Dáil PAC group may meet Grace source

A Dáil committee may meet the whistleblower who uncovered the Grace foster-home abuse scandal. She claimed that the HSE is using gaps in knowledge to “hoodwink” TDs and avoid publicly answering questions.

The public accounts committee will decide next week on the potential meeting, having received a letter from the whistleblower’s solicitor, amid concerns that information previously provided may fall outside the scope of the State investigation.

In the letter, the whistle-blower’s solicitor said there were concerns about evidence given by HSE director, Tony O’Brien, at previous meetings with the PAC.

The whistleblower said the concerns include previous claims that gardaí are preventing the HSE from publishing two reports into the case; that procurement issues do not exist; that the whistleblower’s agency did not suffer cutbacks after concerns were raised; and that all people involved in a key decision in 1996, relating to the case, have since retired.

Claiming that the HSE’s evidence “has fallen short of what you would reasonably expect”, the whistleblower said there is an ongoing attempt to “hoodwink” the PAC.

“This [the alleged misinformation] is, with the greatest respect, another attempt to hoodwink the committee. Our client has absolutely no doubt the HSE is taking advantage of the PAC’s understandable lack of knowledge on certain matters,” the whistleblower claimed.

PAC deputy chair and Labour TD, Alan Kelly, yesterday confirmed the PAC will decide on whether to hold the special meeting next week, and whether it should be held in public or in private. The PAC previously held behind-closed-doors meetings with garda whistle-blower, Maurice McCabe.

Although the High Court last week awarded Grace €6.3m in compensation and service requirements from the HSE, other parts of the scandal are continuing, including a State commission of investigation.

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