Fifth anniversary of Ryan child abuse report today

By Patsy McGarry

May 20, 2014

The fourth and final report on implementation of the 99 recommendations arising from the Ryan report is expected to be laid before the Oireachtas by Minister for Children Charlie Flanagan next month.

The report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (the Ryan report) was published five years ago today, on May 20th, 2009, and included 20 recommendations focused on government departments and institutions responsible for services to children. The then government accepted all its recommendations.

An implementation plan which was published in July 2009 contained 99 recommendations. These focused on addressing the effects of past abuse; developing and strengthening national childcare policy and evaluating its implementation; strengthening regulation and inspection functions; improving the organisation and delivery of children’s services; giving greater effect to the voice of the child; and revising Children First, the national guidelines for the protection and welfare of children and underpinning these with legislation.

Overall offer
Meanwhile, the 18 religious congregations which ran the residential institutions for children investigated by the commission have given no indication that they intend improving on their overall total offer of € 480.61 million to the €1.45 billion costs of redress to victims.

It means the congregations remain €244 million short of their € 725 million share of all costs involved.

This Government believes, as did its predecessor, that costs should be shared on a 50:50 basis between the State and those who were responsible for the management of institutions where children were abused.

The principle of an equal sharing of costs was announced by the previous government in April 2010.

Following publication of the Ryan report in 2009, that government called on the congregations who were party to the 2002 indemnity agreement to make additional contributions as reparation following the findings of the Ryan report. 

An independent panel was appointed to assess statements of their affairs submitted by the congregations and report to government as to the adequacy of these statements as a basis for assessing the resources of the congregations. Separately the congregations responded in relation to a further contribution.

On receipt of the independent panel’s report and of the responses of the 18 congregations to calls for further substantial contributions, the then government said it felt it appropriate that costs should be shared on a 50:50 basis between the taxpayer and the congregations.

An equal sharing of the costs of the response would mean a contribution of €725 million by both taxpayer and the congregations.

Under the 2002 indemnity agreement the congregations had already agreed to contribute €128 million in cash, counselling services and property. Following publication of the Ryan report the congregations made offers they valued at €348.51 million, including cash, property and other elements. Later offers amounted to €4.1 million, bringing their total of contributions offered to €352.61 million.

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