News & Events

Parliamentary Questions – 8th March 2018

Appointments to State Boards

Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills when two new members will be appointed to the board of Caranua to replace members that recently resigned; and his plans to appoint to a new board to manage the day to day operations of Caranua.

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Notwithstanding the recent resignation of two members, the Caranua Board currently has seven members, two of whom are former residents.  I will be seeking to replace the Board members who resigned as soon as practicable and in accordance with the provisions of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012 and the Guidelines on Appointments to State Boards.

Departmental Agencies Data

Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of vacancies on the board of organisations or agencies under his remit; and the date on which the position became vacant in tabular form.

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The information requested by the Deputy in regard to the number of vacant positions on the board of State agencies under the aegis of my Department is provided in the table.

All boards in agencies under the remit are fully operational and in each case have a required quorum. In relation to QQI I will be mailing appointments to that board very shortly.

For the Deputy’s information details of the State Boards that fall under the remit of my Department, including details of board vacancies are typically available on my Department’s website at the following link;

Department of Education and Skills – Vacancies on the boards of State Agencies under the remit of the Department at 06 March 2018

Name of Agency with current vacancies Date Vacancy Occurred  Capacity of Board Member – Ordinary Member/ Chairperson Basis of appointment
National Centre for Guidance Education –  Management Committee(NCGE) 14/02/2018 Ordinary Member Nominee of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors
Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) 14/06/2017 Ordinary Member Ministerial Appointee
Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) 05/11/2017 Chairperson Ministerial Appointee.
Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) 05/11/2017 Ordinary Member Ministerial Appointee
Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) 05/11/2017 Ordinary Member Ministerial Appointee  (learner representative)
Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Board (RISF) –  Caranua 01/02/2018 Ordinary Member PAS Process
Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Board (RISF) – Caranua 16/02/2018 Ordinary Member PAS Process

Magdalen Laundries

Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to implement the redress measures recommend by Mr. Justice Quirke, including back-dated pensions, access to a HAA standard card, access to the scheme for women who are deemed to lack capacity and funding for memorialisation in view of the appearance of the ombudsman at the Oireachtas justice committee to discuss his report Opportunity Lost.

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Government decision in relation to the terms of the Magdalen ex-gratia Scheme provides that it commences with effect from 1 August, 2013.

By way of general information, to date 687 women have received lump sum payments under the Scheme which provides for lump sum payments varying from €11,500 to €100,000 depending on the length of stay in the institution concerned.  €25.7m has been allocated under the Scheme to date.  Further, each woman is entitled to a top-up payment to bring her weekly income from the Irish State up to the equivalent of the Irish Contributory State Pension.  A further €258,000 in legal costs has been paid out under the Scheme.

In relation to medical services, Judge Quirke recommended that the women should receive medical services equivalent to those provided by the holder of a HAA card. He also advised that not all of the services described in the Guide for women infected with Hepatitis C may be directly relevant to the Magdalen women.

Accordingly, the women are provided with an enhanced medical card (RWRCI card) which allows them access to a range of medical services and to primary and community health services.  These services are free of charge and include GP services, prescribed drugs, medicines, aids and appliances, dental, ophthalmic and aural services, home support, home nursing, counselling services, chiropody, podiatry and physiotherapy.  This is the same range of services as provided to HAA cardholders, the exception being medicines and treatments specific to Hepatitis C sufferers which clearly  would not need to apply to Magdalen women. Provision for medical support for women residing abroad has also been made by way of administrative arrangements.

It might be noted that there is no means assessment for any of the above services provided to these women. In addition, they are exempt from charges for acute in-patient services and out-patient services.

In relation to capacity, there has been a delay in making payments to certain women where there are issues relating to capacity, which may render them vulnerable to financial exploitation. Pending the commencement of the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act, 2015 and the establishment of the Decision Support Service, my officials have been encouraging the use of other options to allow payments to be made and they continue to examine what other options may be available.

Overall, 45 applicants were identified as not having the necessary capacity to sign legal documents.  That number has now reduced to 15, mostly through capacity re-assessment or being made Wards of Court.  Unfortunately 7 persons have died, and in all cases awards were made to their estate.  Of the remaining 15 cases, 3 are in the application process to be made Wards of Court.

I have considered the report of the Ombudsman and I intend to meet with him in the coming weeks.

In relation to the memorial, in December 2017 Dublin City Council (DCC) announced that it will carry out a significant commercial redevelopment of the Sean McDermott Street site and confirmed that there will be a Magdalen Memorial at the site.  I wish to provide support and assistance for this project and Officials from my Department have met with DCC officials in this regard.  I am also aware of a proposed conference later this year and I have offered my support for this initiative to the Justice for Magdalenes Research Group.