Diocese Pays €285,000 to Victims of Sex Abuse

By Gordon Deegan
One in Four [Ireland]
December 20, 2006

The Bishop of Killaloe, Dr Willie Walsh, confirmed yesterday that the diocese had paid out €285,000 to victims of clerical sex abuse last year.

The confirmation of the highest annual payout to sex abuse victims by the diocese is contained in the diocesan accounts for 2005 published yesterday.

The payment of €285,000 brings to €680,000 the total paid by the diocese to victims of sex abuse since 2003.

The latest payment follows payments of €130,000 and €265,000 to victims of sex abuse in 2004 and 2003.

The payments were funded from the €1.5 million sale of six acres of land at Dr Walsh's residence in 2001 and the Catholic Church's Stewardship Trust, established by the Catholic Church in Ireland to cover claims of clerical sex abuse.

A spokesman for the diocese said yesterday the payments last year were made to a number of victims, but declined to state how many.

The accounts show that the payment of €285,000 was made from the diocese's 'general fund' account with the Stewardship Trust contributing €134,133 and the €150,876 balance coming from the proceeds of the lands at Dr Walsh's Westbourne residence in 2000.

The accounts show that the payments from the diocese to the Stewardship Trust dropped by over two-thirds last year.

The payments to the trust were included in the money given to the National Episcopal Conference and those contributions went from €196,000 in 2004 to €62,000 last year.

In a statement accompanying the accounts, Dr Walsh said: "The ongoing fallout from the tragedy of sexual abuse by a small number of clergy in the distant past continues to demand time and resources for healing and reconciliation. Some €285,000 has been paid in 2005 for this purpose. This payment was funded principally from part of the proceeds raised by sale of land at Bishop's House in 2001 and the Stewardship Trust set up by the Episcopal Conference.

"In addition, the diocesan accounts reflect the ongoing commitment to ensuring the best possible standard of good practice by all who work with children and young people in our Church community."

The accounts show the diocese recorded a modest surplus of €92,733 last year, down from the €212,934 surplus in 2004. The diocese had an income of €772,352 in 2005, down almost €200,000 on the income of €951,908 in 2004.

The accounts show the diocese received bequests of €109,638 last year.

The annual wage bill for the diocese's 118 priests rose to an estimated €2.9 million in 2005. The accounts show that a priest's salary scale went up from between €17,700 to €22,178 in 2003 to a scale of €20,000 to €24,600 in 2004.

The overall payments to priests were not included in the diocesan accounts as these were partly funded from priests' collections in each parish of the diocese.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.