THE findings by Ombudsman Peter Tyndal of systemic failings by Tusla are both revealing and shocking. Revealing because of his forensic examination of the practices of the child and family agency, and shocking because his report unearths a litany of mistakes and malpractices.
Worst among them was the five-year wait to clear his name by a grandfather wrongly accused of child abuse. This is about as flagrant a denial of fundamental human rights as is possible to imagine. Most people in that man’s position would rather have been accused of murder.
The report also discloses instances of Tusla social workers lacking empathy. If anyone is supposed to have empathy, it is a social worker.
Tyndal’s report raises the broader issue of how we, as a society, should expect our supposedly caring institutions to treat vulnerable people.
Barely a month ago, the HSE was slated over the treatment of Michael and Kathleen Devereaux, separated after 63 years of marriage by the administration of the Fair Deal scheme. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar characterised that decision as “devoid of common sense and devoid of humanity”.
Perhaps the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission might care to show both Tusla and the HSE how to treat people with dignity. Its chief commissioner, Emily Logan, has empathy, humanity, and common sense in spades.
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