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Government 'reluctantly' grants second year long extension to Grace case inquiry

The Farrelly Commission to provide its final phase report by 15 May 2020.

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THE GOVERNMENT HAS ‘reluctantly’ granted a 12-month extension to the Commission of Inquiry into the Grace case, meaning the inquiry will now take three times longer than originally intended. 

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 foster 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 2017, a €6.3 million settlement for Grace was approved by the High Court. A Commission of Investigation into the case was later established by the Government into the Grace case and a further 46 other children who passed through the home.

Minister for Health, Simon Harris and Minister of State with Special Responsibilities for Disabilities Finian McGrath yesterday granted the second 12-month extension to the Farrelly Commission which was due to submit a phase 1 final report on 15 May 2019.

The Commission was granted a 12-month extension in 2018 after the sole member of the Commission, Marjorie Farrelly, asked McGrath for extra time to complete the required work.

Last year’s extension had been sought and granted due to the volume of material the Commission was being asked to deal with. It said there had been a large number of adjournments to witness interviews as many of them were elderly and sick 

Simon Harris has advised the Commission that he considers this extension to be final and expects the Farrelly Commission to provide its final phase 1 report by 15 May 2020. 

McGrath met with the sole member of the commission Marjorie Farrelly S.C before the extension was agreed to.

In granting the Commission’s application, the government said it took into account that “considerable progress” has already been made in the investigation. 

According to the Commission’s statement, it anticipates that the results of these investigations will provide a detailed response to the terms of reference.

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Adam Daly

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