HSE officials ‘lied’ to Public Accounts Committee about Grace child abuse case, former committee chair alleges
12 hrs ago
HSE officials “lied” to the Public Accounts Committee about a notorious child abuse case in the Southeast, it has been alleged under Dáil privilege.
A child known only as Grace was systematically abused in foster home care, with another 46 children subsequently shown to have been at risk.
“Officials told blatant lies,” said former PAC Chairman John McGuinness in the Dáil, referring to past PAC testimony.
HSE personnel should be called back before the Oireachtas and “put through the wringer,” he said, adding that it was the only case in his 24 years as a TD that had left him “sick to the pit of my stomach.”
“They should be brought to court and prosecuted,” he said.
Mr McGuinness, commenting on the interim report of the Farrelly Commission into the case, said his party had previously looked for a lesser form of debate – “pretty typical.” It had wanted to protect the institutions involved, he suggested.
Minister of State for Disability Anne Rabbitte said there was an active Commission of Investigation, and it would not be appropriate for her to comment on the substance of the interim report. She apologised for her limited contribution later.
Grace, who was non-verbal, was placed with a foster family in the southeast of Ireland between 1989 and 1995 where she was allegedly sexually abused by a man who is now dead.
The Commission has been in place for four years and has cost €7 million to date.
“There were failures in Grace’s care. There needs to be accountability. We need to know exactly what happened, to whom, and who was responsible for any failures,” she said.