Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. has today (Friday 2 August) welcomed publication of a report on a series of consultations with survivors of abuse in residential institutions on the themes and issues that are of most concern to them.
The report was drawn up by independent facilitators Ms Barbara Walshe and Ms Catherine O’Connell who used a restorative approach to the consultation process. The facilitators engaged with over 100 people and held over 30 meetings in the course of the past six months leading to the publication of the report.
Minister McHugh said: “I want to express my thanks to all of the survivors who engaged with the facilitators, and to Barbara Walshe and Catherine O’Connell for their facilitation.
“The report is clear and unambiguous in articulating the views of those consulted. The report talks about the importance of survivors’ voices being heard and I want to support that.”
Amongst the issues highlighted in the report are the increased health needs of an aging population, concerns about adequate and suitable housing, social supports to counteract social isolation and the need to make services easier to access.
The report also provides valuable information on survivors’ experience of redress and on issues such as memorialisation.
As regards the next steps, the Minister said: “I want to acknowledge the clear call from survivors to move on from further widespread consulting about needs and to begin a process of engagement about how those needs can be met. The report proposes the establishment of a survivor-led group to assist in this. I would like to see this group established as soon as possible.”
The Minister is requesting the Interdepartmental Committee, under the aegis of his Department which is looking at the future needs of survivors, to establish early contact with the group.
“On foot of that engagement, I am anxious to see clear proposals for action which I can bring to my colleagues in Government,” Minister McHugh said.
A copy of the report is available here: https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Education-Reports/consultations-with-survivors-of-institutional-abuse-on-themes-and-issues-to-be-addressed-by-a-survivor-led-consultation-group.pdf
Notes for Editors
Barbara Walshe is an experienced Restorative Justice Facilitator and an accredited Mediator with the Mediators Institute of Ireland (MII). She has a Masters in Reconciliation and Conflict Transformation from Trinity College Dublin (Belfast based) and worked for many years in the field of peacebuilding and restorative justice at local, national and international level.
Catherine O’Connell is an experienced and accredited Mediator, Restorative Dialogue Facilitator, CINERGY™ Conflict Management Coach and Trainer and is a communications and conflict management consultant. She is an accredited mediator with the Mediators Institute of Ireland (MII) and has an M.A. in Mediation and Conflict Resolution.