Below are questions asked in the Oireachtas, relating to Caranua and other areas relevant to survivors
Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will confirm recent media reports that the money owed by religious orders under the redress agreement will be offset against their legal fees; the estimated total cost of these legal fees by religious order; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): In the aftermath of the publication of the Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, the Religious Sisters of Charity and other congregations who had managed residential institutions, offered additional voluntary contributions of cash and property towards the cost of the response to child abuse.
The Congregation offered an additional voluntary cash contribution of €5m, of which amount €2m has been paid. The Congregation had previously contributed as part of the legally binding collective 2002 Indemnity Agreement.
I understand that the Congregation advised the then Minister for Education and Skills in 2012 that it had decided to waive its claim for legal costs from the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (CICA) and to offset this claim against the remaining cash contribution of €3m outstanding from the €5m it offered. It advised that the Bill of Costs it had submitted to the CICA was in the amount of €4.89m. The then Government agreed to reckon this set-off as a contribution towards the redress response, the amount of which will be calculated by applying the average discount achieved by CICA on its respondent legal costs. This exercise will be done once CICA has completed its work. The Congregation was advised that in the event that the amount of the set-off calculated on that basis is less than the €3m now outstanding the Government would expect it to make up the shortfall by way of a cash payment.
No other religious congregation has advised that it is offsetting legal costs against outstanding voluntary cash contributions. However, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate advised that it would not be claiming legal costs off CICA. An exercise to calculate the value of this contribution will be carried out once CICA has completed its work. The Presentation Brothers refunded legal costs amounting to €0.6m and this refund has been treated as an additional contribution by that Congregation.