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Those responsible for abuse of 'Grace' must face due process - Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

7 March, 2017 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Responding to the publication of the Terms of Reference for the Commission of Investigation to examine the alleged abuse of a woman known as ‘Grace’ while she was living in a foster home in the southeast, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Disability Rights, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin T.D., said that Sinn Féin supported the establishment of this Committee of Investigation and that its recommendations, once published, must be implemented as a matter of urgency and those responsible must face due process.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said;

“It is beyond comprehension how Grace, a young woman with intellectual disabilities, was left in a foster home for 20 years, despite a succession of sexual abuse allegations. It is equally hard to understand how 46 other children were placed in this setting over the two decades up to 2013. This scandalous series of events represents nothing other than gross negligence on the part of the State and the State bodies that have a duty of care to these young people.

“There are so many questions as to how this was let trundle on for over 20 years. Among the starkest realities of this case is the fact that there is no evidence that the foster family in question were ever approved to provide long-term care. How come the 1996 decision to remove 'Grace' from the foster home following allegations of sexual abuse was subsequently reversed to leave her there following representations from the foster father? 

“Sinn Féin supports the establishment of a Commission of Investigation. It is vitally important that we get to the bottom of how all of this was allowed happen to Grace. 

“In light of all that has unfolded we need to avoid such abominable failures happening into the future. Every single child should have an allocated social worker. It is incredibly important that the voices of children with disabilities are heard and that they are provided with an independent advocate to ensure their rights are protected. Following the conclusion of this investigation and the publication of the interim and final reports it is imperative that the recommendations contained therein are implemented and those responsible face due process. No child should ever again have to suffer the way Grace did.

“And what of other so called care settings. Are there, or have there been, other Grace’s in different placements elsewhere in this sad and sorry land. What efforts are now in train to establish the full truth of the disgraceful standards that have applied in the care of our most vulnerable citizens?” concluded Deputy Ó Caoláin.

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