Pressure is building on the Bon Secours Sisters to increase its contribution towards the cost of exhuming and identifying the remains of children buried at the Tuam mother and baby home.
According to today’s Irish Independent, company accounts reveal that the order receives almost €4m annually from the private hospital group bearing its name for the leasing of buildings and interest on loans.
The Irish Independent reports that the hospital group itself, Bon Secours Health System Ltd posted profits of €2m last year and €5.38m in 2016.
It is currently in the middle of expanding its facilities.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has revealed that a higher contribution was sought from the Bon Secours Sisters by Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone during negotiations earlier this year.
The remains of hundreds of young children are feared buried in the former home’s sewage system and are set to be exhumed and identified as part of a major project, expected to cost between €6m and €13m.
The €2.5m offer has been heavily criticised by historian Catherine Corless, whose work helped to expose the scandal. She told the Irish Independent that Bon Secours was a very wealthy organisation that could well afford to cover the whole cost of the project.
Although t he €2.5m offer has been accepted in principle by Government, it is thought the issue will be revisited once the Commission of Investigation into the Mother and Baby Home reports next February.
The Bon Secours Sisters would not comment to the paper on whether it intends to revisit the offer made.
In a statement the order said that, at a meeting in September, Minister Zappone outlined that although it had not been established what happened in Tuam, and there was no legal or financial liability applying, she was it to make a contribution towards the cost of dealing with the remains.
The statement says that the Sisters considered the request and decided they would make a contribution. They offered one sum and it was deemed too low. They offered a second sum and it was accepted.