Sunday July 18 2010

FIVE years after it was supposed to shut up shop solicitors are again touting for customers to claim compensation from the Residential Institutions Redress Board (RIRB).

So far, solicitors have earned €148m in fees and the RIRB is now preparing to accept more ‘late applications’. The RIRB has, to date, given out at least €800m in compensation to those who spent time in residential institutions.

Now, at least one Dublin solicitor is looking for ‘late applicants’ who didn’t claim– including the sons and daughters of those who were in such institutions to see if they are entitled to claim.

Where a person who is entitled to redress has died since May 11, 1999, the application may be made by his or her spouse or children. Burns Kelly Corrigan solicitors is just one of 856 firms of solicitors who have received a total of 12,034 applications for compensation under the scheme.

“Our firm has been involved with the redress board since 2005, and originally had thousands of applications,” said a solicitor from the firm. “We have got a couple of hundred of late applications, which have been successful. We charge no fee (to applicants) as the redress board pays our fee separately if the application is successful.”

With the final date for receipt of applications as far back as December 2005, victims still receive an average of €63,210 compensation.

The RIRB has so far completed the process in 13,743 cases, with 10,188 offers having been made following settlement talks and 2,741 awards being made.

The board refused to comment on how many applications had been made by spouses or children of those in care. It said the highest award so far had been €300,000.

The redress board was set up to make ‘fair and reasonable awards’ to persons who, as children, were abused while resident in industrial schools, reformatories and other institutions subject to state regulation or inspection.

According to the Department of Education: “The board is continuing to perform its functions including processing the remaining applications and when this process is completed, the department. . . will make the necessary arrangements for its dissolution.”

The final bill is expected to be around €1.1bn.


Sunday Independent