The Telegraph (England), Jan. 29, 2003
By Thomas Harding, Ireland Correspondent
Taxpayers in the Irish Republic are facing an enormous bill for victims of abuse by Roman Catholic priests after a landmark court case yesterday.
A man who suffered a series of serious sexual assaults by a priest as a nine-year-old altar boy was awarded £200,000 in damages in a settlement at the Irish High Court in Dublin.
Mervyn Rundle is one of more than 500 victims of alleged abuse by parish priests who, along with 2,500 victims of clergy who ran institutions, mainly orphanages, are suing the Catholic Church in Ireland.
In an indemnity deal with the Irish government the Church has agreed to contribute 100 million euros (£62 million) to the “residential institutional distress board” as part of what is expected to be a multi-million payout over the coming years.
But, on the basis of Mr Rundle’s compensation, it is thought that at least £500 million will eventually be paid out by the state to victims leaving the taxpayer with a substantial bill.
Mr Rundle, 28, was an altar boy in Dublin when he was abused by Father Thomas Naughton, who was subsequently jailed for three years for the offence in 1998.