The whistleblower who first highlighted the Grace foster abuse scandal has welcomed the fact a State inquiry is now set to occur into her belief that the case was covered up by health service officials.

The individual can’t be named due to strict protected disclosure rules.

She said she is pleased issues will now finally be investigated, as she echoed calls from politicians for senior HSE and Tusla managers involved in the case to step aside pending the state inquiry.

“I welcome that at last a report on this matter has been published, seven years since I made a protected disclosure. We now finally have a report and a promise of a commission of investigation.

“The allegations of deliberate destruction of files and other issues were all raised some years ago. They should have been robustly investigated then but this report shows they weren’t because what Conor Dignam has found is that the Resilience Ireland and Conal Devine reports did not have the scope to look at them. I still maintain there has been a concerted cover up,” she said.

Asked about calls from Fine Gael TD John Deasy and Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness for senior HSE and Tusla managers to step aside pending the State inquiry, she said that she agrees with that view.

She said while HSE director general Tony O Brien told the Public Accounts committee in January that his hands were tied, she says “anybody should certainly step aside” while the scandal is fully examined.

Noting a reference on page 225 of the report, she said that the HSE only began to believe the issue was “urgent” in December 2013 because of fears it would leak out into the public domain.

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