State must ensure failings seen in Galway foster home rape case will never be repeated – Mitchell
Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs Denise Mitchell TD has said that the public needs to have confidence that a situation which saw children left in a foster care setting after a credible disclosure of rape was made against an individual present at that home can never happen again.
Deputy Mitchell was responding to the ‘RTÉ Investigates’ programme into the abuse of three girls while in foster care in Galway:
“The Taoiseach this morning said that an investigation by the Independent Review Panel is underway into this case. However, I note that the victims themselves do not have any confidence in this review mechanism and are instead calling for an Independent Commission of Investigation. I urge the Taoiseach and Minister to facilitate that request.
“We also need an answer from the HSE and the Gardaí as to how children remained at this home after one of the victims had come forward with a complaint which was deemed to be credible. Immediately a full risk assessment should have been carried out and any foster children present at that home should have been removed.”
Deputy Mitchell also raised concerns around the sentencing in this case:
“I am very concerned by the sentence handed down to the perpetrator who inflicted this horrific abuse on these young women. I believe my concern is in line with the very clear public outrage at the perceived leniency of this sentence.
“This case highlights the need for the Government to consider the introduction of sentencing guidelines that would be drafted by a sentencing committee, as proposed by Sinn Féin in amendments to the Judicial Council Bill. Such a move would help to ensure that prison sentences are proportionate to the crime committed.”