The Shame of Ireland
Ellen Coyne, Senior Ireland Reporter
January 13 2018, 12:01am,
Caranua was set up in 2014 to divide a €110 million compensation fund between survivors of abuse
Caranua took legal action so that it could restrict how much money survivors of institutional abuse could be allocated for housing and health needs.
Fifty people who were abused in religious institutions have been denied funding after Caranua took High Court proceedings against its own appeals officer.
The agency was set up in 2014 to divide a €110 million compensation fund from religious congregations between people who were abused in institutions as children to help with health, housing or educational needs.
It told survivors: “There is no limit on the number of services that you can apply for and we encourage you to apply for everything that is relevant to you.” In 2016 it imposed a €15,000 limit on survivors who were applying for assistance after it was reprimanded by the state spending watchdog for a lack of financial control. Mary Higgins, its chief executive, claimed that the new limit would not be imposed retrospectively on applicants who applied before June 2016.
At least 50 people who had applied to Caranua before that date had their applications refused when the state agency claimed that they had gone over the €15,000 limit. They all appealed against the decision to Geraldine Gleeson, the appeals officer appointed by the Department of Education to review refusals of funding by Caranua.
Ms Gleeson made a decision early last year that the limit should apply only to new applicants. Documents seen by The Times reveal that Caranua took High Court proceedings against her late last year after the decision.
In a letter to an applicant last week Ms Gleeson said that her office had been given legal advice that Caranua was likely to win the case because of a decision its board had taken which had “inexplicably” not been published when the new limit was imposed.
“Caranua instigated High Court proceedings challenging one such decision on appeal,” Ms Gleeson wrote. “In the context of defending that challenge, the legal advice received was that Caranua would be likely to succeed in court on the basis that the board of Caranua had decided that moneys received by applicants prior to the introduction of the criteria were to be taken into account in determining whether the new limit was breached.”
She said that if the court case was contested, this would be likely to win the case for Caranua despite the fact that the board had failed to clarify or publish anywhere that any payments received by an applicant before June 2016 could impact on future applications.
“While I consider this omission to be inexplicable, nonetheless, in light of the legal advice, I must now accept the board decision in this case was intended to include moneys paid to applicants before the introduction of the [new limit],” she said.
Fionna Fox, a solicitor representing all 50 applicants who were appealing against their refusals, said that at least one client was taking the case to the High Court because she believed that the appeals officer’s decision was “very flawed”.
A spokeswoman for Caranua said that it could not discuss any details about applications to the fund. The spokeswoman did not answer questions about why the agency had taken High Court action against its own appeals officer.
Caranua has been mired in controversy following a number of revelations about applications being delayed, survivors being treated poorly or ignored and claims that a significant amount of the fund was used for administrative costs.
It keeps going on and no Government ministers stepping in to stop the bully tactics of Caranua
Its so unfair that some recieved 50000 and Another recieved 100000 for thier needs and then a Platform was fixed for the rest of us regardless of our needs.Why this was decided no one knows.Many of us who worked in the industriel schools are now old and ill.
It's a disgrace that they used Survivors Money on Legal Fees and Court Costs to take the Government Appointed Appeals Officer to the High Court
Rob why dosent all the survivors get together and start some form of protest as together their voices would be stronger and taken more notice off.
Of course it is. All the so called support we were promised has been just like this .nd paying lawyers to sort out thier internale affairs.
Hi Rob, I have been refused by caranua and have lodged an appeal so can't wait to see what happens.
Good luck with the appeal Barbie. Let us know how you get on. We all have an interest.
Caranua are a law onto themselves
Good luck Barbie.I hope you won't have to wait as long as I have had to wait going on for two years and still ongoing .
Thats terrible Catherine that your waiting that long. My wife Nora is a survivor and she applied a second time only to come up against a stone wall.