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Compensation scheme for school child sex abuse survivors raised in Dáil by Deputy Carol Nolan

7 March, 2017

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Education and Skills, Teachta Carol Nolan, today raised the issue of the operation of the Government’s ex-gratia scheme put in place subsequent to the Louise O’Keefe ruling in the European Court of Human Rights in the Dáil during a topical issue debate. 

Teachta Nolan said:

“As we know Louise O’ Keefe was involved in a 20 year legal battle against the state before she received justice at the European Court of Human Rights.

“Unfortunately, for hundreds of other school child sex abuse survivors, their day of justice never came.

“Due to the very narrow interpretation of the ruling of the European Court by the state many survivors have been effectively locked out of the ex gratia scheme.

“In Particular, the state’s interpretation that a prior complaint of sex abuse must have been made in order to fulfil the terms of the scheme have meant that a lot of survivors have been deprived of a remedy for the failure of the state to protect them.

“The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the Child Law Clinic of UCC, which was heavily involved in the original case, have made numerous submissions to the Council of Europe on this point and have clearly states that this interpretation is not in line with the O’Keefe ruling.

“I am aware of situations whereby survivors of abuse were written to by the state and told if they did not drop their case they would face thousands of euros in costs.

“As we know after the initial unsuccessful supreme court case by Louise O’Keefe, 210 plaintiffs did drop their cases. Some of them are now statute barred from bringing their case to court and are not eligible under the payment scheme.

“Out of 350 cases, just six have been settled under the scheme and a relatively small number have been processed.

“I have called on the Minister to implement the O’Keefe ruling in full and widen the terms of the scheme to ensure those that have dropped their cases can access the scheme.”

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