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Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness said those who knew what was happening to the intellectually disabled woman should be held accountable. Leah Farrell
Grace case

DPP explanation needed on why no charges brought in 'Grace' case, says McGuinness

FF TD John McGuinness says a change to the law should happen to ensure that agencies and individuals can be held accountable.

THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC Prosecutions should provide an explanation as to why it has decided not to press charges against officials or agencies responsible for the care of the intellectually disabled young woman at the heart of the Grace case, according to Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness. 

McGuinness, who is also chairman of the Oireachtas Finance Committee, says a change to the law should happen to ensure that agencies and individuals within government departments can be held accountable. 

The disabled woman known as Grace was placed in a foster home for 20 years in the southeast, even though there were allegations of sexual abuse there.

The Farrelly Commission has been investigating the case and has published two interim reports. The Commission was given more time to carry out its work over the summer and the full report is expected to be published next July.

A Garda investigation was launched after a whistleblower made a formal complaint about the care of the woman known as Grace, who was allowed to remain in a foster family despite concerns about sexual and physical abuse.

The Sunday Independent and The Sunday Times reported over the weekend that gardaí recommended prosecutions for endangerment and negligence in a file sent to the DPP.

However, the DPP has decided against prosecution with no one facing criminal charges.

Accountability 

“I’m deeply disappointed. I believe the DPP should have come forward now with an explanation as to why prosecutions or sanctions are not to happen. We at least deserve that from the DPP in these unusual circumstances,” McGuinness told RTÉ’s News at One this afternoon.

The TD has been vocal on the case for many years and gave an impassioned speech in the Dáil last year about how there was a need for accountability in the HSE.

“I have to say that I’m shocked and appalled by what is happening here today is a further abuse of Grace and the 46 others,” he said in the Dáil last year.

McGuinness added:

“We are completely ignoring the fact that there are 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 gardaí 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

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, he said he would push for legislative reform to ensure that in the future, people can be held accountable.

“For a long time now, I’ve been highlighting the issue of the Ministers and Secretaries Act, where the responsibility for everything falls to the minister. We need to change those structures.

“We need to reform the law, we need to have individuals and agencies, government departments etc held responsible for failures and inefficiencies. If we don’t modernise the law, then we will fail the country over and over again. And in this case, and many of the other controversies within the HSE, individuals and families have been failed in a dramatic, negative fashion, and that can’t be allowed to continue.

He said the Finance and Public Expenditure Committee “has a responsibility in this area”.

“I will be reviewing this with the minister so that agencies and individuals can be prosecuted and can be named,” he said. 

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