Below are questions asked by TDs in Dáil Éireann, relating to Caranua and other areas relevant to survivors
Staffing at Caranua
Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of persons who are employed by Caranua; if the service is adequately funded; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the level of funding she has provided to Caranua for each year of its existence; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
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. To date a total of €82.92 million, including €81.54m in contributions and €1.38m in associated interest has been lodged to the special Investment Account managed by the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) for the Fund in accordance with section 29 of the Residential Institution Statutory Act, 2012. Caranua accesses this funding directly as required. No Exchequer funds are provided to Caranua.
Caranua publishes regular updates regarding applications and expenditure on its website (www.caranua.ie) while more detailed information is set out in its Annual Report and audited accounts which may be also accessed on this website.
The authorised staffing complement for Caranua is 10 posts, 6 of which posts are currently filled. In addition, Caranua is utilising the services of an employment agency to provide temporary staff to assist in processing applications and to provide administrative support. A part-time accountant is provided by Caranua’s external accountancy service provide
My Department is presently considering a request from Caranua to increase the number of authorised posts. If approved and implemented that proposal would lead to a reduction in the level of reliance placed on agency staff.
Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the complaints and appeals service operated by Caranua is robust and sufficient; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
I understand that Caranua has a Customer Service Charter and Feedback and Complaints Policy which may be accessed on the organisation’s website (www.caranua.ie). The website allows applicants to provide feedback, submit comments and make formal complaints in cases where there is dissatisfaction with the quality of service provided.
Decisions of Caranua may be appealed to the independent Appeals Officer appointed under section 21 of the 2012 Act. Since his appointment in February 2014 the Appeals Officer has received 117 appeals of which 87 have been concluded. The 2014 annual report of the Appeals Officer is in the public domain and may be accessed on both my Department’s website (www.education.gov.ie) and on Caranua’s website.
I should point out that Caranua comes within the scope of the Ombudsman Acts 1980 to 2012 and its administrative actions are subject to review by the Ombudsman.
I am satisfied that there are sufficient options available for applicants to Caranua to appeal decisions if they are dissatisfied with the outcome of their applications.