Not over yet, Victims still Wait, Shine now 90 years old, Sits in a Cell in the Midlands Prison, the Wing for Sexual Abusers? Shine is the oldest Inmate in the Irish Penal System, and probably in Western Europe at the age of 90. A surgeon of renown who once had influential Friends and Contacts, some of whom sat at the Governments Cabinet Table? Fact?

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Settlement deal for victims of abuser surgeon is now in doubt

Judge urges parties to sit down together and reach an agreement

Michael Shine arriving at the Criminal Courts of
                  Justice in 2019. Photo: Collins Courts

Michael Shine arriving at the Criminal Courts of Justice in 2019. Photo: Collins Courts

October 26 2021 02:30 AM

A multi-million-euro compensation deal for victims of convicted child molester Michael Shine has been plunged into doubt.

The High Court was told earlier this month by lawyers representing more than 100 claimants that a settlement had been agreed by the former operators of the hospital where the disgraced former surgeon worked.

The announcement of a deal between the Medical Missionaries of Mercy and victims appeared to mark the end of an eight-year battle for compensation.

Lawyers for the religious order, which operated Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth, until 1997, now say the court should never have been told there was a settlement over the allegations dating between 1964 and 1995.

The precise reason for the dramatic development has not been disclosed, but it is thought to be linked to demands that the order also pay substantial legal costs incurred by the HSE, which was also a defendant.

The bizarre legal standoff leaves the claimants facing the unwelcome prospect of having to file further lawsuits against the order if they want to enforce the settlement their lawyers believed was in place.

Barrister Marcus Dowling SC, for the order, said any such litigation would be defended.

Another case against Shine and the religious order, involving a similar number of plaintiffs, settled for €8m in 2012. Shine (89), with an address at Wellington Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin, took no active part in the proceedings, ADVER

He has twice been jailed but never admitted to the abuse of boys at the hospital and private clinics he ran.

John Gordon SC, a barrister representing the claimants in the civil action, hit out at the treatment of his clients, whom he described as “extremely distressed victims of sexual abuse”.

“They (the order) are a Christian organisation and it is horrifying to think that at this stage these people’s entitlements are being held up once again,” he said.

Details of the stand-off emerged in the High Court before Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds last Thursday.

Mr Gordon said the problem was between the Medical Missionaries of Mary and “a third party”, not between the order and his clients. Neither Crowley Millar, the firm representing the order, nor the order itself, responded to requests for comment.

Galligan Johnson, the firm representing the claimants, declined to comment.

Ms Justice Reynolds was originally told the cases had been settled on October 7. In court on Thursday, Mr Gordon said that at that hearing counsel for the order agreed the cases were “under settlement”.

However, Mr Dowling told the court: “As far as we were concerned the court should not have been told the matter was settled.

“There is absolutely no agreement that the matter is settled.”

When he suggested the claimants would have to bring new proceedings if they were claiming there was a binding settlement, Ms Justice Reynolds said: “Mr Dowling, we won’t go down that road.” Mr Dowling said his clients were still optimistic a settlement was possible.

“I would urge the parties to return to the table and see if these issues, whatever they are, can be resolved at this stage without threats of further litigation, particularly having regard to the number of cases involved,” said Ms Justice Reynolds.

“I have no doubt these plaintiffs would prefer to have their cases settled at this stage rather than being embroiled in further litigation.”

Mr Gordon said his side had engaged with the order’s insurers and would not have recommended their clients accept a settlement offer if it had been aware of any outstanding issues.

He said it now turned out the order “still have an issue with a third party which has nothing to do with my clients” but he did not believe this should hold up the delivery of the settlement. The judge adjourned the matter to next month.

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