Below are questions asked in the Oireachtas, relating to Caranua and other areas relevant to survivors
Residential Institutions Redress Scheme
Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will address issues regarding Caranua (details supplied); if he has consulted on the changes made to the 2014 booklet applying for services; the number of first-time applicants being dealt with; and the number of persons that have had one or more applications for assistance processed.
Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Caranua is an independent statutory body established under the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012. The legislation provides that €110 million in contributions from religious congregations will be made available to Caranua to help meet the needs of persons who, as children, were abused in residential institutions. To date some €97.3 million, comprising contributions and associated interest, have been received from congregations and deposited in the special investment account opened by the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) in accordance with section 29 of the 2012 Act. It is expected that the remaining congregational contributions earmarked for Caranua will be received by 2018.
The 2012 Act sets out the governance and oversight arrangements for Caranua and assigns various responsibilities to the Board and executive of Caranua and to the Minister for Education and Skills. Section 9 of the Act provides that the Board shall determine the criteria by reference to which decisions may be made in respect of applications: I have no role in relation to the determination of such criteria.
The Board is required under the 2012 Act to prepare and submit annual reports and annual accounts. The Board’s annual reports for each of the years 2013 to 2016 and annual audited accounts for the years 2013 to 2015 have been laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas as required by the Act. The 2016 accounts will be laid once the audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General is completed.
The annual reports and accounts provide details regarding Caranua’s activities and financial affairs including expenditure on administration, salaries, expenses, etc. The recently published annual report for 2016 sets out the numbers of staff in each grade at the end of that year: the salary scales are those applicable to civil servants.
Caranua provides regular updates on its website (www.caranua.ie) in regard to the number of applications received, the amounts expended by it and related matters. The most recent update, which provides figures to 30 April 2017, indicates that in the period from its establishment in March 2013 to that date Caranua had expended over €59 million in support of some 4,504 former residents. Minutes of Board meetings and a range of other relevant information are also published on the website including a list of the current Board members.
I am arranging to have the Deputy’s specific operational queries referred to the Chief Executive of Caranua for consideration and direct response.
Residential Institutions Statutory Fund
Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the recent financial limit imposed by Caranua on claims; his views on the application of this cap retroactively; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Caranua - the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund - is an independent statutory body established pursuant to the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012 to oversee the use of the cash contributions of up to €110 million, pledged by the religious congregations, to support the needs of survivors of institutional child abuse. Section 9 of the 2012 Act gives the Board of Caranua the power to determine the criteria by reference to which decisions may be made in respect of applications - this includes the power to apply limits to the moneys that may be made available for an arrangement for the provision of support to a former resident or to pay a grant to a former resident. I understand that in June 2016 Caranua revised its criteria and introduced limits to the moneys that might be made available to individual applicants in order to ensure that funding will be available to those who have yet to apply. I have no role in relation to the determination of criteria by Caranua.