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Some abuse survivors say Caranua redress scheme isn't working, but it's paid out €5m so far

€110 million was committed by the religious congregations who ran the institutions, Caranua currently has €80 million of the fund.

Baby shoes on church gates.
Baby shoes on church gates.
Image: /Photocall Ireland

THE DUBLIN ASSOCIATION of Survivors of Industrial Schools held a protest outside the Dáil this morning in response to the Caranua redress scheme.

The Caranua scheme was set up to assist those who were abused in residential institutions, aiming to provide help to the survivors as they face into old age, with their health, education and housing.

Funds

Of the €110 million fund committed by the religious congregations who ran the institutions, Caranua currently has €80 million of the fund.

Members of the Dublin Association, which makes up about 160 people, said they believe the scheme was created with “no meaningful consultation with survivors of abuse” and the services funded through them are “completely meaningless”. 

Speaking to TheJournal.ie Chairperson Christopher Salmon stated:

Most of us are at least 60 now and have medical cards, we don’t need training as our work life is done, we have our existing medical and home help entitlements, so whats it for?

He added that services needed for survivors should be selected by survivors, adding that direct payments of composition should be made to survivors of abuse allowing them the “freedom of decision to improve their lives as they choose”.

He said that more should be done to consult with survivors about what the money should be spent on, stating that perhaps pension provisions should be set up. He also said they had questions about what happens to the money when if it is not all drawn down, stating that survivors have families that need supports once they pass on.

Salmon said they were seeking a meeting with the minister so that they can convey their concerns.

Caranua

A spokesperson for Caranua said that as of the end of October, it had paid out €5 million of the €80 million they hold, with €1 million being spent in September and €2.5 million being spent in October alone.

She said that training is just one small part of what Caranua do, stating that they also cover educational needs of survivors, funding third level degrees and masters as well as FETAC courses and local community courses too.

She said there had been criticisms that Caranua do not contact abuse survivors directly, but said that under the legislation, they are prohibited from doing so.

Abuse survivors must contact the organisation to make a claim, with a two part application process in place, first to determine if the person is eligible and the second part to determine what they are looking for funding for.

Housing 

The spokesperson said they have paid out for educational needs, as well as housing needs, such as insulation for houses, window repairs, the repair of heating boilers and for those with disabilities who need refurbishments in their home.

Cara Nua also covers aspects of health matters that are issues for people who were once in institutions.

When asked if abuse survivors should be concerned about the supports they receive impacting on their social welfare or medical cards, as was a concern of the survivors group, she said.

We have been very clear about this and ensured there was a guarantee from the Department of Social Protection that people would not be penalised by getting supports from Caranua.

The Dublin Association of Survivors of Industrial Schools were also critical of the lengthy time scale for applications. The spokesperson for Caranua said that when they began accepting applications they received 1,200 applications, adding that they were understaffed at the time and there were some delays, for which she apologised.

She said that application times can vary depending on what someone is looking for.

Applications 

By the end of October, 3,500 applications have been eligible, with just 58 applications ineligible.

The spokesperson said that if the €110 million is not fully drawn down, the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar said it will go towards the new Children’s Hospital.

However, she said that Caranua will only be in existence for a number of years, and they are working to ensure that the supports that abuse survivors need in the future will be taken care of.

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