Abuse Victim wins Legal Victory

On July 18, 2012, in Child Abuse, by Paddy

AN abuse victim has won a legal victory after the European Court of Human Rights agreed to hear her case against the Irish State.

Louise O’Keeffe (46) confirmed to the Irish Independent last night that the Strasbourg-based court has agreed to hear her complaint despite vehement objections from the State.

If Ms O’Keeffe wins her action, it could open the floodgates to a raft of appeals from abuse victims denied compensation from the State because the incidents occurred in church-run or independent schools.

Ms O’Keeffe was abused as an eight-year-old in a Dunderrow primary school in Cork in 1973 by then principal, Leo Hickey.

She sued the State, claiming the Department of Education was liable as it paid the teacher’s wages, supervised the curriculum and inspected the classrooms.

However, the State insisted that it was not liable given that there was an independent board of management in place.

The department denied vicarious liability.

Ms O’Keeffe took a civil action against Leo Hickey — now retired — and was awarded a monthly payment of around €400. He was jailed for three years in 1998 after being convicted of indecently assaulting a number of girls in the 1970s.

Ms O’Keeffe lost her Supreme Court challenge in 2008 — and, in 2009, she expressed fears she would lose her home given that legal costs were estimated at over €750,000.

The Supreme Court later ruled that the mother of two should not be held liable for the costs as there were “exceptional reasons” for her taking the case. Ms O’Keeffe and her Cork solicitor, Ernest Cantillon, then appealed to the European Court of Human Rights.

Over 200 other abuse victims either dropped or postponed their actions in the wake of the Supreme Court judgment.

– Ralph Riegel

Irish Independent

 

6 Responses to “Abuse Victim wins Legal Victory”

  1. Goood for her. I am so glad because passing the hot patato from one side to the other isint getting anyone anywhere. All this abuse has causd generations of people to suffer. An education system put there and paid by the governments in full knowledge of the danger having received complaints for years. Good luck to you lady. Stronger than golieth.

  2. Raymond says:

    FINALLY FINALLY !!!! THANK YOU LOUISE O’KEEFFE – FOR DOING WHAT NOBODY HAS BEEN ABLE TO ACHIEVE TO THIS DAY IN 2014 – OUT OF MILLIONS OF IRISH PEOPLE, TACIT AND SILENT IN FRONT OF THE UNDISPUTABLE OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE OF ABUSE BY THE CATHOLIC CHURCH *AND* THE STATE. THANK YOU LOUISE FOR MAKING IT SAFER FOR THE CHILDREN OF IRELAND. MAY YOU RECEIVE NOW EVERYTHING YOU DESERVE. THE HIGHEST HONOUR TO YOU (AND CHRISTINA NOBLE LATER THIS YEAR). from RAYMOND LAMBERT

  3. Christina says:

    I would like to wish Louise all the best in her fight for justice.

    I admire so much her spirit and tenacity.

  4. Raymond says:

    Good luck Louise O’Keeffe. You shine your light, you light up the way, and be the best Witness and Truth-Bearer of them all. And yes, break open these floodgates. Ireland STILL hasn’t understood.

  5. robert says:

    But we are a democracy and I hope this survivor realizes this as it is a strong ground to fight for as children and women were FORCED to work for NO WAGES, THIS IS DICTATORSHIP.
    The Government of IRELAND ABUSED THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF HER PEOPLE there fore must pay for the damage done.

  6. pauline says:

    well the government are paid to be responsable. When it comes to things like this thay claim that its not. But its part of thier job to ensure a safe envirment for children in schools as the perents have put with or without thier accord thier children into the responsabity of the state. thats why thay are there in well paid jobs.

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