Compensation and government apology must follow Judge O'Neill report– Maurice Quinlivan TD
Sinn Féin TD for Limerick City Maurice Quinlivan today welcomed Judge Iarfhlaith O'Neill’s report which found the state has misinterpreted an ECHR ruling, and in doing so, denied victims of historical child sexual abuse access to a redress scheme to which they are entitled.
Deputy Quinlivan has worked closely with VOCADS and with a number of survivors of historical child sexual abuse which occurred in Creagh Lane National School in Limerick, in their fight for justice and compensation.
Speaking this evening, Deputy Quinlivan said:
“The conclusions of Judge Iarfhlaith O'Neill’s report are very welcome and will come as a major boost to survivors of historical child sexual abuse in their fight for justice and compensation.
“This is a topic that I have a deep personal interest in, having worked closely for a number of years with members of VOCADS and survivors of abuse from Creagh Lane National School in Limerick.
“The criteria for the compensation scheme set up in the wake of the Louise O’Keeffe judgement was, in my opinion, designed so that no survivors of abuse could actually access it.
“The state put barriers in place that were impossible for survivors to overcome.
“In my opinion the government has been more focused on keeping the compensation bill down for the State, rather than seeking justice for the victims of historical child sexual abuse.
“Last July the Dáil instructed this government, by a large majority, to change how the current ex gratia scheme operates in order to include more survivors, but in the same arrogant approach that is the trademark of Fine Gael, they ignored the will of the Dáil.
“This Fine Gael government have blocked survivors of historical child sexual abuse from accessing redress in the most despicable manner.
“Successive Ministers for Education have forced survivors of abuse to protest outside the Dáil gates, to try and get their story highlighted in the media, and to travel to Brussels to highlight their injustice in the EU Parliament.
“I expect the government to act on this report immediately, and ensure compensation is paid to those survivors. I also believe the government owes these people an apology for the awful way they have been treated in their campaign for justice.
“The State failed these people when they were sexually abused in school, the state failed them when they had to grow up with no supports or help for the awful trauma they went through.
"Unfortunately the state has continued to fail them by putting barriers in their way as they tried to access redress for which they are absolutely entitled."