Mother of 'Grace' rejects HSE apology

The executive has pledged to “cooperate in every way” with upcoming Commission of Inquiry

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has again apologised to a disabled woman - known as ‘Grace' - who was left in a foster home in an allegedly abusive situation over many years.

The executive was reacting to extracts from an interview with the Grace's birth-mother, broadcast on RTÉ this evening.

In the extracts, she said she was led to believe her daughter was living with a loving family in a caring foster home – and had no knowledge of the sexual abuse allegations until 2009.

She said she cannot accept a written apology from the HSE, adding that nobody from the agency has ever spoken to her personally to apologise.

She described the events over the past number of years as a "living hell" that she is still enduring - and called on the Government to ensure that the upcoming Commission of Inquiry into the scandal provides answers.

HSE apology

In a statement earlier, the HSE said it understands why Grace's mother cannot now accept its apology adding that: “We do hope that in the future she may be in a position to do so.”

“Once again the HSE can only apologise to Grace and her mother and say that we genuinely are very sorry for all of the failings in her care and in our system,” the statement reads.

The executive pledged to “cooperate in every way” in assisting the inquiry, and said that what is now important is that Grace’s mother will get answers from an “objective viewpoint.”

The executive also used the statement to reject reports over the weekend that one of the three people allegedly responsible for leaving Grace in the foster home is now in a senior position in Tusla.

It said that all three people have now retired from the HSE and are in receipt of a pension.

The statement also rejected weekend media reports suggesting the HSE did not contact the gardaí until three years after the completion a major report into Grace’s care.

It said live garda investigations linked to the former foster home and Grace’s specific case continued throughout 2012, 2013 and 2014.

It said the HSE was in on-going contact with the gardaí throughout this time - adding that HSE staff provided additional information and files to investigators.

The statement said HSE staff were working on the basis of standard practice whereby reports are not published in advance of live garda investigations being finalised.

According to the statement, a new liaison group has been set up with the gardaí in order to streamline publication of reports in the future.