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.

If it’s good enough for some, it should be good for others
Equally in this conversation the one thing that wasn’t discussed or even viewed was this simple fact;

The legislation that governs the Medical aspect of Caranua is verbatim the legislation used in the Health Amendment Act. If you don‘t believe me, check it out!

The Health Amendment Act gave an enhanced version of the normal medical card to certain individuals who had their lives impacted by the State and we would (and will be) arguing that if the state recognises Survivors need this – this should be provided permanently, separate from Caranua. As mentioned earlier, the days of offering a plaster to fill a wound should be finished.

Similarly, Magdalene Laundry Survivors received a version of an enhanced medical card for their suffering in a state institution, why are survivors only been given it for possibly two more years?

This is something that should be immediately offered to Survivors.

Imagine being told, with little to no paper work you will only wait two weeks for a scan or an operation, your prescriptions will be free and a lot of other types of treatment will be too.

By doing this you will give Survivors lifelong recognition for their sufferings, but also stop Caranua offering this service and immediately save the fund upwards of €10 million per year. This would allow Caranua to, at the very minimum, either increase the cap or remove it all together.

Ministers Review
The Ministers review into the eligibility of Caranua was due to take place two years ago. We argued that children of Survivors were being forgotten, so the Minister assured us this would be reviewed after two years. FOUR years later we were finally informed that the Terms of Reference for this review were being released and we had an opportunity to make a submission.

The fact these Terms of Reference were released at a similar time as the discussion around the Mother and Baby homes and the Grace case Terms of reference were unfortunate as it took the eye off them – but we never lost sight.

However, two years late was not good enough to simply review the eligibility, so we requested that the whole of Caranua be reviewed to include these main items;
The waiting times, the introduction of a cap, the prioritising of new applicants, if there is being any work done to leave a lasting impact and whether Survivors children can apply.

We said there needs to be a definitive time frame on when this review is completed and at all stages, evidences and what reasons they make a decision should be published.

Imparting our knowledge to bring about change
So, our role in this is clear. Caranua, in its current state is not fit to represent and support the needs of Survivors of Institutional Abuse.
We have argued that the best course of action was to make a clear submission to the Department on the Terms of Reference so that an expedited and thorough review, could help bring about change to include legislative amendments alongside changing Caranua services.
This should be coupled with an enhanced medical card offering to Survivors, access to existing Liaison officers (for other vulnerable groups) in Housing and Welfare alongside the Caranua review.

There is no better way of saying we recognise the disadvantages you suffer from, then offering complete wrap around care and support for the remainder of Survivors lives.

Equality and my generation
I continue to ask myself, Is this an Ireland I want to grow up in, to raise my kids in?! Until such a time as there is equality for all and not just certain sections of its citizens, it’s not my Ireland.

Time to stop saying it was a previous generations fault – because this generation certainly isn’t learning and supporting.

To all Survivors, we say watch this journey, follow us on it and support us where you can. Our requests and our submissions are clear and obvious – The long term care of Survivors must be paramount, Caranua needs a robust an open review and that support for the rest of your life is what we are looking for.

It is the least you deserve!


Yours in Support,

Micheál - Director of Services

Meet our Team


Two new Board Members

The Board of Directors ensure that Right of Place Second Chance complies with the full requirements of Company Law,
the legal responsibilities that all Company Directors are subject to and that best practice systems of control and
accountability are maintained. Our two new Board of Directors include:

Mr. Eoin O'Neill

Eoin is an individual with over 30 years experience in the Community & Voluntary Sector having recently retired as CEO of Waterford & South Tipperary Community Youth Services. In this role he was responsible for the advancement of 18 purpose built community/youth buildings in Waterford and South
Tipperary to growing the organisation to one of Irelands premier Youth/Community service Providers

Ms. Lorraine Kingston

Lorraine joined the Board of Right of Place Second Chance in 2016. A former Cork City Councillor who was Deputy Mayor of Cork City in 2013 Lorraine also holds a Higher Cert in Arts Literacy Development. Lorraine has been a member of numerous Voluntary Committees in Cork City over the last number of years, notably; Local Drugs Task Force, Housing Committee & Strategic Planning & Economic Development Committee to name a few.

Two new Staff Members

Our two newest members of our staff team are located in Cork and Limerick:


 Name:                                Regina Mc Cormack 
Qualifications:                   Master in Social Work; Bachelor of Social Science;
                                            Diploma in Social Studies – University College Cork

Research Interests

Thesis:  Trauma informed social work practice: How can social workers effectively support those who have experienced trauma in their lives and help support their future recovery?

Regina is a graduate of University College Cork, and has past experience of working in both statutory and non statutory settings.  This includes working in the Disability Services, Family Support Services, and also the Social Work Department in a Medical Setting. This experience along with a passion to support the individual in a person centered approach supports Regina’s overall approach to her work. 

Job Title:                Regional Outreach Officer

Responsibilities:   Regina is responsible for the advocacy, information and referral services provided by the Right of Place Second Chance organisation.  Regina is also responsible for the case management of more complex issues that may affect individuals as a result of being placed in an Institution. 

Availability:  Cork/Kerry Region

Tuesday – Friday   9.30am - 4.30pm.

Work mobile:     085 8768927

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



Name:                                 Sinead Carroll
Qualifications:                   B.A in Liberal Arts;
                                            Foundation Year in Counselling

                                         QCI in Group management and Facilitation

Sinead holds a B.A in Liberal Arts with several other national certifications in the field of Counselling, Group Management etc. Sinead has worked in Limericks largest family resource centre working with both sides of the gang feuds in Limerick City. She has managed and maintained several programmes that were being funded by the Local ETB, Social inclusion Fund  additionally to managing numerous members of staff.

Job Title:                Regional Outreach Officer

Responsibilities:  Sinead is responsible for the advocacy, information and referral services provided by the Right of Place Second Chance organisation, in the Limerick Region.  Sinead is also responsible for the case management of more complex issues that may affect individuals as a result of being placed in an Institution. 

Availability:  Limerick/Galway and the Western Region

Monday - Wednesday  9.30am - 4.30pm.

Work mobile:     085 876 8514

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

Education Information Station


Education Information




What is advocacy?


Advocacy is the act or process of supporting a cause or a proposal.

In our services this means that we can support you in making claims for your rights and entitlements. Many of the Survivors who access our services are either unaware of entitlements or due to a history of fear and mistrust of authority figures; simply do not apply for their basic rights and entitlements.

Our services have specially trained and skilled Adovacy/Outreach workers who can assist you in making any claim and attending any appointments with you and speaking on your behalf.

This is crucial to ensuring equal rights for Survivors of Institutional Abuse.

It is important to remember that your personal needs can be different to the next so we work with you to figure out what options and solutions are realistic and available to you.


How much does the Service Cost?

Right of Place Second Chance advocacy services are provided free of charge. We recognise that people have very different financial circumstances and we ask no Service User for payment.


How do I Apply & What happens


Due to the high demand for our services we can’t promise to start helping you straight away. If you call us, you will first speak to the receptionist who, at your discretion, will take contact information and basic details. Our receptionist will pass the information onto the advocacy team and we will aim to return your call within a minimum of 5 working days. During that call back, we can discuss your needs more in-depth and you can decide the next steps, including whether a meeting would be beneficial and work from there.


Please remember, as a client you call the shots. We are simply here to offer expert advise and information to help you reach and achieve your goal.







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