Saturday 21 September 2019

Abuse victims 'bullied by State' to drop legal action

Louise O'Keeffe
Louise O'Keeffe

Ralph Riegel

A WOMAN who won a landmark European Court victory over abuse she suffered as a young girl at the hands of a teacher has said that nothing has changed in Ireland in terms of child protection.

Louise O'Keeffe (46) accused the State of "bullying" some abuse survivors to drop legal action for compensation and claimed that, despite her landmark EU legal victory last January, the Government has still not properly responded to the Strasbourg court.

The Cork mother-of-two is now demanding an immediate meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan along with other abuse victims.

"It is just more of the same. They have not even met the other victims," Ms O'Keeffe said.

"The Taoiseach apologised to me when he was asked by reporters and said he would be happy to meet me but I have never had any personal contact from him.

"After seeing the response which is on the Department of Education website issued last Friday, I sent him and the Minister for Education an email telling them I am available to talk to them. I asked them to give the meeting priority and (ensure) that it happens certainly by the end of September at the latest," she said.

She urged the Government to focus on legal changes rather than simple guidelines to deal with child protection issues.

She said she feared the State was deliberately "dragging their feet" over her EU ruling and were effectively hoping abuse survivors would simply go away.

Ms O'Keeffe said 44 other historic cases of children being abused by teachers are pending before the Irish courts.

Irish Independent

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