Response to Archbishop announcement on Redress Scheme

KRW LAW LLP (KRW) act for 25 survivors of historic abuse linked to the Diocese of Dromore. On their behalf we broadly welcome the implementation of a process to address decades long unresolved sexual, mental and physical abuse perpetrated by priests and others.  It is long overdue. Whatever way you look at it it is a sad indictment on the church.


Today’s announcement is the out working of a commitment given by the Archbishop following our meeting last month. We commend him on delivering on his promise. We have already engaged with lawyers for the Diocese to confirm a number of survivors will enter into mediation. It will mean survivors can participate confidentially and avoid the public glare of litigation. Over half a million pounds (£525 k) has already been paid out by the Diocese to Survivors we represent. That figure continues to rise following another settlement this week. We hope the new scheme will not curtail that financial upward trajectory.


Of course, Redress isn’t all about compensation. It is also about apologies and reparation. For survivors that is a very important part of mediation through Redress. However, we do not believe Redress will deliver Diocesan accountability for the unresolved suspicion of cover up on the appalling catalogue of abuse.


Many survivors will find it hard to sign up to a process which simply cannot deliver on explanations why perpetrators were able to systemically abuse children with impunity. That failing in itself was criminal. To date investigating agencies such as PSNI, the PPS and OPONI have not been able to deliver decisions which would help survivors feel that justice has been served and allow them to move on with their lives.


For many of them this is the most frustrating and hurtful issue. It is against this background that we have filed new complaints with PSNI over Malachy Finnegan and the failure to have him reported and prosecuted for his crimes. In the high-profile case of Sean Faloon, Gloucestershire police have confirmed the appointment of a senior detective to examine the failures by a therapy centre in Stroud to report Malachy Finnegan to the authorities.


To give context to today’s announcement Redress can form part of a process of closure for survivors but it will not resolve the criminal culture of silence of many people who were in a position to do the right thing but did not.