The general nature of the redress scheme
4.This scheme provides an alternative method of providing redress to those who as children were abused while resident in one or more of the institutions listed in the Act. The making of an application to the Redress Board does not involve the waiver of any right of action for damages which the applicant may have in the civil courts or elsewhere. But if an applicant decides to accept an award of redress from the Board, he or she must at that stage sign a formal waiver giving up certain rights of action which he or she may have against the Department of Education and Science and/or other persons or bodies.
5.You do not need legal advice or representation in order to apply for redress, and you may do so on your own or with the assistance of a relative or friend. If you do decide to seek legal advice to help you with your application and to present your case, the Board will pay the reasonable costs and expenses of these services. The Board must leave the make-up of the applicant’s legal representation to each applicant; but the Board will normally resist any application for costs in respect of more than one solicitor and one barrister.
The Redress Board
6.The Redress Board consists of a Chairperson and ordinary members appointed by the Minister for Education and Science. As provided in the Act, the Board and its members are wholly independent in the performance of their functions.
7.The Board has two main functions. The first is to make all reasonable efforts, through public advertisement, direct correspondence and otherwise, to ensure that persons who were residents of an institution listed in the Act are made aware of the existence of the Board, so that they may consider making an application for redress. It is then the Board’s function in relation to each case in which an application has been made to determine whether the applicant is entitled to an award, and, if so, to make an award in accordance with the Act which is fair and reasonable having regard to the unique circumstances of the applicant. An award made by the Board may be reviewed by the Review Committee set up under the Act.
8.In the performance of these functions, the members of the Board are assisted by –
The Registrar, Secretary and other members of staff of the Board;
Counsel and solicitors to the Board, and
The Board’s panel of medical advisers.
Annual report to the Minister for Education and Science
9.The Board is required to submit to the Minister for Education and Science –
an annual report of its activities and particulars of its accounts;
such additional reports on matters relating to the performance of its functions as are requested by the Minister.
No report made by the Board will identify any applicant, institution or person referred to in an application. Copies of all reports will be laid before each House of the Oireachtas by the Minister.