Survivors of institutional child abuse in industrial schools received around €6m worth of services over the second half of last year from the statutory body overseeing the distribution of funds pledged by the 18 religious congregations which ran the institutions and a reformatory.

The figure has emerged following an announcement by Minister for Education Richard Bruton of a three-week public consultation about the terms of reference of a review of eligibility for assistance from Caranua.

The independent State body helps to address the health, housing and education needs of survivors living in Ireland and in other parts of the world.

The last coalition government promised that the review of Caranua's eligibility rules would begin 12 months ago, two years after the statutory body began accepting abuse survivors' applications for help with health, social, educational and housing needs.  

Last night, the department said that, up to the end of last year, the body had spent €56m in supporting almost 4,200 former residents.

But official figures indicate three times that number may be eligible to apply, having received cash redress from the State averaging around €62,000. 

Over the past six months, Caranua's monthly average rate of spending on survivors has dropped from €2.3m to €1m. 

The department stated that, when interest is taken into account, the congregations which ran the institutions had contributed around €96m to date and that the State expects to receive the full €110m due by next year.

Last September the Government said it had sought a contribution from the Catholic religious congregations of approximately €725m - or half the cost of the State's total redress bill - but that the religious had offered €480m.

"Successive governments have adopted the position that the costs of the response to residential institutional abuse should be shared on a 50:50 basis between the State and those who managed the institutions," the department said.

The statement continued that the position had "broad support across Dáil Éireann and it has been argued that there is a strong moral obligation on those involved, to deliver on their responsibilities ... Apart from one congregation that believes its contribution represents its 50% share, the remaining congregations have either declined to comment on the appropriateness of, or disagree with the 50:50 principle".