A settlement deal for those suing convicted child molester and former consultant doctor Michael Shine has been plunged further into doubt.
A test civil action out of more than 100 cases alleging abuse against the former disgraced consultant has now been given priority to go ahead in the High Court next month as the sides dispute whether a settlement has been reached.
John Gordon SC for the claimants in the civil actions against 89-year-old Shine told the High Court on Tuesday the first test case will now include a claim for aggravated damages linked to the latest developments.
Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds, who set down the test case with priority to start on December 16th next, was told it will take two to four weeks.
The judge said it was in nobody’s interest to further drag out the litigation and she at one stage noted the claimants in the 100 plus cases are elderly and some are in ill health.
In early October the announcement of a settlement between the Medical Missionaries of Mary and those claiming abuse by former doctor Michael Shine who was employed by Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital which was at one time owned by the order, appeared to mark the end of an eight-year battle for compensation.
However, counsel for the religious order, which operated Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth, until 1997, reiterated to the court on Tuesday that the cases over the allegations dating between 1964 and 1995 are not settled.
Marcus Dowling SC for the Order said the matter is not settled.
The settlement row touches on an indemnity agreement involving the Order and under which the HSE says it is entitled to be fully indemnified in relation to costs and expenses.
In the High Court on Tuesday, John Gordon SC for the claimants said in a letter the HSE, which had all proceedings against it struck out at different times between 2019 and March 2020, set out its position in relation to the costs issue.
The HSE position according to the letter is it has sought reimbursement of costs and expenses it had incurred in relation to the cases.
It said in the letter it has sought reimbursement of costs and expenses from the Order. It also said the exercise by the HSE of its entitlements "does not in any way preclude" the plaintiffs and the Order from resolving the plaintiffs’ claims.
Shine was jailed for four years in 2019 for indecently assaulting seven boys in his care over a period of three decades.