In the Media

‘Some are depressed, turned to gambling and drink – €100,000 doesn’t begin to cover it,’ Dr. Olivarius comments on the progress of cases involving the Spiritans (Irish Independent)


Dr Ann Olivarius, an international lawyer who has represented victims of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church in the US and UK, recently registered to practise in Ireland and has been involved in a number of cases taken against the Spiritans.

Dr Olivarius said dozens more were likely to be settled in the coming months, which could result in the congregation having to pay out millions.

However, she believes the settlement figures are not a reflection of the horrific abuse suffered by students who attended boarding schools run by the Spiritans in the 1970s and 1980s.

“Ireland has a history of saying it cares more about the church than it does its people,” she said.

“These people have been so desperately damaged. Some are depressed, turned to gambling and drink, some lost their love for life – €100,000 doesn’t begin to cover what they went through.

“The Spiritans are making out that they are doing these people a favour by giving them a drop in the bucket.

“The Spiritans legal team are engaging with claimants and the cases are starting to settle. I think there are going to be masses of cases that will settle, while some will go to trial.

“A number of them have been settled without having to go to the High Court. Many of these cases are very horrific. These are pretty terrible cases.

I believe many more people will likely come forward. It’s hard for them to come forward initially “I believe many more people will likely come forward. It’s hard for them to come forward initially. They fear they will be verbally abused, they are embarrassed and filled with shame as Irish society has made them feel ashamed. When someone goes public, it makes it easier for the next person to say, ‘me too’.”