The Board of Caranua would like to thank Mr. Tom Cronin for his contribution during his time as a Board Member, however, we refute statements he has made in the last number of days.
The Board of Caranua are committed to ensuring survivors receive the best possible service during the application process with Caranua, and we strive to constantly improve that service. Discussions on this are at the core of all Board meetings. Mr. Cronin attended four of the six Board meetings held since he began his tenure as a Board Member in May 2017. The Board cannot discuss individual applications for services, and we believe this is very important, as it safeguards the confidentiality of survivors.
While we are always seeking to improve the service that is offered, we do receive very positive feedback. We have a feedback section on our website, and in 2017, 418 individuals left feedback on this section – 10% (40) were complaints and 90% (378) were positive feedback.
Mr. Cronin has been a strong advocate for survivors of institutional abuse for many years. We respect his opinion, and during his time on the Board he made a valuable contribution. However, it is his right to step away from the Board. As the remaining Board Members, we look forward to continuing to develop the service we offer, and to further discussions at Board level on how we can work to best improve the lives of survivors, both through Caranua and by advocating for further supports, for example the right to an enhanced medical card for all survivors eligible to apply to Caranua.
The role of the Board is at a critical juncture, as Caranua has now spent nearly €80 million of a total Fund of €110 million. To date, the following has been spent on services for applicants:
- Health: €19.7 million
- Housing: €51.3 million
- Education: €1.3 million
- Exceptional Needs: €170,709
The legislation that Caranua was established under, the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012, determines that all administrative costs must be paid from the Fund. €7.4 million has so far been spent on the administration of the Fund. In response to consultation and feedback received from survivors, in 2016 Caranua expanded the range of services available to include items such as white goods and funeral costs.
It is vitally important that we redouble our efforts to ensure any potential applicants come forward and apply to the Fund. We are also very aware that many applicants coming forward now are particularly vulnerable and need support not only from Caranua, but also from other State agencies. A key challenge for the Board is how we use our limited staff resources to ensure that other State agencies recognise the individual needs of survivors of institutional abuse, and that we help create linkages into State structures that will support survivors in the long term. We look forward to working with the Caranua executive to achieve this, and to continue our engagement with survivors through public meetings, daily phone and email contact, and by working with organisations that support survivors. We also look forward to welcoming two new members to the Caranua Board, when they are appointed by the Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton TD.