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Legal fees to account for €400m of €1.4bn child abuse bill

PATSY McGARRY, Religious Affairs Correspondent Irish Times 13/06/09

THE TOTAL cost of institutional child abuse is likely to reach €1.4 billion, of which as much as €400 million could consist of legal costs, informed sources have indicated.

It has also emerged that the €127 million which 18 religious orders agreed in 2002 to contribute to a State redress scheme has not even covered legal fees at the Residential Institutions Redress Board to date.

It has further emerged that likely legal costs to the State following dealings by the 18 orders with the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse will be between €34 million and €44 million.

As of May 20th last, the publication date of the Ryan report, the redress board had paid out legal costs of €138.5 million to solicitors’ firms, of which €11 million was paid following associated High Court proceedings.

Of the outstanding legal fees yet to be paid by the State following legal representation for the 18 religious orders at the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, it is estimated that €20 million is due to firms which represented the Christian Brothers.

The Brothers were the largest provider of residential care for boys in the State over the period investigated by the commission. Artane industrial school in Dublin and Letterfrack industrial school in Galway, both among the largest such institutions in the State, were under their management.

An additional €12 million to €15 million is believed due to legal firms which represented the Sisters of Mercy at the commission. They ran 26 industrial schools during the period investigated.

Between €5 million and €8 million is thought due to firms which represented the Sisters of Charity, who ran five industrial schools, including St Joseph’s and St Patrick’s in Kilkenny and a group home, Madonna House, in Dublin.
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