Finian McGrath to receive ‘Grace’ inquiry terms

The provisional terms of reference for an imminent State inquiry into the ‘Grace’ foster home abuse scandal are set to be given to Disabilities Minister Finian McGrath this week.

The Irish Examiner understands the terms are focussed on current child- safety procedures and the risk of another incident occurring, the actions officials responsible for Grace’s care did and did not take, and when these professionals first became aware of the abuse claims.

The provisional terms for the inquiry were first announced just days before the February general election was called. The terms are based on the views of an independent report by senior counsel Conor Dignam, who has been examining the scandal for more than a year.

While they may be altered at this stage, it is expected the Government will back the scale of examination being sought before seeking a Dáil vote on setting up a commission of investigation later this month.

The case involves claims that a woman with severe intellectual disabilities, given the pseudonym ‘Grace’, suffered severe sexual abuse at the south- east foster home between the late 1980s and 2009.

While all placements with the family were meant to end in 1995, ‘Grace’ continued to stay at the home until 2009 while a second woman, called ‘Anne’, stayed for respite care until 2013. Several senior child-protection staff who were responsible for overseeing care standards in the region at that time remain in their positions in the HSE and child protection watchdog Tusla.

Mr McGrath confirmed the Dignam report recommendations were due to be submitted two weeks ago, before a short extension was sought until this week for all of them to be finalised.


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