A group of men who were abused as primary school students intend to run a candidate in the next general election to highlight the lack of action on redress for victims of sexual abuse in day schools.
Former students of Creagh Lane National School in Limerick, who were abused by their Christian Brother teacher in the 1960s, intend to run a candidate in the upcoming election, which is expected to be called in 2020.
The men, members of the survivor-led group Victims of Child Abuse in Day Schools (VOCADS), are also considering running candidates in Cork and Galway.
The announcement from the group comes ahead of the State’s next update to the Council of Europe on its progress on implementing a landmark judgment on redress to victims of sexual abuse in day schools before 1992.
“As the Government and its elected members toe the party line, the survivors suffer in silence with the daily dose of depression and anxiety that is not only affecting their own lives but their family also,” said VOCADS chairman John Boland, who is also a former Creagh Lane survivor.
In July, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar apologised on behalf of the State to those abused in day schools who have been denied accessing redress.
“The Taoiseach and the Minister for Education used words such as ‘we won’t let them down a third time’ and ‘time is not on our side’,” Mr Boland said.
It is that reason we propose to take our future back into our own hands.
Despite securing a conviction against their abuser, and despite an independent ruling that the State is imposing an “illogical” requirement on victims, the Creagh Lane group remains outside the State’s redress scheme.
A recent review by retired High Court Judge Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill assessed 19 failed applications to this ex gratia (out of court) scheme.
To qualify, the Department of Education requires abuse victims to prove evidence that a prior complaint was made against their abuser. Cases can not be statute-barred and legal action against the State must be discontinued.
However, Justice O’Neill found the ‘prior complaint’ criteria imposed by the State is “inconsistent” with the European Court of Human Rights judgment, ruling 13 of the 19 applicants be paid.
A spokesman for the Department of Education confirmed that 16 offers of payment have been made to 50 people who made a failed application to the scheme, with seven payments accepted. The department is currently reviewing the existing compensation scheme.