The Shame of Ireland
Statutory body’s chief spurns criticism, that ‘majority’ of applicants happy with scheme
Caranua is an independent body established under the the 2012 Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act.
Survivors of childhood institutional abuse say they are being “re-abused” by a statutory body meant to improve their lives.
They say that Caranua, which was established in 2012 to manage €110 million pledged by religious congregations to enhance survivors’ lives, treats them with neither compassion nor dignity.
Some have described to The Irish Times being shouted at, left for months without a response to letters or calls, told without warning they would get no more support, and being reduced to tears by Caranua personnel.
Others say they were so traumatised by Caranua that their recovery from childhood abuse has been set back.
Caranua, which means “new friend” in Irish, is an independent body established under the the 2012 Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act.
It is run by a nine-person board, including four survivors, under the auspices of the Department of Education. Applications were accepted from January 2014 under three headings: health and wellbeing, housing support, and education, learning and development.
No limit on services
Guidelines published in May 2014, tell applicants that “there is no limit on the number of services you can apply for”. The guidelines say Caranua can fund such things as hearing tests, dental treatment, housing insulation and adult education fees, but cannot fund services already purchased, services not recommended by a professional, such as a doctor or occupational therapist, or ongoing costs such as rent, mortgages or utility bills.
Each applicant is assigned an adviser and eligibility is confined to those who have been before the Residential Institutions Redress Board. To date, Caranua has received about 5,600 applications and spent €58 million. It expects about 500 more applications over the next three years, when it will cease.
Caranua staff will “listen to you”, say the guidelines, “treat you courteously, fairly and in a consistent manner”, and “apologise if we get something wrong and do our best to put it right”.
This Higgin's woman needs to be fired for what she just said in the Irish Times Article about survivors, this woman is suffering from some kind of Mental issues.
Caranua chief executive Mary Higgins accepts that Caranua was “overwhelmed” and under-resourced in its first two years, which led to long delays. But she rejects claims of widespread dissatisfaction. “The vast majority of applicants are very happy,” she said.
The board is not acting beyond its powers in prioritising new applicants and applicants over the age of 70, or in setting a €15,000 limit per applicant, Ms Higgins said, arguing that it is necessary to sustain the fund for as many survivors as possible.
All advisers are trained to understand the impact of childhood abuse and are never rude to survivors, she said. Some applicants, however, will “never be happy” and grievances “suit a narrative”, she said.
“It suits a narrative of the ‘big, bad State’ and the ‘big, bad religious congregations’,” Ms Higgins said. “If people feel [disrespected], it’s not because we are nasty or horrible . . . You can’t control people’s experience of what we do for them.
“We have to face the fact, the damage that has been done to these people is so deep that it doesn’t matter what anybody does. It’s never going to be enough to satisfy them and make them feel cared for, loved, honoured or whatever else.”
Who Trains The Advisers?
Spewing From The Pulpit.
In December 2014, when he lost power in his body, doctors suspected multiple sclerosis. He needed an “urgent brain scan”. Though deteriorating he was told he could be up to 18 months on the public waiting list.
“I applied to Caranua to pay for a scan, but they refused.
Pople all survivors need to get together and march on Dail Eireann witth placards and let them see people are not going to be treated like this.
It Would Be Great If People Could Come Together For Such An Event!