Tuesday, 1 June 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
I thank the Minister of State for her response but it seems from her remarks that these men are no closer to achieving an answer on this. They still do not know if they are included in the review of the scheme, despite numerous parliamentary questions we have put in. The Taoiseach himself has met these survivors. He made both public and private commitments to them on this. He was vocal on the matter in opposition and before the general election. The time for review has long passed. These men deserve and, as a matter of fairness, must be provided with redress. It is long past the time for the Government to act. The abuser of these men was convicted in court in 2009.
I will ask the Minister of State some questions and I would appreciate direct responses. Will she confirm that the ex-pupils of Creagh Lane are to be included in the redress scheme? Does she anticipate the review being extended further? Will she provide me and, more importantly, the survivors with a date by which the review will be completed?
As the Minister of State will be aware, the State is facing a court case on 7 July. The matter needs to be addressed before then. The State cannot bring all these people in front of the courts; it is so unfair. Frankly, it is embarrassing the State is resisting and prevaricating on many of the issues of redress and the survivors see no alternative but to go to court to get justice that should be awarded. The Minister has to intervene to stop this. I ask the Minister of State to give the survivors a definite answer, give them hope and peace of mind and not to let the State fail these citizens again. The former pupils of Creagh Lane do not need to be included in any review or any other scheme. Their case is clear cut. There is a conviction and, if the political will is there, the issue for them can be resolved. I hope we can get a better answer than the Minister of State gave in her first reply. It was very disappointing to come back with legalese. We are dealing with just 19 people specifically in the Creagh Lane case. It is clear cut with a conviction in court and commitments from the Taoiseach that he would intervene personally. We need to hear answers on that.