Press Release

Minister Finian McGrath welcomes receipt of report on the South East foster care review

Minister of State for Disabilities, Finian McGrath T.D., has welcomed receipt of the report, late on Monday 29th August, into matters related to the former foster home in the South East, prepared by Conor Dignam SC.

Mr Dignam’s Terms of Reference include an examination of the following:

  • the procedures and process followed by the Health Service Executive in procuring the services of Conal Devine and Associates and Resilience Ireland to carry out reviews and provide reports into the foster care provided by particular named individuals in the South East of Ireland;
  • the appropriateness and adequacy of the approach adopted and of the reviews contained in the reports;
  • the reasons why the reports have not been published to date and whether those reasons are well grounded; and
  • whether the two reports can now be published in full or in redacted form, taking into account current investigations by An Garda Síochána.

Mr Dignam was also asked to identify matters which would assist in framing the Terms of Reference for the proposed Commission of Investigation into the care of individuals with a disability in the former foster home in the South East.

The Government is fully committed to the establishment of a Commission of Investigation, and has put its concerns about the issues raised on the record. Minister McGrath said:

“I am mindful that at the heart of this issue is a young citizen in the care of our State and her rights and welfare must be the primary consideration in these matters. My overriding concern is for the safety and protection of vulnerable people in the care of the State, and I want to repeat my determination that this historical issue will be comprehensively examined and addressed. ”

Once a thorough examination has been made of Mr. Dignam’sreport, the Minister has asked that officials would prepare draft Terms of Reference for the Commission, which he intends to submit to Government as a priority in the Autumn term. In accordance with the provisions of the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004 the Terms of Reference will then require the approval of the Oireachtas.

The Minister does not intend to make any further statement on the matter until he has had the opportunity to study the report carefully and to consider its findings. When submitting his report to the Minister, Mr Dignam drew attention to some legal procedural and administrative matters which he advised should be addressed before the report is published. As soon as these matters have been addressed the Minister will bring the report to Government with a view to its early publication.