Dáil Éireann - Volume 615 - 21 February, 2006

Written Answers. - Abuse Allegations.

  616. Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Education and Science if her attention has been drawn to a letter dated 26 June 1999 from a person (details supplied) in Dublin 8; the steps which were taken in 1999 to investigate the issues raised in this letter; the reason there was no reply to the letter. [6582/06]

  Mr. B. Lenihan: I am aware of the letter dated 26 June 1999 referred to by the Deputy. My Department has no record of a reply issuing to this letter and I regret that I am not in a position to say why this is the case. I can confirm however that the letter forms part of a substantial correspondence from the person concerned outlining a range of concerns and allegations regarding Finglas child and adolescent centre and related matters.

One allegation of physical abuse related to an alleged assault of a boy by a staff member at the [455] centre, then known as Finglas children’s centre, in 1985. Staff in the Department interviewed the then director of the centre in late 1992 in this regard. The director assured my Department that this incident had been investigated at the time and it had been found that the incident was a necessary case of physical restraint of a disruptive young person, which was misinterpreted by a staff member.

Following further allegations of abuse at Finglas children’s centre and Trinity House school, a Garda investigation was carried out in 1994. On foot of that investigation, the Director of Public Prosecutions directed in 1994 that there was no evidence to support allegations of abuse.

On receipt of further correspondence in 1996, the matter was referred from my Department to the Garda for investigation. In addition to this investigation, the Garda in conjunction with the Eastern Health Board, my Department and management of Finglas children’s centre conducted a look-back investigation into allegations of abuse at the centre. Arising from this investigation, files were sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions regarding allegations of abuse at the centre. My Department provided every possible assistance to the Garda and made available all relevant records in this regard.

Relevant documentation held by my Department in relation to the sexual, physical and emotional abuse or neglect of children in industrial and reformatory schools was forwarded to the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse in compliance with a discovery order from the commission in June 2003.