Ireland's government announced Tuesday it will summon Roman Catholic orders and demand they contribute more funds to the thousands of people who suffered rampant abuse in church-run residences for children.
Prime Minister Brian Cowen said his government fully accepted the damning findings from a nine-year investigation into scores of state-funded, church-run schools for Ireland's poorest children. The report found that children suffered decades of physical, sexual and psychological abuse in the ill-monitored facilities until the last of them closed in the 1990s.
Cowen said the 18 orders of Catholic brothers and nuns who ran the workhouse-style schools would be pressed in face-to-face meetings to face up to their moral responsibility to do more, particularly by funding counseling and education services for victims and their families. He said the meetings would begin as soon as possible but specified no date.
The premier noted that one order heavily implicated in brutality and molestation at boys' schools, the Christian Brothers, had pledged earlier Tuesday to search their finances and assets for "surplus" funds.