Europe

Leo Varadkar apologises to Irish sexual abuse survivors

Leo Varadkar Image copyright EPA
Image caption Leo Varadkar apologised after a ruling by the European Court of Human rights

Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar has made another apology on behalf of the Irish state to survivors of sexual abuse in day schools.

It came after a court ruled that the state misinterpreted a European Court of Human Rights judgement, causing survivors to be denied access to redress.

The case was taken by 13 people who were refused compensation.

The ruling has implications for up to 350 survivors of abuse.

"I believe that sexual abuse is the most heinous of all crimes, especially when the victims are children," Mr Varadkar told the Dáil on Tuesday.

"It stays with them forever - trust is betrayed, lives forever destroyed and families broken."

He apologised to people who were abused when they were children or in day schools before 1992.

He also said the state was sorry for its delay in acknowledging it had a responsibility to protect them.

The redress scheme would be reopened to allow survivors access to compensation, added Mr Varadkar.

Conor O'Mahony, of the Child Law Clinic of University College in Cork, told The Irish Times the apology means nothing if the state was going to "split hairs" in its treatment of people who were sexually abused.

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