Statement by Minister Kathleen Lynch
Speaking today about the South East Foster Care issue, Kathleen Lynch, Minister for Primary Care, Social Care and Mental Health said that she believes serious consideration must be given to establishing a Commission of Inquiry to look at all aspects of what happened in the South East. She said that a definitive judgement on this should not be made in advance of seeing the report by Conor Dignam SC, who she formally appointed on 7 December to undertake a review of the Devine and Resilience Ireland reports already completed on the matter. The setting up of a Commission of Inquiry would require a Government decision and a vote by the Oireachtas.
The Minister pointed out that on first hearing of this matter in April 2014, her immediate concern was to ensure that no person was currently at risk. She received that assurance and was informed that no new admissions have been made to this private foster home since 1995 with the last resident being removed in 2009.
“The critical question of why this young vulnerable person was left in the foster home until 2009 even though the most serious concerns had been raised about her remains the central issue. It is important to note that the Devine and Resilience Ireland reports, once published, may answer some of the questions that currently remain unanswered. The ongoing Garda investigation since 2010 has prevented publication of these two reports. It has not however prevented the HSE from implementing the recommendations in the Conal Devine report including a National Foster Care Audit, which is welcome.”
In relation to the controversy about the issuing of an apology to this vulnerable person, Minister Lynch said that the confusion and complete lack of clarity was very regrettable.
It is important now to clearly establish the facts of what has occurred.