Wednesday, 24 November 2021
Ceisteanna - Questions
In response to my colleague, Deputy Pearse Doherty, two weeks ago, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Simon Coveney, stated unequivocally that the families of the victims of abuse at Ard Gréine Court in Stranorlar, County Donegal, deserve to get the full truth and to see the full Brandon report; not an executive summary or an extended executive summary but the full report. Leaks of this report to the media tell us that there were 118 occurrences of sexually inappropriate behaviour, which impacted 18 victims, all extremely vulnerable individuals, many of them non-verbal. As Deputy Doherty has highlighted time and again, the families of the victims placed their trust in the centre and the HSE to protect their well-being and safety. This trust has been broken in the cruellest and heart-breaking of circumstances. It was, as is so often the case, the courage of a whistleblower that led to investigations into the abuse by the Health Information and Quality Authority, HIQA, and An Garda Síochána. Two years after that, the abuser was relocated and the abuse started all over again. Deputy Doherty wrote to the former Minister for Health in 2016 to raise the issue of under-reporting of abuse at the facility. He was told by the then Minister, Deputy Harris, that it was a matter for the HSE. We are here many years later and the HSE and Garda are blocking publication of the full report, the two State agencies responsible for protecting victims in the first place. I share the view of Deputy Doherty and the Minister, Deputy Coveney, that political input is needed to ensure that the unvarnished truth is published. This needs to be transparent. I ask the Taoiseach to ensure that there is urgency and that the victims' families have full sight of this report.