Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that allegations concerning the relationship between The Child and Family Agency, Tusla, and attempts to smear the reputation of Garda whistle-blower Sgt Maurice McCabe are horrifying but not completely surprising. Deputy McGrath, who successfully challenged Tusla to remove its regulation requiring potential foster parents to be no more than 40 years older than their foster children, was speaking as the controversy has spread to include the Minister for Children, Katherine Zappone:
“I have had extensive dealings with Tusla over the last number of years and have heard from numerous parents and grandparents from right across the state had been trying to raise concerns about how Tusla operates.
They may as well have been shouting into the darkness.
The Agency appears to simply close ranks and place its own reputational standing above the interests of parents.
When I fought to have the rights of Tipperary grandparents vindicated after their grandson was removed by Tusla on the basis of their age, I found out just how impossible it was to have appropriate oversight measures put in place.
After a litany of complaints from the grandparents about how their case was being handled, I was informed by Tusla that it would be investigating itself with respect to the complaints.
This demonstrates that there is no real culture within Tusla of submitting their actions to proper, objective scrutiny.
Essentially they are a law unto themselves and operate with all the arrogance that that entails.
We now know from what has emerged in the Maurice McCabe case that catastrophic errors have been committed, and yet the best they can do is say it was ‘a clerical error.’
It would be a grievous insult to all concerned if Tusla were simply left to investigate itself on the Maurice McCabe matter as they were with the case of the grandparents I represented,” concluded Deputy McGrath.