Legitimacy and reputation of Caranua in question unless immediate reforms take place – Funchion
Speaking today on a motion in the Dáil calling for an immediate review of the operations of Caranua, Sin Féin TD for Carlow/Kilkenny Kathleen Funchion said that the Minister for Education Richard Bruton needed to address the issues seriously if the organisation’s legitimacy was to be salvaged in a genuine way.
Deputy Funchion said:
“There needs to be an immediate review of operations in Caranua; the litany of complaints against the organisation testify to this. It is clear from the nature of those complaints that victims of abuse have felt mistreated once again through the process and dealings with the organisation.
“All staff, and indeed the CEO, should be readily available and willing to cooperate with political representatives or those elected to represent victims on their behalf. We know that so many have been left for months without a response to letters or calls, told without warning they would get no more support, and have encountered hostile treatment from personnel. This can in no way be called a process of reparation – or part of a healing process.
“Caranua is an organisation set up to serve and address the needs of those affected by the crimes and abuses which took place in this state. They are in existence to provide a service – to administer state funds.
“According to the OPW, Caranua has ‘agreed to pay’ rent of €272,396 per year – including €9,000 a year for three parking spaces, for the next three years.
“I echo the call for negotiations to take place between the Department and the OPW to find an appropriate solution that will not incur a cost to the survivors’ fund, something which has caused controversy and confusion recently and details of which were shared this week in the media.
“Obviously, Caranua needs a premises to operate from, but to use funds which are meant for survivors is unethical and wrong. Negotiations should instead take place between the OPW and Department of Education ‘to provide office facilities for the day to day functions of Caranua with no cost to be incurred by the survivors fund’.
“The tone and language used by the CEO of Caranua in the past when describing challenges and pressures faced by the organisation epitomized a ‘get over it and move on’ attitude we are so used to when dealing with the issue of abuse in this state. I fear Caranua, to date, has become an inefficient and self-regulating system. Unless the recommendations in today's motion are acted upon and taken seriously by the Minister for Education, the overall reputation and workings of Caranua could be in question.”