It takes a lot to silence a parliament and frankly it takes a lot to silence me, but this story about the foster home in the South-East leaves us all speechless.
The Health Board, as it was in those days, knew that children were being abused in a foster home. They knew that somebody in that house was in the habit of violently assaulting children entrusted to the care of that house and therefore they stopped sending children there. They knew that people were being raped there. Raped! And yet, for another thirteen years, they knowingly continued to place “Grace” in the power of this rapist. Not only that, but they sent Grace’s money to this rapist.
They subsequently refused to acknowledge their negligence and failed even to recognise that the victim or the victim’s family might deserve an apology.
They even contrived to lie to a parliamentary investigation.
They consigned a vulnerable woman to years of rape by a violent pervert, even though they knew the house was a threat to her safety.
They allowed unspeakable things to happen. Things so violent that they will shorten the woman’s life.
They facilitated the vile career of a violent rapist by their supine attitude.
It’s the Irish equivalent of the Fred West story and yet, if news reports are to be believed, all of these functionaries still hold their jobs and still deal with vulnerable children.
As I said, it takes a lot to silence a parliament, but that’s what happened today when our national assembly took a day out of its calendar so that the Director general of the HSE could address the Public Accounts Committee. It was one of those days when we might take some pride in our democracy. A day when all of us, no matter of what political stripe, united in our horror at the things that took place in this foster home.
Tomorrow, our prime minister will announce the dissolution of the current parliament, but we can hope that his final act might be to announce an inquiry into the things that caused this horror. And then perhaps we might be able to study the official mindset that allows such things to happen. But for a change, perhaps we will also see an investigation and maybe even some civil servants going to jail.
Somebody needs to be jailed for this dreadful thing.
Is there any difference between the HSE abandoning Grace to the control of a rapist and the Magdalene scandal?