Saturday, June 13, 2009

Legal fees to account for £400m of £1.4bn child abuse bill

Irish Times
Legal fees to account for €400m of €1.4bn child abuse bill
PATSY McGARRY, Religious Affairs Correspondent

Sat, Jun 13, 2009

THE TOTAL cost of institutional child abuse is likely to reach €1.4 billion, of which as much as €400 million could consist of legal costs, informed sources have indicated.


It has also emerged that the €127 million which 18 religious orders agreed in 2002 to contribute to a State redress scheme has not even covered legal fees at the Residential Institutions Redress Board to date.

It has further emerged that likely legal costs to the State following dealings by the 18 orders with the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse will be between €34 million and €44 million.

As of May 20th last, the publication date of the Ryan report, the redress board had paid out legal costs of €138.5 million to solicitors’ firms, of which €11 million was paid following associated High Court proceedings.

Of the outstanding legal fees yet to be paid by the State following legal representation for the 18 religious orders at the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, it is estimated that €20 million is due to firms which represented the Christian Brothers.

The Brothers were the largest provider of residential care for boys in the State over the period investigated by the commission. Artane industrial school in Dublin and Letterfrack industrial school in Galway, both among the largest such institutions in the State, were under their management.

An additional €12 million to €15 million is believed due to legal firms which represented the Sisters of Mercy at the commission. They ran 26 industrial schools during the period investigated.

Between €5 million and €8 million is thought due to firms which represented the Sisters of Charity, who ran five industrial schools, including St Joseph’s and St Patrick’s in Kilkenny and a group home, Madonna House, in Dublin.

For the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, who ran the Daingean reformatory in Co Offaly, the legal bill is estimated at being between €5 million and €8 million also.

For the Rosminians, who ran Upton reformatory in Cork and Ferryhouse industrial school near Clonmel, Co Tipperary, the legal bill is expected to be more than €4 million, while that for the Good Shepherd Sisters is expected to be about €2 million.

They ran four industrial schools and a reformatory school in Limerick. Costs for the remaining orders are expected to be less, as was their involvement in running residential institutions for children over the period.

Meanwhile the Archbishop of Dublin, Most Rev Diarmuid Martin, has said that, following publication of the Ryan Report, “there are questions to be asked regarding how much Irish devotional practice in general had drifted away from the fundamental fact that God is love.”

Speaking in Dublin last night, he said: “We have to ask to what extent the punitive and humiliating culture which seems to have developed in some such institutions was due to the fact that we had drifted away from the God who is love into one inspired by a punitive, judgemental God; a God whose love was the love of harsh parents, where punishment became the primary instrument of love.”

COST OF ABUSE

- Total estimated cost €1.4 billion

- Total estimated legal fees up €400 million

- Total cost of RIRB awards €1.2 billion , of which legal fees will make up approx. €167 million

- Total estimated cost of CICA - almost all legal fees approx €11 million

- Average Award at RIRB €83,320

© 2009 The Irish Times

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