A Fianna Fáil motion seeking to ensure that all survivors of child sex abuse in primary schools can seek redress from the State is being opposed by the Government.

The motion, tabled by the party's social protection spokesperson Willie O'Dea, is seeking to amend the scheme for ex-gratia payments from the Stet to victims follow a decision of the European Court of Human Rights.

It found that the State provided inadequate protection against child abuse in national schools.

Deputy O'Dea said he was "flabbergasted and appalled" at the Goverment's refusal to accept the motion and counter motion.

He described the Government's attitude to these victims as "coldly adversarial" and said the maximum cost of any claims would be €15m.

He said those affected had lived "broken lives" and had been robbed of their potential in life.

Mr O'Dea said this was not about money as no amount of compensation could turn back the clock and undo the damange done to those lives.

"It's about the State making a tangible gesture as evidence of it's good faith and an admission that a wrong was done to these people whilst they were under the control of the State by people whose salaries were paid by the State".

"For a paltry sum of €15m, on a day when corporation tax receipts have gushed through the ceiling, you can now put an end to the suffering of people who have suffered so much already".

He demanded that the Government "do the right thing".

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said that previous governments of which he was a member were wrong in pursuing Louise O'Keefe all the way to the European Court of Human Rights.

He said the ECHR vindicated Louise O'Keeffe's allegations of being a victim of child sex abuse in Dunderrow, Co Cork.

He said: "That should have been the end of the matter as the judgement was around systemic neglect in the 1970s in terms of a pro-active systemic regime which should have protected children in general".

He said the nub of this issue is the very narrow definition and very narrow interpretation that this Government has taken of the ECHR judgement in the Louise O'Keeffe case, as it applies to other survivors.

He said he "finds it very difficult to comprehend the absence of any genuine compassion in relation to the case of the survivors of child sex abuse in primary schools".

Responding to the motion, Minister for Education Richard Bruton said: "No one can doubt that child sex abuse is one of the most appalling crimes that can visit because it is inflicted on people in their most vulnerable years and it is done by persons in positions of trust".

He said we can spare no effort to stamp out this sort of practice and protect children and bring offenders to justice.

Minister Bruton said that no effort is spared in ensuring child protection measures are rigorously enforced.

He added: "What the motion is raising today is the question of liability to compensation. There is absolutely no doubt that there is a very clear liability on the part of perpetrators and those who oversaw them".

"In the case of industrial schools the State failed. The State had responsibility for the management of those schools. It was the State who sent children to those schools, licenced those schools, inspected those schools and the State failed catastrophically".

Mr Bruton said the Ryan Report showed a litany of failings and the State introduced redress in the case of industrial schools where €1.5bn has been paid to 15,000 victims.

But he added: "The case around the State's liability around primary schools has been regarded differently by the State. The State didn't enrol the children in those schools, they were not State institutions, the State did not employ the staff in those schools and the State did not manage them".

He recalled how that was tested by Louise O'Keeffe in her case and this led to the ex-gratia scheme that was put in place.

Minister Bruton pointed that in light of concerns about the situation, he appointed an independent assessor to examine the appeals against that ex-gratia scheme.

He said: "there is absolutely no desire on the part of the State not to pay out in the case where there are circumstances similar to those found in the judgement in the O'Keeffe case.

"That is why I have apppointed an independent former High Court judge Iarfhlaith O'Neill to assess the cases before him".

Mr Bruton said that the Government believes it should await the findings of Judge O'Neill.

Sinn Féin's Maurice Quinlivan said the Government amendment is "shocking".

He said the Government knows it is going to lose the vote on the amendment in the Dáil tomorrow yet it continues to oppose it.

Solidarity-PBP TD Paul Murphy called on the Government to "stop abusing survivors all over again and do the right thing" by paying the victims compensation.