News & Events

Parliamentary Questions – 7th December 2017

Below are questions asked in the Oireachtas, relating to Caranua and other areas relevant to survivors

Residential Institutions Redress Scheme

Deputy Jim O’Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his Department has written to each applicant to the Magdalen restorative justice scheme that was rejected and asserted a longer duration of stay than was accepted by his Department to advise them of their right to reapply in view of the Ombudsman’s recent report, Opportunity Lost, on his Department’s administration of the scheme and in particular the Ombudsman’s finding that his Department gave undue weight to the evidence supplied by the religious congregations in determining access to the scheme.

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): My Department is giving full and detailed consideration to each of the four recommendations made by the Ombudsman in his report published on 23 November 2017.

The Ombudsman recommended that there should be a review of any cases where there has been a dispute over length of stay. No particular difficulty is foreseen with this recommendation and my Department is exploring the options for doing so.

The Ombudsman also recommended that certain industrial schools and training centres should also be included in the scheme notwithstanding the fact that such applicants may have already received payments under the Residential Institutions Redress Scheme for the same period. This recommendation raises a number of administrative, resource and legal implications which are currently being examined.

It is important to note that the existing Scheme remains open. To date 684 applicants to the Magdalen scheme have received their ex-gratia payments at a cost of €25.7m. The terms of the scheme recommended to Government by the Justice Quirke included the payment of “lump” sums in a range from €11,500 to €100,000, special access to health care, upgrading of pension entitlements to the full State Pension for those who had reached retirement age, and payment of a weekly sum of €100 inclusive of other State payments to others.