Northern Ireland

Diocese of Dromore extends clerical abuse redress scheme

Pedophile priest Malachy Finegan
Pedophile priest Malachy Finegan Pedophile priest Malachy Finegan

A scheme set up by the Diocese of Dromore to provide redress for victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by members of the clergy has been extended for a further six months. 

The scheme was established in 2021 with the aim of creating a more straightforward and faster process to compensate victims of clerical abuse, including those abused by paedophile priest Malachy Finegan.

The diocese set aside £2.5 million for the schem and in the 21 months since it was established more than 25 applicants have applied. 

To date more than 90 per cent have had their applications considered by an independent panel, with an initial assessment taking place within an average of 33 days after the application was received. 

More than 90 per cent of applicants have accepted the panel awards offered, with individual payouts to be capped at £80,000.

A statement from the diocese said that where applicants have been legally represented their solicitors have also been paid their costs in accordance with the terms of the scheme.

Read more: Dromore diocese establishes redress scheme for clerical abuse victims

Dromore Diocese redress scheme 'far too small' amid fears Malachy Finegan abused up to 100 boys

"The speed with which the scheme responds to the majority of applications acknowledges the criticism often raised by victims and survivors of abuse that the civil claims process is too slow," the statement said.

"The diocese continues to listen to the voices of victims and survivors and to also have regard to actions being taken in other jurisdictions to respond to those who have been abused."

In addition to the financial support, all applicants to the scheme are invited to access pastoral support, as well as to request to meet with Archbishop Eamon Martin and to seek support for counselling from Towards Healing Counselling & Support Service. 

Applications will now close on March 29 next year. 

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