Question to the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Ruairí Quinn, TD)
To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the steps he has taken to address the specific concerns of the various support groups regarding the residential institutions redress scheme; the funding that is available to such groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer.
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 16th April, 2013.
I have recently established the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund (RISF) Board pursuant to the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act, 2012. The Board will oversee the use of the cash contributions of up to €110 million pledged by the religious congregations to support the needs of some 15,000 survivors of residential institutional child abuse, who have received awards from the Residential Institutions Redress Board or equivalent Court awards. Supports across a range of services, including mental health services, health and personal social services, education services and housing services will be available.
The legislation followed a comprehensive consultation process and I am aware that there are divergent views among survivors of abuse on the Fund, with some advocating a simple distribution of the available money. However the purpose of the Fund is, as advocated in the original motion passed by Dáil Éireann, intended for the support of victims.
The Board held its inaugural meeting on 27th March and has commenced work on the arrangements to be put in place for the operation of the Fund. Further publicity will be undertaken as the work of the Board progresses and a website with detailed information on the Fund’s services will be developed.
My Department has provided funding to a number of Survivor Groups and to Outreach Services in the UK to provide an information and referral service for survivors in the context of the range of measures introduced in response to residential institutional abuse. As the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund is responsible for advising former residents on its services, my Department’s funding for Survivor Groups and the Outreach Services will cease when the RISF becomes operational.