Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Ceisteanna (271)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

271. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to cease the prior complaint requirement for eligibility for ex gratia payment to school sexual abuse victims; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21159/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As part of the implementation of the Judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in the Louise O’Keeffe case, in November 2017, I appointed Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill to act as an independent assessor in respect of cases where an individual has had an application for the ex-gratia scheme, established following the Judgement, declined by the State Claims Agency and who then applies for an assessment of the Agency’s decision.

Mr Justice O’Neill has looked for a submission on: "whether the imposition of the condition which required that there had to be evidence of a prior complaint of child sexual abuse on the part of the employee in question to the school authority (or a school authority in which the employee has previously worked), to establish eligibility for a payment under the ex gratia scheme, is consistent with and a correct implementation of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Louise O’Keeffe v. Ireland".

The submission forwarded to Mr Justice O’Neill on 27 April was prepared with the advice and assistance of the Attorney General and Senior Counsel and is now published on the Department's website.

The submission explains – based on the legal advice received and the State's interaction with the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers which is the body responsible for overseeing the implementation of judgments of the Court of Human Rights – that the requirement for evidence of a prior complaint of child sexual abuse on the part of the employee in question to the school authority (or a school authority in which the employee has previously worked), to establish eligibility for a payment under the ex gratia scheme is consistent with and a correct implementation of the judgment of the ECtHR in the O’Keeffe case.