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Monday 27 February 2017

State faces €50m bill if abuse ruling is upheld

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

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

THE Government faces a compensation bill of more than €50m if the European Court of Human Rights upholds the case of a woman abused in a national school in the 1970s.

The European court will deliver its landmark judgment later today in the case of Louise O'Keeffe (46) who sued the State over the abuse she suffered at the hands of her primary school teacher in the 1970s.

The Cork mother of two, below, is "hoping and praying that justice will be done".

The court heard the case on March 6 last and will deliver its judgment in a formal session in Strasbourg.

But Ms O'Keeffe won't be travelling to France and will instead follow proceedings live over the internet from Cork.

If the court rules in her favour, it will open the floodgates to claims from at least 200 other individuals.

It is estimated that if all 200 cases go to settlement, it will cost the State €50m-plus.

Ms O'Keeffe was eight when she was abused in 1973 by principal teacher Leo Hickey.

She later sued the State over the abuse

However, the State contested the action and insisted that it was not liable given that there was an independent board of management in place.

Irish Independent

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