October 3, 2023

Grace case fallout: Kilkenny TD says health officials should face prosecution

A Kilkenny TD is calling or law changes to allow officials and agencies to be prosecuted for serious health controversies after it emerged no one will face criminal charges over the ‘Grace’ foster abuse case.

Fianna Fáil Deputy John McGuinness, who was central to uncovering the case, said the changes are needed after gardaí confirmed the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has decided not to pursue charges in the case.

A State commission of investigation led by senior counsel Marjorie Farrelly was set up in 2016 to examine questions over why Grace was not moved from the home when authorities first learned of the abuse allegations. The commission is due to complete its work in May.

But Mr McGuinness said the law must now be changed so that officials and agencies can face prosecution for issues that occur under their care.

The Kilkenny TD told RTÉ: “For a long time now I’ve been highlighting the issue of the Ministers and Secretaries Act 1924, where the responsibility for everything falls to the minister.

“We need to change those structures, we need to reform the law, we need to have individuals and agencies, Government departments and others held responsible for failures and inefficiencies.

“If we don’t modernise the law then we will fail the country over and over again. And, in this case, and in many of the other cases within the HSE, individuals and families have been failed in a dramatic and negative fashion, and that can’t be allowed to continue.

“The Oireachtas finance, public expenditure and reform committee that I chair has a responsibility in this area, and we’ll be reviewing this so that agencies and individuals can be prosecuted and can be named,” Mr McGuinness added.

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