Below are questions asked by TDs in Dáil Éireann, relating to Caranua and other areas relevant to survivors
Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if she will request that Caranua make contact with a person (details supplied) in order to process that person’s claims for payment with regard to glasses, an occupational therapist and bathroom adaptations.
Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Jan O’Sullivan): 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. The processing of individual applications is a matter for Caranua itself and my officials have requested Caranua to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.
Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Education and Skills her plans to review the current eligible services which survivors of institutional abuse may currently apply for through Caranua, the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Board, such as funeral and burial services; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Jan O’Sullivan): Section 8 of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act, 2012 sets out the classes of services from which approved services can be determined by Caranua. In accordance with section 8(3), I can prescribe additional classes of service following a recommendation of the Board of Caranua or following consultation with it. Any such regulations require a positive motion of both Houses of the Oireachtas.
Caranua raised the issue of expanding the classes of approved service to include additional services, such as funerals, with me last year. In accordance with the Act, when making such recommendations, Caranua shall have regard to the likely effect of the provision of the service on the health and general well-being; the personal and social development; the educational development or the living conditions of former residents as well as the need for minimum standards to be met by approved service providers.
Eligibility to apply
Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills her views on whether it is unjust that victims of institutional abuse, who had previously been eligible for services under the Education Finance Board, are now excluded from Caranua solely because they were not aware they were eligible to apply to the Residential Institutions Redress Board; that her Department has arbitrarily redefined the meaning of the term “survivor of abuse” as a person who obtained compensation under a relevant scheme; and her plans to end this injustice and ensure equality of treatment for all survivors of abuse in industrial institutions.
Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Jan O’Sullivan): The Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012 provides that those former residents who received awards from the Residential Institutions Redress Board or equivalent Court awards or settlements are eligible to apply to Caranua. This approach was taken having regard to the maximum funds available of €110 million and a potential pool of some 15,000 applicants.
As the Deputy will be aware, a commitment was given during the passage of the 2012 Act to review the operation of the Fund two years after its establishment in the event of applications not resulting in a significant expenditure of the Fund. Following its establishment in March 2013, Caranua began to accept applications in January 2014. Accordingly it would be my intention to consider the question of a review of the operation of the Fund later this year by which time a clearer picture should have emerged regarding the uptake of the funding available.