The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission provided a submission to the Council of Europe in which it stated that Ireland was failing the survivors of sexual abuse in schools. IHREC states that the State was more concerned with avoiding a ‘floods of claims’ rather than providing redress to people who were sexually abused in schools. In 2019 it was discovered that no applicants to the scheme had been paid.
In 2014 Louise O’Keeffe was successful in her case before the European Court of Human Rights. Louise has spent 15 years going through the Irish courts to trying to establish the State’s vicarious liability for the injuries she suffered as a result of the abuse in her national school.
IHREC further stated that that Ireland was ‘trying to keep any new scheme as narrow as possible’. So far there have been no details given as to how any new scheme will operate, or who will be eligible to apply. IHREC stated the requirement in the new scheme for applicants to ‘show how an entirely hypothetical mechanism of oversight would have had a real prospect of saving them from sexual abuse is legally unsustainable’.
The chief commissioner of IHREC said that it was ‘shameful that seven years after Louise O’Keeffe won her legal battle for redress for survivors of sexual abuse in schools, the State continues to deny access.’