The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is to meet in private today to receive a confidential legal briefing on the ‘Grace’ foster abuse scandal.
The Oireachtas legal adviser is to brief members of the committee on an internal HSE report into the funding of Grace’s caregiver.
Grace was left in a foster home for almost 20 years despite a succession of sexual abuse allegations, while another 46 children and adults with intellectual disabilities also went through the home.
The PAC, chaired by Fianna Fáil Laois TD Seán Fleming, was due to discuss the matter last Thursday but because of an overrun, today’s special meeting was called.
Despite the scandal being the subject of a commission of inquiry, the PAC is still demanding answers from the HSE as to handling of the case.
However, a number of PAC members are said to be “nervous” about dealing with the matter now it is subject to the commission.
The commission, headed by Marjorie Farrelly, is to deliver an interim report to Minister Finian McGrath before Christmas on Grace’s case only, ahead of a second module which will examine the other 46 cases.
The internal report, produced by consultants Deloitte, examined the funding model given to Grace’s caregiver, and was presented to the PAC last month. A table in a draft version of the Deloitte report completed in May 2017 showed the annual under-funding of more than €70,000 per year amounted to an effective annual cut in the service provider’s funding of as much as 8.8%.
In April, the HSE agreed in the High Court that it had under-funded Grace’s care by €600,000 over the period she had resided with the whistleblowers’ service provider between 2009 to the present.
Earlier this month, a whistleblower in the case of Grace raised questions over a HSE-commissioned report into the vulnerable young woman’s care, which was submitted to the PAC.
The whistleblower, who works in the service provider caring for Grace, has expressed concern over the omission of a table from the report, which quantifies the HSE’s under-funding of Grace’s care in terms of a percentage cut to the provider’s funding levels.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved