Commission Calls for ‘Grace’ Investigation to Respect Human Rights and Equality Obligations for People with Intellectual Disabilities

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (“the Commission”) has today welcomed the establishment of a Commission of Investigation into certain issues relating to a former foster home in the South East, and has emphasised that the mechanism should be independent and transparent, and has highlighted the importance of the participation of victims and ensuring pathways for access to redress.

The case of Grace clearly raises questions about the culture and treatment of some individuals in foster care settings and more broadly puts into question the possible systemic nature of such treatment.

As Ireland’s national human rights institution and equality body, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission met last week, ahead of the publication of the Terms of Reference, with Finian McGrath T.D., Minister of State with special responsibility for Disabilities on the need for the investigation be fully compliant with the State’s human rights and equality obligations under the Constitution and international human rights law. A human rights and equality framework is an essential component of an effective inquiry in order to establish the facts.

Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission said:

“Significant concerns about the culture and treatment of individuals with intellectual disabilities in the care system have been raised. It is essential that the investigation launched today is a meaningful process with a reliable outcome – People with severe to profound intellectual disabilities should be cared for in a way that fully respects their dignity and their will and preferences and nurtures their full potential.

“In meeting with Minister McGrath we stressed the need to give voice to those whose rights have been infringed as vital within this Commission of Investigation. “


For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,

01 8589601 / 087 0697095

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Notes to editor: 

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC)

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) was set up on 1 November 2014 as an independent public body to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding across Irish society.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Act 2014 sets out the functions of the Commission, i.e. to ensure that:

  • there is respect for, and protection of, everyone’s human rights;
  • there is respect for the dignity and worth of each person;
  • a person’s ability to achieve their potential is not limited by prejudice, discrimination, or neglect;
  • everyone has a fair and equal opportunity to take part in the economic, political, social or cultural life of the State; and
  • people respect each other, respect equality and human rights, and understand the value of diversity within society

The IHREC is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.