‘Grace officers should step aside amid probe’

Senior health sector officers involved in the ‘Grace’ case should step aside from their posts pending the outcome of the commission of inquiry, according to Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness.

Mr McGuinness and John Deasy of Fine Gael were the two TDs that brought the vile abuse at a Waterford foster home to light at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Both men have welcomed the publication of the Conor Dignam report into the controversy.

Mr McGuinness said people must remember the scandal refers to the ‘Grace’ case, but also many others as well.

“We have been waiting for a long time on this report,” he said. “Right now there is a need to debate the terms of reference of the inquiry in the Dáil.

“We need to remember all the victims, not just ‘Grace’,” Mr McGuinness added.

He said there is a need for the HSE to name people who knew anything about what went on.

“They should be asked to stand aside while investigation is ongoing,” Mr McGuinness added.

Mr McGuinness also called on Finance Minister Michael Noonan to clarify his role when he was Minister for Health in 1996 as to his role in a sequence of events which saw ‘Grace’ left in the foster home — despite a decision to remove her from it.

Waterford TD and former vice-chairman of the PAC, Mr Deasy, said the report shows there was a massive failure on the part of the HSE and those failures need to be explored.

He also said that the Government will have to act fast even before the inquiry is formally initiated to ensure justice is delivered.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Mr Deasy said that it is vitally important to remember that this was not some political escapade but a battle to ensure some of the country’s most vulnerable people get justice.

It was Mr Deasy’s intervention in the Dáil two weeks ago which precipitated the publication of the Dignam report yesterday.

At the time, it was stated that two legal impediments were preventing its release but coincidently on the day Mr Deasy raised the issue in the Dáil, one of those hurdles was overcome.

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