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Written Answers. - Educational Institutions Redress Board.

Wednesday, 18 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 559 No. 6

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 55. Ms O'Sullivan Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  asked the Minister for Education and Science Information on Noel Dempsey Zoom on Noel Dempsey  if he will make a statement on the operation to date of the Educational Institutions Redress Board. [26718/02]

Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey): Information on Noel Dempsey Zoom on Noel Dempsey The Residential Institutions Redress Act, 2000 was signed into law by the President on 10 April 2002. The Residential Institutions Redress Act, 2002 provides for the establishment of the Residential Institutions Redress Board. The purpose of the board is to provide a mechanism for persons who as children were abused while resident in industrial schools, reformatories and other institutions subject to regulation or inspection by the State. The Act allows for victims of residential abuse to claim financial redress for injuries suffered as a result of that abuse. The provisions of the Act allow the board to make awards based on a lower threshold of proof than is required in taking a case through the courts. An applicant is expected to provide proof of their identity, that he or she was resident in an institution, that he or she was injured while so resi[1500]dent and that the injury is consistent with any abuse that is alleged to have occurred while so resident.

The redress board is accommodated in Belfield Office Park, Clonskeagh, Dublin 4. Judge Kieran O'Connor, retired judge of the Circuit Court presided over the planning stages for the redress board, together with Professor Desmond Greer, Dr. Helen Cummiskey and Dr. Ruth Pilkington. It was with regret that I accepted Judge O'Connor's resignation from the board for personal reasons on 4 December 2002. Judge Sean O'Leary, also of the Circuit Court, has agreed to take over the role of chairperson of the board and my Department is making the final arrangements for to enable him to take up the position as soon as possible. I have recently appointed a fifth member, Mr. Richard J. O'Connell, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, to the redress board.

It was of vital importance that the procedures and practices of the board were drafted and prepared in as sensitive and user friendly manner as possible for victims. Prior to formulating an application form and application procedure the board took time to consult with a number of interested groups. The board has now commenced an advertising campaign in Ireland informing possible applicants that application forms and a guide to the application process are available from its offices in Clonskeagh since 2 December 2002. An advertising campaign will commence in the United Kingdom and internationally shortly. Following receipt of completed applications and supporting documentation the board will move as soon as possible to the provision of awards.

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