Scouting Ireland is increasing membership fees to provide a compensation fund for victims of child abuse

Scouting Ireland is increasing membership fees to provide a compensation fund for victims of child abuse

Membership of the organisation will jump from €45 to €65 for children and from €42.50 to €65 for adults. File Pic: RTÉ

Scouting Ireland is to increase its membership fees to create a compensation fund for historic child abuse cases.

According to a briefing sent to all scouting members yesterday, the membership of the organisation will jump from €45 to €65 for children and from €42.50 to €65 for adults.

A new all-island fundraising event is also being planned for each April or May to provide for a Solidarity Fund for a victim support programme.

The measures come as the organisation is dealing with a raft of historical reports of abuse within scouting circles between the 1960s and the 1990s.

One person is under active investigation by officers in Cork and gardaí said no other alleged perpetrator has been brought to their attention.

The man at the centre of their investigation in Cork was arrested late last year and released without charge. The Director of Public Prosecutions will decide on whether a prosecution will be brought.

In December, Scouting Ireland revealed that the organisation now knows "of 212 known and alleged perpetrators and of 317 alleged victims, over the last 70 years".

In its correspondence to members, Scouting Ireland's board of directors wrote: "There are four key matters to consider in ensuring that Scouting Ireland is a going concern: providing for the historic child sex abuse fund; providing for a victim support programme out of the solidarity fund; providing for the new governance structures, (and) legal requirement under company law to maintain adequate cash reserve."

The briefing added: "The board, after much deliberation and advices from legal and accounting experts, have determined that certain measures must be put in place to safeguard the organisation so that it can continue to survive and grow in the current climate. Some of these measures, when taken on their own, may appear challenging."

However, the board continued, the "difficult decisions" had to be made to ensure that the organisation could continue to operate successfully.

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