Monday 26 June 2017

Sister of woman in same home as Grace demands: 'Somebody needs to be prosecuted'

'I was told "she was only there for three weeks so I'm sure nothing happened"... I was disgusted'

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The sister of a young woman who spent time in the same home as 'Grace' has demanded that her voice be heard at a Commission of Investigation into the case.

Grace, the young woman left in a foster home for years after allegations of abuse were made, will now be the focus of the enquiry before any other cases are examined.

Bridget's sister was sent to the same foster home where Grace was abused and now she has told RTE Radio One that she wants justice.

She explained that her sister also has intellectual needs and has the mental age of a two or three-year-old.

"She had lots of complex needs and she needed respite care in her teens, our family needed a break as well."

Asked when she found out there was a potential problem at the home, Bridget said: "We didn't find out until it came out in the news in December 2015. We did have a call from the gardaí two years before saying that saying there was an investigation but there was nothing to worry about."

She explained: "It wasn't until we saw the news that we were horrified. Our sister could have been in the same situation."

She said it was their fear that her sister was abused in the same foster home.

"That is on our minds every day, every day we think about that."

Bridget told Aine Lawlor on the News at One that they had contact from the HSE, but she didn't feel it was of any comfort.

"I was told 'she was only there for three weeks so I'm sure nothing happened'. I was disgusted, you can be somewhere for one minute and have a problem. I am still disgusted with that response from the HSE, it was not the response I was expecting from that organisation."

Under the terms of reference, as outlined this morning to cabinet by Minister for Disabilities Finian McGrath, investigators will look at the case of Grace first after she was allowed to stay in the home for 20 years, 13 of which came after allegations of abuse were first made.

Bridget said she is "very disappointed" that they may have to wait up to a year before their sister's case is examined.

"We were hoping for closure this year and now it seems we have to wait another year. It needs to be heard and addressed. She's as important as anyone in this case.I won't let my sister be forgotten, I want justice for her. I will speak for her because she can't speak for herself.

Asked what she wants delivered for her sister, Bridget said "I want those people like my sister to be heard, to have a voice, the opportunity for their case to be heard.

She continued: "Some days I think that [we wont get closure]. We will keep pressing forward and we will find the truth in the end... Someone needs to be prosecuted for this, many people need to be prosecuted for this. That's what I want."

Bridget said her sister is "great and full of life" today and they are satisfied with the care she is receiving.

Disabilities minister McGrath agreed that it was the most important task in his career to date to tackle this issue.

Reacting to Bridget's interview, he said: "I want to give her a commitment that truth and decisive action will be taken in relation to these issues. Nobody will be excluded, all families of people with an intellectual disability their voices are going to be heard"

He said that at this morning's cabinet they agreed the terms of reference for the commission of investigation into the issue.

Asked if he would look at other cases, he said: "First of all I want to focus on the Grace case first and the allegations of abuse, she and her family deserve answers and my objective is to get them sooner."

He later added: "I'm focusing on Grace and responding to that and then, under the terms of reference the other issues will be dealt with then."

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