Deputy Michael Healy-Rae
Question 87. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if he will address a matter regarding Caranua (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20179/19]
Written answers – Simon Harris, Minister for Health
Caranua is an independent statutory body established under the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012 to utilise some €110 million in cash contributions from religious congregations to help meet the needs of persons who as children suffered abuse in residential institutions.
I am advised by my colleague, the Minister for Education and Skills, that Caranua ceased to accept applications from 1 August 2018 and it is working to process some 2,000 remaining open applications. Caranua’s operations will be wound down during the course of 2019 and the organisation will be dissolved when it has completed the performance of its functions.
An Inter-Departmental committee comprising representatives from relevant departments and chaired by the Departments of Education and Skills is currently examining the way in which existing State services can best meet the needs of residential institutions survivors into the future. It should be noted that survivors have always been able to avail of existing mainstream services without self-identifying as survivors. It is anticipated that the inter-Departmental committee will report later this year.
Regarding medical cards, eligibility for a medical card is established primarily on the basis of financial assessment. There are currently no proposals to extend automatic eligibility for medical cards to survivors who have accessed Caranua. However, in certain circumstances the HSE may exercise discretion and grant a medical card even though an applicant exceeds the income threshold, when he/she faces difficult circumstances, such as extra costs arising from an illness. Furthermore, awards made by Caranua are disregarded in the income assessment for a medical card.