Landmark European judgement finds Irish State liable for sexual abuse

With so many cases of abuse awaiting justice – this may be of interest. From Jan 2014

THE EUROPEAN COURT of Human Rights (ECtHR) has found in favour of Louise O’Keeffe in her case against the Irish state, making them liable for the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her primary school principal.

Both the High Court and Supreme Court in Ireland had ruled that the State was not responsible for the assaults but the ECtHR has this morning overruled their judgements.


O’Keefe’s case in the ECtHR had argued that the State failed to structure the primary education system so as to protect her. It also argued that the State failed to investigate or provide an appropriate judicial response to her ill-treatment.

In it’s judgement delivered this morning, the ECtHR said that the State “had to have been aware of the level of sexual crime against minors” as a result of a number of reports from the 1930s to the 1970s.


“Despite this awareness, the Irish State continued to entrust the management of the primary education of the vast majority of young Irish children to privately managed National Schools, without putting in place any mechanism of effective State control,” the 17 judge Grand Chamber decided.

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