Special Reports in the Examiner

Discuss church-state separation issues that are relevant in Ireland.
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Special Reports in the Examiner

Post by mkaobrih » Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:15 am

Interesting and eye opening reports by Conor Ryan in the Irish examiner day 2 of a special. I wonder if more is to come.
http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/sp ... 09544.html
Religious orders can avoid getting the consent of the Charity Commissioners when they are transferring protected property if they conduct deals under canon law instead.
http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/ca ... 09518.html
http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/tr ... 09517.html
Trust system inhibits process of redress for victims
By Conor Ryan, Investigative Correspondent
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
THERE was the persistent presence of a sexual predator working in Baltimore Industrial School.
He preyed on and sexually abused vulnerable children in a pervasive and indiscriminate manner.
It happened regularly and his modus operandi was to capitalise on the fear his reputation as a child rapist evoked in the young boys.
But while he stalked the halls, the governors of the school — who represented the clergy, the largest local landowner, and prominent business people — pleaded for more boys in trouble to be committed to its care.
The school needed the capitation grants available for each pupil to help it resolve a chronic debt problem. This did not happen and when the roll depleted from a peak of 173 in the early 1940s, the decision was taken to shut the school in 1950.
A decade later the land was sold and the proceeds locked into a dedicated account. However, because its managers were essentially private and not party to the 2002 indemnity deal, it has not contributed to the redress scheme.
The current contact person of its residual board of governors, Bishop of Cork and Ross John Buckley, said it had tried to do so but the money owned by the school was held up in a trust.
When the site was sold, the money was put into a trust policed by the Commissioner for Charities.
That money, believed to be in the region of €150,000, is still gathering interest. The commissioner has not allowed the money to be released to the State or to the victims because of the rules of charitable trusts.
But while a resolution has yet to be found, those who suffered are getting older and older.
In addition to the account of the aforementioned predatory abuser, the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse heard credible accounts about other abusers.
These included former pupils who returned to work at the school and meted out their own torment on children.
The cycle was completed by accounts of older pupils who abused younger ones. When this was reported to teachers no action was taken.
Apart from sexual abuse, there was also prevalent physical abuse, neglect, and harsh conditions.
Boys, who in most cases were shipped from their homes in Dublin, were sent to work in boat- sheds. The school said they were paid but the boys testified to never getting a shilling.
The school closed in 1950. This was not because of concerns for the treatment of the children but rather the debts that were built up during the war.
The managers wanted more children committed to its care so it could draw a larger income, but the department decided to keep them closer to their families.
Correspondence from 1937 onwards shows that the school was arguing with the Department of Education for more troubled boys to be transferred to West Cork.
The department deemed parents wanted the boys nearer to them so there was less trouble and expense when it came to visiting them.
"The chairman of the governors [a Dr Casey], was making representations both in writing and in person to the Department of Education seeking to increase the numbers in the school with a view to achieving a corresponding increase in the capitation grants received from the department," the commission report said.
The department stood firm but promised that where children had "no homes or relatives" as many as possible would be sent to Baltimore.
The school received 15 shillings a week if the Department for Health referred a boy and 19 shillings if he came from the courts.
The school was run by a board of governors which included whoever held the title of Lord Carbery, the then bishop of the former diocese of Ross.
The chairmen of the board during the periods looked at by the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse were successive bishops of Ross, Rev Patrick Casey (1935-1940) and Rev Denis Moynihan (1941-1953).
Other members of the board included prominent business families in Cork who nominated a representative.
The trust left over from the old board of governors has met to discuss the Government’s request to make a contribution to the cost of redress.
However, while the money is still there, it has not been able to access it.
The request by the Government was made to the current Bishop of Cork and Ross, John Buckley in 2010.
He is not a spokesperson for the board and the diocese’s role was praised by the child abuse inquiry for handing over all of the documents and co-operating fully.
A statement on his behalf explained the position regarding the money: "The school closed in 1952. In 1958, the Diocese of Ross was joined with the Diocese of Cork and the Bishop of Cork and Ross became a governor in lieu of the Bishop of Ross.
"After the closure, the assets of the Fishery school were sold and the proceeds put into a fund in accordance with the directions of the Charity Commissioners. The Charity Commissioners now control disbursement of the fund. The bishop, as one governor, would be happy to give that money to the Redress Board but that decision is not within the governor’s remit. Such a decision can only be made by the Charitable Commissioners."
The bishop said there were no discussions ongoing with the Government regarding the former industrial school and the redress scheme.
There are 27 survivors of Baltimore still alive. They live in Ireland and abroad. One of them has been lobbying the commissioners to release the fund. It had been available to other boys from Baltimore through a bursary since 1963, but no money has been allocated to any of the boys who were forced to grow up there.
He did not wish to be named but said he had contacted the governors and they had no objection to his proposal and were trying to support some of the aging men while they were still alive. He is expecting a meeting of the commissioners, taking place in the next few weeks, to indicate if this is possible.
The Child Abuse Commission sped up its report on Baltimore and published it in 2004 because of the profile of those who gave evidence to it. It said life in the industrial school was "so harsh and deprived by the standards of today as to verge on the unbelievable".
When the commission interviewed 21 former pupils they were all old men.
Fifteen gave personal accounts of having been sexually abused. In some cases the same person suffered at the hands of more than one abuser.
They spoke 50 years after the school had closed but the report of Ms Justice Mary Laffoy remarked that their testimony still "demonstrated a convincing and clear recollection of the core events".
Her report said the statements had not been coloured by media coverage and there was no evidence that the victims ever suppressed their memories.
Some of the men had experienced psychiatric problems associated with their upbringing in the schools.
The authors of the report said they could find no evidence that the stories of abuse at Baltimore had been embellished.
http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/co ... 09519.html
Coaching given to keep assets secret
By Conor Ryan
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
Financial officers for religious orders were coached on how they could keep property assets secret because their members typically had different names before their ordination.
At the height of the boom the Association of Bursars of Religious Institutes was told it was preferable to have property vested in names of some individual members rather than in charitable trusts or companies.
The advice said if these members used their baptismal name rather than the one they took when taking their vows, it would help keep the holding from scrutiny.
This approach was the preferred option of a solicitor from the Arthur O’Hagan firm who gave a speech to the association’s annual conference in 2007.
Keeping properties away from the Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests by using otherwise unconnected names made it an uncomplicated option, the speech stated. The association with the parent congregation would not be obvious, it said.
"On the face of it the religious named will appear as absolute or beneficial owners," the speech stated.
The bursars were told if this option was pursued the order could protect itself by getting individual members to sign separate declarations on who ultimately owned the asset.
To avoid scrutiny, the advice was not to draw attention to this agreement.
"This declaration, which of course should not be registered in the Registry of Deeds or Land Registry... so that the declaration will be kept off the title, will be valid nonetheless as evidence of the contents of the declaration.
"If such a declaration was registered then it would become known to a purchaser’s lawyer... and resort would have to be made to the Charity Commissioners for consent to sale," it said.
This approach also gave orders the autonomy to dispose of assets at will.
Two other options were discussed that involved putting the asset in a company structure or a trust, but the disadvantages of these were highlighted rather than the advantages.
The advice was one of a small number of conference papers and speeches available to religious orders through the website of L&P Investment Services.
L&P did not prepare the advice but has a portal carrying a handful of instructional documents from conferences in which it played a part.
The company specialises in managing financial assets for religious orders and charities both in Ireland and overseas. Its clients include many of the religious orders currently engaged with the Government on the renegotiation of the €1.47bn bill for redress of child abuse.
Its managing director Shane Cowley acts as a consultant for the orders and has attended a number of meetings as part of delegations for individual delegations.
The church complains of persecution when it's not allowed to persecute.
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