The Government has been slammed by one of its own TDs for a seven-month delay in establishing a state inquiry into allegations of sex abuse against a disabled woman known as ‘Grace’.
The Coalition looks set to announce the establishment of a formal inquiry into the allegations of sex abuse in a Waterford foster home in the coming days.
Following reports in the Irish Examiner earlier this year, the previous government committed to establishing such an inquiry, pending the outcome of a review by senior counsel Conor Dignam.
That report has been received by Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian McGrath, who is under mounting pressure to announce the inquiry.
In the Dáil yesterday, Waterford TD John Deasy challenged Taoiseach Enda Kenny on the issue.
“In February of this year, an inquiry was announced into alleged abuse in a foster home in the south-east of this country.
“What is the delay in commencing this inquiry?” he asked Mr Kenny.
“I will have to come back to Deputy Deasy with...” Mr Kenny tried to say, but Mr Deasy interjected sharply.
“I will tell you what, I will ask the same question next week and the Taoiseach can have a response,” he said.
The Taoiseach relied: “No. I will be back to Deputy Deasy today. He will not have to ask it next week.”
Speaking to the Irish Examiner after the exchange, Mr Deasy was critical of Mr McGrath’s failure to progress the inquiry quicker.
“We have already waited too long and yet we still have no result. Any further delays are unacceptable,” Mr Deasy said.
Mr Deasy and his former Public Accounts Committee chairman John McGuinness were to the fore of raising the case of ‘Grace’ and the abuse suffered by her at the foster home last year.
It is understood that neither man was interviewed by Mr Dignam in his review process, despite their role.
‘Grace’ was allowed to linger in the foster home for more than 14 years after officials initially decided to remove her amid allegations of sex abuse.
Since then, some of the most horrific allegations about what went on in the foster home have surfaced and on foot of our reports in February, the Fine Gael- Labour government committed to establish an inquiry.
While the new Government has repeatedly committed to carrying out that promise, the delays in establishing the commission has led some of those involved to believe the impetus for an inquiry has lessened.
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