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Further revelations of State’s failure to protect children

Inside Politics: HSE is to begin disciplinary proceedings against some staff implicated in care failings

It’s Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, when Christians (or at least those that can get themselves to a church in the course of the day) wear the penitential ash on their foreheads.

As recently as the years of the Bert, it was common for half the Dail to be sporting the sacred smudge, the Taoiseach himself among them - and then after his make-up had been applied. Today there’ll be a handful at most.

The Catholic Church itself has been a penitent for two decades now, something we were reminded of last week with the muted observance on the passing of Cardinal Desmond Connell.

The story of its failures to deal with child abuse and to protect children under its care has been painfully documented; the story of the State’s failures continues to emerge.


As Paul Cullen's lead story reports today, the HSE is to begin disciplinary proceedings against some staff implicated in care failings that may have led to the sexual abuse of people with intellectual disabilities over a protracted period of time.

A report by management consultant Conal Devine that was published yesterday after a delay of five years – five years! - found no one in the HSE did anything about the concerns of day services, who reported bruising on Grace’s body and evidence of sexualised behaviour.

Grace stayed at the home for 14 years after an allegation of sexual abuse was made in relation to another resident, but no one in the HSE looked into the reasons why she was not moved many years earlier, the report says.

Paul's analysis is here.

The HSE, he notes, does not do accountability.

A Garda investigation is ongoing. A commission of inquiry is to be set up. The disciplinary proceedings are now beginning, although it’s hard to see them getting very far.

Presumably we won’t have to wait too long before someone blames the whole thing on a lack of resources.