Updated at 7.35am
THE TERMS OF reference in the forthcoming inquiry into the Grace case have been amended after angry exchanges in the Dáil and suggestions that they weren’t fit for purpose in their original form.
The revised terms of reference for the Commission of Investigation were agreed by Cabinet yesterday evening, the Government confirmed.
The new terms were circulated to TDs last night. There will be two phases:
- The first will deal with Grace case specifically.
- The second will deal with the care and decision-making process in respect of 46 other children who passed through the home in question.
The new terms will be made available on the Department of Health website from later today, it’s planned. They will be debated and voted on in the Dáil at 12.45pm.
Yesterday, Disabilities Minister Finian McGrath agreed to return to Cabinet to draft fresh terms after TDs John Deasy and John McGuinness harshly criticised the terms as they stood.
Waterford Fine Gael TD Deasy has been heavily involved in the Grace case since it first came to light more than 12 months ago.
Deasy’s speech primarily concerned a dressing-down of the HSE over what he described as “misleading” evidence given to the Public Accounts Committee in relation to the case of Grace, a woman who was left in an abusive foster home in the southeast of the country for 20 years.
Speaking in the aftermath of those exchanges, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that “clearly there are appalling circumstances here”.
“I want to make this clear, the Government and Minister McGrath are quite open to having this commission of investigation to deal with other cases, many of these have not had any statutory investigation into them,” he said.
You can take it that the Government are quite open to having everybody necessary included in this.
He said he wants to make it “crystal clear” that the Government are quite willing to include others, but said that Grace is being treated as a priority and as evidence and new information comes to light, others will be included in the investigation.
Speaking at the time McGrath claimed that the issue was the most important of his political career.
The debate yesterday finished 30 minutes ahead of schedule as no other TDs elected to follow Deasy and McGuinness.
Additional reporting Christina Finn, Sean Murray. This article was originally published yesterday and updated this morning.