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Abuse victims take their stories to Europe

November 29th, 2017 7:15 AM

By Southern Star Team

Sex abuse survivor Louise O'Keeffe.

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SEX abuse survivor Louise O’Keeffe has lent her support to a group of fellow sex abuse survivors who travelled to Brussels this week to highlight their treatment at the hands of the Irish government, following her success in taking a case against Ireland in Europe.

Ms O’Keeffe was abused by school teacher Leo Hickey in Dunderrow National School in the 1970s.

This week she travelled with members of the campaign group, Victims of Child Abuse in Day Schools (VOCADS) to Brussels to highlight their plight to members of the European Parliament.

Ms O’Keeffe took Ireland to the European Court of Human Rights over its failure to protect her from Hickey when she was a pupil at Dunderrow National School, and won the case in 2014 but Ireland has interpreted the ruling as applying only in cases, where there was prior complaint of abuse. And the Dept of Education has cited its interpretation of the ECHR judgement that it was only liable for damages in cases where it was aware of a previous complaint and failed to act when advising other abuse victims to drop their claims for damages or risk ending up paying the legal costs.

Ireland South Sinn Fein MEP, Liadh Ni Riada, who organised for the group to meet members of the European Parliament and various NGOs in Brussels, said she hoped the visit would highlight the issue internationally, with a view to getting the government to change its position on redress.

‘The Government’s interpretation of the ruling in Louise’s case has been appalling – it’s been all about putting obstacles in the way of survivors getting redress and I hope the survivors telling their stories to other MEPs will shame the government into finally addressing the injustice,’ she said.

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