a phased basis in 2017 linked to property sales. 

"Plans are also at an advance stage for the transfer of playing fields worth well over €100m to ERST, for the benefit of its 37,000 students and ultimately the State of which they are part. 

"It had been hoped to make this transfer to a joint Trust between the State and ERST, but this proposal was not accepted."

They finished by saying "These measures, together with prior transfers by the Christian Brothers, will bring total contributions to redress, welfare and education to over €600m."