Threat to Irish Congregations’ Land

The government of Ireland has asked religious congregations implicated in the 2009 Ryan Report on abuse at Irish institutions to transfer land and properties worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the state as part of a revised package to compensate victims.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn insisted that the 476 million euros ($681 million) already offered by the 18 congregations was not enough. He said he expected the congregations to pay 680 million euros and, if they were unable to do so, they should transfer the ownership of many of their schools to the state.

None of the 18 religious congregations concerned would speak on the record about the latest proposal. However, a number privately expressed reservations about the land transfer.

Quinn is to seek a meeting with the congregations to assess their views.

“The congregations’ total offers fall well short, by several hundred million, of the 680 million euros contribution they should bear toward the cost of institutional residential child abuse,” he said.

Religious congregations had originally agreed to a 2002 deal in which they provided 128 million euros to a state redress scheme. However, when the report was published in May, 2009, it emerged that the cost of compensating some 13,000 former residents had risen to 1.36 billion euros, and pressure mounted for the religious to contribute half that amount.