The 3rd interim report of the Disclosures Tribunal makes clear that the root cause of Tusla's failures in the case of Sergeant McCabe were not a dark conspiracy but incompetence. In the report, the Tribunal Chair has made stark and significant findings about the managers of the Cavan Monaghan area, and a litany of missed opportunities. I find it appalling that if the case had been dealt with in accordance with existing policies then none of this might have been necessary. The procedures in place at the time were, as the report says, simply ignored. When I became aware of the problems in the area, I instructed HIQA to carry out a statutory investigation into the management of retrospective cases of abuse by Tusla.
HIQA made a similar finding in its report of the statutory investigation; the policies were not being implemented. I have established an independent Expert Assurance Group to monitor and advise on the recommendations made by HIQA, and work is ongoing in relation to this.
In the interest of balance I must note that there is also a recognition for the good work of Tusla professionals in the report. I believe that the majority of Tusla front line social workers act in good faith, and do very important work, to the best of their abilities.
The report is clear in its criticisms of the standards of management and accountability within an area of Tusla, and it is clear that improvements are required.
While it is my belief that funding is not the key to delivering on these reforms, I have secured an increase in funding to Tusla by over €30 million for 2019, so this cannot be an excuse of lack of delivery.
I have met with the Board of Tusla today and asked them to formally respond to the report. The response will set out the evidence of change that will prevent these events from ever happening again.