Alleged abuse victim loses bid for compensation

A WOMAN who claims she was abused at an industrial school has lost her High Court challenge against the Residential Institutions Redress Board’s refusal to allow her bring a claim for compensation.

The woman, now aged 41 and who cannot be identified for legal reasons, claimed she was subject to physical and emotional abuse at the industrial school she was sent to in 1977. The woman, who the court heard has intellectual difficulties, was at the Midlands- based school until 1987.

In 2009, she sought compensation under the government scheme set up in 2002 to compensate those abused while resident in industrial schools and other institutions regulated by the state.

However, in July 2010, the Redress Board refused to allow her extend the time period so she could make an application for redress.

She brought an action to the High Court aimed at overturning that decision on grounds that it had failed to take into account of her intellectual problems, and her case amounted to exceptional circumstances. The board denied her claims.

In his judgment yesterday, High Court president, Mr Justice Nicolas Kearns, dismissed the woman’s claim, saying he was satisfied there was “no irrationality or want of fair procedures in the manner the board had dealt with the case”.

The woman first sought compensation in August 2009, almost four years after the time limit expired. She said she only learned about the existence of the board following a casual meeting with a woman who had been in the same institution with her in June 2009.

The board rejecting her claim said her application was made out of time and there were no exceptional circumstances warranting the board exercising its discretion to extend time.

The judge also said the woman’s intellectual difficulties were not as severe as contended for.

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