Sister of child who spent time in 'Grace' foster home reveals 'absolute horror'

Sister of child who spent time in 'Grace' foster home reveals 'absolute horror'

The sister of a child who spent time in the same foster home where 'Grace' lived has spoken out about her family's experience.

'Sarah' was a child with intellectual disabilities who spent time in the 'Grace' foster home where it's alleged she also suffered horrific sexual abuse.

Sarah's sister spoke to David McCullagh on RTÉ's Prime Time tonight.

She said that it was the health board that directed Sarah to be placed in the foster home.

"Yes, and that was a comforting thing to our mother because she felt well if this was under the Health Board, the HSE then all the checks were in place and that would be the best place for Sarah because she would be safe."

However, she then described the event that took place which caused her mother to have concerns.

"Sarah was home on a Sunday afternoon with mum playing in the sitting room and just being in the space... and to her absolute horror Sarah kind of... Sarah got into a position, took down her pants, and kind of got into a sexual position and as you can imagine for any mum, my mum was shocked and she just was you know immobilised."

Sarah's sister described it as the "worst nightmare".

She said that her mother raised her concerns through the channels within the health board but then started looking at other options in the North and Sarah went there for a number of years.

"They came down really hard on our mother, there was reports written up, they were quite aggressive towards the family, they just totally bullied us in to thinking that it was all just in mum's head," she said.

On Grace, Sarah's sister said: "Sarah was there the same time as Grace, you know their lives have been robbed in so many ways".

She described her sister as one of the most incredible human beings she knows and that she greets every day fighting.

She described the commission of investigation as "disappointing".

"I just wonder why Finian Mc Grath in his role as the minister, particularly in his role as minister for disability has chosen this path. We have looked under the freedom of information for Sarah’s files to know who has had access to her file and yet we still haven’t got that. We’ve had to use solicitors, we’ve been fobbed off with letters saying that we’re reviewing it, or we’ll send it out to ye or we can’t find Sarah’s file."

"There seems to be a lack of commitment to really honouring the process and honouring all the victims and the survivors who were placed in that foster placement," she said.

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