Tag Archives: Michael Noonan

From top Taoiseach Leo Varadkar leaving Marconi House after an interview with Newstalk’s Pat Kenny this morning. Michael Noonan with Paschal Donohoe in 2017

This morning.

Via Newstalk:

Mr Varadkar said he doesn’t feel undermined by Michael Noonan backing Paschal Donohoe to be the Fine Gael leader.

Mr Noonan – who is not running for re-election – told Independent.ie’s Floating Voter podcast that it’s an open secret he wanted Donohoe to replace Enda Kenny.

The intervention comes with Leo Varadkar under pressure as polls ahead of the election show support for the party falling.

The Taoiseach, however, denied that he felt undermined by the intervention – saying Mr Noonan also said on the podcast that Mr Varadkar has been a ‘great Taoiseach’.

The Fine Gael leader said: “I can see how people will try to make a bigger story out of it than it is.

No finer endorsement.

Varadkar: Time Has Come For Sinn Féin Tp Openly Support The Special Criminal Court (Newstalk)

Noonan backs Donohoe to be Fine Gael leader as pressure mounts on Varadkar (Independent.ie)




Majella Moynihan; Fine Gael TD Michael Noonan, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during Leaders’ Questions yesterday


During Leaders’ Questions.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald raised the case of former Garda Majella Moynihan with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Majella was in early 20s in the mid-1980s when she became pregnant with a Garda recruit.

At the age of 22, she was charged, under Garda regulations, with having premarital sex with another garda and with having given birth to a baby outside of marriage.

She felt forced to give up her son for adoption and later attempted to take her life five times.

On Today with Seán O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One on Monday, Majella also said she suffered sexual harassment within her workplace, saying: “I feel that they portrayed me as an easy woman so they could say and do whatever they liked to me.”

In the Dáil yesterday, Ms McDonald specifically asked Mr Varadkar if he had spoken to Limerick Fine Gael TD and former Minister for Justice, from 1982 to 1986, Michael Noonan about Majella.

It followed Majella telling Seán O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One on Monday morning that she raised her story with Mr Noonan ten years ago and that Mr Noonan told her it was an internal Garda matter.

From Ms McDonald and Mr Varadkar’s exchange:

Mary Lou McDonald: “Are there more Majellas out there? What will the Taoiseach do establish the full facts?

“Majella said yesterday that she spoke with Deputy Michael Noonan who was Minister for Justice in 1983, but she spoke to him ten years ago and at that point he said to her that this was an internal Garda matter.

“The mind boggles as to how this could ever have been an internal Garda matter.

“I understand that Deputy Michael Noonan has not responded to this matter.

“Should he now make a statement and has the Taoiseach spoken with him on the issue?”

Leo Varadkar: “I thank the Deputy. In response to her questions, I have not spoken to Deputy Michael Noonan about it.

“I do not know if there are more Majellas out there: there may well be.

“I would have no difficulty apologising to those women on behalf of the State but I would like to know the facts and be able to answer the questions raised by the Deputy today before doing that.”

“… I very much welcome the fact that [Garda] Commissioner [Drew] Harris has offered an apology and that that apology has been repeated and echoed on behalf of the Government by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Charles Flanagan.

“Mr Harris will meet her in person and the Minister, Deputy Flanagan, has asked that he be involved in that meeting too. I think that is what should happen next. That meeting should occur between Ms Moynihan and the Garda Commissioner and the Minister for Justice and Equality and, perhaps, we can take things from there.

“As she is the one at the centre of this they should be allowed to hear from her rather than us debating here what the next step should be. The next step should be for her and the Commissioner to meet, and the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Flanagan, would like to be able to attend that meeting with her consent.”

Ms McDonald went on to say she believed Mr Noonan should make a statement on the matter.

Mr Varadkar replied:

Many people have served as Minister for Justice since 1983. I am not sure how many but it could be a dozen people. I do not think this is about trying to have a go at a politician or former Minister for Justice.

“This is about Majella Moynihan and hearing her story. It is about understanding the wrongs that were done in our past, offering an apology to her from the Garda Commissioner, which has happened, and an apology from the Minister for Justice and Equality, and then allowing them to meet with her to talk about what the next steps forward should be.

“This should not be an occasion for political interaction such as that.”

Previously: “I’ve Heard From Nobody”

“I Remember Just Falling To The Ground”

From top: Denis Naughten (left) and David McCourt; Michael Noonan

Denis Naughten had at least two additional meetings with David McCourt during the procurement process for the National Broadband Plan (NBP), it has emerged.

The former communications minister’s diary shows that he and the Irish-American businessman met in October 2016, when three potential bidders remained in the running for the lucrative rural broadband contract. There are no minutes of the October meeting, which was also attended by officials.

Denis Naughten held further talks with businessman (The Times Ireland Edition)


Former Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan met with representatives of Enet, including former government Press Secretary and PR advisor Eoin O’Neachtain, in December 2016 – three months before Denis Naughten made the decision to extend the Municipal Area Networks (MANs) contracts to Enet ” suddenly and without tender”.

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy said:

“In a series of parliamentary replies to me, including a schedule showing all meetings between either David McCourt, representatives of Enet, and the Department of Communications, it is clear that there was almost an open door policy in Government buildings for Enet and/or David McCourt.

I have said previously that we need to understand the rationale for the former Minister’s decision to extend the MANs contract – which is essentially the precursor to the NBP process – when he did because soon after that contract extension the State bought into Enet at a cost of approximately €200 million and it is important to understand if that extension materially affected the price paid by the State for its 78% purchase of Enet in 2017.

To learn now that the former Minister for Finance met with Enet officials about the MANs just 3 months before the MANs contract was extended in the way it was raises more questions and this is why I have asked the Taoiseach to extend any review of the NBP process to date to include a review of the process leading up to the NBP; namely the MANs contract.”

Previously: Courting David

Michael Noonan

Bridget Cole: As minister for Health [December 1994 to June 1997], Michael Noonan refused to grant significant aid payments to victims of the Hepatitis C scandal and resisted Donegal mother Brigid McCole, who was forced to take court action for compensation but died before she could benefit.

Grace:  A mute child, Grace remained in a foster home with an abusive family for more than a decade after other children had been removed. In 1996, after the  Southern Health Board decided that Grace be removed, the foster father sent a letter lobbying then Minster for Health Michael Noonan. Grace was subsequently allowed to stay at the home for another 13 abusive years.

Joanne Hayes: As Minister for Justice [December 1982 to February 1986, Michael Noonan was aware prior to the Kerry babies Tribunal that Gardai would push a ‘superfecundation’ narrative against Joanne Hayes. He was also told, before the tribunal, by Garda Commissioner Larry Wren that his senior detectives had been “grossly negligent”.

Garry writes:

All women/kids/both. All extremely traumatic and vulnerable. All cases involving torture and death. Makes one wonder what sort of mission Noonan believed he was on?


Previously: ‘It Was I Who Was On Trial’

Last year’s Irish Examiner showing the letter sent by the foster father of Grace to the then Minister for Health Michael Noonan, above, in August 1996

This morning.

In the Irish Examiner.

Daniel McConnell reports on an interim report from the Commission of Investigation into the case of ‘Grace’, chaired by Marjorie Farrelly SC.

He reports:

Michael Noonan’s handling of the case of ‘Grace’ while health minister and the role of his department in the 1990s will be the subject of commission of investigation hearings early in the new year, an interim report states.”

“…Mr Noonan has strongly denied acting in any way on behalf of the foster father following written representations seeking to have ‘Grace’ remain at the home.”

Mr McConnell also reports that the interim report was given to Minister for Health Simon Harris and Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian McGrath yesterday and that it will be discussed by Cabinet next Tuesday.

Readers will recall how ‘Grace’ was born to a single mother in the southeast of Ireland in the late 1970s.

She was supposed to be put up for adoption but, instead, was put into foster care soon after her birth.

She was born with microcephaly and was mute.

From 1989 until 2009, Grace lived with a set of foster parents.

The foster father – who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1999 and who died in 2000 – was accused of sexually abusing another child in their care in 1996, at which point it was decided that no more children would be placed in their care and that Grace would be removed.

The foster parents appealed this decision to remove Grace and, in a letter dated August 9, 1996, to the then Health Minister Michael Noonan, the foster father stated that he and the foster mother lost this appeal and that they were appealing to the minister to “decide in their favour”.

On August 26, 1996, Mr Noonan received a second letter appealing for Grace to remain with the foster parents. But this second letter was from the principal of a school attended by a grandson of the foster parents.

On November 14, 1996, the foster parents were told Grace could stay with them.

Grace remained there for another 13 years.

Previously: Grace, Noonan And Monageer

Michael Noonan And Grace

Failing Grace

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan

A poem to mark the imminent retirement from politics of Michael Noonan, who has spent his life in the upper echelons of Fine Gael.

Ode To Smugness

His head hairs are the thirty million maggots feeding on the carcass of creativity,

His eyes are x-ray beams burning holes through punctured public services,

His ears are oyster shells littered with the pearls of Christine Lagarde,

On the soft sand away from those drowning in the sea,

His bald head is the vulture at the “Everything Must Go” jumble sale,

His nose is an exhaust pouring black smoke on the children’s dreams,

His face is an Alsation keeping people from the truth,

His mouth is a swampy cesspit where poison splutters,

His tongue is a serpent that spits venom on the just and the poor,

His ass is a giant beach ball that Jean-Claude Juncker likes to boot around,

His heart is the army tank that drove on Bridget and her poisoned blood,

His arms are Graf von Faber-Castells writing off the debts of Denis at a stroke,

His legs are bowling pins as Cerebrus strikes it lucky again,

And his feet are roadside sweepers sucking up the crumbs,

The shivering homeless barely looking on

Ian Murlocks




From top: Four Courts, Dublin ; Michael Noonan

This afternoon

In the High Court.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly approved a settlement involving a package worth €6.3million for Grace, the non-verbal, intellectually disabled woman who is now in her 40s and who lived with an abusive foster family for 20 years, until 2009.

Grace lived in the home for almost 13 years after the local health board decided to stop placing children at the home in 1996. The decision to remove Grace came after the mother of a female service user claimed her daughter was sexually molested while she had spent a week on holiday/respite at Grace’s foster home.

The decision to reverse this decision to remove Grace occurred after a letter was sent by the foster father to then Minister for Health Michael Noonan in August, 1996.

The letter to Mr Noonan, which had been copied to the health board, appealed to the minister to “decide in their favour”.

Also in August 1996, Mr Noonan received a letter from the principal of a school attended by the foster parents’ grandson, in which the principal wrote in support of Grace staying with the foster family.

The matter is the subject of a Commission of Investigation, chaired by SC Marjorie Farrelly, launched in March of this year.

Further to this…

RTE reports:

Mr Justice Peter Kelly approved a settlement involving a package of measures worth €6.3m for the woman referred to as ‘Grace’.

The Health Service Executive apologised to the woman in court for the failings in her care.

The failings included inadequate monitoring and oversight of her care and inadequate action to remove her from the foster home after significant concerns had been raised.

In its apology the HSE said the care she received fell short of the compassionate, caring and personalised support that she was entitled to.

It said the HSE had taken steps locally and nationally for continued service improvements, standards and safe care.

…Mr Justice Kelly said a decision had been made in 1996 to remove ‘Grace’ from the foster family. But he said that decision had been reversed by a three-person committee in the health board for reasons which remained a mystery to this day.

He said this was after representations were made by the foster parents to the then minister for health.

He asked what extraordinary hold the foster family had over the health board officials who made the decision. He said if it was not for the fact that a commission of inquiry has been set up, he would have wanted answers to these questions.

High Court approves €6.3m settlement for Grace (RTE)

PAC 036_90505399Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 12.04.48

The Public Accounts Committee is launching its report on the sale of Project Eagle.


The chair of PAC, Fianna Fail TD Seán Fleming said:

“The committee considers that it was not appropriate for Nama, as the contracting body, to meet with Cerberus representatives the day before the Project Eagle bid closing date. It could have given the perception that Cerberus was benefiting from preferential treatment.

“Also. The committee considers that it was not procedurally appropriate for the Minister for Finance [Michael Noonan] to meet with senior Cerberus representatives on the day before the Project Eagle bid closing date. This could have given the perception that Cerberus was benefiting from preferential treatment.”

Facebook live link here

Read the report here

Previously: ‘Not Appropriate’

Eagles, Vultures and Turkeys


Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 12.22.39Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 12.26.41Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 12.32.52

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 12.51.56

From top: Daniel McConnell, of the Irish Examiner; Hugh O’Connell, of The Sunday Business Post, and Josepha Madigan, Fine Gael TD and member of PAC

You may recall how, on Sunday, February 12, in The Sunday Business Post, Hugh O’Connell and Jack Horgan-Jones reported on a draft working paper by the Public Accounts Committee into Nama’s sale of Project Eagle.

They reported:

The paper said it was “not appropriate” for the Department of Finance to meet with the ultimately successful bidder, Cerberus, in the days before the closing date for Project Eagle bids. It similarly states that it was “not appropriate” for Noonan or Nama to meet with Cerberus the day before the Project Eagle bid closing date – and that this could be perceived as “special treatment”.

This morning.

PAC’s report no longer states the Department of Finance and the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan’s behaviour was ‘not appropriate’. Instead, their behaviour was ‘not procedurally appropriate’.

Why was it changed?

From the press conference…

David Davin Power (RTE): “You found that Michael Noonan meeting Cerberus wasn’t ‘procedurally appropriate’ and I know there was a contention about that on the committee. Fine Gael members voting against it. But Michael Noonan says that he never had an adequate opportunity to respond to what was ultimately an adverse finding against him and that he’s been unfairly treated, effectively, by the committee.”

Sean Fleming: “Well, he said that, based on the original working document that said it was ‘inappropriate’ but the wording in the report published today refers to the procedures that allowed that meeting to happen. It was procedurally inappropriate. So it’s not quite the same as what was in the original report. And that word is there for a reason. Because this committee is precluded from finding specific fault against an individual person. And we’re looking at the process of that meeting, not specifically the person who attended. I would [inaudible] the distinction between the finding in relation to Nama, where we say it was inappropriate, because we were finding that the body, the corporate body of Nama, rather than that one person, acted inappropriately. But we can’t use that particular word due to legal restrictions, in relation to one individual.”

Davin Power: “But why did you seek to use that word if it was legally suspect in the first place…”

Fleming: “The committee never sought to seek that. There was a working document prepared after some 30,000 sheets of paper presented to the committee and after 11 public hearings. The committee never used that particular wording. The only wording that the committee settled on is the wording in the report.”

Davin Power: “Could you ask one of the Fine Gael members [of PAC] to respond to that point? Are you happy…[inaudible].”

Fleming: “Peter [Burke], if you’re happy?”

Peter Burke: “Thank you very much. First of all, I think to use the words ‘procedurally inappropriate’ is not fair. I would point out that the Minister did attend the PAC meeting, even though he’s not legally required to do so. He spent five hours under intense questioning. He brought forward all information and answers and answered everything very clear and concise and to see a situation whereby he was actually denied natural justice because the response that’s in the report is to a media leak which appeared on the Sunday Business Post. So, in other words, he never got due process or was questioned on the content of this assertion.

“And, to point out, Section 9 of the Nama Act is very clear. That it is independent in its functions in terms of its role with the minister and previous people have brought this up, including our chairman when the act was [inaudible] in the Dáil in 2009, in terms of to keep it outside of the realm of politics, I mean that was very, very important. And to suggest that it’s procedurally inappropriate, one has to ask: what is the procedure? And there is none. If the minister has clear legal separation and there is a former US secretary of the treasury coming over to Ireland to discuss, from banking to insurance to asset management, I think it would be unwise for any minister not to meet him.”


Burke: “… the commercial activities of Nama are driven by the board. The minister has no role in this. And even, as a process, it was mentioned that the minister should have called off the sale, but at that time, he’d no legal power to do so. And there’s departmental legal advice, which was mentioned at the committee here, in relation to that.”

Daniel McConnell (Irish Examiner): “But are you not playing politics with it now? Are Fine Gael not playing politics with the PAC, for the first time in its history, in 94 years, you caused a vote at the PAC, purely to protect the standing of Michael Noonan?

Burke: “No, Danny, that’s not correct. If we look at this, in a fair and balanced fashion. If a minister, who is not legally obliged to attend the PAC, does so of his own free will, in the interest of fairness, in the interest of transparency, on foot of that, that he is denied the right to due process, to respond to a charge that was put to him, that he was never asked one single question on, I think that’s an incredible part of this report. That the minister was denied that right to respond to an assertion that he was never…”

McConnell: “So, who put it in the report initially then? Because this is important. Who put the initial finding of ‘inappropriate’ in the report? Was it a civil servant?”

Burke: “Here is a draft document

McConnell: “So a civil servant…

Burke: “…which was leaked to the Sunday Business Post…”

McConnell: “So it was a civil servant  who put it in, is that what you’re saying?”

Burke: “It was a draft document, I can’t answer that….”

Fleming: “I will answer that, and I will call on David Cullnane [Sinn Fein] next. I, as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, supervised directly, personally..”

McConnell: “So it was your, that was your, that was your language?

Talk over each other

Fleming: “…reporting in the first instance. What I do want to clarify, people mightn’t have go to it. We put a specific appendix in the report, on page 86, on the issue. We record fully and faithfully everything in respect of the minister’s response. First of all, in that, when we came to that issue of whether or not, at our meeting, and it’s all documented there [inaudible] we had three or four meetings, and Peter and his [Fine Gael] colleagues proposed wording to say, rather than it was ‘not procedurally correct’, to put the wording it was ‘not advisable’. So the board members were satisfied that the report should say it was ‘not advisable’ of the minister. That was voted down and the other wording was put forward.”

“But I just want to respond, before I call on David Cullinane, it was fortuitous in a way that there was a leak because that did give the minister to respond and the content of the letter received by the minister was examined closely by the parliamentary legal office in this house. And [inaudible] essentially responded to any allegations that we were about to make. Even though his letter came in before we concluded. And I do want to say, this is the transcript, the 82-page transcript of the meeting, of the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday, the 6th of October 2016. And I have to say that that meeting, the minister and the people on his side were the only people aware in the room, at that time of the meeting with Cerberus. No member of the committee was aware that a meeting ever happened. And the minister gave no indication whatever of that meeting. To suggest we didn’t ask him something about which we knew nothing about is unusual. He had four and a half hours at the meeting when we invited him in to talk about the sale of Project Eagle. And he spent four and a half hours discussing it and made no reference to that meeting. And there is the transcript if people want to check it.”


Hugh O’Connell (Sunday Business Post): “Do you think you may have dropped the ball, as a committee, in not asking him if he had met Cerberus? And secondly, when you did become aware of it, why didn’t you ask him about the meeting via correspondence?”

Fleming: “The answer to that is we didn’t drop the ball because we weren’t aware the game had happened. Right? No member of the PAC were aware, at the time, that that meeting…”

Josepha Madigan: “Sorry, that’s incorrect. It was subject to FOI, the minutes were actually given in correspondence on the 4th of November…the 8th of November [2015] to the committee, so they were fully aware of…”

O’Connell: “So, why then, did you not write to Michael Noonan and ask him: why did you have this meeting? And what was the purpose of this meeting?”

David Cullinane: “There was a note that was given to the committee under the Department of Finance that set out the official notes taken by officials, in terms of that meeting. And those notes clearly show that Project Eagle was raised and it was raised in the context of Cerberus raised and they were told that it would be best dealt with at a meeting later that day with Nama which we believe that was also inappropriate. So, there was reference to Project Eagle in that meeting. And…”

O’Connell: “Why didn’t you ask him then? Why didn’t the committee call him back in?”

Alan Farrell: “That’s entirely inaccurate…it is entirely inaccurate….you’ve got your dates mixed up, David.”

Previously: Spotlight Falls On Noonan (March 1, 2016)

bon secour

Minister for Finance and Limerick TD Michael Noonan (centre) launching the Bon Secours hospital

Good timing.

Via People Before Profit

Michael Noonan launched Bon Secours in Limerick yesterdayy. This in the wake of the Tuam bodies. The Bon Secours order own a series of private hospitals.

Maybe he was letting the board of Bon Secours know the Fine Gael government would do nothing to the order or their private profits.

Bon Secours made €2.3 million in profit last year and have over €70 million in accumulated profits as of the end of 2016.

People Before Profit have called for vigils at all Bon Secours hospitals for 6pm this Friday.

People Before Profit

Bon Secours group invests €21m in Limerick after Barringtons takeover (Anne Sheridan, Limerick Leader)

Pic Andrew Downes


Michael Noonan, Minister for Health (1994-1997)

‘Grace’ was born to a single mother in the southeast of Ireland in the late 1970s. She was supposed to be put up for adoption but, instead, was put into foster care soon after her birth.

She was born with microcephaly and was mute.

From 1989 until 2009, Grace lived with a set of foster parents.

The foster father – who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1999 and who died in 2000 – was accused of sexually abusing another child in their care in 1996, at which point it was decided that no more children would be placed in their care.

So, why did Grace live there for another 13 years?

What effect did two letters sent to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, who was then the Minister for Health – calling on him to intervene and to reverse a decision to remove Grace from the home – play in the ultimate reversal of that decision? 

Why did a school principal lobby the Minister Noonan about the case, in favour of the foster parents?

And why did the health board say this principal’s view would be taken into account in “reaching their recommendations in relation to the future care of [Grace]”?

The partially redacted and anonymised HSE-commissioned Conal Devine report, which was completed in 2012 and only published on Tuesday, states the following:

1989: Grace started to live with this set of foster parents on the premise that she would remain there until a residential place was made available for her. She was on a waiting list for such a place.

There is no evidence that the foster parents were assessed at any level as required under the Boarding Out of Children Regulations 1983 or that references were obtained as per those regulations.

There’s also no evidence of any documented visit by the health board to determine the suitability of the home before Grace went to live there.

September 1989: A visit by health professionals is made to the foster home and while the location is praised, there are concerns raise about the following: a lack of other children with whom Grace could socialise; the age of the foster father; and the fact Grace isn’t attending school.

December 1989: The foster parents are informed that a school place has been reserved for Grace from the middle of December.

November 1990: Following a visit to the home, it is noted that Grace hasn’t been back to school since Christmas 1989.

Apparently the reason for the poor school attendance is transport problems but there is no evidence of any effort being made to deal with whatever the obstacles are.

1991: There are no documented six monthly reviews, as required by law, and there is still no evidence of any efforts to accommodate Grace’s school needs.

1992: A request is made for a residential placement for Grace from a residential facility in the birth mother’s home town. The name of the person or organisation that made the request is redacted in the report.

1993: No evidence of any activity around Grace and no documented review visits, as required per law.

1994: There were brief handwritten notes indicating two possible home visits – one on Feb 13 and one on June 17. But no evidence of any documented review visits as per law.

1995: A residential placement for Grace in an area outside of the immediate health board is sought for Grace and it’s noted that this request is due to the foster parents “becoming elderly”. Again the name of the person or organisation who sought the placement is redacted in the report.

May 1995: A psychological assessment notes Grace hasn’t really progressed intellectually or in terms of self care skills since her previous assessment some six year previous, in 1989. It is noted she would benefit from regular attendance at a day care facility – in terms of stimulation and social contact.

However, during a home visit in August 1995, it is noted the foster father did not agree to Grace going to a “workshop” because “there was nothing could be done with her”.

Despite this stance, it was organised for Grace to go to a day care facility. She starts attending the facility on September 4, 1995.

October 17, 1995: During a home visit, it is noted that Grace is taking her clothes off when she gets home in the evening.

October 19, 1995: An incident report from the day care facility, states: “While toileting Grace in the arm, large bruise noticed on left hip, appears tender to the touch. Bruises noticed also on the left elbow and right elbow just visible and not tender to touch. In good form”.

October 25, 1995: Another incident report form, from the facility, states: “For the first time in [the facility] while on social programme training…Grace completely stripped herself for no apparent reason, notified previously of these stripping incidents at home by [redacted]”.

March 1996: The mother of a female service user, at this point living in the UK, claims her daughter was sexually molested while she had spent a week on holiday/respite at Grace’s foster home.

The Devine report notes there was no substantive investigation in respect of this sex abuse complaint.

April 2, 1996: Further to the UK complaint a meeting takes place between the relevant health board professionals. At this meeting, it’s decided that Grace – who is now 17 – will be placed elsewhere.

The Devine report states this is a direct result of the sexual abuse complaint and the age and ill health of one of the foster parents.

Within a week of the meeting, arrangements are made to secure a residential bed for Grace in a facility for people with intellectual disabilities.

The foster father is also told of the sexual abuse complaint made against him at this time.

April 22, 1996: The foster family are notified of their right to appeal the decision to remove Grace.

April 23, 1996: There is a case conference attended by “all the relevant professionals”, of which there are no minutes taken. There’s also no evidence of anybody from the day care facility being invited to attend – even though Grace had been attending the facility for seven months.

Although there are no minutes kept, it’s noted that the case conference is told “Grace was reverting to her former agitated behaviour” but it’s not known who made this claim or where it came from. It didn’t come from the day care facility.

Also, at that case conference, it is noted the foster parents would appeal the decision to remove Grace and those present agreed to await the outcome of that process before proceeding with Grace’s removal.

In addition, at this case conference, it is noted that the health board will no longer use these foster parents.

April 24, 1996: The foster father requests that the family be given time to allow their grandchild get used to Grace leaving and they suggested Grace be allowed to remain with them until the autumn. There’s no evidence of that letter being replied to or being discussed further by those involved in the making the decision to remove Grace.

But we know, from the Devine report that, at some point, a bed that was left vacant for Grace from April that year was filled on the basis that a placement would be made available for Grace at the end of that summer.

May 17, 1996: The foster parents put their case before two professionals – Ms Marie Kennedy and Dr Marie Ryan – as to why they should be allowed to keep Grace. The minutes of that meeting recorded three questions which required clarification.

There is no mention of what the foster father had requested in his letter of April 24 – that Grace be allowed to stay with them until the autumn.

The questions are:

– Was Grace reviewed during the course of her placement and were the foster parents aware that alternative placements were being explored for her?

At what level did discussions take place in relation to moving Grace to an alternative placement?

– What reasons were given to the foster parents in relation to the proposed move.

There’s no record of these questions being followed up and there’s no record of the two professionals making any decision or recommendation, following the meeting.

August 9, 1996: The foster family sends a letter to the then Minister for Health Michael Noonan which had been copied to the health board. This letter states they had “lost their appeal” and that they were appealing to the minister to “decide in their favour”.

The foster father also writes:

“We have looked forward to having Grace for a few more years in fact until my wife reached retirement age. How anyone can say the type of move envisage for Grace is in her best interest beats all.”

Our grandson is 8 years of age who lives with us has always regarded Grace as his sister and to suddenly part them would be very upsetting for him particularly as his mother died last year.

“…I can see no valid reason for this move…”

August 15, 1996: Six days later, according to the Devine report, the Department of Health requests a report on the matter from the health board.

August 20: Five days later, the Department of Health is notified that the matter is being dealt with under Section 43 of the Child Care Act. The health board tells the Department of Health it has “grounds for believing that it is in the best interests of the child to be removed from its current child care placement“.

The same letter to the Department of Health says the foster carers’ objections were heard “as per regulations” and that the plan to remove Grace was going ahead following “an agreement to leave her with the family for the summer”.

But there’s no record or file of any such agreement. There’s only the April 24 letter in which the foster father requested this arrangement, citing his grandson’s relationship with Grace.

August 26, 1996: The Minister for Health Michael Noonan’s office receives a letter from the principal of a school attended by the grandson. The principal writes in support of Grace staying with the foster family.

September 11, 1996: The Department of Health gives this school principal’s letter to the health board with a request for a report.

September 12, 1996: A day after Minister Noonan’s department passes on the letter from the school principal to the health board, it’s recorded that, during a visit to the home, the foster parents say they are going to oppose Grace’s removal and that they have written to Michael Noonan.

September 25, 1996: In response, the Department of Health is told the matter is “currently under consideration by the professional staff on the board” and that the school principal’s view would be taken into account in “reaching their recommendations in relation to the future care of Grace.”

October 24, 1996: A case conference takes place. The Devin report notes:

“There is some dispute in recollection between the professionals as to whether a decision was taken not to remove [Grace] prior to the case conference held on 24th October 1996. There is also a dispute as to why the decision to remove confirmed at the case conference in April 1996 was effectively overturned in October 1996. The [redacted] is of the view that the decision was taken at the case conference  while the [redacted] was of the view that the decision not to remove was because “the appeal” by the [redacted] was successful.”

If you recall, in his letter to Minister Noonan, the foster father said he lost the appeal.

In addition, the Devine report noted:

The Inquiry Team, on the basis of the evidence available, would be of the view that the two persons designated to hear the representations made by the [redacted] did not uphold the appeal of that decision. The inquiry Team would also be of the view that the decision taken at October’s case conference to effectively reverse the outcome of the April case conference was taken by the professionals concerned including the [redacted], [redacted] and the [redacted]. It is not clear however if this decision was made prior to the October case conference or was taken at the case conference.”

Either way, at the case conference of October 24, 1996, it is noted “there is no evidence that anything happened to Grace or that her well being or welfare are not being met..” but, at the same time, the conference is also told neither the health board or any intellectual disability service provider would be placing any further children at that home.

November 14, 1996: The foster parents are told that Grace will be staying with them.

2000: The foster father died.

February 27, 2001: During a visit to the home, the foster mother says she’s relying on the income that she receives for looking after Grace and says she’d like Grace to stay with her and her grandson until he turns 18, which would be in 2006.

March 27, 2009: After it’s noticed that Grace had suspicious bruising on her thigh and breast, she’s taken to A&E and then a Sexual Assault Treatment Unit. A statement is also taken by gardaí. She was later returned to the foster home as it was “the least worst option”.

Grace remained at the home until July 17, 2009.

Protected disclosures by whistleblowers in relation to the treatment of Grace are made in late 2009 and early 2010.

A total of 47 children with profound intellectual disabilities were placed at the home between 1985 and 2013.

Read the Conal Devine report here

Previously: ‘Confidence In The Institutions Of The State Is In Unequivocal Jeopardy’