Monday 16 January 2017

For Grace's sake, we can't accept it anymore

The system silenced 'Grace' by abandoning her. We have to believe there is a better way to run a health service, says Brendan O'Connor

Published 07/02/2016 | 02:30

SPEECH: Enda Kenny spoke touchingly on the failures in the system, but now it’s time the bumbling behemoth that is the HSE becomes an election issue. Photo: Gerry Mooney
SPEECH: Enda Kenny spoke touchingly on the failures in the system, but now it’s time the bumbling behemoth that is the HSE becomes an election issue. Photo: Gerry Mooney

One of Enda Kenny's great strengths is the emotional intelligence he sometimes demonstrates at moments of national crisis or shock. He spoke beautifully last week about the deeply upsetting case of 'Grace', the young woman with an intellectual disability who was left to be allegedly brutally abused for over a decade after a decision had been made to remove her from the foster house where she lived. The phrase 'foster home' would do a disservice to what Grace is understood to have endured.

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In one of those speeches where he seemed to speak for all of us, Kenny said: "The words do not exist to describe, adequately, the depth and the volume of the revulsion we feel about the alleged abuse and failures we've heard of ... Grace, because of her condition, was silent. But by her treatment and her abandonment she was silenced.

"Those who left her to her fate, pressed the mute button on her young life and appalling experience. Above all, they pressed that mute button on her dignity, her humanity, on her civil and human rights, on her innate worth as an innocent, precious, fragile life on this Earth."

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