Archbishop calls for ‘new gesture’ from orders behind child abuse

May 30, 2009

THE ARCHBISHOP of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, has called on Catholic religious congregations to make a new gesture of recognition of the abuse carried out in institutions they ran.

Addressing the religious congregations who ran institutions criticised in the Child Abuse Commission report, he described as stunning the fact that implementation of a redress agreement made with the State seven years ago has yet to be fully completed.

The fact that the mechanisms of fulfilling your side of that agreement have not yet been brought to completion is stunning, he writes in todays Irish Times . There may have been legal difficulties, but they are really a poor excuse after so many years.

Whatever happens with regards to renegotiating that agreement, you cannot just leave things as they are.

There are many ways in which substantial financial investment in supporting survivors and their families can be brought about, perhaps in creative ways which would once again redeem your own charism as educators of the poor.

In many ways it is your last chance to render honour to charismatic founders and to so many good members of your congregations who feel tarnished, Dr Martin writes.

The 2002 agreement between the congregations and the State indemnified the religious orders from all redress claims made by victims in exchange for payments and property transfers totalling Euro127 million. The total bill for the redress scheme is likely to be about Euro1.3 billion.

Yesterday, Cardinal Sean Bradys general assistant, Fr Timothy Bartlett, called on the relevant religious congregations to re-enter negotiations with the State on the 2002 deal.

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