An Irishman is suing the Irish state for being held in a state of “quasi-servitude” at the age of nine while working as a farm boy, the High Court has heard.

The man, now aged 50, has also started actions to sue the religious order. He claims that during his time in this institution, from infancy until he left, he was sexually abused by other children.

His claims against the State related to the period from 1971 to 1981 when he was “boarded out” to a brother and sister in the west of Ireland. The brother and sister are now dead.

The court also heard that despite his tough start, he went on to attend a respected secondary school in Sligo and later, University College Galway and went on to obtain a professional qualification.

The 50-year-old also claims that the Health Service Executive, Ireland’s Minister for Health, and the religious order, have asked the courts to strike out his case on the grounds of inordinate and excusable delay. His case was started 12 year ago.

The Residential Institutions Redress Board sanctioned an interim payment of $12,900 (€10,000) but reserves its position on the period when he was “boarding out” on the farm.

According to the Irish Times report, the man’s counsel, Suzanne Boylan, said the man is unwell and not in the position to give counsel at this time. She called for an adjournment and hoped the matter could be resolved through the redress board.

Mr Justice Gerard Hogan who presided over the case said he “earnestly hoped” a decision would be made swiftly by the board.

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