Terms of Reference for ‘Grace’ Inquiry Shamefully Narrow

07 Mar 2017 in Press Releases, Advocacy, Featured

Barnardos is outraged that the terms of reference of the Commission of Investigation into the care and protection of ‘Grace’ are so narrow. This is despite the already published Devine Report highlighting significant areas of concern about other children in addition to Grace.

Fergus Finlay, Barnardos, CEO said “As hurt and abused as she was, Grace was not alone. The families of others who were placed in the same foster home, families who were among the first to report deep concerns about their children, are effectively being excluded from these terms of reference. It is inexplicable that the Government and the Minister would seek to limit the terms of reference in this way.

“It goes against the recommendation of the Dignam report (2016), commissioned by the government to help “scope out” these terms of reference. Dignam specifically recommended the Commission of Inquiry should seek out “the facts surrounding the care received by all persons placed at the said foster placement, including whether any of them suffered abuse during the placement and, if so, whether the HSE or the South Eastern Health Board knew of same or ought to have known of same”.”

Mr Finlay concluded “We call on every member of the Dáil to refuse to support these terms of reference unless the Commission is mandated to take a modular approach to these fundamental issues of abuse and neglect. Of course it is necessary the case of Grace, which raises so many accountability issues, should be dealt with first. But the families of other victims must have an absolute assurance they will have an opportunity to tell their stories to the Commission and to seek the justice their loved ones deserve. In these Terms of Reference they are being essentially marginalised. We can’t continue to intentionally ignore and silence the potential suffering of children.”