Below are questions asked in the Oireachtas, relating to Caranua and other areas relevant to survivors
Residential Institutions Redress Scheme Data
Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide a copy of all ministerial orders to the Residential Institutions Redress Board, pursuant to section 28(5A) of the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002, as inserted by section 34(h) of the Commission to Inquire in to Child Abuse (Amendment) Act 2005; and if he will provide a copy or copies of correspondence or reports issuing from the Residential Institutions Redress Board or from any other person or body, in compliance with, or regarding, the above order or orders.
Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Section 34(h) of the Commission to Inquire in to Child Abuse (Amendment) Act, 2005 inserts the following subsections after subsection 28 (5A) of the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002
“(5A) Nothing in subsection (1) operates to prohibit the production of a document prepared for the purposes or in contemplation of an application to the Board or a submission for a review by the Review Committee, or given in evidence in such application or review, to—
(a) a body or other person when it, or he or she, is performing functions under any enactment consisting of the conducting of a hearing, inquiry or investigation in relation to, or adjudicating on, any matter, or
(b) such body or other person as may be prescribed by order made by the Minister, when the body or person concerned is performing functions consisting of the conducting of a hearing, inquiry or investigation in relation to, or adjudicating on, any matter as may be so prescribed.
There have been no Ministerial orders made under this legislation and subsequently no correspondence in relation to compliance with an order.
European Court of Justice Rulings
Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of providing all survivors of sex abuse in schools with compensation in line with the O’Keeffe ruling; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Child protection has been a high priority for Government for many years and it is now current practice to review child protection measures regularly. As part of this on-going process, it is a criminal offence where a person fails to disclose to the police information in relation to certain serious offences, including sexual offences against children and vulnerable persons.
We have also introduced statutory vetting arrangements for people involved in working with children and vulnerable adults, including those working in schools. The National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 was commenced on 29 April 2016.
The measures that have been taken to protect and safeguard children should ensure that the risk of sex abuse by people who come into contact with children in our schools is absolutely minimal.
Sadly, this couldn’t be said in the past. I do not have data on the number of people who are survivors of sex abuse in our schools and am unable to provide the estimated cost of awarding each of these survivors with redress in line with that awarded as a result of the ECtHR judgement in the O’Keefe case.
The recent Comptroller and Auditor General’s Special Report on the ‘Cost of Child Abuse Inquiry and Redress’ has shown there to be major problems associated with attempting to predict numbers in this regard. In the case of redress for residential abuse, the cost predicted by the then Fianna Fáil-led Government was €250 million but the final cost was, in fact, €1.5 billion.