Written answers

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Department of Education and Science

Residential Institutions Redress Scheme

5:00 am

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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Question 67: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the total sums committed by each of the religious congregations and by the State to the overall fund established in the wake of the revelations of residential institutional abuse of children over several decades; the cash sum committed in each case; the value, then and now, of properties transferred or committed for transfer; the actual sums and properties handed over to date; the properties that have had their cash value realised; the properties that have not yet been disposed of and the plans to address same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44963/10]

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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Question 68: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the now expected total sum required to address the issues arising from the residential institutional abuse of children over several decades; the total sum to be transferred by the religious congregations and the total sum to be provided by the State; the actual sum to be paid out to survivors and to their survivors; the amount that has been paid out to survivors and their survivors to date and if she will provide a detailed explanation of her intended use of the balance, understood to be the lion's share of the total sum involved. [44964/10]

Photo of Michael CreedMichael Creed (Cork North West, Fine Gael)
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Question 93: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills, further to Parliamentary Question No. 88 of 11 November 2010, the amount of money paid by the religious orders to the State towards compensation for victims of institutional abuse; if negotiations are ongoing with these religious organisations with a view to increasing their contribution towards the cost of redress; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45077/10]

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 67, 68 and 93 together.

The final cost of the response to residential institutional abuse is estimated to reach €1.36 billion and includes: - an estimated expenditure of €1.1 billion on the Redress Scheme operated by the Residential Institutions Redress Board and associated litigation; - an estimated €126m for the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse; - €110m for the proposed Statutory Fund (including administration); and - €10m provided towards the cost of the Faoiseamh Counselling service and €12.7m towards educational programmes for former residents now funded by the Education Finance Board. In this context, the cost of the Redress Scheme from inception to date is some €1.04 billion, which includes €832 million paid in awards to applicants under the scheme and €157 million in third party legal costs associated with these awards and associated High Court actions.

Under the terms of the 2002 Indemnity Agreement, eighteen Congregations agreed to make a contribution of €128 million, comprising cash, property and the provision of counselling services. Whilst this figure has not altered, the form in which it has or is to be transferred to the State has altered somewhat in terms of the property and cash contributions. The alterations to the agreed amounts have occurred where the State agreed to accept and has since received cash in lieu of properties. Hence, the breakdown of the practical implications of the Indemnity Agreement is: Property Transfers - €63.5m Cash Contributions - €54.5m Provision of Counselling Services - €10m

All cash contributions have been received as well as Counselling services to the value of €10 million. It was agreed in principle that 64 properties would be accepted subject to good and marketable title and agreed valuations. This number has reduced to 61 as the Department has since accepted and received a cash sum in lieu of three properties where good and marketable title could not be established. Good and marketable title has been established on 35 properties which have been fully transferred. The remaining 26 properties have not been fully and finally accepted by the Department under the terms of the Indemnity Agreement. While physical transfers of these properties have taken place, with the properties being in use or available for use by the intended recipients, the Chief State Solicitor's Office continues to pursue the legal requirements issue under the Indemnity Agreement.

Following publication of the Ryan Report, the Government and subsequently Dáil Éireann called on the Congregations to commit to making further substantial contributions by way of reparation. In response, the Congregations are offering significant additional contributions, which they have valued at €348.51m. These contributions comprise some €111m cash to be provided over a number of years; €2m by way of a waiver of rent and €235.51m in proposed property transfers to various State bodies and voluntary organisations. As was acknowledged at the time, the offers involved complex property proposals which would require detailed discussions with the Congregations to enable the State to adopt a definitive position in relation to them.

Deputies will be aware that having considered the report of the independent Panel appointed to assess statements of their affairs submitted by the Congregations and the responses of the Congregations, the Government outlined its view that the overall costs of the response to residential institutional abuse, should be shared on a 50:50 basis between the taxpayer and those responsible for the residential institutions. Assuming that the Congregations' offers of contributions are fully realised, the collective contribution of the Congregations would be €476.51m (including contributions made under the 2002 Indemnity Agreement), leaving a target of over €200m to reach the 50% share of some €680m. The Government has requested that additional contributions be provided to the greatest degree possible in cash as a contribution to the planned National Children's Hospital.

Copies of all of the responses from the Congregations together with the report of the independent Panel are available on the "Reports and Publications" section of my Department's website. My Department, as lead Department handling these matters, has been liaising with the Congregations and the various State bodies to determine the potential use of the various property offers and their acceptability to the State. Meetings have taken place with all the Congregations at which the potential for them to augment their offers has been discussed. My Department will be reporting to Government shortly in relation to this matter.

The Government is proposing to use €110m of the offers of contributions to be made by the religious Congregations over the next few years to establish a Statutory Fund. This proposal is in keeping with the all party Motion passed by Dáil Éireann, supporting the proposal for a Trust to be set up and managed by the State for the support of victims and for other education and welfare purposes. My Department has undertaken a wide ranging consultation process, meeting with groups representing survivors of institutional abuse, the religious Congregations and other interested parties. Press advertisements also invited views and submissions as to the exact nature of the fund, how it will operate and the uses to which it will be put. The views expressed in the responses together with the views from my Department's engagement with groups and other interested parties have been considered.

My Department expects to report to Government shortly on the matter and will be submitting a Scheme of a Bill to provide for the Statutory Fund. To date €20.6m has been received in contributions towards the proposed Statutory Fund. These contributions have been deposited in an interest bearing account in the Central Bank of Ireland pending the establishment of the Statutory Fund.

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