Insights from the UK and beyond
The Irish government asked religious orders on Tuesday to consider transferring buildings and land to the state to cover a 200 million euros shortfall in their contribution to a compensation fund for victims of abuse. The congregations agreed in 2009 to provide more compensation to victims of rape, beatings and slave labour in now defunct industrial schools they ran after the publication of a report into the abuse shocked the once devout Catholic country.
The government wants the congregations, including the Christian Brothers and the Sisters of Mercy, to contribute half of an estimated final compensation bill of 1.36 billion euros ($1.9 billion). The government has paid out around 1.3 billion euros in compensation so far.
"The congregations' total offers fall well short, by several hundred million, of the 680 million contribution they should bear towards the cost of institutional residential child abuse," Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn said in a statement.
Nine years after the near collapse of Equitable Life, pensioners and savers are still unsure if they see any compensation despite the long-awaited report by the parliamentary ombudsman, described by commentators as a “damning indictment of UK financial regulation.”
The victims may still be in for a long wait to get their estimated 4 billion pounds in compensation. Prime Minister Gordon Brown earlier this week indicated that he would not allow billions to be paid out automatically and maintained that Equitable Life’s “culpability” in the case had been proved.