Shortfall in child abuse redress payments by Catholic Church 'unacceptable' says Laois TD

Sean Fleming critical of church orders in his capacity of chairman of the Dáil committee that monitors spending of taxpayer's mone

Sean Fleming

Sean Fleming TD and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee in the Dáil.

The big shortfall in contributions made by the religious congregations to compensating Catholic Church victims of of child abuse is "unacceptable" according to Laois TD Sean Fleming who is chairman of the Dáil committee that monitors public spending.

The costs of the redress scheme and child abuse inquiry has hugely exceeded original estimates, according to a Comptroller & Auditor General special report published today, Thursday, 9 March 2017. The Comptroller reports to the Dáil Public Accounts Committee Chaired by Seán Fleming.

“The Comptroller & Auditor General report highlights the spiralling costs involved in the operation of the redress scheme and child abuse inquiry," said the Laois TD.

He said costs to the end of 2015 are an estimated €1.5 billion. The redress scheme accounts for the largest element of the costs, at an estimated €1.25 billion. The original forecast cost of the scheme was €250 million.

“The report highlights that Government policy was to pursue the sharing of the cost of redress on a 50:50 basis with the religious congregations which would require the congregations to contribute €760 million. To date, the congregations have offered the equivalent to about 23% of the overall cost. Contributions received from the congregations up to the end of 2015 represent about 13% of the cost.

“The contributions made by the congregations to date, and the delay in making those contributions, are unacceptable and this is an issue of serious concern," said the Laois Fianna Fáil TD.

Dep Fleming is also concerned that the State has allowed this to continue and that more determined and stronger efforts were not made to bring this to a conclusion before now.

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