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Newsletter July 2005
Thursday, 28th July 2005

This is the 10th 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. The Board's 'Guide to Hearing Procedures' issued in April 2003 and in October of last year the Board issued the second edition of its Guide to the Redress Scheme. The Board's annual report for 2004 issued to the Minister for Education and Science in April of this year. This report can be viewed on the Board's website www.rirb.ie and is available free of charge from the Board's office.

Applications:


The rate at which the Board receives applications has increased noticeably in recent months with the Board receiving more than 400 in June and a total of 7046 to date. The Board notifies applicants once it has received all necessary documentation in relation to their case. These notifications, known as completion letters, issue at a rate commensurate with the Board's ability to finalise applications and therefore do not always issue immediately after the Board has complied with its obligations in relation to the notification of relevant persons as outlined in the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002 (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2002. At the time of writing it can take up to 6 months for a case to be scheduled once the Board has issued a completion letter to the applicant or his/her solicitor indicating that the application is ready to proceed to hearing or settlement. This timeframe does not apply to those entitled to priority on grounds of age or medical condition.


Awards:

To date the Board has completed the process in 3665 cases. 2704 offers have been made following settlement talks and 876 awards have been made following hearings. 5 applicants have rejected their awards. 11 applications resulted in an award of €0.00 or no award. In applications covering 74 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. If the refusal refers to an institution now included in the scheme as a result of the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002 (Additional Institutions) Order 2004 or the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002 (Additional Institutions) Order 2005 the application will be reconsidered by the Board


The average value of awards to date is €77,150, the smallest award being €0.00 and the largest award being €300,000.

Redress Board Bands

The breakdown of awards by Redress Band is as follows:

Redress Bands

Total Weightings for Severity of Abuse and Injury/Effects of Abuse

Award Payable by way of Redress

Number

Percentage

V

70 or more

€200,000 - €300,000

15

0.42%

IV

55 – 69

€150,000 - €200,000

94

2.62%

III

40 – 54

€100,000 - €150,000

727

20.26%

II

25 – 39

€ 50,000 - €100,000

2119

59.03%

I

Less than 25

Up to €50,000

634

17.67%

Total

 

 

3589

100%

 

Sittings

The Board sits every day in its premises in Clonskeagh and now completes approximately 180 cases per month. It has also sat in Galway and Limerick. The Board sits for approximately one week per month in Cork and will continue to do so as long as there are sufficient applications from the region. As in previous years the Board will sit as normal throughout August.

Closing Date for Receipt of Applications

The Board has placed advertisements in all the major Irish daily and Sunday newspapers as well as a selection of United Kingdom newspapers advising potential applicants that, in accordance with the provisions of section 8 (1) of the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002, the closing date for receipt of all applications is the 15th of December 2005.

New Institutions

By order entitled the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002 (Additional Institutions) Order 2005 dated July 1st 2005 the Minister for Education and Science has amended the Schedule to the 2002 Redress Act by adding the following institutions:

Mary Immaculate School for the Deaf, Beechpark, Co. Dublin.
'The Boys Home' Grand Canal Street, Dublin 2.
'Racefield', Upper Mountown Road, Dun Laoghaire
.

This means that anyone who was abused as a child while resident in one of the above institutions may be entitled to redress from the Board.
You or your solicitor should contact the Board for further information.

Any applicant who was a resident in one of the institutions listed above and who has lodged an application with the Board (and who has not mentioned his or her residence in one of the above institutions on the application form in circumstances where s/he wishes to make a complaint in respect of his or her time in that institution) should, for safety's sake, contact the Board. Applicants who have already received an award in respect of a listed institution and who wish to make an additional claim in respect of a newly listed institution should also contact the Board.

The Board has placed advertisements in all the major Irish daily and Sunday newspapers as well as a selection of United Kingdom newspapers advising potential applicants that the institutions listed above have been added to the schedule to the 2002 Redress Act.

Amendments to the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002.

Part 4 of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (Amendment) Act, 2005 has amended the Residential Institutions Redress Act, 2002 in a number of ways which affect the practice and procedure of the Board with immediate effect.  These amendments may be summarised as follows:


• A new provision is made to cover the case where an award is made by the Board but the applicant dies before deciding whether to accept or reject the award or to submit it to the Review Committee.

• The Board has been given a discretion to request a report from its own medical advisers; previously, such a report was required in every case.

• An applicant who has submitted an award for review by the Review Committee is now allowed to withdraw from the review process provided that he or she does so within two weeks from the date of the submission to the Review Committee.

• In cases where the Board has directed that an award is not paid to an applicant in a single lump sum but in instalments or in some other manner, the applicant's right to have the direction reviewed by the Review Committee must now be exercised within one month from the date on which the Board's direction was given.

• More generally, in all cases where the Board has made a direction that an award is paid by instalments or in some manner other than by way of a single payment, the Board may now pay the appropriate sum into the High Court where it will be administered by the Accountant's Office.

• Any person, whether or not an applicant for redress, who gives false evidence to the Board may be found guilty of a criminal offence and fined and/or imprisoned.

• The Act of 2002 has been amended to make it clearer that an applicant may decide not to give oral evidence at a Board hearing - though the Board may still require him or her to do so.

• It is now provided that where a person has died since 11 May 1999, the Board may (instead of 'shall') rely on the oral evidence of that person's spouse or children and on medical reports submitted on behalf of the deceased person.

• The Act of 2002 generally prohibits the disclosure to other persons of documents or other information used in connection with an application to the Board.  An exception has now been made to this prohibition which will, for example, permit the Board to provide the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland with appropriate documents or information in connection with the hearing of complaints by the Society.

• Five institutions were referred to twice in the Schedule to the 2002 Act; the list has now been tidied up by the removal of the duplicate references, but no institution has been removed from the list of Scheduled Institutions.

A more detailed account of the effect of the amendments to the 2002 Act will be published shortly in an update to the 'Guide to the Redress Scheme under the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002'. This update will be added to the Board's website as soon as it is completed and will be available free of charge from the Board's office.


Medical Reports

In a number of instances the Board has received medical reports after a completion letter has issued. In some cases these reports contain references to abuse not mentioned in the applicant's original statement of abuse. In such instances an additional statement of abuse is required if the Board is to consider any new abuse mentioned in these medical reports.

 


 

 

 

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