Irish parishes asked to help with abuse settlements


DUBLIN, Ireland -- The Diocese of Ferns is asking its parishes for additional funds to help cover the cost of legal settlements stemming from cases of clerical child abuse.

The diocese paid more than 10.5 million euros ($14.2 million) in legal settlements to victims, payments to lawyers and fees for treatment programs for offenders, Bishop Denis Brennan of Ferns told the annual general meeting of the diocesan finance committee March 1.

The bishop said 48 cases were settled while 13 others were pending.

"The issue continues to receive priority attention and I am glad to report continued progress," he said.

Eugene Doyle, diocesan finance officer, told RTE News that the diocese took out a 20-year loan for $1.8 million euros ($2.4 million) to help meet its financial commitments. He said loan payments cost 120,000 euros ($160,000) annually, but the diocese currently can afford to pay half of the amount.

The diocese is considering the sale of property to cover the shortfall, according to Doyle, who cautioned that selling real estate during an economic recession is not ideal.

Christmas-NCR-gifts-half_0.jpgGive a subscription to our award-winning newspaper and save $10.

Instead, the diocese decided to turn to parishes to raise additional funds, Doyle said.

"People who suffered abuse are not the cause of our problems; the actions of individual perpetrators, along with mismanagement, poor understanding and/or lack of resolve are," Bishop Brennan said in explaining the decision.

"As we look to complete this road, it will be necessary to invite the parishes to become part of the process financially," he said. "Funding sought is not about sharing the blame, it is about asking for help to fulfill a God-given responsibility. 'That I did not cause the problem' is not the response of the Christian. 'That I would like to help in the work of justice, healing, reconciliation, a safer environment for children in the future, proper financial stewardship and overall good economic health' is."

Colm O'Gorman, founder of the victims support group One in Four, who first disclosed clerical abuse in Ferns, said he believed the diocese should not be turning to the laity to pay for institutional failings.

Support independent reporting on important issues.

 One family graphic_2016_250x103.jpg


NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

Commenting is available during business hours, Central time, USA. Commenting is not available in the evenings, over weekends and on holidays. More details are available here. Comments are open on NCR's Facebook page.



NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

July 14-27, 2017