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System fails ‘Grace’ and whistleblowers

Inside Politics: Woman is alleged to have suffered sexual and physical abuse by her carers in foster home

The case of Grace, an intellectually disabled young woman who was resident at a foster home over a 20-year period, would send shivers down your spine.

Grace is alleged to have suffered sexual and physical abuse by her carers and remained resident in the home despite the claims.

A recommendation was made requesting her removal, and directions were issued ensuring no other child be placed in the home. Nothing changed. She remained there for a further 13 years. Other children were resident too.

Regular visits were not carried out, the six-monthly spot checks never happened and health service staff were not informed by their colleagues of key decisions made in connection with the case.


Grace is an intellectually disabled woman and therefore an incredibly vulnerable woman.

She deserved the highest level of attention and the best care. Instead she was failed by the system.

Her case was highlighted by two whistleblowers. Both suffered harassment and intimidation, and repeated attempts were made to discredit them.

One of the whistleblower claims the organisation tried to remove her from her position.

Does it sound familiar?

In the aftermath of the Maurice McCabe debacle, this is yet another example of how those who raise their heads above the parapet are treated by senior figures in society.

A commission of investigation was agreed in 2016 but has not been established yet.

Minister of State at the Department of Health Finian McGrath will move to set one up next week.

However the Examiner reports today that calls are being made to set up a public inquiry.

Grace and the two whistleblowers deserve nothing more than a speedy conclusion to this sordid story.