News Politics

Thursday 28 August 2014

Louise O’Keeffe: I appreciate and accept Taoiseach’s apology

Niall O'Connor, Political Correspondent

Published 30/01/2014 | 11:40

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Louise O'Keeffe. Picture: Courtpix
Louise O'Keeffe. Picture: Courtpix

Abuse survivor Louise O'Keeffe has said she "appreciates and accepts" the apology issued by Taoiseach Enda Kenny this morning.

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“I appreciate the fact that he did it quickly. I would like to think that he is apologising on all accounts. I would never have looked for an apology for myself. I wanted an apology for all the victims of abuse in schools because there are many who have never spoken of it.

Ms O’Keffee said if she received an apology previously, she would have dropped her case.

“If I had gotten an apology 15 years ago, I would not have been in the courts. I do not understand why the state fought the case. I was an eight-year-old child and I was abused. Wrong was done and hands should have been held up.”

Ms O’Keeffe called for the Taoieach to work on legislation to ensure that there is never a repeat of her case again.

“Work on the legislation quickly. Please do not leave it go on for months and years.”

Earlier today the Taoiseach apologised to MsO'Keeffe and paid tribute to the "commitment" shown by the mother-of-two by pursuing justice through the courts.

"Louise O'Keeffe was being abused in what was considered to be a safe place,"Mr Kenny said.

"The European Court of Human Rights has given its verdict...this was an example of a woman who showed extraordinary commitment over a number of years."

The court this week ruled that the State had been negligent in failing to protect her from abuse in national school.

The court found that her rights had been breached under Section 3 and 13 of European law – with the Irish State now liable to compensate the mother for what she suffered.

The judgement is expected to open the floodgates to over 200 compensation claims by Irish victims abused by State employees.

Louise was abused by her then-principal, Leo Hickey, in a Cork primary school in the 1970s.

However, the Government had until today denied liability – insisting that it was the school board of management involved which was responsible

Mr Kenny was speaking at the launch of the new Child and Family Agency in Dublin Castle.

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