A meeting has taken place in Strasbourg today between Ms O'Keeffe and Noeline Blackwell of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, and members of the Permanent Representations of the Council of Europe.

Ms O'Keeffe and Ms Blackwell want the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to impose enhanced supervision on the Government to ensure that it offers an appropriate redress scheme to abuse victims.

After the meeting, Ms O'Keeffe told RTÉ News they were satisfied they got a fair hearing and they await further developments.

The Government has insisted it is compliant with the O'Keeffe judgment.

Ms O'Keeffe and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission strongly dispute this.

She claims that two ex-gratia schemes established by the Department of Education are too restrictive, resulting in "hundreds" of child sexual abuse victims being unable to access them.

She said those who have been excluded are either people who initiated civil actions against the State and were bullied into dropping them, or they had never initiated civil actions, waiting instead to see what happened in her case.

Earlier, Taoiseach Simon Harris said he will listen carefully to what Ms O'Keeffe will have to say, but declined to say if the Government would be prepared to consider a new redress scheme for victims of sexual abuse while they were children attending State-run schools.

Speaking in Dublin, Mr Harris said he will be meeting Minister for Education Norma Foley and will be briefed by her officials in relation to the meeting between Ms O'Keeffe and Ms Blackwell with the Council of Europe's Permanent Representations.

"I think it is really important - if we have learned anything in this country from the wrongs of the past - that we are never arrogant or dismissive when it comes to victims and survivors," Mr Harris said when questioned about the case. "I think it is very important that we listen closely and carefully to the proceedings and meetings in Strasbourg and I will certainly do that."

"I am conscious that a number of actions have taken place since that [Louise O'Keeffe's] court case," Mr Harris said. "We have seen, for example, the Children First legislation [and] mandatory reporting in this area. We have seen guidelines and procedures in relation to child protection in the schools, both primary and secondary, and we have also see the ex-gratia scheme."

Ms O'Keeffe has been fighting for more than 25 years for the rights of people who were sexually abused as children in State-run primary and post-primary schools in Ireland.

She was abused repeatedly in 1973, while she was a pupil at Dunderrow National School in Co Cork. by then school principal Leo Hickey.

Hickey was jailed in 1998 for indecently assaulting children at the school.

Ms O'Keeffe sued the State, but in 2006 the High Court rejected her case that the State should be held responsible for the abuse she had suffered, and the Supreme Court affirmed that decision in 2009.

However, Ms O'Keeffe continued her legal fight, and in January 2014, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in her favour, that the State had an obligation to protect her from the sexual abuse she suffered in primary school.

Ms O'Keeffe received apologies from then-taoiseach Enda Kenny and his tánaiste Eamon Gilmore. She was also eventually compensated.

However, she consistently argued that the judgment in her favour should also be applied to the cases of hundreds of other victims who suffered sexual abuse in State-run schools.

The Department of Education, as the Government's lead department in this case, established an ex-gratia scheme in July 2015. The scheme received 50 applications. None of the applicants were successful.

Retired High Court judge, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill, was appointed to independently assess the scheme, and he found that the conditions attaching to it placed an excessive burden on the applicants.

A second ex-gratia scheme was established in July 2021, and remained open for two years.

Of those who applied under this scheme, 130 people received compensation payments totalling €10.75 million, the Department of Education said.

But Ms O'Keeffe said that leaves many others without redress and compensation.

"I look at the fact that, in the school that I came from, there were 21 girls went forward as witnesses in the criminal case. I'm the only one who has had any sort of redress. The others haven't," she said.

"If you look at that number, and you look at the number of schools involved throughout the country, there are hundreds of people who have never had any acknowledgement or redress or apology of any sort.

Ms O'Keeffe added: "People have not been able to get redress, because successive governments have constantly put various obstacles in their place. They haven't changed the law in Ireland so, as such, in Ireland, the judgments from the High Court and the Supreme Court in my case - where I lost - are still the law in Ireland. That needs to be changed. It hasn't."

Ms O'Keeffe is calling on Taoiseach Simon Harris to establish an appropriate redress scheme for victims.

"It really and truly does say that the Government from today, and previous governments, it's a matter of shame for them, it really is," she said.

"Any person who has not had redress from the Government or past governments, it means that the State has not apologised to them. The State has not acknowledged what happened to them. The State has not owned up to the responsibility that was always theirs to protect the child inside in our schools."

The Department of Education rejects Louise O'Keeffe's contention that abuse victims have been restricted from applying for redress.

"It is not the case that the State has failed to implement the O'Keeffe judgment," a spokesperson for the Department of Education told RTÉ News, outlining in detail the steps taken to implement the judgment here.

These include, the spokesperson said, the commencement of the Children First Act in 2015, which provided for mandatory reporting by key professionals; implementation of the Vetting Acts of 2012 to 2016, setting out vetting requirements for people working with children and vulnerable adults; as well as revised child protection procedures in schools.

The spokesperson also detailed the number of people who had pursued redress and the amounts paid out to in compensation under the revised ex-gratia scheme introduced by the Government.

"Minister [Norma] Foley wishes to extend her sympathy and apologies to all victims of abuse, including Louise O’Keeffe, who has rightfully received a full apology on behalf of the State," the spokesperson said.

"Protecting children from harm should be the foremost ambition in any society and many children were failed in this respect in the past in this country."

Ms O'Keeffe was in Strasbourg today, where the European Court of Human Rights ruled in her favour ten years ago. This afternoon, she briefed the Permanent Representations of the Council of Europe there on what she describes as the failure of successive governments here to fully implement the judgment.

She advocated that the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers would apply a higher standard of supervision - "enhanced" supervision - to the Government in its implementation of the O'Keeffe judgment.

The Committee of Ministers is made up of the ministers for foreign affairs of the 46 member States of the Council of Europe.

Cases subjected to enhanced supervision are examined at one of four human rights meetings held each year by the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers.

"I would hope that, because of the enhanced supervision, Ireland and our Government would be pressurised into doing what they should have done long before now," Ms O'Keeffe said. "They've had ten years to do it. It needs to be done. We must change the law. We must also put a proper redress scheme in place for people who were abused as young children in our schools."

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, an independent public body which accounts to the Oireachtas, backed Ms O'Keeffe in Strasbourg this afternoon.

Commission member Noeline Blackwell also briefed the Permanent Representations of the Council of Europe.

Ms Blackwell said she is appealing to the Council of Europe to increase its supervision of the Government, in the hope that it would pressurise the Taoiseach and his ministers to put an appropriate redress scheme in place.