Wednesday 23 August 2017

'Their lives were robbed' - sister of woman in Grace home speaks out

‘Beautiful, innocent children whose lives were robbed.’ (Stock picture)
‘Beautiful, innocent children whose lives were robbed.’ (Stock picture)
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

The sister of a child who spent time in the 'Grace' foster home has claimed her sister 'Sarah' also suffered horrific sexual abuse at the home.

In an interview with David McCullagh on RTÉ's 'Prime Time', the woman spoke out about her family's experience at the foster home.

Sarah had intellectual disabilities and the family decided the best learning option for her would be in a home that was far away from the family.

"It was a comforting thing to our mother because she felt, if this was under the health board, the HSE, then all the checks were in place and that would be the best place for Sarah because she would be safe."

Sarah's sister said the family began to have concerns about the home.

One afternoon after her mother used an innocuous and innocent word, Sarah started to remove items of clothes and placed herself in a compromising position. The family raised their concerns with the Health Board as they believed it needed to be addressed immediately.

"We knew that Sarah had to go and leave that place but again the options were limited and again Mom had to look for places outside of Ireland up to Northern Ireland."

According to RTÉ, Sarah's mum was one of the first whistleblowers in the home, and a recommendation was made that another child named 'Grace' would be removed from the foster home but no action was taken.

"Our mother would have been the first whistleblower, and again you're living in a different time and different context altogether and it would have taken a lot of strength and courage to go forward.

"They came down really hard on our mother, there was reports written up, they were quite aggressive towards the family, they just totally bullied us into thinking that it was all just in Mam's head."

Sarah's sister said that she is not only a victim but a survivor.

"You know, their lives have been robbed in so many ways. Both beautiful, innocent children. Some of the most vulnerable children in our state."

Irish Independent

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