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'Essential' Children's Minister O'Gorman says religious orders must contribute to Mother and Baby redress

The €800 million scheme will provide around 34,000 survivors with financial payments.

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Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman (Niall Carson/PA)

Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman (Niall Carson/PA)

Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman (Niall Carson/PA)

Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman has said that it’s “essential” that religious orders make substantial contributions to the Mother and Baby redress scheme.

The €800 million scheme will provide around 34,000 survivors with financial payments “in acknowledgment of the suffering experienced” in Ireland’s Mother and Baby homes.

Additionally, 19,000 survivors will be provided with an enhanced medical card as “an element of support.”

The redress scheme still needs to be legislated for, with the Government hoping to open applications by late 2022, meaning the first payments may not take place before 2023.

Of the 13 religious orders and charities written to repeatedly the Children’s Minister this year, none have suggested any cash contribution they might make, nor have they made any payment.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast today, Minister O’Gorman said that the Catholic congregations responsible for the homes must acknowledge their “significant failings” and make reparations by contributing to the scheme.

“I want to meet with the various congregations first and engage with them in terms of them making a substantial contribution to this scheme,” he explained.

“I know many of these congregations have apologised, but they now need to go further and contribute to the scheme.”

When asked if the Government can compel religious congregations to contribute, he said: “I want to engage first to seek their own contribution to this scheme and I’m not taking anything off the table at this stage, but we’ll be entering into a negotiation with them.

“And I think it’s absolutely essential, if their apology is to mean anything, that their words are matched with actions.”

Minister O’Gorman explained that the scheme will provide a payment for every woman who spent time in these institutions “irrespective of the time that they were in there, to recognise the impact of time spent within these institutions.”

The amount received will depend on how long a person spent there.

“For someone who was in for a short period of time, so for under three months, the initial payment is €5,000,” he said.

“For three to six months it's €10,000 and it goes up to €60,000 for 10 years.

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“It's impossible to put a figure on the suffering that women and children encountered in these institutions, we can never monetise this.

“But what we're trying to do is provide an element of support to survivors to recognise what they went through - and what they went through was because of the failures of the State.”

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