Government Responses

This section contains some information on how the Irish Government has responded to institutional abuse.

Oireachtas Debates on the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Bill 2012

This is a summary of the Oireachtas debates when the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Bill 2012 went through the House of the Oireachtas

Useful Downloads

Summary of debates on the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Bill 2012
Debates in the Oireachtas from May 2012
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Government Apologies

Both An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and President Mary McAleese made speeches apologising on behalf of the Irish state to the victims of child abuse.

11 May 1999 An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern made an unreserved apology on behalf of the Irish state to the victims of child abuse.

“On behalf of the state and all its citizens, the government wishes to make a sincere and long overdue apology to the victims of childhood abuse for our collective failure to intervene, to detect their pain, to come to their rescue…’all children need love and security’. Too many of our children were denied this love, care and security. Abuse ruined their childhoods and has been an ever present part of their adults lives reminding them of a time when they were helpless. I want to say to them that we believe they were gravely wronged, and that we must do all we can now to overcome the lasting effects of their ordeals. “

29 June 2009 President Mary McAleese made a speech at a reception in Aras an Uachtaráin for survivors of institutional abuse .

“The people of Ireland are desperately sorry for the many ways in which you were not cherished, in the abuse itself, in the silence, in the failure to act, in the failure to listen, hear and believe in time. In their name I offer every one here and all those whose little lives were robbed of the joys of childhood our heartfelt sorrow.”

Useful Links

Taoiseach apologises to victims of child abuse
Tuesday 11 May 1999. The Taoiseach issued an apology on behalf of the State and its citizens to the victims of child abuse.

President meets abuse survivors
Sunday 28 June 2009. Remarks by President McAleese at an event at Áras an Uachtaráin for Survivors of Institutional Abuse.


Other related speeches.

19 February 2013 An Taoiseach Enda Kenny apologises to Magdalene women on behalf of the state

“Therefore, I, as Taoiseach, on behalf of the State, the government and our citizens deeply regret and apologise unreservedly to all those women for the hurt that was done to them, and for any stigma they suffered, as a result of the time they spent in a Magdalene Laundry.”

Useful Links

An Taoiseach Enda kenny: Statement On The Magdalene Laundries Report (Video)
Video of An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny T.D. speaks on the Magdalene Laundries and offers an unreserved apology on behalf of the State, Government and Irish citizens.

In full: Enda Kenny’s State apology to the Magdalene women
The following is the full text of the address to Dáil Éireann made by Enda Kenny this evening.


The following are the Acts enabled regarding abuse in Institutions in Ireland

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Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act
25 July 2012
138 kb | Download

Residential Redress Act
10 April 2002
111 kb | Download

Commission of Investigation Act
18 July 2004
401 kb | Download

Useful Links

Commission To Inquire Into Child Abuse Act, 2000
23 May 2000


Agreements made between Government and Religious Orders

2002 – The Indemnity Agreement

As part of the 2002 Residential Redress 18 religious orders struck a deal with the then Minister for Education, Fianna Fáil’s Michael Woods, to transfer €128m in property and cash. In exchange, the orders were guaranteed indemnity from civil prosecution.

The 18 Religious Orders:

  1. The Rosminian Institute of Charity
  2. The Dominican Order
  3. The Sisters of Mercy
  4. Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd
  5. The Presentation Brothers
  6. The Religious Sisters of Charity
  7. The Christian Brothers
  8. The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul
  9. The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of Refuge
  10. The Brothers of Charity
  11. The Daughters of the Heart of Mary
  12. The De La Salle Brothers
  13. The Sisters of St Clare
  14. The Presentation Sisters
  15. The Sisters of St Louis
  16. The Hospitaller Order of St John of God
  17. The Sisters of Nazareth
  18. The Oblates of Mary Immaculate.