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We need to ensure there are no other Graces in the system- Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

28 February, 2017 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Two HSE commissioned reports published today on failures at a foster home in Waterford have been described by Sinn Féin spokesperson on Disability Rights Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin as ‘scandalous’ and the very worst example of neglect and failure of the state to protect its most vulnerable citizens.Deputy Ó Caoláin said;

"In 2015 RTÉ Investigates revealed that Grace, a young woman with intellectual disabilities was left in a foster home for almost 20years, despite a succession of sexual abuse allegations. There were 47 other children 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.

"The reports published today highlight multiple failures in the care system. These include the fact that there was “no intervention or interactions” with Grace in her foster placement. In addition it was found that it was not conducive to the welfare of the other 47 children to be placed in this setting. How then was all this allowed to happen? 

"It is important to note that in a third state review of the reports by senior counsel Conor Dignam, concerns were included pertaining to the shortcomings in the documents available, and specifically that documents that would have been used were “deliberately destroyed” by unknown persons. This is a frightening statement and if true, means that we will never know the true extent of what happened. That said, a dedicated means of establishing the full truth needs to be set in train immediately.

"In light of all that has unfolded I believe that we need to review the way in which care settings are assessed. There needs to be a step change in how centres for the most vulnerable are assessed. HIQA must have an enhanced role in the regulation and inspection of these care placement homes and must be appropriately resourced in order to fulfill its extended responsibilities. We need to avoid such abominable failures happening into the future. We need to ensure that there are regular, unannounced visitations and thorough assessments of all centres across the country to ensure that there are no other Graces within the system."

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