Irish High Court rules women at centre of adoption mix up can sue the adoption society

In October, 2019 the Irish High Court granted permission to Helen Maguire and Christine Skipsey to issue the proceedings against St Patrick’s Guild.

The two women intend to sue the Catholic adoption society over the mixing up of babies in the 1960s.

The approval of the court was required under the Companies Act as the company behind the adoption society, St Patrick’s Guild (Incorporated), is in voluntary liquidation.

The case is one of several due to be issued against the adoption society which operated at Temple Hill in Blackrock, Co Dublin.

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Irish Government to provide €5 million to fund support services for former residents of mother and baby homes

At a Cabinet Meeting just before Christmas, the Irish Minister for Health, Simon Harris outlined plans by the Irish Government to spend €5 million on expert advisors, counselling staff and an extensive research project to address the legacy of mother and baby homes and the effects of that legacy on an estimated 57,000 former residents.

The proposed funding breaks down as follows:

  • €1.4m to the Health Service Executive the Irish equivalent of the NHS for 25 additional counselling staff to support the psychological needs of former residents of the mother and baby homes;
  • €600,000 to fund the appointment of four expert advisors who will be tasked with creating a “bespoke” counselling and well-being service including computer costs and support staff.

The Health Research Board will also fund a dedicated research study aimed at improving the health and well-being of former residents of mother and baby homes, which is estimated to cost €1m.

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Tusla (The Irish Child & Family Agency) under fire again

Readers of the blog will be aware that we have recently reported on serious issues that have arisen in respect of Tusla and the exercise of its statutory duties in our blog of the 21 June and 3 September 2019.

The Irish Child and Family Agency came in for further criticism in a judgment handed down in the Irish High Court on 2 September by Mr Justice Meenan.

The case before the High Court arose in circumstances where a teacher was accused of smacking a female student on the bottom and allegedly making inappropriate comments to her.

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TUSLA (Irish State Agency) criticised for delays in reporting abuse cases

The Irish Quality Agency (HIQA) has criticised the agency responsible for managing allegations of abuse in Ireland. It found that fewer than half of the cases of suspected child abuse in the South Dublin area had been reported to the Gardai (Irish police) in a timely manner.

It also found that children identified as at risk were not receiving regular home visits from social workers with gaps of six weeks or more recorded.

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Irish High Court grants leave to sue State Agencies over failure to protect from child abuse

On Wednesday this week Mr Justice Peter Kelly, President of the Irish High Court granted leave to initiate legal action against State Agencies on behalf of a woman who was allegedly sexually abused by more than 12 men when she was a child. The proposed legal action against the State Agencies is to be based on their failure to protect her from the alleged abuse.

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Scouting Ireland to issue institutional apology to abuse victims

Scouting Ireland is expected to issue an institutional apology to victims of abuse in the organisations which preceded the creation of the Irish scouting group.  Scouting Ireland was created when Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland and the Scout Association of Ireland merged into a single organisation.

It is believed there have been over 320 victims identified and almost 250 alleged abusers not including cases of peer abuse allegations.  Investigations into allegations have been on going for some time now and a recent report to the Irish Minister for Children suggests that the organisation will be making an open apology to all victims.

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The right to anonymity reversed

The courts in Ireland have been faced with an unusual situation over the right to anonymity provided to victims of rape.  Rape victims are, as it is across the UK, entitled to anonymity before, during and after rape trials.

In Ireland the accused is also entitled to anonymity, under the Criminal Law (Rape) Act 1981, up to the point of conviction when that right is withdrawn.  In a case heard last year, a man was convicted of raping a woman when she was a child.  The allegations related to a period when the two grew up next door to each other.  The rapes commenced when the victim was aged nine and her attacker was 17 and continued over a two year period.

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