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25 Sep 2017
Parliamentary Questions - 20th September 2017

Below are questions asked in the Oireachtas, relating to Caranua and other areas relevant to survivors

Residential Institutions Redress Scheme

Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 204 of 27 June 2017, when the review of Caranua will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. 

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): As I explained in my reply to the Deputy’s question of 27 June, it was envisaged that the initial phase of the Caranua eligibility review would be conducted by an economist on secondment to my Department from the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service. That initial phase, which involves a review of Caranua’s expenditure to date and an estimation of the projected expenditure taking into account applications on hands and anticipated further applications together with an estimation of any possible underspend of the available funding, is nearing completion. 

In accordance with the Terms of Reference of the review, if an underspend is indicated a consultation process will be initiated with stakeholders about an expansion of the eligibility criteria, including identification of the groups that could be considered for inclusion in any expansion, and will identify possible arrangements for verifying eligibility, resource implications and related issues. 

In the event that the findings of the initial phase of the review indicate that there is unlikely to be an underspend of the €110 million in funding available to Caranua, the review will conclude at that point. 

Residential Institutions 

Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans for a memorial to remember residential institution abuse victims as recommended in the 2009 Ryan report, in view of the fact that €500,000 has been set aside for the project for the past eight years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): As the Deputy may be aware, the proposed Memorial, which won an open competition, was called the Journey of Light and was designed by Studio Negri and Hennessy and Associates.  The design concept was that the Memorial would be integrated with the Garden of Remembrance and would provide an enduring symbol of lost innocence to inspire future generations to ensure the protection of all children. 

However, An Bord Pleanála refused planning permission for the Memorial in November 2013 on the grounds that it would have an adverse impact on the setting, character and function of the Garden of Remembrance. 

It was suggested that a central Dublin location could be identified on a cost neutral basis with appropriate zoning which could be used as a site for the Memorial.  The difficulty was that the winning design uses the physical features of the Garden of Remembrance site and the design cannot be created on a different site. 

The Journey of Light was the only design selected after holding an international competition.  No other design was even shortlisted.  

My Department's officials have recently written to the original Memorial committee to get their views on whether there are alternatives to commissioning a sculpture piece but which would act as a permanent reminder of Ireland's grim history of children's lives in State run institutions.