Survivors of institutional child abuse have been told that the State organisation tasked with supporting their health, housing and other needs is to wind down from 1 August.

In an email sent to survivor support groups today, Caranua cited financial reasons for its decision.

It told survivors who may be eligible for funding that they must return application forms by 1 August to ensure that they can be processed.

Caranua said the decision was made taking into account a review by the Department of Education, expenditure to date, and the estimation of future possible expenditure of "the limited fund provided to Caranua to support survivors".

It said that by the end of last month, just over €80m of its fund had been spent.

Caranua said that as there were more than 2,000 survivors with applications currently being processed "a large portion of the remaining fund will be spent over the course of these applications".

The Residential Institutional Survivors Network (RISN), which is a support group run by survivors, has expressed dismay at the news.

William Gorry of RISN said it had been sprung on survivors and that it was going to cause significant distress.

Speaking to RTÉ News, Mr Gorry said he believed significant numbers of survivors had yet to make applications.

The total Caranua fund is limited to €110m. Of the €80m already spent, more than €8m has gone towards administration costs.

Caranua said that with what remains of its fund "the board wants to strengthen our efforts to ensure any survivors who may be eligible come forward and apply".

It asked for survivor groups to help it reach survivors who had yet to apply.

Caranua has given financial support to survivors of institutional support under a number of headings, including health, housing and education.

That support would typically include funding for the adaption of homes to help with physical disabilities.

Minister for Education Richard Bruton has acknowledged the winding down of Caranua but called on the independent State body to continue to make provision for "exceptional and hardship cases" that come forward after 1 August.