A bright light must be shone into all dark places of abuse – Ó Caoláin
Speaking during a debate on the revised terms of reference for the Commission of Investigation into the ‘Grace’ case, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Disability Rights, said that it was ‘one false start too many’, but that he was ‘anxious the full facts are established as soon as possible and that a bright light is shone into all the dark places where Grace and the other mistreated and vulnerable young people were so cruelly let down and their safety betrayed’.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said;
“It is my view that the Minister has introduced greater clarity to the terms of reference regarding their intentions and the ask or brief that is now being made of or given to Ms Majorie Farrelly SC. I am in no doubt as to the project now to be undertaken by Ms Farrelly and I am strongly of the view that there should be no further delay in the commencement of her work as sole member of this new commission of investigation. I am anxious the full facts are established as soon as possible and that a bright light is shone into all the dark places where Grace and the other mistreated and vulnerable young people were so cruelly let down and their safety betrayed.
“This must include not just the former foster home and the so-called providers who lived there, but also the local services, the South Eastern Health Board, the HSE, the Garda, the social workers, a Government Minister or Ministers, anyone else who had a State-approved or agency responsibility and anyone else beyond these services who could have known anything about the abominable treatment to which Grace and the other innocent victims were subjected and who, if they knew, ignored what was happening or represented a false picture of that house and its shameful story. I do not only expect their exposure; I expect that, arising from this process, appropriate action will be taken including, where appropriate, criminal prosecution.
“While this commission of investigation will focus on the specific placement of the 47 children in this former foster setting, I believe a wider investigation of the South Eastern Health Board and its successors in respect of their child care and child placement practices and policies should be undertaken. That said, we should not be so naive as to believe that these disgraceful failures were confined to the south east. We need the truth across the board.
“On behalf of Sinn Féin, as spokesperson for disability rights, I put on the record my support for the proposition and its associated terms of reference.”