Sunday 22 September 2019

Industrial school survivor quits board and accuses agency of failing victims

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Ralph Riegel

A survivor of one of Ireland's most notorious industrial schools has resigned from the board of the agency set up to help victims and has demanded that it be shut down.

Tom Cronin (66) resigned from the board of Caranua after warning he couldn't in conscience remain in the position given the manner in which the Government-created agency was now dealing with former State school victims.

"Caranua was supposed to be part of the solution to helping survivors - but I firmly believe it is now part of the problem," he said.

The agency was set up in 2014 to administer the ongoing support for those forced into residential institutions such as industrial schools.

It administers a fund of around €100m to help survivors.

However, Mr Cronin - who was appointed to the board as a representative of survivors - resigned after complaining of "an unacceptable and outrageous approach" to requests for help from some survivors.

He said: "I accepted the appointment to the board in May last year in the hope and belief that things might change. It became clear that nothing was going to change so I tendered my resignation last Friday.

"I am now publicly calling for Caranua to be shut down and the funds transferred to an agency more in tune with the needs of State school survivors.

"There was a total lack of respect for survivors and most of those dealing with Caranua were not getting what they deserved or were entitled to."

Caranua said it had made 31,729 payments as part of its remit, with an average value of €14,000 each.

In a brief statement, Caranua said it could not comment on the resignation. "In terms of a comment on Mr Cronin's decision, as per the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012, appointments to the board of Caranua are a matter for the Minister for Education."

Irish Independent

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