From top: Barrister Garry O’Halloran and Finance Minister Michael Noonan
You may recall the foster home abuse case involving a woman referred to as Grace, in the media, and a recent interview Finance Minister Michael Noonan did with Richard Crowley about the case on RTÉ’s News At One.
During the interview, Mr Crowley asked Mr Noonan about his knowledge of the concerns raised in relation to abuse, and a letter the foster father had sent to Mr Noonan in 1996 – when he was Minister for Health.
Further to this…
Journalists Daniel McConnell and Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, in this morning’s Irish Examiner, report that a former Fine Gael councillor, barrister Garry O’Halloran – who was a former chair of the South Eastern Health Board – claims Mr Noonan literally ran away from a meeting to discuss concerns about sex abuse involving children.
They further reported that Mr O’Halloran quit Fine Gael because of Mr Noonan’s actions.
In a statement to the Irish Examiner, Mr O’Halloran said at the 1997 Fine Gael Ard Fheis, Mr Noonan had arranged to meet him and some abuse victims.
“We arrived, he kept us waiting for hours, eventually I spotted him leaving the stage and heading for a door about 40m away, I was about 60m away and started to follow him in the direction of the door,” Mr O’Halloran has said. “He spotted me and ran, I then ran but he got to the door and when I arrived I was met with a cloud of black smoke as his garda driver sped away,” he added.
Mr O’Halloran and his delegation then met junior minister Austin Currie who concluded there was no substance to the claims of abuse.
“I went to the taoiseach, John Bruton, who said it was a matter for the minister for health. When I got no place, I then submitted by resignation from FG,” he added.
Yesterday, the Irish Examiner first attempted to put queries about this matter to the Fine Gael press office, but we were directed to the Department of Finance.
The Department of Finance said as this was a health matter, they could not comment.
A Department of Health spokesman said he could not speak for Mr Noonan and referred us back to the Department of Finance, but also suggested we speak to the Department of Children.
At the time of going to print, no comment was forthcoming from Mr Noonan.
There you go now.
Pics: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews and Law Library