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The terms of reference for a commission of investigation into the foster home where a woman known as “Grace” was allegedly abused over many years will allow incidents involving other residents to be examined.
The Cabinet will on Tuesday consider how the commission should approach its inquiry into the foster home in the southeast where allegations of sexual abuse of people with intellectual disabilities have been made.
The Irish Times understands that a memo is to be brought to Cabinet with proposed terms of reference which will see the commission prioritise the case of Grace, the young woman with a profound intellectual disability who is alleged to have been a victim of sexual abuse at the home. Other cases could be examined later, a source familiar with the proposals said.
It is understood that the Government has approached a judge, who was reviewing the terms of reference over the weekend, to head up the inquiry.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny committed the Government to setting up the commission of investigation last year.
Meanwhile, none of the three-person panel who made the decision to leave “Grace” in the foster home is still working in the health service, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has insisted.
Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness accused the HSE of providing misleading information about the current status of the three staff who made the decision in October 1996 and were responsible for a number of follow-up actions.
A report published last week showed the decision was not properly followed up and Grace ended up spending 13 more years in the foster home, despite the allegations of physical and sexual abuse.
The HSE said none of the three staff who had made the decision was still on its payroll. A staff member who was involved in case conferences in relation to Grace earlier in 1996 is now a senior official in Tusla but the HSE said this person was not involved in the decision that led to Grace remaining in the foster home.
Five of the 30-40 staff mentioned in two reports into the allegations about the foster home are still working with the HSE. The other staff, who have retired or are working elsewhere, are not therefore subject to HSE disciplinary processes.
Another six staff who figure in the reports are now working for Tusla, and may be subject to that body’s disciplinary processes. Tusla said staff referred to in the report were identified to the agency by the HSE in the last two weeks.
The HSE waited three years after the completion of the 2012 report into the care of Grace before contacting the Garda about publishing it, RTÉ’s This Week programme reported on Sunday. This was despite the fact that it told TDs it was unable to publish due to a request from gardaí.
A list of contacts with gardaí released to under Freedom of Information showed the first contact between the HSE and gardaí took place on March 6th, 2015. The Devine report was completed in March 2012.