‘Grace’ case demonstrates frightening lack of accountability and a Whistleblowing regime 'not fit for purpose' - Mairéad Farrell TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Public Expenditure & Reform Mairéad Farrell TD has said the details of the ‘Grace’ case, highlighted by John McGuinness TD and Kathleen Funchion TD in the Dáil yesterday, were "harrowing".
The Galway-West TD also commended the brave whistle-blowers who tried to reveal this shocking abuse of an intellectually disabled woman, and suffered significant penalisation themselves as a result.
Teachta Farrell stated:
"The is one of the most disturbing cases I have ever heard.
"The fact that an intellectually disabled woman could be put through this sexual abuse hell for twenty years, and the authorities, the very people tasked with looking after her, allowed this to go on - is evil. I can’t think of any other word for it.
"I had hoped that this kind of thing had been consigned to a previous darker period of our history. When the Religious orders moved around paedophiles and rapists to stop them from ever being held to account.
"But the fact that it’s still going on to this day, and that public service organisations are more concerned about reputational damage and legal challenges that than lives of actual human beings, extremely vulnerable ones at that, is terrifying.
"It further demonstrates that our whistle-blowing regime failed again. There were courageous individuals who tried to raise the alarm, and the HSE sought to crush them.
"Myself and Teachta Pat Buckley are preparing to introduce our own Whistle-blowing legislation.
"It would greatly increase accountability, as it would empower the relevant Minister in consultation with the Attorney General to gather all the available evidence of such wrongdoing within their department, or a public body under the aegis of that department, and pass the information to the relevant authorities, be they DPP or the State solicitors office.
"However, whilst I think this would greatly improve the whistleblowing regime and increase the accountability of Civil Service and wider public service, more work must be done.
"The Grace case must be the final straw. I intend to continue my work on transparency and accountability by bringing forward more legislation to address the issue of accountability within the Civil/public service."