Government to rewrite terms of reference for 'Grace' inquiry

The move comes after opposition TDs strongly criticised the limited scope of the original terms

Government to rewrite terms of reference for 'Grace' inquiry

Finian McGrath. Image:

The government has agreed to withdraw the terms of reference for the upcoming inquiry into the ‘Grace’ case after angry exchanges in the Dáil this afternoon.

Finian McGrath, the junior minister with special responsibility for disabilities has agreed to ask the Cabinet to revise the terms - so that the treatment of other victims will also be included.

“I intend to circulate revised terms to put at ease the minds of those who are concerned about the imperative for the case of others to be investigated in a second phase,” he said.

The original terms had aimed to deal with the 'Grace' case first before deciding how to proceed with other cases. 

The Cabinet is expected to hold a special meeting later today to sign off on the updated scope of the inquiry.

Speaking in the Dáil, the Taoiseach confirmed to Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin that Mr McGrath will return with amended terms of reference tomorrow.

The move comes after TDs John Deasy and John McGuinness strongly criticised the limited scope of the original terms.

Opposition TDs and the two whistleblowers involved in the case called for the inclusion of others in the inquiry and warned it was not credible to suggest that only one person was badly abused.

They argued that the other 47 children who were resident in the same foster home as Grace should be included in the inquiry.

They said allegations of a cover-up by the health services should also be investigated.

Deputy McGuinness outlined details of the treatment faced by other children – including one person who later had to be moved to Northern Ireland, because the local health board refused to offer any further care.

He said the child’s mother met with legal threats when she raised concern about her child in 1992.

Some readers may find the audio distressing:

'Grace' who was diagnosed with severe intellectual disability was a placed full time with a foster family in the south-east in 1989, when she was 10 years old.

She was left there until 2009 - despite several concerns about abusive conditions in the home.

The government is hopeful the terms of reference for the inquiry will be ready to go by the end of the week.