Wednesday, 18 December 2002
Dáil Eireann Debate
57. Ms Enright asked the Minister for Education and Science when he will proceed to appoint a new Chairman to the Redress Board; when the other members of the Board will finally be appointed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26588/02]
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey): The Residential Institutions Redress Act, 2000, was signed into law by the President on 10 April 2002. The Act provides for the establishment of the Residential Institutions Redress Board. The purpose of the board is to provide a mechanism for persons who as children were abused while resident in industrial schools, reformatories and other institutions subject to regulation or inspection by the State. The Act allows for victims of residential abuse to claim financial redress for injuries suffered as a result of that abuse. The provisions of the Act allow the board to make awards based on a lower threshold of proof than is required in taking a case through the courts. An applicant is expected to provide proof of their identity, that he or she was resident in an institution, that he or she was injured while so resident and that the injury is consistent with any abuse that is alleged to have occurred while so resident.
Judge Kieran O'Connor, retired judge of the Circuit Court, presided over the planning stages for the board, together with Professor Desmond Greer, Dr. Helen Cummiskey and Dr. Ruth Pilkington. It was with regret I accepted Judge O'Connor's resignation from the board for personal reasons on 4 December 2002. Judge Sean O'Leary has agreed to take over the role of chairman of the redress board and my Department is making the final arrangements for Judge O'Leary to take up the position as soon as possible. I have recently appointed a fifth member, Mr. Richard J. O'Connell, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, to the board. Further appointments will be made as required.
The board commenced an advertising campaign in Ireland on 1 December 2002 informing possible applicants that application forms and a guide to the application process are available from its offices in Clonskeagh since 2 December 2002. An advertising campaign will commence shortly both in the United Kingdom and internationally. Following receipt of completed applications and supporting documentation the board will move as soon as possible to the provision of awards.
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