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Parliamentary Questions – 21st November 2017

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

Residential Institutions Statutory Fund

Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the fact that some applicants for the redress scheme governed by Caranua have had children born after the cessation of the Education (Former Residents of Certain Institutions for Children) Finance Board and therefore could not benefit from said fund; if he has given consideration to allowing applications on behalf of these children in the Department’s review of the applications procedure for Caranua; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012 provides that only those former residents who received awards from the Residential Institutions Redress Board or equivalent Court awards or settlements are eligible to apply to Caranua.  The decision to confine eligibility to former residents was taken having regard to the maximum funds available of €110 million and a potential pool of some 15,000 applicants.  As the Deputy will be aware there is a review of eligibility to apply to Caranua underway at present.  Any proposal to change the eligibility criteria would require legislation.

Schools Property

Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of school buildings owned by an organisation (details supplied) or other patron bodies that are vacant and no longer in use as schools in the Dublin city and county area; the number of buildings at different locations involved or which are the subject of negotiation for hand over to the State under the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The buildings referred to by the Deputy are in private ownership. Where a school relocates or closes, and where my Department does not have any future educational need for the building, the future use of the old building is in general a matter for the property owner. Such buildings may be used for community or other purposes.

There are currently no school buildings in the specified area that are involved in or subject to negotiations for handover to my Department under the Residential Redress Act 2002.

Residential Institutions Redress Scheme

Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002 of school buildings in Dublin city and county handed over under this scheme to date; the value attributed to these buildings; his plans for future use or development or sale of these buildings; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I presume the Deputy is referring to contributions being made by religious congregations under the 2002 Indemnity Agreement. Under that Agreement the 18 participating religious congregations are contributing €128m in cash, counselling services and property.  The cash contributions of €54.42m under the Agreement have been received while counselling services to the value of €10 have also been provided in accordance with the Agreement.

Under the Agreement my Department agreed in principle with CORI that a total of 64 properties would be accepted subject to good and marketable title and agreed valuations. This number has reduced to 61 as the Department has accepted and received a cash sum in lieu of three properties where good and marketable title could not be established. 55 properties have been fully transferred and there are no outstanding issues. While physical transfers of 5 of the remaining properties have taken place and all 5 are in use or available for use, the legal requirements under the Indemnity Agreement are being pursued to finalise the transfer process. One of the properties has been rejected by the State and, in accordance with the terms of the Agreement, the congregation concerned has been requested to offer an acceptable alternative property or cash in lieu.

I understand that one functioning educational property in Dublin city and county transferred under the terms of the 2002 Agreement. The property in question is Presentation Community College, Dublin 6W which now operates under the auspices of the City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB). The value attributed to the property under the Agreement was €4,500,000. The school is a fully functioning co-educational post-primary school.

No educational properties in Dublin city and county are left to transfer under the 2002 Indemnity Agreement.

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