Press Release

Finian McGrath TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Disability, and Dr. Katherine Zappone TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs confirm establishment by the HSE and Tusla of a review to establish the facts of a case involving a historical allegation of abuse

Minister McGrath and Minister Zappone and their officials have conducted a series of discussions with representatives of the HSE and Tusla – the Child and Family Agency, regarding concerns raised in recent media reports of alleged abuse in the Cork region. The case involved a young adult with disabilities, “Mary”, who remained in her foster care placement after a historical allegation of abuse was made by a member of a foster carer’s extended family.

Ministers McGrath and Zappone agreed that it is important to ascertain the facts of the case before commenting further. They are also committed to protecting the privacy of the young person and two other children who were in the care setting at the time of the allegations becoming known but were subsequently removed. It is important at the outset, contrary to some media reports, to stress that the allegation did not involve alleged abuse of the children and young adult in question.

It has been agreed that a review of this case, commissioned by the HSE and Tusla, will be conducted over a six week timeframe. The review will be led independently, with support from a designated senior manager from the HSE and Tusla respectively, both of whom work outside the Cork region. The review will have access to all records held in this case. The case review will be published. The terms of reference for the case review are attached.

The work of the review group will supplement the important work being done by a joint HSE/Tusla Working Group which was established in 2015 to review the operation and effectiveness of a joint protocol in place between the two organisations covering the provision of services to children and young adults with a disability or mental health issue who are leaving care and who receive services from both agencies. The working group is expected to report by the middle of the year. Ministers McGrath and Zappone welcome this initiative and stress the importance of ensuring that strong and effective collaborative working relationships are in place between the HSE and Tusla to ensure the delivery of services which are safe and which focus on the particular needs of children and vulnerable adults.

Minister McGrath and Minister Zappone and their officials will continue to work closely together on this issue. The Ministers do not propose to discuss the detail of this case or to offer further comment until they are in receipt of the findings of the case review and the learning to be gained from the review process.

Terms of Reference