There must be accountability for damning failures at Tusla – Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has told Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that somebody must be held accountable for the damning failures at Tusla as outlined in a HIQA report published today.

Speaking at Leaders Questions today, Teachta McDonald said;

“I understand that it outlines dysfunction and deficiencies within Tusla in the areas of staffing, systems, reporting and governance.

“I understand that the report highlights the alarming reality that the Tusla has serious difficulties in recruiting and retaining specialist staff, particularly social workers.

“The report also points to resourcing problems and the inability of Tusla to respond appropriately to cases of alleged or suspected child abuse. The unacceptable result of this catalogue of failure is that the Child & Family Agency is not adequately protecting children at ongoing risk.

“This means that children are knowingly left in danger. There are children at increased risk today due to the culture of dysfunction at Tusla. This has been compounded by your government’s failure to act and properly resource a responsive and effective child and family agency.

“We must see also see accountability for the litany of failures contained in today’s report. In order to change the culture in Tusla there first has to be accountability.”

Deputy McDonald also challenged the Taoiseach on the shortage of social workers in the system.

“It is clear that we need to see a serious step change when it comes to recruiting and retaining social workers. In January, the Public Accounts Committee highlighted the high staff turnover rates at Tusla.

“Despite hiring 250 new staff, there was only a net gain of 18 due to the high numbers leaving the Agency. This is an issue Sinn Féin has raised time and time again with the Minister.

“In May, we learned that over four thousand children referred to Tusla were waiting to be allocated social worker. We need to see dramatic improvements.”