‘Special Payments’ to victims of clerical child abuse in Killaloe Diocese increases

This article is from page 1 of the 2011-12-27 edition of The Clare People. OCR mistakes are to be expected so download the original SWF or the rendered page 1 JPG

OVER € 2m has been paid out to victims of clerical child sex abuse in the Diocese of Killaloe, new figures secured by The Clare People this week have revealed.

Payments to victims of abuse at the hands of Catholic priests in the diocese have broken through the € 2m barrier, with the latest statement of accounts produced by Diocese of Killaloe confirming the extent of the payments.

Money given victims, which has been labelled as ‘Special Payments’ in the accounts amounted to € 195,799 in 2010, while the statement of the diocese’s financial affairs also reveal that € 232,363 was paid out in 2009.

The cumulative figure for 2009/2010 of € 428,262 brings to € 2.24m the amount in compensation payments to victims of abuse in the diocese since 2003.

These payments are understood to have been made to 55 complaints and involved 15 priests, all of which related to child abuse between 1955 and 1990.

Most of these payments have been made from a trust fund that was established by Bishop Willie Walsh in 2002 from the sale of land at Westbourne in Ennis for € 1.5m.

In a statement to The Clare People , a spokesperson for the diocese said the most recent payments were made “by way of assistance towards healing for survivors of abuse”.

Commenting on the figures, Bishop of Killaloe, Kieran O’Reilly said that the payment of € 195,799 was made in 2010 “towards healing and reconciliation”.

“With regard to the safeguarding of children, the diocese continues to insist that best practice is adopted, and state guidelines are adhered to, by all in our parish communities who work and interact with children and young people.

“A great deal of time and resources continues to be committed to dealing with the tragic result of sexual abuse by a small number of clergy in the past,” added Bishop O’Reilly.

These comments come on the back of renewed commitment and promise by the Diocese of Killaloe to publish the results of an audit into the child protection policy in the diocese which is currently being completed by the Health Service Executive (HSE).

This report was to have been completed last September, but delays have meant that it’s not now expected to be finished until the new year, at which time Bishop O’Reilly has pledged to publish the findings in full – even if the HSE decides against this route of action.

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