News & Events

Closing message to survivors from Rachel Downes CEO

Dear Survivors,

I am writing to let you know that as the full €110 million Residential Institutions Statutory Fund has been administered and all applications to Caranua have been completed, the current Board and staff are finishing as scheduled on Wednesday 24th March. From this date, the Department of Education will manage certain functions of the organisation until wind down legislation is brought before the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Since 1st January 2014, Caranua has spent €97.4 million on supports for survivors and has received 62,170 individual applications. 57,161 (92%) were approved for funding supports, 3,062 (5%) applications were withdrawn by the survivor and 1,947 (3%) were not approved for funding supports.

When I joined Caranua in August 2016, the organisation was going through a period of change, staff numbers had finally been sanctioned, the revised guidelines had just been introduced and there were long waiting times for many survivors. I am happy that in the years since then we were quickly able to implement processes and improvements which further benefited survivors.

From 2018, we changed our approach to outreach and focused our activities on reaching survivors who had accessed minimal or no funding supports and those who had unique challenges to progressing their applications, including those in prison, those who had experienced homelessness and those who were hard to reach as they found regular engagement difficult. We were greatly assisted by the survivor support groups who identified vulnerable survivors, helped us to build relationships, which achieved many successful outcomes for survivors.

Thank you also to those who participated in the independent evaluation of Caranua. It was rewarding to learn from the independent evaluation of Caranua that 87% of survivors named that the service they received from Caranua was ‘very good’ or ‘good’ whilst more than three-quarters of participants thought the service provided by Caranua was ‘excellent’, ‘very good’ or ‘good. The report can be viewed here.

I have continued to raise the matter of future supports for survivors with the Minister for Education and the Oireachtas Committee of Public Accounts and I welcome Minister for Education Norma Foley’s consultation with survivors and support groups about the provision of future supports.

I wish you all the very best for the future.


Rachel Downes
Chief Executive Officer