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Dublin: 8 °C Saturday 24 March, 2018

Staff involved in care for 'Grace' were promoted, PAC told

In April, a €6.3 million settlement for Grace was approved by the High Court.

HSE Director General Tony O'Brien
HSE Director General Tony O'Brien

THREE OF THE five staff involved in the decision-making surrounding care in the ‘Grace’ case were given promotions, the Dáil Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has heard.

The Grace case concerns a young woman with intellectual disabilities who was in care.

Allegations arose that she had suffered years of abuse, but despite the claims she remained at the home for 20 years.

Details of the case emerged after whistleblowers who are employed by the service provider which now cares for Grace made protected disclosures about her previous care.

In April, a €6.3 million settlement for Grace was approved by the High Court. A Commission of Investigation into the case has been established by the Government.


In previous appearances before the PAC, Health Service Executive (HSE) Director General Tony O’Brien told committee members that three staff members who were involved in Grace’s care are in receipt of full HSE pensions.

Appearing before the committee this morning, O’Brien said staff members were also given promotions.

He said one member of staff, referred to as H3, was promoted on 1 December 1991.

Another staff member, H7, was promoted on the 10 June 1996 and remained on that grade until retirement in 2010.

O’Brien confirmed that in total, three were promoted during the course of their careers.

Sinn Féin’s David Cullinane asked O’Brien if he was aware of the allegations made by the service provider that now cares for Grace that it had had its funding reduced following the protected disclosures.

“Yes, I have acknowledged that,” said O’Brien.

Cullinane asked if the HSE refuted such an allegation. O’Brien answered:

“Actually, no.”

I want to be clear what I am saying “no” to. I am aware of the allegation. I have discussed the allegation with the organisation concerned and with this committee on several occasions. At corporate level, the HSE has not refuted that allegation.
What I have done is that I have commissioned a review into two key aspects. One is the funding provided for the care of the person we refer to as Grace.
The other is the other funding relating to the other aspects of the funding relationship between the HSE and that area and the organisation. I have made a clear commitment that if this review indicates that there was unfair treatment, then it would be put right and dealt with.


The HSE boss said he had no hesitation in apologising to the service provider, and by extension, the whistleblower.

“I have no hesitation, on behalf of the HSE, in apologising to the service provider and, by extension, the whistleblower and to the whistleblower and, by extension, the service provider for the fact that it was necessary to agree to pay to it €600,000 to cover the costs of past services that it had provided. The agreement does deal with future costs and so on,” said O’Brien.

It’s understood the service provider received a settlement of €600,000 following the High Court proceedings initiated on behalf of Grace.

O’Brien added:

The second part is in relation to whether there was discrimination against the service provider. I will not offer an apology in relation to that until I have ascertained the facts because it would be somewhat hollow to do so.

Read: €6.3 million settlement approved for woman at centre of Grace case>

Read: ‘A monumental cock-up’: HSE boss admits Grace case worker still in public service and on a full pension>

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