Caranua & ROP/SC Meeting minutes - 13/06/2017

*Please note the minutes are comprehensive as we wanted to give a fair and true reflection of our meeting* 

As everybody is aware our organisation is committed to transparency and accountability and last week we met with Caranua in their offices. We have received a couple of enquiries regarding this meeting and agreed these notes would be added to our Social Media channels to ensure everybody had a visual on our ongoing discussions.

The main purpose of this meeting is outlined below, but we have it broken into two main areas, namely 1) Issues/Difficulties Survivors have raised with us that we would like to see addressed. 2) What are updates that Survivors should be aware of.

The detailed notes/minutes of our discussion can be viewed below;

Date: 13/06/2017

Attendees: ROP/SC:    Micheál Walsh (Director of Services)
                                      Michael Walsh (Chair) 

                    Caranua:   Mary Higgins (CEO)
                                      Sinead Fennell (Head of Communication & Engagement)
                                      Rachel Downes (Director of Services)

Where: Caranua Offices, Dublin City

Caranua invited Right of Place Second Chance to meet in the context of discussing their Terms of Reference of their review of 2016 Services and as part of consultation with other survivor groups and Survivor Service Providers. Additionally, Caranua wanted to get feedback from us in relation to ongoing services based on our experiences with those who contact us looking for help.

General Overview

Generally, the meeting was a positive one. Whilst we discussed Caranua services and areas we would like to see improvements in, the difficulties Survivors are faced with that we brought up were understood, respected and noted.

Difficulties raised by ROP/SC

We raised the following issues that Survivors have experienced that we would like to see reviewed;

1. The introduction of a cap on services

We noted that whilst most Survivors are happy who are now making a first application, those who were told the services would be "no limit on the services you can apply for" remain unhappy. Resulting, it was appropriate that this personal Limit (Cap) be reviewed having regard for the information people got at the beginning.

2.  Survivors who wanted white goods, funeral expenses at the beginning are now not eligible

We made a case that this was unfair on Survivors who applied at the beginning of the process as they were simply never given the option to get support in this, because it wasn't available to them (or approved by the Minister). We argued that this was not Survivors fault and that as a minimum any Survivor who had reached their limit/had their application completed should now be allowed to reapply, particularly for the new items.

3.   The letter sent out to Survivors upon "completion" of application was unacceptable

We said that the letters sent to Survivors about how happy they were to have offered them assistance was uncaring and came across as "shutting a Survivor off", making them feel there was no more support for them. We also advised that it is at this point they should be told about other specialist Services so that Survivors know there was still support there for them even if they have reached their limit with Caranua. There was an understanding to review this and potentially give a leaflet to each Survivor on their case being completed and to review the completion letter with a view to re-wording it.

4.   The inability and delay getting through to them on the phone was still ongoing

We advised there was still an unacceptable delay in getting through to them on the phone and sometimes calls were not returned. We advised that whilst this had improved it was still an ongoing issue and they advised with the move to the new Premises and a new phone system this should help to address those issues.

Caranua Review - What are we doing to get it done?

An inexcusable delay

Today, the 9th of June 2017, in what is our third communication with the Minister of Education and Skills, since May, Right of Place Second Chance have again requested clarification on the proposed Terms of Reference for the review of Caranua.

There has already been an inexcusable delay in this review of nearly two years and once again a delay of at least THREE months since the closing date of applications and expressions to the review were sought and provided.

Watching and reading the cross party calls on the Minister in Dail Eireann to publish the Terms of Reference of the review of Caranua, coupled with our ongoing clarification and appeals to the Minister to urgently publish the Terms;  its not hard to understand and see why Survivors are angry, upset, dismayed and feeling ignored.

There has been a large number of Survivors who have said to me - what are you doing about Caranua and its a fair and valid question. People lean on us to support them as individuals by supporting their individual needs and if an organisation is having a big impact upon their life (both positive and negative) it is our duty to ensure they are held to the highest standards.

Thats why im writing this piece. To let you know that Right of Place Second Chance are working for those who contact us looking for support and help. We are constantly in contact to try and review Caranua Services and to ensure this is done in a transparent, efficient and comprehensive manner.

Thursday 8th of June - Our Phone systems are back WORKING


Our Phone systems are back up and running as efficiently as they always have been since 11.00am Thursday the 8th of June.

To all those who emailed and phoned the direct numbers, we apologise about the difficulties and most importantly appreciate the understanding. As you can see, there was an incident on the Street that knocked out both power and phone systems to a lot of buildings but this has been resolved extremely efficiently.

INcident on Parnell Street

Wedensday 7th June - Our Phone Systems are down

We apologise to all who are trying to contact us but our phone systems are currently down. We cannot receive incoming calls or receive messages on our telephone helpline.

We are working with our phone provider to resolve the issue with immediacy. If you have any urgent enquiries, we can still be contacting through direct calls to;

Limerick Region

Sinead Carroll - 085 876 8514

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cork Region

Regina McCormack - 085 876 8927

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Waterford Region

Micheál Walsh - 085 8669281

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Alternatively, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or one of the regional staff members listed above.

Many thanks for your understanding and we apologise for the inconvenience.

Minister Bruton announces new Board members of Caranua

Tonight Minuster Bruton has announced the New Board members of Caranua.

We welcome the Ministers announcement and wish the best of luck to all Board members. Considering this Board will be in situ for the Ministers review of Caranua and the potential winding up once the funds have been expended there is a clear opportunity and, more importantly, need for the Board to be representative of Survivors experiences coupled with a lot of work in anticipation of its closing date - ensuring Survivors views are at the core of potential discussions.

We are especillay supportive of the new Board member Mr. Francis Treanor BL who is also a board member of Right of Place Second Chance and will carry with him many years of work for and with Survivors alongside the general experiences of Survivors of Caranua and will no doubt add to the governance and services currently being offered by Caranua.

Having an input from Ireland's largest organsiation that supports Survivors of Institutional Abuse is critical in ensuring Caranua is offering the services most needed by Survivors.

The ministers official press release;

The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, T.D., today announced appointments to the Board of Caranua (the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund) for 2017 – 2021
Caranua is a Statutory Body with the structure and functions set out in the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012, with a 9 member Board which must include 4 former residents.

The Board of Caranua oversees the use of the cash contributions of up to €110 million pledged by the religious congregations to support the needs of some 15,000 survivors of residential institutional child abuse. These survivors have received awards from the Residential Institutions Redress Board or equivalent court awards.

The support to be provided will include a range of approved services, including health and personal social services, education and housing services. To date €97.3m in cash contributions and associated interest have been received and the balance of the €110m is expected to be received by end 2018.

The Board members are appointed for a four year term of office, commencing on 24 May, 2017. The positions are not remunerated.

The Board of Caranua will be composed of the following members:

Mr David O’Callaghan - Chairperson

Ordinary Members (former residents of institutions)
Mrs Frances Harrington
Mr Thomas Cronin
Mr Francis W. Treanor BL
Dr Mary T. Lodato

Other Ordinary Members
Mr Damian Casey
Mr Thomas Daly
Ms Patricia Carey
Ms Katherine Finn

Mr David O’Callaghan, Mrs Frances Harrington, Ms Katherine Finn, Mr Damian Casey and Mr Thomas Daly have been re-appointed to the Board, all having served one term, or part thereof, on the previous Board.

The Minister welcomed the appointments and wished all members well in the in their important and challenging role.

Cork - Always Improving, Always Moving


All we neeeeeeddddd is a little help from our friends


Getting Ready                                                     Volunteers and Staff of ROP/SC ready for the day.

A massive THANK YOU to everybody involved with Serve the City who came into our offices & Apartments in Lower Glanmire Road in Cork City to give the place a spruce up and a good coat of paint.

The Volunteers who took part in helping us, some 13 in the morning and ANOTHER 12 in the afternoon, deserve a huge amount of credit for helping us strive to continue to create a warm and welcoming environment for those who access our services and those who live in one of our Transitional Apartments.

Phone Lines down (04/04/2017)


UPDATE (04/04/2017 at 12.30pm)

The issue with the phone line has been resolved and you can now contact ROP/SC through the normal channels)

Many thanks for your understanding




Please note that we are currently expereincing a Phone outage due to the unprecedented volume of calls today.

If you have tried to call today (Tuesday 4th of April) you may only receive a dial tone and not have the option of leaving a voicemail. We are currently working with our Phone provider to resolve this issue and encourage anybody looking to make contact to call the below numbers directly so that they can speak with an Outreach Officer:

Regional Outreach Officer - Regina McCormack: 085 - 876 8927

Regional Outreach Officer - Sinead Carroll: 085 - 876 8514


We hope this issue will be resolved by 3pm and if there is any further delay please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. detailing your contact number and we will have a member of our team contact you back in 24 hours.

Alternatively we would encourage you to call back tomorrow, Wednesday the 5th of April on the usual numbers (1890 200 709) to talk to a member of our team.


Many thanks for your understanding.

Opinion Piece - Are Survivors being Short-Changed?

When you review the care for Survivors of Institutional Abuse you will see very clearly why Survivors find it difficult to complete their journey of healing. They have been given half measures, half-truths and no long-term recognition for their suffering. Plasters have been used to fix wounds;

Redress – no speaking about it!

Healthcare – No mention of it!

Pensions – No agreement!

Caranua – Just ‘till the money runs out!

Heart-breaking, yet courageous.
Recent conversations surrounding Caranua and their supports have been difficult to listen too.

As somebody who cares about the wellbeing and the future of Survivors of Institutional Abuse and their families; One could not help but feel angry, heartbroken and dismayed at people’s experiences, but equally proud of every individual who had the courage to step forward; both positive and negative.
One of the biggest issues raised was the introduction of a cap on services of €15,000.

This is something that we argued should have never been introduced. It is something we advised would be construed as being unfair to Survivors and counterproductive in supporting their needs. We said that the money should not be the issue, but individual needs should be.

Changing the conversation from one of need to one of money creates a misunderstanding of the types of support each individual requires and ignores the varying stages of healing Survivors are on.

We have helped many Survivors apply for Caranua and some, even before the introduction of the cap, could improve their lives with very small interventions. On the other side, some needed a lot of support and that ultimately is all the conversation should be about – what needs does each individual have, not how much money it is costing.

Survivors had a childhood of being reduced to numbers, I don’t think their adulthood should be reduced to the same.

March 2017 Newsletter

So, our Newsletter was finally released again after much requests for it and boy did it deliver.

Over 250 delivered, 450 Viewed on our Facebook and 16 calls regarding the Newsletter into our offices in less than 24 hours it’s fair to say, it made a very positive impact.

The main talking point seems to be the opinion piece towards the bottom of the Newsletter where we discuss the idea of enhanced medical care and the review of Caranua with extremely supportive phonecalls and messages regarding it.

So much so that we have created a separate news article about it on its own.

Don’t know what we are talking about, well click here to view for yourself and be sure to check out the bottom option.

I would urge anybody looking to receive ongoing Newsletters to return to the Home Page on Right of Place and make sure you include your email address on the bottom right of the page “Newsletter Sign up”

Newsletter March 2017 – Click here (opens in a new window)

Read the opinion piece – Click here (opens in a new window)

Right of Place - Submission to Minister (Review of Caranua)

Right of Place has made the following submission to the Minister in relation to the Terms of Reference of the review to take place of Caranua.

We have cognizance of the desire of the department to review the eligibility criteria only but we urged the review to include the below in its work, having regard for the already near two-year delay in these Terms being drafted.

This submission has taken three weeks to prepare and has involved consultation with Service users, the Board of Directors and staff/volunteers within Right of Place Second Chance. We also researched the Appeals officers reports to help inform us of this submission.

We understand the process by which this takes place and will make further submissions to the actual review in the coming months.

Our main points of note that we wish to see added and our reasons are outlined below;
  •  Timeline for the findings of the review

One of the biggest concerns for ROP/SC is the lack of a date as to when the review will come back with its findings. We find the existing delay (nearly two years later) inexcusable and therefore urge the Terms of Reference to include a date for findings, so that this process is not delayed any longer.

  •    To include Dependents and those who were in an institution but never received redress

We call on the Minister to review these two groups to be included specifically. The inter-generational effects of Institutional Abuse are well documented and the idea that those most vulnerable who couldn’t apply for redress are excluded is not acceptable. Rather than spending time deciding what the “widening eligibility” should be, we argue time should be spent reviewing how these groups can apply and not what types of groups can apply.

  •    Review waiting times of receiving support from Caranua

The current waiting times for existing applicants and new applications is not acceptable. We call on the review to investigate these times and make findings on a maximum time frame allowable for applications, both new and existing so that there is clear accountability.

  •   Review the reason & right to introduce a cap on services

To review whether the introduction of a cap has improved the Survivors experience and where in the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act this decision was taken from. To investigate why Priority was given to new applicants, despite identified medical and housing needs of existing Applicants still being presented but not being processed.

PRESS RELEASE - Terms of Reference for Review of Caranua

PRESS RELEASE: 07th March 2017             

Terms of Reference for; Caranua – Review of Eligibility

Right of Place Second Chance calls on the Minister of Education, Richard Bruton T.D to widen the Terms of Reference to review the effectiveness and operation of Caranua, alongside the review of Eligibility .

Right of Place Second Chance (ROP/SC) today submitted a comprehensive briefing to inform the terms of reference for Caranua – Review of Eligibility. Right of Place Second Chance in consultation with its Services Users, Staff and Board of Directors criticizes the inexcusable delay of nearly two years from when this review was originally proposed to take place. ROP/SC now request that the review be widened to include aspects of the operation of the fund itself, into five distinct fields of review;

          i.            Timeline for the findings of the review.

        ii.            Identify any underspend and review the inclusion of Dependents and those who were in an institution but never received redress.

       iii.            Review waiting times of applicants in receiving support from Caranua.

       iv.            Review the reason & right to introduce a cap on services for applicants.

         v.            Review the work being done in preparation for the closure of Caranua.

Right of Place Second Chance believe that all these areas above should be examined by the review. Speaking today, Director of Services of ROP/SC Micheál Walsh said “The near two year wait for the drafting of these Terms of Reference was wholly unacceptable and whilst we welcome its development now, it is timely that a review into the operation of the fund is also carried out, alongside the issue of eligibility”  He also added “Survivors are an aging population and with €56 million of the proposed €110 million expended to this point, time is something that is not in plentiful supply. In order to fully ensure the fund continues to have long lasting impact on Survivors the issues of its processes and preparation for its closure needs to be addressed. Creating enhanced services for vulnerable people with no identifiable plan when these enhanced services cease is potentially dangerous and certainly counterproductive.”

The Terms of Reference are a critical element of the review to ensure its scope is wide enough to affect real improvements in Caranua. This review needs to be robust, comprehensive and based on the lived experiences of applicants to ensure the fund completes its task of enriching and enhancing Survivors lives both now and into the future. It needs to be the basis on which to review and potentially amend the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act (2012)


Contact Details

Right of Place Second Chance:

Micheál Walsh (Director of Services) 1890 200 709, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ROP/SC Submission to the Terms of Reference: (opens in a new window)

ROP/SC Further explanation on each of the areas we have requested be reviewed.

Please click here to see more detailed reasoning.

Two Models of Monetary Redress: A Structural Analysis

Roughly two years ago Right of Place Second Chance met with Mr. Stephen Winter MD from the Department of Politics & Internation Relations, University of Auckland, New Zealand.

He spent time in Ireland in order to Analyise the idea of Monetary Redress to Survivors. When he got in contact with our services we were delighted to partake and help him in his work. We believe anything that can help learn lessons from Redress and can academically evaluate the success or otherwise of redress to Survivors was worthwile. The ultimate goal is to not only inform future generations, but equally importantly to investigate the effect on Survivors lives.

We still strongly believe that the understanding of the often negative effects of Redress to Survivors is not truly understood and academic work such as this that can help to hilight this is imperative to the future well being of Survivors.

This particular published work covers;


"Monetary redress is a developing area of human rights policy. The article examines how a redress program’s design affects the interests of program applicants. It distinguishes two program models, individual assessment and common experience, and explores their differing effects on applicants’ interests. Analyzing two Irish cases, redress for survivors of the industrial schools and the Magdalene laundries, the discussion is applicable to a wide range of redress programs including those in postconflict, transitional justice, and postcolonial contexts."

The Article and research in its entirety can be viewed by clicking here (opens in a new window)

Human remains found at Mother and baby Home

PLEASE NOTE: Some of the contents of this information may prove distressing. I would encourage any individual seeking immediate support to go to the bottom of the page for helpline contact numbers or to contact Right of Place Second Chance directly who will operate extended Phone line hours on Monday between 9.00am - 5.00pm.

  • Human remains found at site of Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam
  • They were discovered in what appears to be some type of sewage container
  • Scientific analysis puts the age of death between 35 foetal weeks and 2 to 3 years
  • Radiocarbon dating confirms the remains are from the time the home was in operation – many are likely to be from the 1950s.
The Commission of investigation into Mother and baby Homes has discovered a "significant number" of human remains in what appears to be a decomissioned sewage chamer in Tuam, Co. Galway.

This commission was established following allegations about the deaths of 800 babies in Tuam over a number of decades and the manner in which they were buried.

The commission said it was shocked by the discovery and is continuing its investigation into who was responsible for the disposal of human remains in this way.

Meanwhile, the commission has asked that the relevant State authorities take responsibility for the appropriate treatment of the remains.

The coroner has been informed.

Minister Zappone

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone said it was very sad and disturbing news.

"Up to now we had rumours. Now we have confirmation that the remains are there, and that they date back to the time of the mother-and-baby home, which operated in Tuam from 1925 to 1961," Minister Zappone added.

The minister said that we must respond sensitively and respectfully to the situation. She added that her department had brought together all of the key departments and agencies to set out a way forward.

In relation to excavations at the other 13 mother-and-baby homes that are being investigated, she said it was a matter for the commission of investigation, which is independent.

Bon Secours Sisters Response

In a statement released today, the Bon Secours Sisters who ran the Mother and Baby home said;

“The Bon Secours sisters are fully committed to the work of the Commission regarding the mother and baby home in Tuam. On the closing of the Home in 1961 all the records for the Home were  returned to Galway County Council who are the owners and occupiers of the lands of the Home. We can therefore make no comment on today’s announcement, other than to confirm our continued cooperation with and support for the work of the Commission in seeking the truth about the home.”

Right of Place Second Chance response

Upon reading the details relased from the Commission our Director of Services, Micheál Walsh said, "It is an extremely emotional time for many who were in a Mother and baby home and particularly the Survivors and families of these homes." He continued to say "The remaining area needs to be investigated and Ireland as a nation must rememeber that in order to begin the process of full closure to Survivors this needs to begin with the whole truth"

"The memory of these children must now be fully honoured and Survivors should be fully consulted on this point." In what was already a critical role of the Commission he stated "Now, more then ever, the role and responsibilty of the Commission of Investigation for a full, comprehensive and robust investigation is paramount not only to Survivors, those whose remains have been found and their families; but also to Ireland as a nation so that we may properly support those who need it and educate ourselves into how this was allowed to happen and who is responsible."

Help and Support

1. A telephone helpline has been established by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs for people who are looking for factual information concerning today's announcement about excavations at the site.
The phone lines 01-6473118 and 01-6473232 are manned between 9.30am-5pm from Monday to Friday and from 12pm-5pm this weekend.

2. Connect; the HSE's free telephone counselling and psychological support helpline is 1800 477477. It is available today, tomorrow and Sunday from 5pm -12am, and from Monday 6 March to Friday 10 March from 6pm -10pm

Callers from Britain and Northern Ireland should dial freephone 00800-477-477-77

3. Right of Place Second Chance; Ireland's largest organisation that supports Survivors of Institutional Abuse in Ireland and offers information, Advise, Advocacy and Outreach can be contacted on 1890 200 709 Monday to Friday 09.30 am - 4.30 pm

Minister Invites applications to fill vacancies on Caranua Board


The Minister for Education and Skills, Mr Richard Bruton, T.D. yesterday (Tuesday 21st February 2017) announced that applications are invited from suitably qualified and experienced persons to fill vacancies on the Board of Caranua, the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Board.The vacancies to be filled are the eight ordinary members of the Caranua Board. At least four of the members of the Board must be persons, who before they attained the age of 18, resided in an institution specified in the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002.

Caranua is an independent statutory Board established under the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012, to help meet the needs of persons who suffered residential institutional child abuse.

The process of filling the vacancies on the Caranua Board is being managed by the Public Appointments Service (PAS) under the revised procedures put in place in late 2014 for the appointment of persons to positions on State boards. Applications may only be made through the dedicated website  PAS will undertake an assessment process in relation to the expressions of interest received and at the end of that process it will provide the Minister with a list of candidates deemed to be suitable for appointment to the Board.

The closing date for receipt of applications is the 14th of March 2017.

The campaign and where to apply can be found on this link;


If you need assistance in making your application through the Public Appointmens Service, please do not hesitate to give us a call and as always we will assist you in this regard.

Finally, the decision of Board members does not lie with Right of Place Second Chance or Caranua, this is a decision for the Minister with the assistance of the PAS.

Minister Bruton publishes Draft Terms of Reference for Review of Eligibility for Caranua

Minister Bruton has announced a 3 week consultation period which began on the 15 February 2017 in relation to the proposed draft terms of reference of a review of eligibility for Caranua (the Residential institutions Statutory Fund).The draft terms of reference are available on the Department’s website at the following link: 

Under the 2012 Act those eligible to apply for support were the approximately 15,500 former residents who received awards from the Residential Institutions Redress Board or equivalent court awards or settlements.

In response to calls made during the passage of the legislation through the Houses of the Oireachtas for the eligibility for access to the fund to be widened, the then Minister for Education and Skills, Mr Ruairí Quinn T.D., gave an undertaking that the question of eligibility for access to the Fund would be reviewed two years after its establishment having regard to the level of uptake of the funding available.

Minister Bruton believes that it is timely to now undertake such a review and, in fulfilment of a commitment he gave in 2016, he is seeking the views of all interested parties with regard to the draft terms of reference only at this point.

Accordingly Minister Bruton invites comments on the draft terms of reference. Such comments should be sent to the following email address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or by post to Caranua Eligibility Review, Department of Education and Skills, Marlborough Street, Dublin 1, D01 RC96. The deadline for receipt of comments is Wednesday 8 March 2017.

Please note that responses to this invitation to submit comments will be subject to the Freedom of Information Act (further details are available at in which case particular information exempt under the Freedom of Information Act, such as personal contact details, may be omitted. As this is a public consultation submissions may in any event be published on the department’s website and by submitting comments you are indicating your consent to this approach and waiving your anonymity.


Please note that at this stage, the submissions the Minister is looking for relates to the Terms of Reference only at this point.


If you have any questions relating to this, or need assistance in submitting your comments please do not hesitate to contact us directly. Alternatively, please use the contact details above if you wish to make your individual comments known.