Abuse case ‘the stuff of nightmares’ – Adams
Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams has described the abuse allegations surrounding the young woman ‘Grace’ as the “stuff of nightmares”.
Teachta Adams described it as a “litany of failure and of cover-up; failure by the South Easter Health Board; failure by the SEHB staff who did not respond professionally and properly to reports of abuse at the foster home; failure by the HSE.”
The Louth TD said:
“I call upon An Taoiseach to ensure that the terms of reference for the Commission of Investigation are discussed with opposition spokespersons to ensure that it is comprehensive and secures the widest possible support in this Dáil.
“This is particularly important given that there have been a succession of damning reports about the treatment of women and children by the institutions of this state over many decades.”
Speaking in the Dáil this evening during statements on this horrifying case, Gerry Adams said:
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The detail of the abuse suffered by ‘Grace’ makes for distressing and disturbing reading. The ill-treatment of ‘Grace’ warrants the most thorough Garda investigation. The DPP has questions to answer about how it handled allegations of abuse at this foster home.
The HSE and successive governments have also questions to answer about the persistent failures of the child protection system over the decades.
Grace’s story is the stuff of nightmares. It is a litany of failure and of cover-up. Failure by the South Easter Health Board. Failure by the SEHB staff who did not respond professionally and properly to reports of abuse at the foster home. Failure by the HSE.
If the whistleblower had not gone to the Public Accounts Commission and a row then erupted because of the botched nature of HSE apology to the family, this tragic account of abuse of a young woman would have remained largely hidden behind unpublished reports.
Only when it was faced with public outrage did the government finally act and establish a Commission of Investigation.
I would ask that the Taoiseach ensure that the terms of reference for this Commission of Investigation are discussed with opposition spokespersons to ensure that it is comprehensive and secures the widest possible support in this Dáil.
Currently, one in five foster carers does not have a social worker. This is a breach of the regulations. How can the state ensure that there are no other ‘Grace’s’ in the foster care system if there are not the social workers available to provide the necessary level of scrutiny?
This morning the Chairperson of the Irish Association of Social Workers, Donal O’Malley said he is not confident there are enough safeguards in place to prevent another case like ‘Grace’ happening again.
All of this represents a failure on the part of Government to fulfil its responsibilities.