Thursday 20 September 2018

'Grace' inquiry believe witnesses that have important evidence are dead

Grace’ was a young woman left in a foster home despite allegations of abuse

The Farrelly Commission has also been granted a 12-month extension of its work
The Farrelly Commission has also been granted a 12-month extension of its work
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

THE Commission investigating the care of ‘Grace’, a young woman left in a foster home despite allegations of abuse, has reported that witnesses believed to have important evidence are dead.

The Farrelly Commission has also been granted a 12-month extension of its work due to the enormous volume of documentation it is examining.

The first phase of its work is to investigate the role of public authorities in the care and protection of Grace.

An interim report prepared by chairperson Marjorie Farrelly SC - and published this evening - outlines how the ill-health, frailty and age of some important witnesses is presenting “significant challenges” to the progress of the investigation.

A number of hearings have had to be adjourned and evidence from some witnesses have had to be taken in “appropriate settings” taking these factors into account.

It says that many people the Commission believes would have had important evidence were dead before the inquiry was established.

The report also says: “One important witness assisting the Commission passed away before being in a position to complete the giving of evidence”.

The report requests an extension of time for the Commission’s work due to the “enormous volume of documentation” disclosed to it from a wide range of public bodies, organisations and individuals.

The Commission was due to deliver a final report on phase one of it’s work today but Health Minister Simon Harris has granted a 12-month extension.

Disabilities minister Finian McGrath said that it’s “regrettable” that the Commission wasn’t in a position to submit its final report by the original deadline but added: “I recognise that this has not been possible due to the issues identified by the Commission.”

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