Tusla apologises for five-year delay in responding to abuse report

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Tusla, the child and family agency, has apologised over an “inexcusable” delay of more than five years in responding to a woman’s report of childhood sexual abuse.

Sinéad Lay (34), from Monasterevin, Co Kildare, was 14 when a neighbour, Fergus Delaney, who had groomed her, began to allegedly sexually assault her in 2000. Delaney of Allendale Lawns, Baltinglass, Co Wicklow, is now in his 50s.

In late 2012 a referral was made to social workers over the past sexual abuse. The referral outlined Delaney was the father of young children, volunteered as a GAA underage coach and worked as a bus driver.

Social workers interviewed Ms Lay in April 2013 but were unable to arrange a meeting with Delaney, and the case was left unallocated, without a social worker, for a significant period afterwards.

An internal Tusla report into a complaint from Ms Lay found there had been no review of her case for several years, and it was left unallocated due to “ongoing staff shortages”.

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Five years after she had reported the abuse, social workers interviewed Ms Lay again in early 2018, before determining her allegations to be “founded” and credible in December 2018.

The report into her complaint found she had received no updates on the progress of her case over much of the five years.