“These Are Just Tactics”



Further to journalist Conor Ryan’s story in this morning’s Irish Examiner – in which he revealed for the first time correspondence between religious orders and the State in relation to the indemnity deal and how the Sisters of Mercy transferred 66 schools, worth €412million to a religious trust called Ceist – law lecturer at Kent Law School Mairéad Enright, above, has written her thoughts on the matter.

In Human Rights in Ireland blog, she writes:

“The question of how church institutions maintain control of property which might otherwise be the subject of compensation paid on litigation, or which might come within the ambit of redress schemes, has taken on significant weight in other jurisdictions.

“In the United States, in July, District Judge Rudolph Randa held that clerical abuse victims – the primary creditors of the bankrupt Archdiocese of Milwaukee – could not access $55m which, in 2007, the then Archbishop had placed in a cemetery trust for the perpetual care of the deceased of the Archdiocese.

“The Judge held that any interference with the trust would compromise the constitutional protection for free expression of religion. The former Archbishop, now Cardinal Dolan, maintains that the transfer of this enormous sum was not an attempt to avoid compensation claims.

“In New South Wales and in Victoria [Australia] campaigners have advocated reform of the Roman Catholic Church Trust Property Act, which the Catholic Church has used to avoid paying compensation in sexual abuse claims. The church has successfully argued, using the so-called ‘Ellis defence‘ – that diocesan statutory property trusts cannot be sued except on property claims. Victims must rely on mediation with dioceses to obtain redress under the controversial ‘Towards Healing‘ scheme and this raises controversial issues of oversight and bargaining power, similar to those which arise on settlement of a lawsuit. (These are just the tactics than can be used to avoid paying out on successful claims. There are other means to avoid claims altogether – statutes of limitation, charitable immunity, and bishops’ invocation of the doctrine of corporation sole among them). To get the full story on redress, we may need to look far beyond the indemnity agreement and its successors.”

Abuse Redress, Property and the Catholic Church in Ireland (Mairéad Enright, Human Rights In Ireland)

Previously: Mercy, Mercy Me

Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Broadsheet

Pic: IntLawGrrls

13 thoughts on ““These Are Just Tactics”

  1. realPolithicks

    Mark 10:25
    “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

    That’s in the bible you know, but sure what use would the catlic church have for the bible…

  2. scottser

    sisters of mercy? terrible band altogether – i’d no idea they made so much money from that ‘hey now, hey now now’ single.

  3. DizzyDoris

    Their blind actions protect the physical church only. If they do not have the humility to accept wrong doings then they are history. Perhaps that is their intention.

    1. Sido

      Hang on – I think you’ll find the position is more complicated than that.
      They accept their wrong doings, with so much humility, you can’t possibly comprehend it.

      They just don’t see what money has to do with it, once you’ve apoligised. And in any event they don’t want to part with any.

      That doesn’t mean they are telling those they have abused to f**k off and die. It means they are humbly sorry and they can’t have any compo.

      1. DizzyDoris

        Hierarchical mindsets are not just a religious thing, although they usually spring from them. Have you ever worked under someone educated by the Christian Brothers?

      2. coco pops

        humility my hole,
        the catholic church is plenty sue happy itself.



        surely, in the spirit of do unto others, your excuse for their behaviour does not stand up to scrutiny when compared with the organisation’s actions.

        would the catholic church be happy with a simeple apology in those situations?

        maybe after a whitewash report to add insult to injury.

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