Reports to detail shocking abuse suffered by Grace, intellectually disabled woman, at foster home

The full horror of the abuse suffered by Grace, an intellectually disabled woman, is laid bare in two shocking reports to be published tomorrow.

The reports, obtained by Daniel McConnell and Fiachra O Cionnaith of the Irish Examiner, detail how over a period of 20 years the health service failed to intervene to save her from savage sexual and physical abuse.

The shocking reports detail allegations that another resident at the home was locked in a cupboard under the stairs.

The 2012 Conal Devine Report and the Resilience Ireland Report into the foster abuse scandal reveal Grace suffered significant physical injuries before being removed from the home in 2009. They are due to be published tomorrow, after the families of the victims were briefed today.

These include black eyes, bruises to limbs, carpet burns on her back while also suffering horrendous neglect in terms of her physical well being.

The Devine Report details how an original 1996 decision to remove Grace from the home, amid allegations of sexual abuse, was overturned following representations to the then Health Minister Michael Noonan.

It shows that a seperate allegation of “sexual molestation” against a second child in 1995 was not properly investigated because of the absence of a formal complaint to Gardaí.

The report found heath service staff failed in their duty of care towards the woman, who was left in the foster home for 20 years despite evidence she and other children were being abused.

A commission of investigation into the affair is expected to be announced shortly.

Action was not taken even though health workers noted in the mid-1990s that the girl would strip off her clothes and engage in other “chaotic behaviour”, such as wolfing down her food, stealing dinners and headbutting other children.

A second report also being published by the HSE tomorrow, by consultants Resilience Ireland, reveals that a second child was locked in a cupboard at the home by the foster mother.

The Devine report stops short of explaining why a decision taken in April 1996 to remove the girl from the home, on account of the sexual abuse allegation against her male carer, was later overturned.

The Resilience Ireland report looked at the experiences of 34 other children who spent time at the home.

The foster family applied to take children for respite breaks under a scheme set up in the 1970s.

But Resilience Ireland said they didn’t think the foster family were ever approved to be full time foster carers.

The foster family resisted multiple attempts to have Grace removed from the home up until her eventual departure in 2009.

The establishment of the Commission of Investigation followed reports in the Irish Examiner about the scandal last year. The Government is to move to formally establish the Commission at its meeting of ministers next week.

Stay tuned to www.irishexaminer.com for full details.


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