13th February 2014
By Bryan T. Smyth
Louise O’Keeffe was named Cork Person of the Month to mark her many decades
of battle for justice, when the European Court of Human Rights recently
ruled in her favour against the Irish State.
“This victory is a victory for the children of Ireland and I accept this
award on behalf of all those other abuse victims”, said Louise at the award
Each year twelve Cork Persons of the Month are chosen and the Cork Person
of the Year is picked from that group at year’s end.
Louise O’Keeffe was abused by her then-principal in a Cork primary school
in the 1970s, when she was just eight years old. The Government denied
liability, forcing Ms. O’Keeffe to take her landmark case through the Irish
courts and finally ending up at the European Court of Human Rights. Her
successful ruling was very hard won, and now means the Department of
Education “must protect children in schools”.
“Her campaign is a tribute to her courage and tenacity and her achievement
not only means children will be better protected in Ireland but across some
47 countries in Europe”, said Awards Organiser Manus O’Callaghan.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore apologised for what
happened to Louise O’Keeffe and for the horrendous experience that she had
to go through.
LOUISE O’KEEFFE CORK PERSON OF MONTH. Louise O’Keeffe’s successful fight
for justice in the European Court of Human Rights earned her the February
Person of the Month award. Her name now also goes forward for possible
selection as Cork Person of the Year. Louise said her victory was a victory
for the children of Ireland, and she accepted this award on behalf of all
those other abuse victims. Pictured at the award presentation l/r Manus
O’Callaghan, Awards Organiser; Niamh Lehane, Lexus Cork; Louise O’Keeffe
Cork Person of the Month; Mary Scriven, Solicitor who transmitted the good
news on the day, from Strasbourg, that Louise had won and that the State
was liable for the abuse Louise suffered as a child in school; Pat
Lemasney, Southern (marketing design media).
Photo: Tony O’Connell Photography.