Children in a foster home in the West of Ireland were left in the care of a foster family for several years, despite serious allegations of sexual abuse arising against one family member.

In a story which has striking similarities to the case of “Grace”, who was subjected to savage rape and abuse for 20 years in a foster home in Waterford, the foster family at the centre of this case has, until recently, continued to provide some support services.

The details of the fresh allegations were revealed in an RTÉ Investigations Unit report, Failure to Foster Care, which was broadcast last night.

The report claimed that some HSE staff were aware of the allegations for a number of years, despite HSE director general Tony O’Brien claiming at the Public Accounts Committee in February that he was unaware of any other cases like this.

Up to recently, the foster family at the centre of this case continued to provide some support services.

The case involves a foster family — this time in the West of Ireland — where children were left in the family’s care despite serious allegations of sexual abuse against one family member. In May 2007, a young girl in respite care with the family alleged she had been abused by a then 18-year-old member of the family. Following an investigation, the HSE assessed the disclosure by the child as ‘credible’.

Last April, RTÉ’s Investigations Unit revealed the full extent of the story of a young woman in foster care now known by the pseudonym ‘Grace’. Recent reports in the Irish Examiner about the ‘Grace’ case led to the Government deciding to establish a Commission of Inquiry.

‘Grace’, who has profound intellectual disabilities, was left in a foster home in Waterford for almost 20 years despite a succession of sexual abuse allegations.


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