News

No criminal charges in Grace case is "shocking" and offensive", claims TD

A reported decision by the DPP not to prosecute officials or agencies responsible for the care of the intellectually disabled woman at the heart of the Grace case, has been described as "shocking" and "offensive".

John McGuinness, the Kilkenny/Carlow TD who was heavily involved in exposing the case through his work with the Dail Public Accounts Committee, says the DPP needs to make a statement clarifying why the decision has been made.

A report in yesterday's Sunday Independent said gardai had recommended prosecutions for endangerment and negligence in a file sent to the DPP.

However, the DPP - it was further reported - had now directed no prosecutions, meaning no one involved in the care of the intellectually disabled young woman will face criminal sanction.

Advertisement

The garda investigation began four years ago after a whistleblower made a formal complaint about the care of the woman known as Grace, who was allowed to remain with a foster family despite concerns about sexual and physical abuse.

Speaking to Maria McCann on Déise Today this morning (Monday), John McGuinness said he was "deeply upset and saddened" that the DPP would reach a decision of no prosecutions against anyone for the most horrific of offences he had seen recorded in a long, long time - and for those who had hoped to see justice done.

"Are we to learn nothing from all of that? Are we to walk away from all we have learned?", he asked.

"I find it offensive and sad and I wonder where we are going with the justice system in this country."

Advertisement

John McGuinness said he was calling on the DPP to make a statement clarifying the reasons for the decision.

He was also going to request Dail time for a discussion on the issue on the basis this was also not just about Grace but about 46 others who were damaged in some way by what went on at the foster home and the services provided by the health board of the time.

The State commission of investigation into the case of Grace and 46 others in the home in question is ongoing.

The Farrelly Commission, as it's called, has published several reports on the case already and two other interim reports are reported to be published shortly by the Dept of Health.

The Commission has been running in tandem with the separate garda inquiry.

Meanwhile, also speaking on Déise Today this morning, Sinn Fein Health Spokesperson David Cullinane said he was also "shocked and disappointment" to read of the DPP's reported decision, given Grace has been failed so many times already.

The details of her case, said the Waterford TD, were shocking in that when she was removed from the home finally in 2009, reports had described Grace as cutting "a sad figure" in a "wretched" state, frail, dirty and unkempt with her only possession being a child's toy, a doll, which she held on to "for dear life".

He said the DPP is an independent body and doesn't know why the decision has reportedly been made not to prosecute.

However, he said there is a need for a legal and statutory framework to protect vulnerable people in care home settings and this has been called for, by people both within and outside the healthcare sector, for over 20 years now.

Advertisement