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Grace case

Government grants yet another year long extension to Grace case inquiry

The final report was due to be completed in May 2019, nearly four years ago.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS granted yet another 12-month extension to the Commission of Inquiry into the Grace case, meaning the inquiry will now take five 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.

Cabinet was told today of Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman decision to grant the Commission of Investigation an extension of the timeframe for submission of its final report by 12 months up to March 2024, nearly five years beyond its original deadline.

The decision to extend the timeframe follows an application made by the Commission’s Sole Member, Marjorie Farrelly, SC for an extension of time to allow the Commission to complete its Phase 1 investigations and submit its final report on this work.

Another extension

In 2021, Health Minister Simon Harris advise the Commission that he considered the  extension given in that year to be final one, stating that he expected the Farrelly Commission to provide its final phase 1 report by 15 May 2020. 

A Government spokesperson said that since its establishment, the Commission has provided eight interim reports of its work processes and progress of its work plan to the Department of Health.

In January and March of 2021, the Commission submitted two substantive interim reports on its investigation.

Speaking in the Dáil in 2021, Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness said those who knew what was happening to ‘Grace’ should be “chased down” and held accountable. 

At the time he said there were reports within the HSE that clearly outline what happened to Grace.

“I read the reports from the whistleblowers. I discussed it with them, and I couldn’t believe that this type of abuse could happen in our state. Abuse where a young woman was put into a home and was sexually abused.

“That sexual abuse was reported by a HSE worker because he was concerned that she had objects put into her that would cause her a bowel problem for her future and it did.

“It was reported to the gardai and nothing happens. (The HSE) called to the house and inspected it and found that she lived there with three male residents.

“There was people found under the stairs locked in. There was children out in outhouses,” he said. 

Last year, McGuinness said the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) should provide an explanation as to why it decided not to press charges against officials or agencies responsible for the care of  ‘Grace’.