Funding to support abuse survivors should be ‘guaranteed’

Reports says many survivors will need ongoing supports when State body closes down

The need for funding to support survivors of abuse to be “guaranteed” and “not voluntary” is among the recommendations for Government in a report evaluating the work of the State body set up to help them.

The findings of the review were sent to the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee, which has been examining the organisation.

The report outlines how Caranua did not receive any public funding for its work providing grants relating to housing, education, health and wellbeing for survivors of child abuse in church-run institutions.

Instead, it was funded by the voluntary contributions sought by the Government from religious organisations in 2009 following the publication of the Ryan report on abuse.


The report on Caranua said that the funding from congregations was provided on an “ad-hoc basis” and this approach caused “particular issues for Caranua in 2019 when there was €8.4 million in outstanding contributions and no planned timeline for receipt”.

It says that the funds were finally committed in September 2019 and final payments made the following December.

Lessons learned

The report is described as an “an independent review on the impact of Caranua’s work with survivors”.

It has a section on the lessons learned during the operations of Caranua, including recommendations for Government.

These include a recommendation not to set up a body until all resources including financial and staffing are “scoped, agreed and sanctioned”.

Another recommendation is that “funding should be guaranteed, not voluntary”.

It also says that many survivors will require ongoing supports when Caranua closes down.

Caranua is being wound up having allocated about €97 million to more than 6,100 people since it started taking applications from survivors of institutional abuse in 2014.

The staff finished their work last week. About €13 million was spent on operational costs for the organisation. The report says that legislation set out how operational costs had to be met from the €110 million fund which caused a negative perception among some that Caranua was spending money on operations that should have be used for survivors only. The report says: “Staff and survivors felt strongly that operational costs should have been provided for separately from the fund.”

The report has also been sent to Minister for Education Norma Foley, whose department was responsible for overseeing the redress scheme for survivors of abuse. A spokesman said: “The Minister is considering the evaluation report commissioned by Caranua and the findings set out in the report”.

The Government is currently developing a separate compensation scheme for former residents of mother and baby homes.

It has asked religious organisations involved in the homes to consider making a financial contribution to the costs.

A consultation period on the development of an ex-gratia Restorative Recognition Scheme for former residents ends today. The intention is for the outline of the scheme to go to Cabinet by the end of April.

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times