EXCLUSIVE: THE Raphoe Diocese has paid out more than €1M to 20 victims of paedophile priests in Co Donegal – and HALF A MILLION EURO to lawyers, donegaldaily.com can reveal.

Church insiders have revealed that just over €1.12M has been paid by Raphoe in out of court settlements since 1975 and all outstanding legal actions have been settled.

A further €500,000 was paid to lawyers acting for both the Church and the victims of abuse.

The figures mean that each victim received an average of around €56,000 each, though we understand there is a wide variation between the highest pay-out and the lowest.

But our source was keen to stress that all the monies used to make the pay-outs came from donations made by wealthy benefactors to both former Bishop Seamus Hegarty and current Bishop Philip Boyce.

Houses, a former college and church lands were also sold to meet the cost of the pay-outs.

The church-run audit of the Raphoe Diocese – by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church – identified 52 allegations against 14 priests in the Diocese between 1975 and 2010.

“There may well be more cases, especially as some people who never came forward before might just do so now,” said one legal expert.

“It is inevitable that there could be hundreds of claims and that could cost Raphoe millions more.”

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