Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Ceisteanna (208, 209)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

208. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he is satisfied with the progress of payments to applicants to an ex-gratia scheme established in July 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47646/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

209. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the examination of an ex-gratia scheme established in July 2015 undertaken by his Department and the Office of the Attorney General. [47647/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 208 and 209 together.

As you are aware, the ex gratia scheme was established on foot of the specific circumstances arising from and in response to the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) relating to Louise O'Keeffe. Ireland submits bi-annual Action Plans to the relevant Committee of Ministers which is responsible for supervising the implementation of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights.

The ex gratia scheme is not the sole vehicle through which compensation for sexual abuse in day schools has been paid out. Between 2005 and 2018, settlements involving the payment of compensation by the State to victims of day school child sexual abuse have been made in relation to 22 claimants.

Mr. Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill, acting as an Independent Assessor to the Scheme was asked to review 19 cases which had not been successful in their application to the Scheme. On the foot of his determinations, 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 and, to date, eight have been accepted. Further payments will be made upon acceptance of the remaining offers.

In the aftermath of the Independent Assessor's determinations my Department committed to reviewing the ex gratia scheme, in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General.

I am sure the Deputy will understand the complexity and sensitivity of the issues involved that require very careful deliberation before proposals can be finalised and brought to Government. I expect my officials to present me with draft proposals within the coming weeks for my consideration.