Below are questions asked by TDs in Dáil Éireann, relating to Caranua
Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide the details of all contracts and consultancy arrangements entered in to by the Caranua board; the consultancy and contract arrangements that were approved by him under section 7(7) of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012, including the costs of each of these arrangements and names of consultancy firms and contractors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10314/14]
Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): The Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Board, which uses the service name Caranua, is an independent statutory body under the aegis of my Department, established to oversee the use of the cash contributions of up to €110 million, pledged by the religious congregations, to support the needs of some 15,000 survivors of institutional child abuse.
My Department is currently considering the approval of a number of consultancies and contracts by Caranua pursuant to section 7(7) of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act, 2012 and will forward the Deputy the relevant details, once my Department has finalised its consideration of the matter.
Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason 11 months after the establishment date of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012, he has not enabled sections 21 and 22 of this Act by bringing forward the requisite commencement order and regulations; his views on whether the right to appeal an adverse decision of the Caranua board is a right under section 22 of this Act; the number of applications the board have approved and paid to former residents under section 3(1) of the Act; the number that were rejected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10263/14]
Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has exercised his powers under section 30(3) of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012 to seek an advance from the investment account managed by the National Treasury Management Agency to enable him to make a payment for the operation of an appeals process; if he has given any consideration to the 2014 budgetary requirements of an appeals officer and any staff of an appeals officer; if so, if he will disclose those figures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10261/14]
Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): I propose to take Questions Nos. 64 and 65 together.
I made the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012 (Commencement) Order 2014 (S.I. No 20 of 2014) on 28th January. This Order commenced sections 21 and 22 of the 2012 Act which provide for the appointment of an appeals officer and for the appeals process in relation to decisions of a decision maker of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Board. On the same day I made the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund (Appeals) Regulations 2014 (S.I. No 21 of 2014) which set out the procedures to be followed in appeals.
I recently appointed Mr Pat Whelan, former Director General of the Office of the Ombudsman, to be the inaugural Appeals Officer of the Fund. In accordance with the 2012 Act, a former resident who is dissatisfied with a decision maker’s decision on their application or a person whom a decision maker decides is not a former resident within the meaning of the Act can appeal to the Appeals Officer.
No advance has been sought from the National Treasury Management Agency investment account pursuant to section 30(3) of the 2012 Act. The Appeals Officer will be paid for determining appeals on a per diem basis while the administrative support will be provided by my Department. The costs of the Appeals Officer which will be met from the investment account will be dependent on the level of appeals involved. While it is not proposed to recoup the costs of the administrative support from the investment fund at this stage, this matter will be kept under review.
From inquiries made by my officials I understand that the Fund, which uses the service name Caranua, had received 1,914 applications at the end of February. The first part of the application process is to verify that an applicant is actually eligible to apply. At end February 501 applicants had been confirmed to be eligible. Once confirmed as eligible applicants are then appointed an adviser. The role of the adviser is to provide assistance in the making of an application for services. Advisers have been appointed for 64 applicants and 4 applications have been approved. No applications have been rejected.