Shatter demands fresh Galway abuse inquiry

A FRESH inquiry has been demanded into the abuse of children with intellectual disabilities in institutions run by the Brothers of Charity in Galway.

The call came following yesterday’s publication of the long-delayed Hynes Report into why the original inquiry into the abuse took eight years to furnish a report.

This first inquiry began in 1999 when the then Western Health Board was requested to investigate allegations of abuse in institutions run by the Brothers of Charity in Galway. However, by 2001, all of the members appointed, apart from the chairperson, had either departed or resigned. The chairperson resigned in January 2006 without any report being completed.

Dr Kevin McCoy was then appointed by the HSE to furnish a report and this resulted in the publication of the McCoy Report in November 2007.

Following sustained opposition pressure, in December 2007, John Hynes was asked to investigate why it took almost a decade to publish a report into the allegations.

The Hynes Report, published yesterday, concludes it is “clear that the inquiry report took an inordinate length of time”. However, the report does highlight the initial inquiry was seriously flawed both in terms of staffing and in the scope of its terms of reference.

Due to these flaws Hynes concludes “ultimately it proved impossible in the context of finalising the report of inquiry to draw conclusions as to individual culpability”.

Hynes points out because the inquiry was non-statutory, it had no power to compel any individual to attend and the inquiry did not have any of the powers applicable to a court of law. The report highlights that because of this, it was extremely difficult to adequately investigate the allegations and apportion blame for any wrongdoing.

Launching the report yesterday, Junior Health Minister John Moloney said it was important the lessons learned from the report were included in the practices of those departments and organisations charged with holding future inquiries.

However, FG spokesman on children Alan Shatter described the report as a damning indictment of both the Government and the Western Health Board. Mr Shatter called for a fresh statutory inquiry.

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