Foster home scandal: Neglect of rights of vulnerable

Finian McGrath

Ireland’s failure to ratify the UN convention on persons with disability eight years after signing it, is a damning indictment of this country. 

That is true of the Fine Gael- Labour government just replaced and the previous Fianna Fáil-Green administration, four political parties guilty of shamefully neglecting the rights of the most vulnerable.

While charities raise money to protect them against discrimination and Commissioner Emily Logan ensures their rights of equality are properly guarded, public opinion was recently moved to anger over the scandal which surrounded a HSE plan to spend €35m destined for use in mental healthcare, elsewhere in the system, reduced to €12m by Minister Varadkar after a Cabinet row.

Disabled people have been the Cinderella of the health system in the unseeing and uncaring eyes of the State, because the issues relating to disabled people have for decades been generally regarded by politicians as having little or no significance where the rights of these neglected people should count most — in the ballot box. Ireland’s failure was highlighted by a revelation yesterday that yet another person with intellectual disabilities was left in a foster home after allegations of sexual abuse were raised about a foster carer in the home, in the Cork-Kerry region.

This will be the first real test for Finian McGrath, the new super junior minister , who said he would demand answers.


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