As usual very succinct and to the point email sent by Albert King, this appeared in my Personal Email Account and is reproduced with Albert's permission. Read on and have your say?
Sent: 03 April 2012 17:02
Dear Sinéad Ni Bhroin, Political Adviser,
We acknowledge receipt of your e-mail dated 2nd April 2012 on behalf of Mary Lou McDonald TD who recently raised the Statutory Trust Fund legislation with Mr. Ruairi Quinn, Minister of Education and Skills in the Dáil.
When one looks at the aforementioned it soon become clear that Mr. Ruairi Quinn, Minister of Education and Skills needs to be reminded of the many concerns and issues at home and abroad in relation to the controversial Secret Deal – 2002, the Ryan Commissions Report – 2009, the Institutional Child Abuse Bill – 2009, the Detention Order, the Vaccine Trials, the Redress Board and the Education Finance Board.
May we refer to Mr. Ruairi Quinn, Minister of Education and Skills recent comments to Mary Lou McDonald TD as follows: “The Redress Board operates pursuant to the Residential Redress Act, 2002 to provide fair and reasonable awards to persons who suffered abuse as children while resident in scheduled institutions”?
It should be quite clear to Mr. Ruairi Quinn, Minister of Education and Skills that serious issues have arisen for some time in relation to the Redress Board and we would like to point out that many victims of institutional child abuse have been awarded pittance from the Redress Board.
The Redress Board is one of the greatest abuses perpetrated against victims of sexual abuse in religious run residential institutions, according to a top psychiatrist.
Dr. Michael Corry, founder of the institute of Psychosocial Medicine , said the Redress Board stringent secrecy laws are causing huge psychological damage to victims.
In a letter to The Irish Times dated 19th May 2005, Dr. Michael Corry, Consultant Psychiatrist, stated his firm believe is that the Redress Board contravenes the most basic of human and civil rights.
In short it represents a crime against humanity.
It should be abolished immediately and replaced by an open forum where the victim is not only properly monetarily compensated, but where they can have their perpetrators named, and the scales of justice balanced.
It’s quite clear that many Survivors support groups have received a number of complaints from abuse victims claiming they have received reduced levels of compensation after waiving an initial award by the Redress Board.
The former Minister for Education & Science, Mr. Michael Woods, T.D. in a statement about the Compensation Advisory Committees conclusion he said one of most important observations was that the child injuries were among the most serious kinds of personal injury known to law.
Survivors had lost their childhood much of their adulthood as well.
He also said that because of the complexities of measuring the impact of abuse, the State would obtain its guidelines for the awards from the Irish Courts.
Patsy McGarry, a Religious Affairs Correspondent, reported in The Irish Times dated 15th October 2004, that the former Minister for Education & Science, Ms. Mary Hanafin, T.D. said Members of the Oieachtas Committee on Education, have been assured that awards by the Redress Board were in line of those of the High Court, and that it had an obligation to do this.
This has simply not happened.
Far worse has been going on behind the closed doors of the Redress Board, with pitiful awards being made that come no where near the criteria given by the Compensation Advisory Committee, in 2001, chaired by Mr. Sean Ryan, or in ministerial statements supporting that criteria.
Nor does the Redress Board system of awards meet with the basic principles of natural justice and the requirements for openness in the Convention on Human Rights.
On two critical occasions during the framing and passage of legislation which set up the original Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse over which Honorable Justice Mary Laffoy presided until her letter of resignation dated 2nd September 2003, the former Minister for Education & Science, Mr. Michael Woods, T.D. claimed the awards made for abuse would parallel the substantial awards made in the High Court.
He recommended that the best guidance for the Government should be by reference to the level of awards made by the Irish courts for pain and suffering and loss of amenities arising from serious personal injury.
This has simply not happened.
By comparison with court awards for sexual abuse, the offers and the handouts from the Redress Board have been derisory.
The State has created a legal process based on secret hearings where neither the public nor the media can discover what is being done.
This is an abuse of the European Convention on Human Rights for which Ireland is a signatory.
Openness in public hearings is vital for all parties.
There are around 14, 600 sad army of victims of institutional child abuse including my wife, who made applications to the Redress Board by the deadline of December 2005.
Their weapon of war is a bleak and complicated Application Form; this disgraceful document comes out of the Redress Act 2002.
In order to assist an applicant the former Minister for Education & Science, Mr. Noel Dempsey, TD, stated that a lower threshold of proof is required and the Redress Board will conduct its sittings in an informal manner in order to accommodate the applicant.
When a person makes an application to the Redress Board they are required to establish to the Board firstly, their identity, secondly that they were resident in the institution during their childhood and finally that they were injured while so resident and the injury is consistent with the abuse that is alleged to have happened.
In the event an applicant is dissatisfied with an award he/she may reject the decision of the Redress Board Committee and pursue the matter through the Courts.
According to the former Minister for Education & Science, Mr. Noel Dempsey, TDs conclusion the aim of the Redress Board is to provide victims of institutional child abuse with an alternative avenue to pursue their claim.
That was the theory.
The practice has been entirely different.
Depending on the award made by the Redress Board and/or the Redress Board Review Committee, claimants would have to give serious consideration to their options to proceed with their High Court Action.
Apart from the time factor, the claimant may be held responsible for all costs and outlay from the date of the lodgment (the pittance amount awarded to the claimant by the Redress Board).
After giving the above mentioned options serious consideration, we do not think any claimant would be stupid enough to instruct their Solicitor to follow any further down the same road in a corrupt process which leaves the claimant to consider the consequences.
It’s quite clear that part of the redress system itself, as in so many other State approaches to legislative commitments, has been taken from the UK Criminal Injuries Compensation Board system.
This has broadly the same purpose as the Redress Board, and that is to by pass litigation.
Instead of a back injury or loss of a finger earning £7,500 or £10,000, it is rape or assault that is measured in hard cash.
Although this disgraceful and complicated application form is posited on the idea that an applicant could fill it out on his/her own, the complexities demand assistance from an early point.
It’s quite clear that this kind of work of making representations on behalf of the claimant before the Redress Board had been proving lucrative for many law firms.
Details of the offending institutions have to be given in the form, and the offences, even down to the point of providing a number, given to them in the institution.
This, together with grim details of past suffering, all of it called evidence, together with medical and psychiatric reports, is made available to any person and to the representive of any institution in this application.
This represents hugely excessive disclosure.
But the punitive situation is far more extensive.
Including the claimant taking responsibility for everything stated.
It includes agreeing to the Redress Board requesting any person to produce to it any document which may relate to this application.
It goes further.
It asks the applicant to make prior judgments to whether he/she will consider the possibility of settling this application without a hearing, having on the same page answered comprehensive questions about other proceedings or actions for damages or for criminal investigation.
No comparable circumstances are to be found; on the UK Criminal injuries Compensation Boards work on which the Redress Board is modeled.
The Redress Board is free to call in its own medical advice.
It is free to submit documentation to all named parties.
And dare one say it, the claimant is already a deeply damaged victim, their lives ruined by illness and continuing medical treatment, and in many cases they are still attending further education classes which they were attending even before the present Education Finance Board.
We should surely be dealing here with the circumstances where the claimant has been wronged.
It is the State and the Religious Orders who are suspected, with wide evidential support already, of having committed the acts complained of.
Yet they do not have to fill out any comparable form.
They do not have to submit their documentation including all records and documents exchanging between the State and the Religious Orders and Pharmaceutical Companies pertaining to drug trail/tests and proposed drugs trail/tests of children in the care of the said Religious Orders.
Many institutional child abuse victims including my wife face a conspiracy of silence and total absence of records when they attempt to discover their true identity.
It’s quite clear that the State and the Religious Orders do not have to give undertakings about their truthfulness.
Do not have to promise not to give false information.
Are not required, to give the Redress Board full assistance in conduct of this (or any other) application.
This is short summary of just some of the wrongs, indignities and illegalities we, have faced.
We now fear that the so-called Statutory Trust Fund will be foisted on people who were abused while in institutions irrespective of their concerns and issues.
It’s quite clear that the so-called Statutory Trust Fund will operate in much the same way as the Redress Board and the Education Finance Board resulting in many complaints.
Such a situation should not be tolerated.
We look forward to hearing from you in due course.
Albert King on behalf of Mary King. (victim of institutional child abuse).