Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Education and Skills Thomas Byrne says the legal letters being issued by the Department of Education to victims of abuse in primary schools are nothing short of ‘shameful’.
Deputy Byrne has called on Minister for Education Richard Bruton to withdraw the letters which suggest to victims that if they withdraw a legal action against the State, following a recent failed High Court action, that the Department won’t pursue these victims for massive legal costs.
Deputy Byrne said, “This will have been the second time the State has pursued this strategy against these victims. Victims previously withdrew a case against the State before Louise O’Keeffe bravely fought and won her case in the European Court of Human Rights. The current proceedings effectively seek to overturn that withdrawal on the basis of the change brought about by Louise’s case.
“Not only have these victims of abuse in schools have had to fight the State and others for justice, they have suffered the most horrendous abuse. Even the judge, Max Barrett, in the recent High Court case, seemed to acknowledge the absolute injustice of the situation while sticking firmly to what he saw as binding Supreme Court precedent.
“This High Court case is not likely to be the final legal word on the matter and Minister Bruton and the State are attempting, unjustly, to pre-empt the legal outcome by trying to force these victims into withdrawing these actions.”