Written answers

Tuesday, 17 February 2004

Department of Education and Science

Inquiry into Child Abuse

10:00 pm

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Labour)
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Question 309: To ask the Minister for Education and Science if an institution (details supplied) in County Westmeath has been investigated for abuse of children placed there by the State in the 1940s and since; if so, the outcome of such investigations; the responsibility his Department have taken for the abuse that occurred in this institution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4900/04]

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Education and Science; Meath, Fianna Fail)
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I am not aware if the institution referred to by the Deputy has been investigated for the abuse of children. The Oireachtas, through the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Act 2000, established a statutory body with the powers of the High Court to undertake such investigations. The Act specifically provides that the commission shall inquire into abuse allegations and shall determine the extent to which certain bodies contributed to abuse. If allegations of abuse in respect of this institution were made to the investigation committee of the commission, it would be a matter for that forum to carry out the kind of inquiry to which the Deputy refers. The institution was not a certified industrial or reformatory school and my Department did not have a regulatory or inspection role in respect of it.

The institution is included in the Schedule of the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002 and therefore former residents of the institution may make an application for redress to the Residential Institutions Redress Board. The board was established for the purpose of making financial awards to assist in the recovery of certain persons who as children were resident in certain institutions and who have or have had injuries that are consistent with abuse received while so resident.

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