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Survivors of abuse in state-funded schools to seek justice in Europe

17 November, 2017 - by Liadh Ní Riada MEP

 Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has announced plans to host a delegation of survivors of abuse in state-funded schools in Europe next week as pressure mounts on the Irish Government to remove its inhuman barriers to redress and restitution.

Speaking at a press conference in Cork today with representatives of the VOCADS (Victims Of Child Abuse in Day Schools) group to announce the delegation, Ms Ní Riada said the purpose of the visit was to bring international pressure to bear on the Irish Government to cease their mistreatment of abuse survivors.

“Victims of abuse in any setting carry with them the pain and trauma of that abuse their whole lives,” she said.

“It is society’s duty to help ameliorate that trauma, firstly by acknowledging its how horrifically wrong it was and is, and secondly by making genuine efforts to redress the wrongs done to them. 

“Following a heroic legal battle in 2014 by Louise O’Keeffe the state was shown to be liable for abuse that occurred in state-funded schools. Its worth pointing out that Louise was forced to fight her case to the highest levels in Ireland, before getting justice in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. 

“The modest and belated redress scheme established by Government in the wake of the Louise O’Keeffe case was designed to be inaccessible and to effectively lock survivors out. Many brave men and women, who did a service to the state in seeing their attackers tried and convicted, are now being fought tooth and nail by the state. 

“Furthermore the Government's gross misinterpretation of the outcome of Louise's trial, in which a previous complaint against her abuser helped her achieve a ruling, means the Government is, unbelievably, telling abusers that they get their first victim for free.

“It is an appalling abuse of justice and insult to victims.

“Instead of acknowledging the wrong done to these survivors and seeking to make right the injustices of the past, the Government is perpetuating the pain. I am outraged beyond belief that in the wake of the many painful revelations around abuse over the past decades our Government continues to maintain a confrontational outlook to those it has failed in the most grievous way possible. 

“Next Tuesday a delegation of 17 survivors of abuse in state-funded schools will travel to Brussels as my guests, where I will facilitate a hearing in the European Parliament. The delegation will have an opportunity to give their testimony before a panel of MEPs and international human rights NGOs. 

“It is hoped that with mounting political pressure at home and abroad these brave men and women will get the justice and redress that they deserve.”

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