Sunday, 5 Apr 2020

Christian Brothers pay €3.3m in six weeks as part of historic abuse redress

The Christian Brothers have paid €3.3m to the State in the past six weeks as the order seeks to complete its contributions to a €110m redress fund for survivors of institutional child abuse.

The sum is revealed in a letter from Department of Education secretary general Seán Ó Foghlú to the Dáil’s spending watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

It also sets out how some properties pledged by a number of religious orders in 2002 and 2009 have not yet been fully transferred.

The correspondence comes ahead of an appearance today by officials from the Department of Education and Caranua – the State body that oversees the fund that pays for educational, health and housing supports for abuse victims.

Mr Ó Foghlú says contributions from the Congregation of Christian Brothers in September and October amounted to €3.3m. This means the total amount contributed by various congregations stands at €106.9m.

The letter says that the Christian Brothers have committed to completing their outstanding cash contribution of €3.5m by the end of the year.

Of this, €3.07m will be available to Caranua to bring the total fund it has administered since it was set up in 2013 to €110m.

The remaining €430,000 of the Christian Brothers’s contribution will go towards the costs of the National Children’s Hospital.

Mr Ó Foghlú says that two properties pledged by different religious orders under the 2002 Indemnity Agreement have yet to be fully transferred.

He said it should be noted that the intended recipients of the two premises, the HSE and Department of Education, are in place and the State is already benefiting from the properties. In terms of the 2009 voluntary offers made by religious congregations, 15 of the 18 properties have been fully transferred to the State.

The estimated timeframe for transferring the last three, including the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire, is listed as the fourth quarter of 2019.

Caranua’s opening statement for today’s PAC meeting says that since 2014, 5,987 survivors of abuse have been deemed eligible for funding supports.

By the end of September, Caranua has made more than 54,000 support payments to a total value of €91.3m. Home improvement supports came to €65.1m, there has been €24.5m paid in health supports and €1.4m for education.

The statement says that €11.5m has been spent on Caranua’s operations. The organisation’s board is said to have “worked determinedly to minimise” these costs.

PAC chairman Seán Fleming last night said the committee would be keen to discuss Caranua’s up-to-date financial position and how it exercised control over grant payments. He said members would also want to discuss the most recent update from the Department of Education on the status of property transfers and cash payments from religious congregations.

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