Limerick abuse survivors deserve ‘dignity and action’

Jess Casey

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Jess Casey

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jess.casey@limerickleader.ie

Limerick abuse survivors deserve ‘dignity and action’

Thomas Hogan, Christy Rainbow and John Boland who are among the 19 former students at Creagh Lane National School who were abused by their teacher. Two of the former students have since passed away

THE EDUCATION Minister has committed to meeting a group of former students, who were abused by their teacher as children at a Limerick national school, after it emerged not one person has been paid through a scheme set up to compensate victims of abuse.

Education Minister Joe McHugh was speaking in the Dáil after it emerged that 45 applications to a scheme set up to compensate victims of abuse have been declined and a further five cases have yet to be determined. 

Former students from Creagh Lane National School have been barred from accessing compensation “for the horrific abuse they suffered and the Government has steadfastly stood in their way of justice,” according to Limerick TD Maurice Quinlivan. 

In order to access the scheme, victims must provide evidence that their abuser abused prior to their case; The Creagh Lane students do not meet this criteria as their class was the first class their abuser taught. Their abuser, Ex-Christian Brother Sean Drummond, was jailed in 2009 for indecently assaulting 19 boys, between the ages of seven and nine, at the school on Bridge Street between 1967 and 1968. 

Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy Quinlivan said the scheme “was designed by officials and lawyers to lock survivors out and keep the compensation bill down for the State, hoping that many of them would die and would not be able to access the compensation. Their childhoods were ruined by paedophiles and their lives scared by the abuse.”

“The very least they deserve is to be treated with dignity and respect and to be provided for in respect of the hurt and loss they have suffered because of the failure of the State to protect them when they were children,” he added. “They do not want to empty words or sympathy. They want the Minister to take action.” 

In 2017, an independent assessor, retired High Court judge Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill, was appointed to assess applications declined under the scheme, Minister McHugh said. 

“A total of 20 applicants have sought an independent assessment. The assessor’s decisions are awaited in respect of these cases. I look forward to receiving the assessor’s decisions on the cases and his findings will be abided by.”