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Grace suffered decades of abuse and cover ups – McDonald

28 February, 2017 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald TD, speaking today during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil, questioned the Taoiseach as to his knowledge of the vile treatment in foster care of the girl known as Grace and whether a criminal investigation into the abuse and alleged subsequent cover up was ongoing.

The Dublin Central TD said:

“Earlier this morning, the HSE published two reports into failures at a foster home in Waterford over the course of almost three decades. During that time, the foster home in question housed forty-seven children; one of whom we know as ‘Grace’ - a young woman with profound intellectual disabilities.

“Grace was left in the home for nearly twenty years, despite a litany of sexual abuse allegations and neglect. She was forgotten; abandoned by those in the health service charged with ensuring her care.

“It is quite frankly vile and disgusting, Taoiseach.

“The report’s findings are absolutely shocking.  For long periods of time, there was ‘no intervention or interactions’ with Grace. The various people who were directly involved in her case, failed to discharge their duty of care to her.

“Both reports published today stress the cases of four other ‘service users’ relating to allegations of sexual molestation, physical abuse, and an allegation from one man that he was locked in a cupboard.

“All the while, serious breaches of all reasonable practices took place and nothing was done.

“I know these details were brought to your attention at Cabinet this morning Taoiseach, so will you will be aware of them.

“A Commission of Investigation has been long-promised by the Government. I welcome that it will be set up in the coming weeks, but what we need here is accountability.

“Reports and Commissions necessary and fine, but there are clear-cut instances of abuse of the gravest kind here; both in the treatment of Grace and others in foster care and of the failure of health officials to ensure her care and safety.

“We also have what seems to be a cover-up.

“Last year’s Dignam Report said of the two reports published today that there were shortcomings in them and that crucial files may have been ‘deliberately destroyed’ by persons unknown. That is damning; allegations of a cover-up, on top of everything else.” 

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