Friday 28 July 2017

Abuse survivors left high and dry, Dáil told

Micheál Martin. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Micheál Martin. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A scheme set up to provide compensation for people who suffered from sexual abuse in primary school is leaving victims “high and dry”, it has been claimed.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin told the Dáil today that the process was “designed to limit accessibility to the scheme” and has left some victims felling suicidal.

“This is all going on under our noses and the Government is resisting a humane response,” he said.

The scheme was set up after Louise O’Keeffe took a case to the European Courts of Human Rights to hold the State responsible for abuse in primary schools.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny admitted today that the State has been “cautious to put it mildly”.

“Every generation seems to carry with it its own set of scandals,” he said.

However, Mr Kenny defended the Government’s stance saying the European courts found the State was only responsible for cases that fell into specific criteria.

To qualify for redress, the abuse must have taken place after a complaint was made to the school and where the school failed to act on such a complaint.

“The Government is following the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights,” Mr Kenny said.

However, Mr Martin asked him to “stop adding insult to injury for victims of child sexual abuse in our schools”.

He said only seven out of 360 cases have been settled using the current mechanisms.

“I’m talking about people where convictions have taken place, where people are in jail. This is not complex Taoiseach,” he said.

“We are victimising even more those who have already been abused.

“I think it’s a scandal as to what is now going on. Many of these victims have been left high and dry. It’s cries out for action.”

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