Page last updated at 09:31 GMT, Friday, 18 September 2009 10:31 UK

Collection levy not compensation

Bishop Seamus Hegarty

The Catholic church in the Derry Diocese has said no collection money used to compensate abuse victims.

It was responding to concerns raised by the Voice of the Faithful organisation over an increase in the levy taken by the diocese from parish collections.

The diocese said the increase was "due to a prudent assessment of costs associated with running the diocese."

Voice of the Faithful spokesman, Sean O'Connell, said parishioners have a right to know how their money is spent.

"It was Bishop Hegarty himself who said in 2005 that people have a right to know where their money goes, but since then he seems to use to have gone out of his way to keep us in the dark in that regard.

"It was only because our statement went into the media that we now know that no donations are being made to the stewardship trust, but we should have known that long ago."

In a statement, the Derry diocese said it did not contribute to the Stewardship Trust Fund for the victims of clerical abuse.

"The increase in levy on parish income arises from increasing costs borne by the diocese and is not linked to the Stewardship Trust Fund.

"The diocese is obliged to pay the costs associated with providing services at diocesan level, many of which are directly availed of by parishes.

"The increase in levy is not linked to any special fund, diocesan or national, for compensation arising from child sexual abuse allegations."

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