Louise O’Keeffe disappointed at delay in response to European ruling

State should have same urgency in reviewing claims by victims as it did in warning them after Supreme Court decision, says abuse victim

Louise O’Keeffe: disappointed at  time it is taking for  Department of Education to address  claims by other victims following her victory in the European Court of Human Rights. Picture: Courtpix

Louise O’Keeffe: disappointed at time it is taking for Department of Education to address claims by other victims following her victory in the European Court of Human Rights. Picture: Courtpix

Wed, Mar 5, 2014, 01:01

Sex abuse survivor Louise O’Keeffe has expressed disappointment at the time it is taking for the Department of Education to address the claims by other victims following her victory in the European Court of Human Rights.

Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn yesterday updated his Cabinet colleagues on the follow up to the ECHR judgment case where the court found that the State was negligent in failing to protect Ms O’Keeffe from abuse while a primary school pupil.

“The State Claims Agency is reviewing its day-school abuse cases to identify those that come within the parameters of the judgment. This review is ongoing and the Minister will be reporting back to Government when this review is complete,” the department said in a statement.


‘Reasonable outcome’
“The Minister reiterated his intention to seek a fair and reasonable outcome to those cases that come within the parameters of the ECHR judgment,” said the department, adding that it had paid Ms O’Keeffe damages and costs in line with the ECHR judgement.

Ms O’Keeffe said she would reserve judgment on the State’s handling of other cases until she saw what Mr Quinn did in relation to outstanding claims by people who were sexually abused by teachers when they were attending schools.


‘Victims bullied’
“I’d like to see what the State Claims Agency does with regarding to both the ongoing cases and those cases where victims dropped their actions after being bullied into doing so by the State after the Supreme Court ruled against me,” she said.

“I’m disappointed with the lack of urgency being shown by the State in this matter – it’s over a month since the European Court of Human Rights gave its judgement in my case and the matter is still being reviewed by the State Claims Agency.

“It marks a huge contrast with the speed with which they started sending out letters to abuse victims after the Supreme Court ruling against me – they were much faster in sending out those letters where they warned people of the consequences if they pursued their claims.”

Ms O’Keeffe said she would also reserve her position regarding Mr Quinn’s declaration that he was intent on getting a fair and reasonable outcomes in those cases which fall within the parameters of the ECHR judgment.


‘He fought me all the way’
“It’s all very well to come out and say that you are intent on getting fair settlements but Ruairí Quinn fought me in Europe and he fought me all the way to the point that the State said that they didn’t believe the European Court of Human Rights should even be hearing the case,” Ms O’Keefe said.