Barnardos' Fergus Finlay calls for inquiry into abuse of children with disabilities in south east

Barnardos' Fergus Finlay calls for inquiry into abuse of children with disabilities in south east

The CEO of Barnardos is calling for the Minister for Health to set up a Commission of Inquiry into abuse of children with disabilities at a foster home in the south east.

As revealed recently by the Irish Examiner, over Christmas the Dáil public accounts committee received a significantly curtailed, 24-page version of a 200-page report into serious allegations of sexual abuse in the south east.

The report is based on claims a single foster care family in the south east, with whom more than 40 vulnerable children and teens with severe intellectual disabilities were placed between 1983 and 2009, abused a number of the individuals in their care.

The then South Eastern Health Board became aware of concerns in 1992, before social workers were told to remove all children in 1995.

However, due to a serious error that continues to have ramifications today, one woman who was mute was accidentally left with the family until 2009, allegedly suffering severe sexual, physical and financial abuse during the period.

Fergus Finlay (pictured) said people should be "hanging their heads in shame" over what happened to the families.

He said what happened to people who were in the care of the State was shocking, and added: "If we can’t get to the bottom of it and establish exactly who is accountable and how and why these decisions were made, you can never rest easy in your bed.

"No citizen of Ireland if they read what had happened to these young people could rest easy in their beds that this could happen to anybody in the responsibility of the State."

Speaking earlier on Morning ireland he said: "I want the Minister for Health to investigate. It didn’t happen on his watch, it happened well before his time, but he has access to all these files."

Read: Dáil committee claims HSE trying to cover up sex abuse allegations against foster care family


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