Sinn Féin TD for Limerick City Maurice Quinlivan this evening challenged the Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh on the treatment of survivors of child sexual abuse by this government.
Deputy Quinlivan called on the Minister to stop using the courts to fight survivors of child sexual abuse and provide them with compensation that will allow them to get justice and move on with their lives.
Speaking in the Dáil this evening, the Limerick City TD said:
“This is a topic that I have a deep personal interest in, having worked closely for a number of years now with members of VOCADS and survivors of abuse from Creagh Lane National School.
“To be honest, I’m absolutely disgusted at how survivors of historical child sexual abuse have been treated by Fine Gael and by previous governments.
“These men are currently barred from accessing compensation for the horrific abuse they suffered, and the government has steadfastly stood in their way of justice.
“Last July the Dáil instructed this government, by a large majority, to change how the current ex gratia scheme operates in order to include these men, but in the same arrogant approach that is the trademark of Fine Gael, they ignored it.
“In my opinion the government is more focused on keeping the compensation bill down for the State rather than giving justice to the victims.
“The criteria for qualifying for the current ex gratia scheme is so strict, that no one has been accepted to it.
“It’s a despicable approach to take with survivors of child sexual abuse.
“This government has forced survivors of abuse to protest outside the Dáil gates, to try and get their story highlighted in the media, and to travel to Brussels to highlight their injustice in the EU Parliament.
“Louise O’Keeffe was dragged through the courts before she got justice and compensation. It now seems the government is content to do the same to the remaining survivors who are locked out of the redress scheme.
“Minister McHugh should meet with these men. He should listen to their horrific stories. He should hear first-hand the horrendous abuse they suffered as school children by their teacher. Then it might finally dawn on him to take action on the matter.