Abuse victim challenges rejection by redress board

PATSY McGARRY, Religious Affairs Correspondent

JUDICIAL REVIEW of a decision by the Residential Institutions Redress Board not to accept a late application, on grounds of exceptional circumstances, is to begin at the High Court this morning.

The board, in a written decision dated December 19th, 2008, rejected an application from “Peter” (not his real name) as being late and refused to find exceptional circumstances existed which would have allowed his application.

The deadline for applications to the board was December 15th, 2005. The only exceptions allowed were for people suffering from a mental incapacity or where there were exceptional circumstances. Such circumstances were not defined in the 2002 Act that set up the board.

Peter is in his 70s and has lived most of his life in the UK. He had been in St Patrick’s industrial school at Upton in Cork for six years, where he was abused. He applied to the redress board on January 23rd, 2006.

He had been unaware of the redress scheme until late November 2005, when he saw an advertisement in The News of the World. He did not understand that there was a closing date or how to apply. In January 2006 he was advised about the redress scheme at the Irish Centre in Coventry and on January 23rd, 2006, filled out an application form.

It was rejected by the redress board, initially in May 2006 and again in May 2007, as being out of time.

Peter and 17 others took High Court action to challenge the board’s refusal to accept their applications. These were settled when agreement was reached that the board would conduct oral hearings, which took place last October.

By written decision, dated December 19th, 2008, the board again rejected Peter’s application.That decision is subject to the judicial review proceedings which begin this morning.

Former residents of the institutions and their representatives have been arguing, particularly since publication of the Ryan report last month, that many of their colleagues from those days, particularly those abroad, had not been aware of the redress board.

They point out that some were housebound, some lived loner existences and did not mix in Irish communities, still others could not read or write and so were unable to read advertisements from the redress board advising people of the scheme and its deadline.
The Irish Times 16.06.09

  1. The Redress Board must be ordered to read the Ryan Report and then to accept Peter’s application.

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