March 30, 2005

70pc of church fund used up for abuse cases in just two dioceses

Irish Independent

Wednesday March 30th 2005

THE central fund set up by the Catholic bishops to compensate abuse victims and pay for child protection services may be radically restructured as concerns grow in the hierarchy that it is not working as intended.

There are concerns that some dioceses are drawing on the trust to a disproportionate extent, resulting in a potentially unfair financial drain on other dioceses.

The Stewardship Trust established in 1996 received a 10m cash injection from Church & General, the Church's insurer. That money has all but run out, meaning the trust is now funded directly by the 26 dioceses, with 5m a year.

Sources in the hierarchy have told the Irish Independent of growing concerns on how the trust is run.

While the trust has to date paid 8,781,592 to dioceses to help with compensation payments, 6.22m of this, or 70pc, has gone to just two dioceses, Dublin and Ferns. Dioceses are paying into the fund according to their share of the Catholic population.

If this trend continues, it could mean that dioceses with few claims against them could end up heavily subsidising others. There is also wide variance between what different dioceses pay to victims. The average payout from the Dublin diocese is about 91,000, including costs, while the diocese of Killaloe has paid an average of 132,000 to two victims, also including costs.

Posted by kshaw at March 30, 2005 09:20 AM