Contribution by congregations to Redress Scheme and Costs of Child Abuse Inquiry unacceptable - PAC

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.

Committee Chairman Seán Fleming said: “The Comptroller & Auditor General report highlights the spiralling costs involved in the operation of the redress scheme and child abuse inquiry.

“Costs to the end of 2015 of the redress scheme and child abuse inquiry 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.

“The Comptroller and Auditor General also remarks that an indemnity agreement was signed in 2002 between the State and 18 religious congregations, who agreed to contribute to the costs of redress by transferring property, cash and other resources totalling €128 million, of which €21 million remains to be transferred to the State at the end of 2015.

“Following the publication of the Ryan Report in 2009, the congregations offered additional cash and property valued at €353 million. This combined offer was revised to €226 million in September 2015. It is astonishing and inexcusable that six years after the publication of the Ryan report, only €85 million of the €226 million offer has been received by the State.

"I am 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.

“I am also particularly concerned that a look-back evaluation of the redress scheme has not occurred and no provision was made in legislation for such a review to be undertaken by the Redress Board. I agree with the Comptroller & Auditor General’s recommendation that, as the redress scheme and Commission draw to a close, an evaluation of both would be useful.

“The Committee welcomes this report from the C&AG and we will follow through on this report in a very strong and determined manner including public hearings to ensure that lessons are learned and improvements can be made for the operation of any future schemes or inquiries.”

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Committee Membership:

Bobby Aylward        Fianna Fáil
Peter Burke        Fine Gael
Shane Cassells        Fianna Fáil
Catherine Connolly    Independent
David Cullinane        Sinn Féin
Alan Farrell        Fine Gael
Séan Fleming        Fianna Fáil
Alan Kelly        Labour
Marc MacSharry        Fianna Fáil
Josepha Madigan    Fine Gael
Mary Lou McDonald    Sinn Féin
Noel Rock        Fine Gael
Catherine Murphy    Social Democrats-Green Party Group