Inquiry into ‘Grace’ case officially begins its work

Government says senior counsel Marjorie Farrelly will meet deadline to submit report

Finian McGrath, Minister of State for Disability Issues: said he does not want to comment on the High Court award until the commission of investigation has completed its work. Photograph: Eric Luke

Finian McGrath, Minister of State for Disability Issues: said he does not want to comment on the High Court award until the commission of investigation has completed its work. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

The commission of investigation into the care of “Grace” – who was awarded €6.3 million over what the High Court president described as her scandalous treatment – officially began its work this week.

Senior counsel Marjorie Farrelly was tasked by the Government with examining the facts surrounding the treatment of the intellectually disabled young woman.

Ms Farrelly was appointed in March at the request of Minister of State at the Department of Health Finian McGrath and was asked to provide an interim report within six months.

However, delays in allocating an office for the commission postponed the beginning of the senior counsel’s work.

The Government is satisfied there will be no significant delay to Ms Farrelly’s report.

Final report

The terms of reference provide for a final report on the case of Grace within 12 months.

Mr McGrath said he does not want to comment on the High Court award until the commission of investigation has completed its work.

Ms Farrelly has been asked to inquire into why the young woman remained in the care of a foster family for over 20 years despite allegations of serious sexual abuse.

She will also question why Grace stayed there until 2009 despite a decision being taken in the mid-1990s that no other child should be placed there.

Waiting list

Commitments were given in November 1996 and later in March 2001 to remove her, but she remained in the home.

Grace was also placed on a waiting list for a residential placement but was taken off the list in late 2004/early 2005.

The rationale and the merits of this decision will be investigated by the commission.

Ms Farrelly will then conduct a second part of the investigation, which will focus on the more than 40 other children in the foster home.