The Christine Buckley Centre has called on the Government to issue special medical cards to survivors of child abuse in industrial schools.

The support network was responding to a state-sponsored consultation with over 100 of an estimated 12,000 former residents which found that many fear being institutionalised again in old age.

The scoping exercise called for a survivor-led consultation process to inform government planning in the area over the coming year.

Over the past six months, two Department of Education appointed facilitators asked over 100 survivors of industrial schools and reformatories to spell out their greatest needs.

Most of the survivor population are over 60-years-old and over one-third is living in the UK.

Top of their list were health, housing, social supports and having enough income to lead a dignified life.

They said ongoing and culturally appropriate counselling is needed to help them deal with their traumatic legacy. 

The Minister for Education, Joe McHugh has requested an Interdepartmental Committee that is examining survivors' future needs to make early contact with the survivor-led group which the report recommends should begin working with government over the next year.

He said in a statement that on foot of that engagement, he wants to see clear proposals for action which he could bring to cabinet.

But Donal Buckley who chairs the Christina Buckley Centre, named after his late wife, a survivor and advocate since 1996, rejected the plan for a further year of consultation. He warned that, on past trends, many more survivors would die in the coming twelve months.

Mr Buckley called on the Government to quickly issue survivors with the Health Amendment Act Card. 

In 1996 it was created to entitle people with Hepatitis C to access a wide variety of benefits to enable them to better cope with ongoing medical and health care needs. 

Speaking to RTÉ News, Barbara Walsh, one of the authors of today's report, highlighted that the Christine Buckley Centre is the only venue in Ireland where survivors can meet and get support on an ongoing basis.

Ms Walsh adds that say this is a serious problem for former residents of industrial and reformatory schools who often feel stigmatised. 

She says they generally feel a strong family-type bond because of the silence and shame which often surrounds their spells in institutions during childhood and adolescence.

In the first quarter of this year, the centre has had 1,441 visits ranging from 392 in January to 539 in March.

It provides a drop-in facility in central Dublin, as well as advice and educational supports.

Today's scoping report says survivors who were consulted stressed the importance of 'the resilient survivor voice' being to the fore in articulating their needs and in designing official responses to them.

But the person who secured the government's agreement for a survivor-led consultation process in the first place has rejected the proposal to use today's scoping report as a basis for further consultations.

William Gorry who leads the Residential Institutions Survivors' Network, shows RTÉ News a letter he received from Dalton Tattan an Assistant Secretary at the Department of Education.

Dated the 17 November 2017, it promsises to fund a series of eight meetings of survivors of institutional child abuse in Irealnd and Britain.

The letter confirms that the proposal results from recent conversations between the two men "regarding survivor consultation talks".

Crucially, it says "the meetings will be supported by an independent facilitator who shall arrange administrative support as part of his or her service.

"The independent facilitator shall be appointed by your group from a panel created by the Department of Education and Skills."

However, talks with Mr Gorry on the implementation of the official undertaking broke down within weeks. Nonetheless, the Department conducted two research projects to gauge survivors' interest in the project. 

Last February, following two lengthy hunger strikes by Mr Gorry outside Leinster House in the winters of  2017 and 2018 the Department appointed two independent facilitators to report on survivors' needs. 

Barbara Walshe and Catherine O'Connell were chosen for the task following a tendering process and they wrote today's 28-page report which can be found in the Department's website.

But Mr Gorry says he will not be co-operating with their proposal to accept the offers of about twenty survivors to conduct further soundings.

The authors envisage that the main group of ten would consult survivors in Ireland while the remainder, a sub-group, would focus on former residents in the UK.

Both panels would pay particular attention to groups which are difficult to reach such as prisoners, homeless people and people addicted to substances. 

William Gorry says the Department has reneged on its promise of November 2017 which has broken trust with survivors. He insists the issue must be resolved before his and his members' co-operation can be secured by the Government. 

In 1974, Mr Gorry who is now 54 and visually impaired, was admitted to Mount Carmel Residence Home, run by the Sisters of Mercy in Co Westmeath.

He said he was physically, mentally, emotionally and sexually abused by clergy and lay staff between the ages of eleven and twenty. 

The Offalyman recalls him and his siblings being put into care because his poverty-stricken family could no longer cope.