Church sympathy for rape victims not credible while €380 million redress remains unpaid

11 January 2013

Statement by Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality and Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht with special responsibility for Equality, New Communities and Culture and Drugs Strategy

Labour TD for Dublin Bay North, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, has stated that the Catholic Church cannot credibly say that it has sympathy and compassion for those pregnant as a result of rape, while it still has not paid the state the €380 million it owes to help compensate victims of child rape, sexual assault and physical abuse.

"At the Oireachtas Health Committee hearings into the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in the ABC case, Bishop Christopher Jones and Fr Tim Barlett both stated that in the case of a pregnancy caused through rape, agents of the Church would first and foremost show the utmost compassion for those who find themselves in that tragic situation. Bishop Jones also stated that rapists should be brought to justice.

"The Catholic Church has absolutely no credibility in this regard, given that approximately €380 million is still owed to the State as part of the agreement reached with the Irish government in 2002. This money is required to compensate the victims of rape and sexual assault, which the Catholic Church now states it has sympathy and compassion for.

"Before the Church decide to wade in with emotionally charged language in the abortion debate using terminology such as 'morally unsound' they should give to the State the monies that it is owed. In the case of caring for the victims of rape, it is clear that the Catholic Church needs to put its money where its mouth is."

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