Written answers

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Department of Education and Skills

Child Abuse

Photo of Maurice QuinlivanMaurice Quinlivan (Limerick City, Sinn Fein)
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24. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills when the review promised to the Creagh Lane sexual abuse survivors will be completed; and if the victims from the school will be included in the review. [28836/20]

Norma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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The scheme under review, the ex-gratia scheme, was established on foot of the specific circumstances arising from the O’Keeffe case and in response to the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

It was established in 2015 to provide an effective remedy for a specific category of people, namely those persons who had commenced domestic litigation but who had discontinued those proceedings following the High Court and Supreme Court judgments in Ms O’Keeffe’s case and who were unable to re-commence their litigation in the domestic courts.

The State Claims Agency are mandated to deal with these cases. However, an independent assessor was also appointed where applicants whose claims were declined by the State Claims Agency could apply for a determination by the independent assessor.

The Department committed to abiding by the Independent Assessor’s determinations. As a result, on the foot of his determinations on the specific applications before him, payments are being made to a number of victims of child sexual abuse in day schools. The current position is that sixteen offers of payment have been made. To date, 15 offers have been accepted.

Following the determinations by the Independent Assessor, my Department announced a review of the scheme.

The review of the scheme is on-going. There has been extensive engagement between the Department for Education and the Attorney General’s office and the State Claims Agency to develop proposals on the review of the scheme. It is hoped that this review will be completed by the end of the year.

The issues involved are highly sensitive and complex and require very careful deliberation before proposals can be finalised and brought to Government. It is important to have a more complete understanding of this issue, such as the number of people who could potentially be involved, the legal implications of any course of action, and a reasonably accurate estimate of likely costs before introducing any modifications to the scheme.

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