Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (270)

Seán Crowe

Question:

383 Mr. Crowe asked the Minister for Education and Science if he has received correspondence from the London Irish Women Survivors Group regarding the functioning of the redress board and the work of his Department in raising awareness of the functions and responsibilities of the redress board; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1109/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

The group has raised two issues regarding the redress scheme to which a reply has issued. The first of these issues is a request that additional institutions be added to the Schedule to the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002. A total of 128 institutions are listed on the Schedule to the Act. Section 4 enables additional institutions that are identified as reformatory schools, industrial schools, orphanages, children's homes and special schools, in respect of which a public body had a regulatory or inspection function, to be added to the Schedule. It is my intention that a list of additional institutions will be brought before both Houses of the Oireachtas as soon as the verification process is completed.

The second issue relates to the groups who wish that full information on the operation of the redress board be made available to all former residents. Section 5 (b) of the Act provides that the board shall make all reasonable efforts, through public advertisement, direct correspondence with persons who were residents of an institution, and otherwise, to ensure persons who were residents of an institution are aware of the redress board and its remit. In this regard, the board commenced an advertising campaign in Ireland in December 2002 and the board has indicated that a targeted advertisement campaign in the United Kingdom will commence in early 2004.

In addition, the Government, in devising its policies in the redress area, was conscious that a significant number of former residents of institutions had emigrated to the United Kingdom particularly in the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Five outreach officers were appointed to existing Irish centres in the UK to apprise and advise former residents that reside in the UK of developments regarding the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse and the Residential Institutions Redress Board as well as other relevant matters. The outreach services are funded by my Department and continue to operate and provide appropriate advice. Funding for a post of development worker to co-ordinate and develop the outreach service has also been provided.