As part of the State’s response to the ECtHR Judgment in the Louise O'Keeffe case, the position of historical cases which had been discontinued by plaintiffs was reviewed.
As these cases had been discontinued by the Plaintiffs, the proceedings were no longer before the domestic courts and therefore there was no litigation in existence which could be settled. Accordingly, it was determined that ex gratia payments would be offered to all those persons who come within the terms of the ECtHR Judgment and whose claims were not statute barred at the time of their discontinuance.
To date, 50 applications were received by the State Claims Agency of which 44 applications have been declined. In respect of all of the declined applications, the applicants were advised that they could apply for an independent assessment of their application.
A retired Judge of the High Court, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill, was appointed in November 2017 to act as an independent assessor in relation to determinations of the SCA on eligibility of applicants to the ex gratia scheme.
Between March 2018 and January 2019, Mr Justice O’Neill looked for a number of submissions on, inter alia: ‘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’.
All of the responding submissions are published on the Department’s website and can be seen at www.education.ie.
It is anticipated that there will determinations on the 20 cases that have applied for an independent assessment in the next few weeks.