Irish Redress Board Gets More Than 14,500 Claims from 26 Countries

By Cian Molloy
Catholic Online [Ireland]
July 25, 2006

DUBLIN, Ireland &mdash Ireland's Residential Institutions Redress Board has received more than 14,500 claims for compensation from people who say they suffered physical abuse or neglect while residing in industrial schools, reformatories, orphanages and other institutions.

Most of these institutions were managed by Catholic religious orders, but because they were subject to state regulation and inspection, the Irish government admitted liability and established the board as a means by which survivors of abuse or neglect could seek and gain compensation without having to go to court and undergo cross-examination.

According to the board's annual report for 2005, published in mid-July, more than a third of last year's applications for compensation were received in the final two weeks before the Dec. 15 deadline.

The report said applications for compensation were received from former institutional residents now living in 26 different countries across the world. Nearly 60 percent were from claimants still living in the Irish Republic, but more than 3,400 claimants live in Great Britain, 245 live in Australia, nearly 200 are in the United States, 60 in Canada and 18 in New Zealand. Many of these claims resulted from advertisements placed by the redress board in Irish-interest newspapers overseas, the report said.

It said the board, established in 2002, had dealt with 4,625 of the compensation claims, including about 150 applications that were either withdrawn or refused. The average value of awards was about 76,000 euros (US$96,000), with the largest award so far being for 300,000 euros (US$378,000).

Under a February 2002 deal between the government and the religious orders, the orders were given indemnity against further compensation claims in exchange for properties and lands held by the orders that were then estimated to be worth 128 million euros (US$161 million). However it has since emerged that many of these properties and lands cannot be handed over to the state because they are held in trust for educational, religious or medical purposes.


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