The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the Irish state failed to protect a woman who was sexually abuse by her school principal in the 1970s.
The court found that Ireland's system of detection and reporting of abuse was ineffective during this time as it allowed more than 400 incidents of abuse over such a long period.
It said if adequate action had been taken in 1971 when the first complaint against Leo Hickey was made, Louise O'Keeffe might have not been abused by him.
The court ruled that Ms O'Keeffe's rights had been violated under article three of the European Convention on Human Rights which prohibits inhuman and degrading treatment and of article 13 which gives rights to an effective remedy.
The result could pave the way for claims against the State from hundreds, if not thousands, of people who were abused in schools.
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