Deputy Sandra McLellan: The Government cannot ignore the fact that there is a large number of victims of child abuse who suffered terribly while in State-paid and -sponsored foster care in the past. There are many cases we know of where children faced horrific abuse while in foster care with little or no monitoring of their welfare. In one specific case, an individual suffered 14 years of abuse between 1953 and 1967. Physical, mental and sexual abuse while in foster care is evidenced by reports from social workers and the NSPCC. These reports were made to the Government of the day and were ignored. My office has been approached with specific cases that are devastating.
These victims have approached both this and the previous Government for support. The previous Fianna Fáil-led Government did nothing to address the issue. The current Government now appears to be equally reluctant to look into it or give any type of support to these victims. These children in foster care were failed by the State for years with no protection from abuse. What will the Minister do to afford these victims of abuse redress or justice? As convenor of the mother and baby homes commission, can the Minister give a commitment to investigate these cases of abuse under State care? If so, when will he look into it? These victims have been failed for decades and have been fighting for their voices to be heard. It is the least they deserve