Thursday, 28 March 2019

Ceisteanna (25)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

25. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs further to Parliamentary Question No. 33 of 13 February 2019, when the report of the review panel that commenced on 16 May 2016 in respect of the care of three children in a foster home in County Galway will be published; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [14495/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The shocking abuse suffered by these very brave young women while in foster care in the early 2000's has disrupted and deeply impacted their lives. I am very conscious of the significant public interest in the case.

The Deputy will be aware that the review process begun by the National Review Panel in 2016 was paused at the request of An Garda Síochána, to allow criminal proceedings to conclude. Following the conclusion of the criminal case and sentencing of the perpetrator, the Review was resumed and has now been completed. It has been highlighted by Tusla that not all of the young people involved have chosen to waive their statutory right to anonymity. Tusla must not infringe on this statutory protection.

It is important to be mindful that a number of the young people involved in this case may be extremely vulnerable. Past hurt and the current well-being of all the young women are a real concern here. I don't believe that adding to their trauma by putting particulars into the public domain should be done without consultation with them, which is part of the process when publishing a report of this type.

I have been advised by Tusla that a sequence of meetings are to take place with the young people involved, and that the conclusion of the process will take their views and needs into consideration.

I share the Deputy’s conviction that it is in the public interest for the learning in this case to be shared. It is also our responsibility to bear in mind the significant if unintended impact this could have on the young people at the centre of the case. I expect that the Chair of the Tusla Board will take into account both the public interest and the voice of these very vulnerable young people in his consideration of the report and its publication.