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Posted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:49 pm
by tony
This is an absolute disgrace. This is the sort of thing Atheist Ireland should make a stink about.
Irish Times - Friday, December 19, 2008, 12:26
Supreme Court rules State not liable in school abuse case

MARY CAROLAN

The Supreme Court has ruled, in a test action, that the State cannot be held vicariously liable for a series of sexual assaults by a national school principal on an eight-year-old girl pupil.

Some 200 cases were awaiting today’s judgment on the appeal by Louise O'Keeffe (43), of Thoam, Dunmanway, Co Cork, against a High Court decision the Minister for Education and State are not vicariously liable for the assaults.

Ms O'Keeffe is now facing a potential legal costs bill of more than €750,000 but the costs issue will be decided later.

By a four to one majority, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, ruling the State cannot be held vicariously liable for 20 sexual assaults by school principal Leo Hickey on Ms O'Keeffe when she was a pupil at Dunderrow National School, Co Cork, in 1973. Hickey was jailed for three years in 1998 after pleading guilty to 21 sample charges of indecent assaults on 21 girls.

The majority court - the Chief Justice, Mr Justice John Murray, Ms Justice Susan Denham, Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman and Mr Justice Nial Fennelly - all ruled the State defendants have no vicarious liability for the actions of Hickey because there was no employer/employee relationship, formal or substantive, between them.

The judges noted Hickey was, at all relevant times, a teacher employed and working in a national school under the management of the local Catholic priest and that, under the national school rules, it is the school manager - in this case Canon Stritch - not the Minister for Education who decides which teacher to employ.

The court further noted no action had been brought by Ms O'Keeffe against the manager or patron of the school and said, in those circumstances, it was not appropriate to decide whether vicarious liability should be imposed on the direct employer of Hickey, Canon Stritch.

The judges also stressed they were leaving over for definitive consideration in a more appropriate case the issue of whether the common law here should be given an extended interpretation so as to encompass a "close-connection" test for the purposes of an employer's vicarious liability.

Dissenting from the majority, Mr Justice Hugh Geoghegan said exemption of the State from vicarious liability was "not just" in the circumstances of the relationship between the Church and State regarding the Dunderrow school.

Applying the general modern principles underlying vicarious liability, he believed it was wrong to exempt the State from vicarious liability in this case. There was "quite sufficient connection" between the State and the creation of the risk to Ms O'Keeffe to render the State liable, he said.

That did not mean relevant Church authorities would also not be liable but they had not been sued, he added.

The court had heard parents withdrew girl children from the Dunderrow school in protest at Hickey's actions in 1973. Hickey ultimately resigned in January 1974 and was employed the following month at a boys’ school in Ballincollig, Cork. He continued to teach until his recognition as a teacher was withdrawn after criminal proceedings in the late 1990s.

Ms O'Keeffe's High Court action against Hickey and the State were heard by Mr Justice Eamon De Valera in 2004 with judgment delivered in 2006. Damages against Hickey were assessed at €300,000. The judge rejected Ms O'Keeffe's claim against the State and awarded costs against her.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Nial Fennelly said Hickey was, in law, the employee of the manager, Canon Stritch. While he was required to possess qualifications laid down by the Minister for Education and to adhere to the rules for national schools, the State had not initially engaged him and did not have power to dismiss him. The scheme of the rules and the consistent history of national schools was that the day to day running of schools is in the hands of the manager.

Mr Justice Fennelly also indicated that traditional principles governing vicarious liability could be applied in a broader manner on the basis of a "close-connection" test.

Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman said Ms O'Keeffe was seeking a "drastic change" in the law on vicarious liability. If any such change was to be effected, it should be done by the legislature and not the courts, he believed. He also referred to the "very peculiar, probably unique `managerial' system" for the governance of many national schools in Ireland.

© 2008 irishtimes.com

Posted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:54 pm
by tony
RTE News - Cork mother loses abuse case appeal
Friday, 19 December 2008 13:05

A Cork mother of two who was abused by her teacher as a child faces a legal bill of more than €500,000 after losing a Supreme Court appeal.

In a four-to-one ruling the court dismissed the appeal by Louise O'Keeffe.

It found the State was not responsible for what happened to her.
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It said the State could not be held liable because the teacher in question was employed by the Catholic schools Board of Management, not the State.

However in his dissenting ruling, Mr Justice Geoghegan said he believed the circumstances of the relationship between the church and State meant the State was liable.

As a young child Ms O'Keeffe was abused by her then teacher Leo Hickey. He was jailed in 1998 after pleading guilty to 21 sample charges.

Two years ago the High Court rejected her claim that the Minister for Education and the State had responsibility for the assaults. Ms O'Keeffe appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court, but today she lost.

The court said it was the local patron, in this case the local Catholic bishop, that employed Hickey. The State has no responsibility because it was not the employer.

In his dissenting ruling Mr Justice Geoghegan said he believed the circumstances of the relationship between church and State meant exemption from liability by the state was not just.

Speaking after the ruling Ms O'Keeffe says said she could not understand how the department trained the teacher, approved his appointment, inspected and paid him, and yet was not his employer.

She said she was extremely disappointed. And said she was now begging and pleading with the department not to seek costs against her.

The Department of Education indicated in court today that it would be seeking costs. In a statement it says it is now considering the ruling.

Posted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 6:56 pm
by tony
Irish Times - Saturday, December 20, 2008
State not responsible for school sex assaults

MARY CAROLAN

THE SUPREME Court has ruled in a test action that the State cannot be held vicariously liable for a series of sexual assaults by a national school principal on an eight-year-old girl pupil.

Some 200 cases were awaiting yesterday's judgment on the appeal by Louise O'Keeffe (43), of Thoam, Dunmanway, Co Cork, against a High Court decision that the Minister for Education and the State are not vicariously liable for the assaults.

Ms O'Keeffe now faces a potential bill for legal costs of more than €750,000, but the costs issue will be decided later.

By a four to one majority, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, ruling the State cannot be held vicariously liable for 20 sexual assaults by school principal Leo Hickey on Ms O'Keeffe at Dunderrow National School, Co Cork, in 1973.

Hickey was jailed for three years in 1998 after pleading guilty to 21 sample charges of indecent assaults on 21 girls.

The majority court - the Chief Justice, Mr Justice John Murray; Ms Justice Susan Denham, Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman and Mr Justice Nial Fennelly - ruled that the State defendants have no vicarious liability for Hickey's actions because there was no employer/ employee relationship, formal or substantive, between them.

The judges noted Hickey was, at all relevant times, a teacher employed and working in a national school under the management of the local Catholic priest and, under the national school rules, it was the school manager - the late Canon Stritch - and not the minister for education who decided which teacher to employ.

The court further noted that no action had been brought by Ms O'Keeffe against the manager or patron of the school, and it was therefore not appropriate to decide whether vicarious liability should be imposed on Canon Stritch as direct employer.

The court stressed it would leave for definitive consideration in a more appropriate case the issue of whether the common law here should be given an extended interpretation so as to encompass a "close-connection" test for the purposes of an employer's vicarious liability.

Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman said Ms O'Keeffe was seeking a "drastic change" in the law on vicarious liability and he would decline to make it. If any such change was to be effected, it should be done by the legislature and not the courts.

He also referred to the "very peculiar, probably unique 'managerial' system" for the governance of many national schools in Ireland.

Dissenting, Mr Justice Hugh Geoghegan said exemption of the State from vicarious liability was "not just" in the circumstances of the relationship between the church and State regarding the Dunderrow school.

Applying the general modern principles underlying vicarious liability, he believed it was wrong to exempt the State from vicarious liability in this case.

There was "quite sufficient connection" between the State and creation of the risk to Ms O'Keeffe to render the State liable, he said. That did not mean relevant church authorities would also not be liable, but they had not been sued.

The court had heard parents withdrew girls from the Dunderrow school in protest at Hickey's actions in 1973. Hickey ultimately resigned in January 1974 and was employed the following month at a boys' school in Ballincollig, Cork. He continued to teach until his recognition as a teacher was withdrawn after criminal proceedings in the late 1990s.

Ms O'Keeffe had secured €53,000 damages from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal over the abuse, but was unhappy with the award.

Her High Court action against Hickey and the State were heard by Mr Justice Eamon de Valera in 2004, with judgment delivered in 2006.

Damages against Hickey were assessed at €300,000, but Ms O'Keeffe has not recovered those. The judge rejected her claim against the State and awarded costs against her.

This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ire ... 00828.html

Posted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 10:01 pm
by ctr
the good people of this island should fund this all the way to Europe,

Also if I was on the local BoM (and I never made the local BoM) I would suggest all Boards of Managements resign i as it appears they are liable for DoE employees.

As volunteers I bet they are not happy about this.

Posted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 3:44 am
by SunWorshipper
ctr wrote:the good people of this island should fund this all the way to Europe,

Also if I was on the local BoM (and I never made the local BoM) I would suggest all Boards of Managements resign i as it appears they are liable for DoE employees.

As volunteers I bet they are not happy about this.
Seems strange to me that this action was taken against the Minister for Education alone and not "the minister, her department, assignees, agents, representatives, sidekicks, etc.," which would include the BoM and the priest/bishop.
It also seems strange that the entity which pays the wages cannot be identified as the employer.
However, it would seem that the plaintiff can now sue the clergyman identified by the Supreme court as the employer and should go ahead and do so.
And yes, ctr, boards of management should be made very aware of the predicament that they might eventually find themselves in.

Posted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 4:48 am
by Alexis
Louise O'Keeffe is just another victim of Ireland's Roman Catholic socio-political culture, which is held in place by the vast majority of Irish people today - as in the past.

She is faced with the fact that that our public services, i.e., our schools and hospitals, are financed by the public purse, yet run (controlled and dominated by Rome). But hey, most of us don't care about her plight - the fact that she was sexually-abused/raped as a child by one of our own High & Mighty authority figures. And why not? Because we (as upstanding members of our Roman Catholic Society) do the same thing to our own children every day - and they don't compalin! So why should she?!!!

Don't ya just love Ireland - the land of the Saints and the Scholars and the Sociopaths, who not only love raping children, but who get paid lots of money for doing so!

Its called Preserving the Status Quo!

Posted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:05 am
by lostexpectation
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/fro ... 75030.html
PRESSURE ON the Catholic Bishop of Cloyne, the Most Rev John Magee, to resign is mounting after the Minister for Children Barry Andrews last night questioned his suitability to be patron of national schools in the diocese

has any bishop ever resigned ?

merely retired?

ah yes comiskey resigned after ferns

Posted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:06 am
by adamd164
Alexis wrote:Louise O'Keeffe is just another victim of Ireland's Roman Catholic socio-political culture, which is held in place by the vast majority of Irish people today - as in the past.
So you keep saying!

Posted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 11:10 am
by aZerogodist
lostexpectation wrote:http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/fro ... 75030.html
PRESSURE ON the Catholic Bishop of Cloyne, the Most Rev John Magee, to resign is mounting after the Minister for Children Barry Andrews last night questioned his suitability to be patron of national schools in the diocese

has any bishop ever resigned ?

merely retired?
I would love to protest outside Cobh-cath for the Bishop's mass on 25th, with a sign "Ban the Bishop". I think he should be as accountable, just like a manager of a company is for illegal actions, ie. Enron.