‘Grace’ whistleblower accuses HSE of cover-up conspiracy

Statement before Public Account Committee alleges HSE sought to hide ongoing failures

 An inquiry was also conducted by senior counsel Conor Dignam at the request of Minister of State Finian McGrath.

An inquiry was also conducted by senior counsel Conor Dignam at the request of Minister of State Finian McGrath.

 

The whistleblower who exposed the poor treatment of “Grace” has accused the Health Service Executive of conspiring to cover up the abuse of the young woman.

In a statement to be delivered to the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday, the social worker alleges the HSE has continuously sought to hide the ongoing failures by the organisation.

“Grace” is an intellectually disabled woman who remained in the care of a foster family for over 20 years despite allegations of sexual and physical abuse.

Various concerns were raised throughout the two decades, and a decision to remove her from the home was later overturned.

The whistleblower who exposed her case is to appear before the committee on Thursday to give evidence at a private session.

She claims the HSE has inflicted an appalling personal cost on Grace, and yet left the taxpayer with the bill for her High Court settlement and the bill for a commission of investigation.

The whistleblower said the organisation has hidden behind reports and conspired to misrepresent the facts of the case.

The whistleblower first made a protected disclosure in 2009, and a report was carried out by Conal Devine. It only investigated Grace’s case, but did not inquire into claims that 46 other children were at risk by the foster family in question.

Further report

A further report was carried out by Resilience Ireland, and an inquiry was also conducted by senior counsel Conor Dignam at the request of Minister of State Finian McGrath.

A commission of investigation has now been initiated, and is being chaired by senior counsel Marjorie Farrelly.

In her statement to the Public Accounts Committee , the whistleblower alleges she has received no protection from the HSE since raising her concerns.

“Grace was the first case I was allocated as a new graduate in disability social work. I have worked on this case for my entire career in social work, and I am yet to achieve anything. We have no answers, no accountability, no confidence that this will not happen again.

“I have merely succeeded in making a lot of money for solicitors, advising management consultants on reports and reviews in relation to my client, whom they have never even met.”

The social worker says the HSE continues to treat her with the same degree of odium and contempt since first raising these allegations.

Stonewalled

However, she claims this treatment has now been transferred to the Public Accounts Committee and its members. She says the agency has obfuscated, stonewalled and provided untruths to the committee.

“The very fact that not only was I required to make one protected disclosure but, in fact, was required to make multiple disclosures, to make multiple statements to An Garda Síochána, to use the media and, indeed, to appear before you today encapsulates how the HSE is utterly incapable of listening to people who are trying to speak up.”