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Newsletter December 2003
Monday, 22nd December 2003

This is the fifth in a series of newsletters which the Board has decided to produce to keep applicants informed from time to time as to the procedures it follows and other developments. Our first four newsletters issued in March, June, August and October of this year and the Board's 'Guide to Hearing Procedures' issued in April.

 

Christmas Opening Hours:


The Board's offices in Clonskeagh will be open until 4.00 p.m on Christmas Eve and will re-open on Tuesday December 30th. The office will be closed on New Year's Day.

The Board and staff would like to take this opportunity to wish all applicants a happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year. A special note of thanks is extended to all those who contributed to the establishment of the Board and who continue to help us in our attempt to provide the best possible service to all applicants.



Applications:


The Board continues to receive applications at a steady rate and has received a total of 2553 to the 22nd of December. Applicants are reminded that the statutory steps and times allowed for each step laid down in the Act and Regulations now occupy a minimum of 14 weeks. This assumes that all necessary documentation has been lodged with the Board. It is only when the Board has received all the necessary documentation that the 14 week timescale commences. In broad terms the first 8 weeks is taken up notifying relevant persons as outlined in the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002 (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2002. The following 6 weeks is taken up confirming with the applicant or his/her solicitor that the application is complete (2 weeks) and scheduling the application for hearing or settlement (4 weeks). In some cases the Board, with the cooperation of the applicants and the relevant persons, will be able to reduce this period. In some instances this may be extended if the applicant or his/her solicitor indicate that they wish to lodge additional documentation.

Applicants are reminded that the timeframe outlined above is the minimum period required to process an application and only commences when the Board has received all the documents it requires.

Applicants should also understand that when all the above-mentioned steps have been completed cases will be available to be listed for hearing or settlement but a delay may arise if the volume of cases reaching that stage exceeds the Boards capacity to process.  Such listing delays have not yet arisen but could arise in the future.  The appointment of additional Board members is a response to this possible problem.

 

Awards:


To date the Board have completed the process in 587 cases. 431 offers have been made following settlement talks and 104 awards have been made following hearings. In applications covering 52 applicants refusals have issued for one reason or another. These applications have been refused as, on the face of the documentation, the application was outside the Boards terms of reference as laid down in the 2002 Act. In other words the applications did not relate to residential institutions as defined in the Act. These applications are determined by the Board immediately on receipt so that the applicant is informed at the earliest possible date that his/her application is outside the ambit of the redress scheme.

The newly appointed Board members have added the capacity and flexibility to the system which has enabled the Board to increase the pace at which applications are finalised.

The average value of awards to date is €80,000, the largest award being €270,000.

 

Sittings


The Board now sits five days a week in its premises in Clonskeagh. It has also sat in Cork, Galway and Limerick. The Board has commenced sitting for approximately one week per month in Cork and will continue to do as long as there are sufficient applications from the region.

 

Advertising in the United Kingdom


The Board has sent a total of 15,000 documents to Irish Centres in the United Kingdom. These consist of posters, short guides to the redress scheme and single page handouts. The Board has asked that these documents be prominently displayed in the centres in the hope that they will be seen by the maximum number of potential applicants. The Board's U.K. lo-call number 0845 300 4264 is displayed in all of the documents. A more extensive advertising campaign for the United Kingdom is proposed for Spring 2004.


 

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