You are viewing the content for Monday 2 August 2010

12 survivors of institutions get names cleared

A DOZEN people locked up by the state in industrial schools on tenuous charges have had their names cleared.

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern has issued 12 certificates to former residents of the institutions who had carried criminal records because of the state’s treatment of them.

This was because the 1908 law, which established borstals and juvenile homes, used the courts to take children into care.

The figure was revealed in the Children’s Minister Barry Andrew’s first report on the implementation plan for the 99 recommendations arising from the Ryan report. The progress report approved by the Cabinet last month showed the most recent certificate of innocence was finalised on May 25.

It said the 12 people had written to the minister requesting such certs and that the courts had agreed to deal with their applications as a priority.

The progress report also revealed the pace at which former residents are seeking the truth about their own care has not let up in the year since the publication of the Ryan report.

In 2009 the Department of Education received 478 Freedom of Information applications from former residents to have their personal records released. Already this year 319 similar requests have been made.

However, the report also identified a number of areas where the Government’s plans to implement the recommendations have stalled.

Many of these relate to the responsibilities of the Health Service Executive.

The HSE had been expected to carry out a full national review of its policy of putting homeless children directly into accommodation without being referred to the health authorities.

However, this audit will not take place until the autumn.

The HSE was also to carry out an audit of all resources, finance and staff in the childcare area across all the various agencies involved in the sector.

This was not achieved for the target of February 2010.

The progress report said there was a lack of "consistency, co-ordination and inter-agency focus" in the area of professional training for people working with children. But this was being addressed by the HSE, it said.

It revealed Mr Andrews is considering expanding the powers of the Health Information and Quality Authority to give it a wider remit over child protection. This change of policy was offered up as the reason HIQA’s social services inspectors had not begun independent inspections of all residential centres and foster services.

Child welfare groups have criticised the pace of progress on the implementation plan and in May joined together to pressure the Government to act.

Meanwhile, Andrew Madden, who was abused as a child in his Dublin parish, is considering running for the Dáil and said he is open to discussions with any party except Fianna Fáil.