Thursday, 18 April 2013
Department of Education and Skills
Residential Institutions Issues
To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the reason almost two years after the processing of grant applications ceased, the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Board has not resumed the processing of applications. [18101/13]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 93 to 95, inclusive, and 97 together.
I established the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund (RISF) Board pursuant to the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act, 2012, with effect from 25 March. 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.
The Board held its inaugural meeting on 27 March and has commenced work on the arrangements to be put in place for the operation of the Fund. I am pleased to report that the Chief Executive Officer, Ms Mary Higgins, has recently taken up her post. Following the dissolution of the Education Finance Board on the commencement of Part 4 of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act, 2012, with effect from 29 March 2013, the three staff of the Education Finance Board have transferred to and become staff of the new Fund Board.
It is now a matter for the RISF Board to determine the range of approved services within the four classes of service stipulated in the Act, i.e. mental health services (including counselling and psychological support) health and personal social services, education services and housing services. The Board is also required to determine the criteria by reference to which it will make decisions in respect of applications to it.
The 15,000 former residents who will be eligible to receive support from the Fund are those persons who have received awards from the Residential Institutions Redress Board or equivalent Court awards. 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.