Press Release

Farrelly Commission granted 12 month extension to complete its phase 1 investigations and submit its final report on this work

The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, T.D. has today granted a time extension to the Commission of Investigation (Certain matters relative to a disability service in the South East and related matters) – the Farrelly Commission. This follows an application made by the Commission’s Sole Member, Marjorie Farrelly, S.C., for a twelve month extension to allow the Commission to complete its phase 1 investigations and submit its final report on this work.

The Commission is an independent statutory Commission of Investigation.  It commenced its investigations in May 2017 and its work is ongoing.  The first phase of the Commission’s work is to investigate the role of public authorities in the care and protection of a service user, Grace (pseudonym), who resided with a former foster family in the South East of Ireland between 1989 and 2009.

The Commission’s request for an extension is on the basis of the enormous volume of documentation disclosed to it from a wide range of public bodies, organisations and individuals and also issues relating to witnesses including identifying potential witnesses and the health of some witnesses.

The Commission believes that an extension of time by a further period of twelve months is consistent with the objective of having the investigations for the first phase of the its work conducted and the report submitted as expeditiously as a proper consideration of the matters permits.

The Minister of State for Disabilities, Finian McGrath, T.D. said

“I wish to acknowledge the work to date undertaken by the Commission and to thank the Sole Member and her team for their dedication to the Commission. It is regrettable that the Commission will not be in a position to submit its phase 1 final report by today, as specified in the Terms of Reference. However, I recognise that this has not been possible due to the issues identified by the Commission.”

The Commission has submitted a second interim report to the Minister. This report is available on the Department of Health’s website

The Minister for Health, Minister McGrath, Minister of State for Disabilities and the Department of Health will continue to co-operate with the Commission on an ongoing basis.

Notes for Editors:

  • SI No 96 of 2017 Commission of Investigation (Certain matters relative to a disability service in the South East and related matters) was signed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny on 21 March 2017. The Commission was established under the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004 (No. 23 of 2004).
  • The Commission was established to investigate the care and protection of “Grace” (pseudonym) and others in a former foster home in the South East, which has been the subject of abuse allegations.
  • The Chair and Sole Member of the Commission is Marjorie Farrelly, SC
  • The Commission commenced its investigation on 15 May 2017. An interim report was submitted to the Minister on 14th November 2017 https://health.gov.ie/blog/publications/interim-report-of-the-commission-of-investigation-certain-matters-relative-to-a-disability-service-in-the-south-east-and-related-matters/
  • Under the Commission’s Terms of Reference (approved by the Government in March 2017) a final report on the Commission’s phase 1 work was due to be submitted to the Minister for Health within one year of the Commission commencing its work, i.e., 15th May 2018
  • The first phase of the Commission’s work is to investigate the role of public authorities in the care and protection of Grace, who resided with a former foster family in the South East of Ireland between 1989 and 2009, informed by the recommendations made by Conor Dignam SC in his Review of Certain Matters Relating to a Disability Service in the South East (2016)
  • The Commission is considering Grace’s care under the following headings:
    • Context, including the statutory, non-statutory, administrative and governance context which applied in respect of the care and protection of children and vulnerable adults who were in the care of the State;
    • Monitoring and review of the care provided by the foster family to Grace;
    • Care and decision-making in respect of Grace from 1989 until before her 18th birthday in 1996;
    • Decisions made regarding Grace on reaching adulthood in 1996;
    • Representations by the male foster carer, and another party, in 1996;
    • Care and decision-making in respect of Grace from her 18th birthday in 1996 up to 17 July 2009;
    • Other matters, including whether there was any deliberate suppression or attempted suppression of information in relation to Grace’s case.