Saturday 25 March 2017

Legal issues are delaying report on abuse claim - Taoiseach

Report: Conor Dignam SC
Report: Conor Dignam SC
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said "legal procedural obstacles" had held up the publication of a damning report into the HSE's response to allegations an intellectually disabled woman known as Grace was abused in foster care.

The report for the Department of Health, by Conor Dignam SC, found the scope of a HSE-commissioned probe into the claims was "inadequate".

However, his report, delivered to Disabilities Minister Finian McGrath on August 29, has yet to be published.

This is despite the fact it is set to form the basis for a commission of investigation into how health service officials responded to allegations of abuse at the foster home over the course of two decades.

In a letter to Fine Gael TD John Deasy, Mr Kenny said two unspecified legal obstacles had held up its publication.

One of these was dealt with on Wednesday and Mr Kenny said the Department of Health was now taking "immediate steps" to address the matter.

It is understood the first obstacle was overcome after advice was obtained by the Attorney General's office. The second issue is understood to be a matter which is subject to media reporting restrictions.

In the unpublished report, Mr Dignam concluded that a commission of investigation would be the only way to get to the bottom of allegations that elements in the HSE sought to cover-up failings in the care of Grace.

He found that the limited terms of reference of a 2010 inquiry into the Grace case resulted in serious issues not being investigated as quickly as possible or not being investigated at all.

The barrister was also critical of the Department of Health, finding it had referred protected disclosures made by two whistleblowers in 2009 back to the HSE unit which was complained about.

The HSE has denied there was a cover-up.

Irish Independent

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News