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Newsletter July 2007
Friday, 13th July 2007

This is the 14th 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 December of 2005 the Board issued the third edition of the guide. The Board's annual report for 2006 will issue once the annual audit is completed by the Comptroller and Auditor General. The Comptroller and Auditor General is, as yet, unable to say when the audit will take place.

New Chairperson:

The Board is pleased to announce that the Minister for Education and Science, Ms. Mary Hanafin, appointed the Honourable Mr. Justice Bryan McMahon as Chairperson of the Board on the 4th of May 2007.

Applications:

The final date for receipt of applications has now passed and the Board has received a total of 14,540 applications, 9,432 of which were received in 2005. 2,255 of these were received in November and 3,700 were received in December.

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. The Board is conscious that, given the disproportionately large number of applications lodged immediately before the statutory deadline of December 15th 2005 (3,700 applications were lodged in the first two weeks of December 2005 compared with 104 for the same period in 2004) there will be a considerable time lapse before these applications can be finalised.


Applications Received after 15th December 2005:

Pursuant to the provisions of section 8(2) of the 2002 Act the Board may, at its discretion and where it considers there are exceptional circumstances, extend the period for receipt of applications. Pursuant to the provisions of section 8(3) of the 2002 Act the Board is obliged to extend the time for applications where the applicant was under a legal disability by reason of unsound mind. In such a case an application may be made within 3 years of when the disability ceased. Any applicant wishing to lodge an application after December 15th 2005 is asked to explain in writing to the Board why the application was not lodged in time. The Board considers each such submission individually. By the 26th of June the Board had received 219 such submissions which were dealt with as follows:

• 29 submissions were accepted by the Board
• 111 submissions were disallowed by the Board
• 3 submissions were withdrawn
• In 62 cases the Board was awaiting further information from the applicant
• 14 submissions remained to be considered by the Board


Awards:

To date the Board has completed the process in 8,666 cases. 6,460 offers have been accepted following settlement talks and 1,824 awards have been made following hearings. 5 applicants have rejected their awards. 382 applications were withdrawn, refused or resulted in a nil or no award. By and large applications have been refused when, 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 were determined by the Board immediately on receipt so that the applicant was informed at the earliest possible date that his/her application is outside the ambit of the redress scheme.

The average value of awards to date is €67,750, the largest award being €300,000.


Redress 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

22

0.26%

IV

55 – 69

€150,000 - €200,000

151

1.81%

III

40 – 54

€100,000 - €150,000

1,285

15.39%

II

25 – 39

€ 50,000 - €100,000

4,475

53.60%

I

Less than 25

Up to €50,000

2,416

28.94%

Total

 

 

8,349

100%

 


Sittings:

The Board sits every day in its premises in Clonskeagh and now completes approximately 220 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.

Witnesses:

It appears that some confusion has arisen regarding the Board's policy on who should inform witnesses when they are required to give evidence on the day of a hearing.

The Board is entitled to determine its own procedures in accordance with section 11 (3) of the Redress Act of 2002.

This being the case the Board has decided that any witnesses required by the Board in the course of a hearing will be brought to the hearing room by the Board's registrar and not by the applicant's solicitor.

Legal Costs:

To date the Board has paid legal costs to 601 firms of solicitors in respect of 6,494 applications. A total of €83.5 million has been paid, of which €8.5 million was paid in respect of associated High Court proceedings in accordance with section 27(2) of the Redress Act. A more comprehensive schedule of these payments is in the Board's annual report for 2006 which will be published once the Comptroller and Auditor General has completed his audit. The Comptroller and Auditor General is, as yet, unable to furnish the Board with a commencement date for this audit.

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