herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Mother wants answers from the HSE over sex abuse accusations

HSE director general Tony O’Brien Photo: Tom Burke
HSE director general Tony O’Brien Photo: Tom Burke

A mother  whose intellectually challenged daughter was allegedly sexually abused and raped with implements while in a foster home has said she wants the HSE to “come clean”.

It has also been revealed that the victim, who has been given the pseudonym Grace, was not the last resident to be removed from the home where the alleged abuse was carried out.

Whistle-blowers at the heart of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) inquiry into the abuse claimed the HSE is trying to silence them.

Misleading

Several members of the

committee have accused the HSE of misleading them over the abuse claims.

HSE director general Tony O’Brien has confirmed that another resident was left in the home after Grace was taken from it in 2009.

However, further allegations about the facility have been relayed to the Herald, including clients being locked into outhouses, sheds and under stairs and sexual abuse being carried out by third parties who stayed at the property.

Grace’s mother, who cannot be named, said she wants answers from the HSE.

“As a family, what we continue to seek is the truth. What horror and pain was perpetrated on our loved one, an innocent child who suffered unspeakable abuse while under the care of the HSE?” she said.

The HSE said there was a “breakdown in communication” that meant an apology was never offered to Grace.

The whistle-blowers told the committee that the HSE is trying to discredit them.

“We remain concerned that the HSE’s treatment of us as whistle-blowers is as despicable now as it was six years ago,” they said.

“The HSE’s actions over the last week are the latest in a series of attempts to silence us. We are no longer willing to accept this treatment.”

Members of the committee said they need full clarification and disclosure from the HSE.

Concern

“There is concern that they have not being giving a full picture of this. We don’t know what families or how many of them were referred there and how many were raped and assaulted,” said PAC chairman John McGuinness.

Grace was placed in the foster home in 1989 and remained there until July 2009.

 Mr O’Brien told RTE yesterday that she was not the last person to be removed from the home.

An HSE spokeswoman said last night that they had identified another resident who was removed three months after Grace.

“The family of that one remaining private placement were contacted and formally written to by the HSE,” she said.

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