Words: Eva O’Beirne
Religious orders still haven’t agreed to contribute towards redress for survivors of mother-and-baby homes.
The report of the Mother and Baby Home Commission of Investigation was published in January 2021, with Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman saying at the time that religious orders should make “a significant contribution” to compensation for victims. His views were backed by the Taoiseach.
According to reporting by RTÉ today, a series of meetings on the redress scheme have taken place between Minister O’Gorman and leaders of the Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland as well as other religious congregations. But no agreement has not yet been reached.
The issue of financial contributions from religious orders has proven difficult due to a 2002 deal which limits the amount to 128 million euro. The Government cannot force these contributions, but it is requesting orders to help pay for some of the cost of the 800 million euro redress scheme.
The six religious orders are the Bon Secours sisters, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Sisters of St John of God, Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Sisters of Mercy and the Daughters of Charity as well as a Catholic lay organisation, the Legion of Mary.
Last November, the Government signed off on the 800 million euro redress scheme for 34,000 survivors of mother-and-baby and county homes.
As well as financial compensation, the Government is offering an enhanced medical card to acknowledge the suffering experienced by survivors of the homes.
In 2013, the religious orders who ran Magdelene laundries – the Mercy Sisters, the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, the Sisters of Charity and the Good Shepherd Sisters – all refused to make any financial contributions to former residents of the laundries.
This begs the question – will they refuse to pay again?
The Sisters of Charity are currently involved in the news regarding concerns about religious influence in the new National Maternity Hospital.
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