PAC to consider costs of and contributions from congregations to Child Abuse Inquiry and Redress and Caranua financial statements

The Public Accounts Committee will focus on the costs of and the contribution from the congregations to the redress scheme and child abuse inquiry and the Caranua financial statements when it meets with officials from the Department of Education and Skills and Caranua tomorrow, Thursday, 13 April 2017/

The agenda for the meeting is

(a) 9 a. m. Business of the Committee;
(b) (i) C&AG Special Report 96: Cost of Child Abuse Inquiry and Redress
     (ii) Caranua Financial Statements 2014 & Caranua Financial Statements 2015
[Officials from the Department of Education & Skills and Representatives from Caranua]

Committee Chairman Seán Fleming said: “The Comptroller & Auditor General report highlighted the spiralling costs involved in the operation of the redress scheme and child abuse inquiry.

“Costs to the end of 2015 of the redress scheme and child abuse inquiry are an estimated €1.5 billion. The redress scheme accounts for the largest element of the costs, at an estimated €1.25 billion. The original forecast cost of the scheme was €250 million.

“The report highlights that Government policy was to pursue the sharing of the cost of redress on a 50:50 basis with the religious congregations which would require the congregations to contribute €760 million. To date, the congregations have offered the equivalent to about 23% of the overall cost. Contributions received from the congregations up to the end of 2015 represent about 13% of the cost.

“We will want to know why the State has allowed this to continue and why more determined and stronger efforts were not made to bring this to a conclusion before now. No look-back evaluation of the redress scheme has taken place and no provision was made in legislation for such a review to be undertaken by the State. We will be keen to ascertain what is being done in this regard to ensure that lessons are learned and improvements for the future .”

“Caranua was established in 2013 as the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund and is responsible for the management of a fund of €110m provided by religious congregations to improve the lives of individuals who as children experienced abuse and reglect in institutions managed by the congregations on behalf of the Irish State. The audit and the 2015 financial statements identified weaknesses in control over grant payments. The Committee will want to establish what work has been done to establish if the weaknesses identified in the controls over grant payments have resulted in overpayments and what actions have been taken or are envisaged to address the weaknesses identified.”

This meeting will take place in Committee room 3 at 9 am on Thursday, 13 April 2017. Committee proceedings can be viewed live here.

Committee proceedings can also be viewed on the move, through the Houses of the Oireachtas Smartphone App, available for Apple and Android devices.

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Committee Membership:

Bobby Aylward        Fianna Fáil
Peter Burke        Fine Gael
Shane Cassells        Fianna Fáil
Catherine Connolly    Independent
David Cullinane        Sinn Féin
Alan Farrell        Fine Gael
Séan Fleming        Fianna Fáil
Alan Kelly        Labour
Marc MacSharry        Fianna Fáil
Josepha Madigan    Fine Gael
Mary Lou McDonald    Sinn Féin
Noel Rock        Fine Gael
Catherine Murphy    Social Democrats-Green Party Group