Independent reviews are ongoing in two more disability cases in the southeast region in addition to the investigations into the “Grace” sexual abuse case in the southeast and the “Brandon” abuse case in Co Donegal, the Dáil has been told.
Minister of State for Disability Anne Rabbitte said there were two more National Independent Review Panel “look-back”cases ongoing in the Community Health Outreach area 5, which covers South Tipperary, Carlow/Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford.
Ms Rabbitte was speaking during a Dáil debate on the Farrelly Commission of Investigation into the sexual abuse of an intellectually disabled woman identified only as “Grace”, who was left in foster care for almost two decades despite ongoing concerns about physical and sexual abuse.
The Minister also said she is “incredibly disappointed” that the commission, which was established in 2017, was taking so long and she was not confident the work would be completed by June next year.
The commission was established to investigate the care and protection of Grace and 46 others in a former foster home in the southeast between 1989 and 1996, when Grace reached adulthood. She remained in the foster home until 2009.
The commission, which received four 12-month extensions, has produced two “substantive” reports and has cost more than €7,022,820 to date.
Ms Rabbitte said there were similarities with the “Brandon” case into 108 incidents of inappropriate sexual behaviour by a resident, identified as “Brandon”, over 13 years at a HSE-run disability centre in Stranorlar, Co Donegal.
Ms Rabbitte said that if the commission were now scrapped, however, “we would have spent €7 million and not have a final report to show for it”. There must be accountability, she said.
But former chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) John McGuinness said he was “shocked and appalled” at what was happening because “we are completely ignoring the fact that there are reports within the HSE that clearly outline what happened to Grace”.
The Fianna Fáil Carlow-Kilkenny TD said of the case that it was the first time in his 24 years in the Dáil “that I have b