Below are questions asked in the Oireachtas, relating to Caranua and other areas relevant to survivors
Residential Institutions Redress Scheme
Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount of money outstanding for the redress schemes from an organisation (details supplied); and if he will report on any recent discussion with it to retrieve all funds pledged.
Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton):The religious congregation referred to in the Deputy’s question was one of 18 that was a party with the State to the 2002 Indemnity Agreement. That Agreement provided for a collective contribution of €128 million in cash, counselling and property.
I understand that the transfer of one property offered by this Congregation, the Sacred Heart Centre, Waterford, remains to be fully transferred. The completion of this transfer is at an advanced stage with the intended recipient, the Health Service Executive, in occupation of the property.
In response to the call for further substantial contributions towards the costs of redress made in the aftermath of the publication of the report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (the Ryan Report), many of the congregations that were party to the 2002 Indemnity Agreement made individual offers of cash and/or property. I should stress that these offers are voluntary and do not form part of any agreement. The Congregation in question offered an additional cash contribution of €5m, of which amount €2m has been paid. In 2012 the Congregation advised that it had decided to waive its claim for legal costs from the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (CICA) and to offset this claim against the remaining cash contribution of €3m. The then Government agreed to reckon this set-off as a contribution towards the redress response, the amount of which will be calculated by applying the average discount achieved by CICA on its respondent legal costs. This exercise will be done once CICA has completed its work. The Congregation was advised that in the event that the amount of the set-off calculated on that basis is less than the €3m now outstanding the Government would expect it to make up the shortfall by way of a cash payment.
Alan Farrell (Dublin Fingal, Fine Gael) To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the unpaid finances due to the State by religious organisations under the redress scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): To date contributions amounting to some €215 million in cash, counselling and property transfers have been made by the 18 religious congregations who managed most of the residential institutions in which child abuse took place. These contributions are being made under two rounds: the binding 2002 Indemnity Agreement and the voluntary offers made in 2009 in the aftermath of the publication of the report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (the “Ryan Report”).
Some €117.8 million of the €128 million (or 92%) provided for under the 2002 Indemnity Agreement has been fully contributed. Eight property transfers remain to be fully completed. Work to complete these transfers is actively progressing and I should point out that in most of the remaining cases the transfer process is at a very advanced stage. It should be noted also that most of the properties are already in use by the intended recipients.
The offers made in the aftermath of the publication of the Ryan Report by many of the congregations that were party to the 2002 Indemnity Agreement, included cash and properties and were valued by the congregations at €352.6m. I should stress that these offers are voluntary and do not form part of any agreement.
One significant element of the 2009 offers, relating to playing fields and associated lands, valued at €127million, was withdrawn by the Christian Brothers. When this is combined with some changes in the valuation of properties previously offered and the value of properties offered but not being reckoned as a contribution, the total value of the voluntary offers currently in place stands at €193 million, of which contributions of cash and property amounting to some €97.3 million have been realised. It is expected that the outstanding congregational cash contributions will be received by 2018. To date, five of the 18 properties accepted by the Government for transfer to the State have fully transferred and work is progressing to complete remaining transfers.
Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Board
Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of staff that ceased their employment with Caranua in each month in 2016 and to date in 2017, in tabular form.
Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Caranua, the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Board, 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. As an independent body Caranua is responsible for managing its own affairs. As my Department does not hold details of the movement of individual staff in and out of Caranua I have asked my officials to request Caranua to provide the Deputy with the information sought by her as soon as possible.
Residential Institutions Redress Scheme
Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the payments due by religious orders to the various redress schemes; the steps taken to recoup moneys owed; when she expects outstanding payments to be completed; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I presume that the Deputy is specifically referring to the Magdalen Restorative Justice Ex-gratia Scheme which is administered in my Department and the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme which is administered in the Department of Education and Skills.
In relation to the Magdalen Restorative Justice Ex-gratia Scheme, the position is that my predecessor as Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter, met with the four religious congregations involved in June 2013. They were asked to make a contribution to the cost of implementing the Magdalen Laundries Restorative Justice Ex-Gratia Scheme. Following reflection on the matter, all four congregations declined to make a financial contribution towards the implementation of the scheme.
The matter was discussed again by the Government on 16 July 2013 and following that meeting the then Minister wrote to all four congregations expressing his disappointment that they had decided not to make a financial contribution, pointing out that the Government was of the view that the congregations had a moral obligation to do so and urging them to reconsider. The congregations responded to that second request reaffirming their previous position. Further letters issued to the religious congregations in January 2014 and they again reaffirmed their position that they would not be making a financial contribution to the Scheme.
All four religious congregations are cooperating fully with the scheme with regard to providing the appropriate records available to applicants. My officials in the Restorative Justice Implementation Unit liaise with the religious congregations on a regular basis with regard to verifying records.To date awards totalling over €25 million have been paid to 672 applicants under this Redress Scheme
In relation to the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme I am advised by the Minister for Education & Skills, who has ministerial responsibility in this area, that the 2002 Indemnity Agreement between the Government and religious congregations provided for a collective contribution of €128 million from the 18 participating congregations in cash, counselling services and property with the cash element going towards the funding of the Redress Scheme. The Minister for Education and Skills also advises that the combined value of all contributions received to date under the Agreement stands at €117.8 million which represents 92% of the amount provided for in the Agreement. The Minister understands that all cash and counselling provided for in the Agreement has been received and that a small number of property transfers remain to be completed.
For the sake of completeness, the Minister for Education and Skills points out that in response to the call for further substantial contributions towards the costs of residential institutional redress made in the aftermath of the publication of the report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (the Ryan Report), many of the congregations that were party to the 2002 Indemnity Agreement made additional voluntary offers of cash and property. The cash proceeds of these offers do not fund a redress scheme as such but I am advised by the Minister for Education and Skills that the cash proceeds are being made available to Caranua (the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund) and that to date some €97 million in cash and associated interest has been contributed.