Health officials who failed ‘Grace’ and remain in the employ of the State must be held to account and sanctioned, leading politicians have said.
TDs are expected to demand a Dáil debate on the Grace case next week, and Taoiseach Micheál Martin is to face calls at the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting to ensure accountability for those involved.
John McGuinness, chairman of the Oireachtas finance committee who played a central role in exposing the Grace case, said it is critical the Government moves quickly to ensure those responsible face the consequences of their failures.
Grace was the intellectually disabled woman who remained in a foster home for 20 years despite allegations of abuse regarding her foster father and savage abuse in the home during that time.
The revealed details of two interim reports from the commission of investigation established by the Government, which found “systemic failings” by officials in the handling of Grace’s case.today
The reports are to be formally published tomorrow, and the Government is expected to grant the Farrelly Commission an extension until next July to conclude its work.
Mr McGuinness described the reports’ findings as “utterly shocking” and said the conclusions demand action from the Government to ensure this never happens again.
He said if those who failed Grace, some of whom remain in their posts in the higher echelons of the health service, are not sanctioned and held to account, then we “have learned nothing”.
“It will be a measure of Government how they respond to the findings of the report,” he said.
Mr McGuinness said that, to his mind, he has seen “a circling of the wagons” to ensure those responsible are able to avoid being punished.
Former minister for disabilities Finian McGrath welcomed the investigation into the Grace case, adding that he hoped people in charge will be held accountable.
“Hiding behind systemic failings should never be an option,” he told the
"Neglect should not be accepted in the over-€2bn in the HSE’s disability services.”
Kathleen Funchion, the Sinn Féin chairperson of the Oireachtas children committee, said the same failures that impacted Grace’s care still exist today, particularly in the South-East.
“Any failings, not just in terms of the Grace case, need to be addressed and people responsible need to be held to account,” she said.
“The system remains too chaotic, and it is still not working,” she added.
“There never seems to be accountability, and people need to be held to account. That needs to be put in place, we do need to see that.”