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ABUSE COMPO BOOST; Cardinal pledges more after survivors address bishops.

Byline: SARAH STACK

TOP clergy are to consider increasing compensation for survivors of abuse in Church-run institutions, it emerged yesterday.

Cardinal Sean Brady revealed a committee would look at offering further redress to victims who suffered under nuns and priests in industrial schools and orphanages.

The head of the Church in Ireland spoke out after four campaigners addressed the Bishops' Conference in Maynooth about the Ryan Report which revealed widespread physical and sexual abuse.

Cardinal Brady said the meeting with survivors was a first step.

He added: "There will be other steps. I think something very important has taken place.

"We will be setting up a committee as they asked to take forward this discussion."

Asked if he regretted not having the meeting sooner, Cardinal Brady replied: "Yes I do of course, but I thank God that it has happened."

Former Fianna Fail mayor Michael O'Brien, who spent eight years in St Joseph's School in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, and spoke for Right To Peace, said discussions with Church hierarchy was a gigantic step forward.

He added: "This was a chance for us to meet all the bishops at one time to tell them what we want. We need closure and unless we get closure this will go on forever."

The four men asked to see the bishops after the clergy announced in June they wanted to listen to victims.

Mr John Kelly of Survivors Of Child Abuse said moral responsibility for the behaviour of religious orders rested with the Church.

He added: "Since the Ryan Report we have seen senior members of the hierarchy demand that the congregations make additional contributions to the redress sums.

"We have also noted the thundering silence whenever the matter of a contribution from the hierarchy itself is raised.

"To date the Church has paid absolutely nothing towards the victims of sexual and other abuses in the Catholic-run institutions."

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin described the meeting as the most significant he had ever attended in Maynooth.

He added: "It's been extraordinary. It's so sad that those things weren't heard and listened to before.

"I hope this is just the beginning and we set up dialogue between various groups who suffered through abuse by Church persons."

However, Christine Buckley, who first lifted the lid on institutional abuse 25 years ago, said she was appalled the women who started the campaign for justice were kept out of the loop.

The former resident of Goldenbridge Sisters of Mercy convent in Dublin was later granted a meeting with Archbishop Martin.

Ms Buckley, who works with The Aislinn Centre said: "We have been at this for almost 25 years to seek justice for fellow survivors. Money was never the issue with us."

CAPTION(S):

OPEN Dr Diarmuid Martin, Michael O'Brien, John Kelly and Cardinal Sean Brady yesterday
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Oct 8, 2009
Words:468
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