The apology offered by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar yesterday to those sexually abused in day schools, and for the delay in acknowledging the State’s responsibility to them, is welcome, even if it should have been offered many, many years ago.
That it was made after a court ruling that found the State misinterpreted a European Court of Human Rights ruling in the case taken by Cork woman Louise O’Keeffe, after she and others were denied access to a redress scheme, can only deepen the regret around the great struggle victims faced to be heard and to get something like justice, even belated justice.
It is hard to imagine that any redress scheme might recover the trust broken by abusers but Mr Varadkar’s assurance yesterday — “The State failed them at the time; it failed them a second time when it did not own up to its responsibility. We won’t fail them a third time” — might finally go some way to easing the pain of a horrific experience, but only if it is delivered quickly and with grace.
What a price victims, and society in general, pay for turning a blind eye to the horrors in our midst. Do we still?