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Parliamentary Questions – 16 November 2016

Below are questions asked by TDs in Dáil Éireann, relating to Caranua and other areas relevant to survivors

Expand services provided by Caranua

Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will direct Caranua to expand the range of services covered by the fund in view of the publication of Caranua’s annual report for 2015 and the report of the appeals officer. 

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Subsection 8(1) of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012 sets out the classes of services from which Caranua can determine the approved services to be provided. Those classes of services comprise:
– mental health, counselling and psychological support services
– health and personal social services;
– educational services; and
– housing support services.

Following its establishment, Caranua determined the approved services to be provided by it and determined the criteria by reference to which it would make decisions on applications made to it.  Caranua has recently expanded the approved services it provides and amended its criteria. The additional approved services now include support towards the cost of household goods such as cookers, fridges, floors and home decoration as a housing support and the provision of a contribution towards funeral costs and a contribution to the cost of reconnecting with family members and home place as health services.

While subsection 8(3) of the Act provides that Caranua can recommend to the Minister that an additional class or service be prescribed and the Minster can consult with the Board on the inclusion of additional classes of services, I am satisfied that the current arrangements provide an appropriate and flexible framework to enable Caranua to meet the emerging needs of former residents. Accordingly the issue of invoking the power provided in section 8(3) does not arise at this point.

Actions following Appeals Officers’ Annual Report

Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has read the 2015 annual report of the appeals officer appointed under the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012; the action being taken by his Department to direct Caranua to address the failings highlighted in that report; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The 2015 Annual Report of the independent Appeals Officer appointed to consider appeals against decisions of Caranua (the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund) was presented by me to the Houses of the Oireachtas on 20 September last in fulfilment of the statutory requirement set out in section 21 of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012. The Report is a summary of the Appeals Officer’s work during the reporting period and includes a number of relevant case studies, statistical information, etc. The Report also addresses a number of operational and policy issues that arose in the course of the Appeals Officer’s work and it also provided an update on a number of issues that had been raised in his first Annual Report which covered 2014.

As Caranua is an independent statutory body I, as Minister, have no role in relation to its day to day operations. Accordingly, it is a matter for Caranua itself to respond to and address any relevant issues of concern raised by the Appeals Officer.

I note that in his report the Appeals Officer has welcomed the fact that during 2016 Caranua agreed to expand the range of approved services it could support and that it amended its guidelines and application form, thus addressing some of the concerns he had raised in his 2014 and 2015 reports.