Abuse survivor groups waiting for €2m funds

NEARLY 18 months after being promised €2 million to provide survivor therapy following the publication of the Ryan Report, counselling services still haven’t received a penny of the ring-fenced funding.

The Ryan Report into the abuse of children at the country’s industrial schools sent shock waves through this country and beyond when it was published in May last year.

Two months later, Children’s Minister Barry Andrews pledged that €15m — including €2m for counselling services — would be allocated towards implementing the report’s recommendations.

However, none of this money has reached the National Counselling Service (NCS), the clerical abuse counselling service, One in Four and the Rape Crisis Network.

All agencies say that, following the publication of the report, their waiting lists and clients lists increased significantly with the NCS reporting waiting lists of up to 12 months in parts of the country.

Before Christmas, One in Four and the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre held an emergency meeting with Mr Andrews to discuss the 18-month delay.

A National Counselling Service source last night said: “This money never materialised, not even in part. The service has remained static and the waiting lists unacceptably high throughout the country.

“It is not even known whether the HSE took receipt of the money or whether they redistributed it elsewhere.”

Last night, the HSE could not provide any response to queries from the Irish Examiner on whether they had received the €2m from the Office for the Minister of Children.

However, a spokesman for the office reiterated last night that the “funding had been approved” and they were “waiting for it to go through”.

Director of One in Four, Maeve Lewis, said the counselling services were seriously concerned that 2010 had passed without any sign of money that had been promised six months earlier. Up to €1.8m had been promised to the NCS and another €200,000 to the two smaller agencies.

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre chief executive, Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, has said that the funding is “urgently needed” and “will make an enormous difference to victims”.

The Ryan Report unveiled the systemic abuse and rape of thousands of young children by nuns and priests who ran 250 industrial schools across the country between the 1930s and the 1990s.

- The Rape Crisis Network 24-hour helpline for victims of rape and sexual abuse is 1800 778888.

The National Counselling Service (NCS) can be contacted at 1800 477477.

One in Four is at 01 6624070.

Picture: Maeve Lewis, One in Four

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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