THE Redress Board is squandering taxpayers' cash processing claims of abuse against some of the people investigated by Gardai but NOT prosecuted by the DPP.
And today the Irish Sunday Mirror exposes the farce that is the Redress Board.
We reveal how: The Board pays out on claims of abuse against individuals already investigated by Gardai but who the DPP found their was not enough evidence to prosecute on. They can't liaise with Gardai as they evaluate claims.
The promise of confidentiality is a joke as it actually only applies to the accuser.
And those accused of horrific sex crimes, but cleared of any wrongdoing, believe the Board is "the biggest cash scam in the history of the State".
Even the Government Act that set up the Board says "an award made under this Act shall not be construed as a finding of fact that a person who is referred to in an application carried out the acts complained of."
Patsy McGlinchey's life was torn apart when he was accused of sexually abusing mentally handicapped children in his care.
The pain of his seven year ordeal is evident in his face, but his nightmare isn't over. Last night dad-of-three Patsy, from Tipperary, said the experience has destroyed his life, his family and his heart.
He said: "I was working in this one school for the mentally handicapped for three years when the first allegation of sexual abuse was made in 1997.
"My children saw me taken away in a squad car. I was released, but the following year I was arrested again, this time for the alleged abuse of 15 children.
"The Gardai questioned me for 12 hours about horrendous things, accused me of horrendous stuff.
"Then in 2000 I was charged with the sexual abuse of two of the children who had accused me. By this time the number of accusers had risen to 45.
"I'll never forget the scene as I appeared at court. People spat at me, I was beaten and kicked by the parents and their supporters.
"I was also forced to spend the night in a sex offender's wing in prison.
"It was terrifying. I couldn't believe this was happening to me and it completely tore my family apart.
"My children were very young and it's only now they understand that people said terrible things about their daddy.
"Both my wife and myself had breakdowns, and we would never let our kids friends in the house to play."
But Patsy's criminal trial didn't start until 2002. It lasted 17 days, but it only took the jury 90 minutes to find him not guilty.
But that was not the end of his family's heartache.
Patsy said: "As soon as I was charged, some of families of those I was accused of abusing issued civil claims against me.
"Most of those cases are ongoing, but one of the families went to the Redress Board, because her son had been resident at the school.
"I couldn't believe it when I got the letter from the Board saying this person was taking a claim against me.
"The criminal courts found me innocent in one case. And in this case the DPP did not even prosecute me."
The Redress Board was set up in 2002 to make fair and reasonable awards to children who were once resident in State facilities.
More than 2,550 people have now applied for cash payments to the Board.
The highest award during the first year of the board's work was EUR270,000.
So far, 587 cases have been dealt with, with 52 claims being dismissed. Successful claimants receive an average of EUR80,000.
And according to the rules set out by the Dail, the Board '... cannot decide any question of civil or criminal liability on the part of persons involved in the running of these institutions...' And it claims, 'All applications for redress are treated in the strictest confidence.'
But both these claims have been slammed by others cleared of abuse charges.
Simon, not his real name, worked in a Christian Brothers' school in Dublin in the 60s.
He discovered claims were being made against him when his accuser appeared live on RTE years ago.
He said: "I wasn't named in the programme but I knew he was referring to me.
"I went to my solicitor and he informed the Garda that I would voluntarily go to the station and answer any charges made against me.
"But this young man and his brother went to the Garda yet refused to make or sign a statement. At that stage I was told to go home and forget about it.
"But in 1999, this man was back with a vengeance. The police arrived at my house and took me away. They wouldn't even let me go back to my house to tell my wife.
"I was questioned for 12 hours, and just could not believe what they were saying to me.
"Over the course of five months I was taken in for questioning on three occasions and at the end of it 22 former pupils were claiming I had sexually and physically assaulted them."
It took another four years to completely clear his name.
He said: "I can't begin to explain the effect this has had on myself and my family.
"In this day and age to be accused of something like this is the worst thing that could happen to you. I would have preferred to have been accused of a murder I didn't commit."
But just when Simon thought his ordeal was over, he got a letter from the Redress Board.
He said: "Altogether 15 people have gone to either the Redress Board or the Laffoy Commission. I rang the Redress Board and spoke to a senior executive there.
"I read the letter I had from the DPP clearing my name and I asked him if they had spoken to the Garda about this, and I couldn't believe his reply.
"He told me, 'We're completely independent of the police, we do not liaise with the police'.
"I was then asked to respond to the claims and elaborate on them. But how can I elaborate on something that never happened?"
Jason, again not his real name, also believes the Redress Board is fatally flawed.
They have written to him about sex abuse he is supposed to have carried out when he was aged just TWO.
The 59-year-old Dubliner taught for two years at Artane industrial school in the 1960s.
But to make matters worse, the names of other people accused of abuse at the same institution have appeared on correspondence he has received from the Board.
He said: "Can you believe that? I know I have been found innocent by a jury, and for all I know these other people named in the letters I receive could be innocent too. "But what if these letters get into the wrong hands?
"I will never get over what's happened to me. The pain never stops. Telling my family, was my worst nightmare. I would rather have cancer and die a normal death than live this life."
Jason has been wrongly accused, he says, 15 times by former residents of the school.
One man claimed that Jason abused him on the morning of his confirmation, three months before Jason joined Artane.
Another claimed Jason abused him in a dormitory during a fire at the industrial school - when Jason was at a funeral in Louth.
Jason said: "As far as I'm concerned this is potentially the biggest cash scam in the history of the State."
But last night when we contacted the Redress Board, we were told they do not engage with members of the Press.
A spokeswoman said: "I'm not a Press officer, we don't have one. "The Board's policy is not to engage with the media.
"So we don't wish to be quoted in any way.
"All I can do is direct you to website."
(2) I WANT MY JOB BACK
Sunday Mirror, 7 March 2004, DEIRDRE O'DONOVAN
A TEACHER has demanded clergy give him his job back after claims that he had sexually abused students were dismissed by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Patsy McGlinchy was suspended from his job in St Vincent's School seven years ago following 45 allegations of abuse.
But in spite of being cleared of two charges in court and having the other 43 charges against him dropped by the DPP he is still banned from his teaching post.
Last night, Patsy, a father of three, pleaded with Bishop Willie Walsh, patron of the school, to end the ordeal he and his family have endured, and give him back his teaching job.
He said: "My family's nightmare began on March 5, 1997, when I was falsely accused of abusing children in my care.
"I was suspended from my job and my wife Dympna and myself have been to hell and back, fighting to clear my name.
"After the court case the school said it was launching its own investigation into the allegations. But that was almost a year-and-a- half ago, and still I am stopped from returning to normal, getting back to what I love - teaching."
Last year Patsy, from Co Tipperary, turned to Bishop Willie Walsh in the hope that he could help the family.
But, he claims, Bishop Walsh has refused to help in spite of calls from Patsy's fellow teachers who, Patsy says, completely support his cause.
Patsy said: "Last February I met with the Bishop at his home in Ennis.
"He was very sympathetic and listened to my story. But despite several more meetings between myself, my wife and fellow teachers, three months later he told us he couldn't help me.
"There are other teachers who have been suspended, and remain so, but a school caretaker, also implicated in the allegations is now back at work.
"All I want to do is return to my normal life and clear my name.
"I want to end this suffering for my wife and my family."
Last night Bishop Walsh said there had been an unacceptable delay in resolving the matter, but it was a complex issue.
He said: "That is a matter for the Board of Management of the School, and obviously it is an extremely difficult issue.
"It's not a simple matter of me dismissing the Board of Management and reinstating Patsy McGlinchy.
"The Board of Management of the school have been in contact with the Health Board as they are responsible for the children in the school.
"The situation is being examined, there have been very serious delays in the matter, between the Health Board and the Board of Management.
He then added: "I'm not prepared to go into all these issues over the phone. I don't think it's possible to conduct the matter this way.
"The matter is in a legal framework and I have a duty, the same as everybody else, to follow the rules and regulations which are laid down.
"And I believe that the rules and regulations are being followed."
But Patsy believes that the Bishop, the school and its Board of Management just want him to go away.
He said: "They have offered me a pay-off, but I'm not interested.
"I want to go back to work.
"I have done nothing wrong, but they just want me to go away."