460 individuals have taken cases on "childcare matters" against TUSLA over the past five years, figures released to the Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD reveal.
Commenting on the statistics released to him, Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD said:
"While we all understand the reasoning behind the strict privacy rules surrounding proceedings in the family law courts, we in Aontú believe that there does need to be more transparency around these cases - especially in cases where the judge rules against TUSLA, journalists should not be so severely restricted in how they are permitted to report on such cases. At present - if a man or woman phones my office to discuss their cases or ways in which they may feel aggrieved by the courts or by TUSLA or another entity during court proceedings, I must advise them that by speaking to me they are breaking the "in camera rule" and could face charges or even jail time as a result. This doesn't sit well with me. Some of these cases involving TUSLA in recent years have been harrowing, and anecdotal evidence suggests that there is something wrong in the system. We had a case recently where TUSLA had reported to the Gardaí that children in a particular home were at risk of abuse. The files contained multiple references to the mother's issues with alcohol abuse. The mother in question does not drink alcohol. When the issue was pursued further, by the mother, TUSLA said that the incorrect information in the file was due to "a copying and pasting error". I have asked the Minister and TUSLA if they can confirm how many other individuals were affected by such errors - in response the Minister said he wouldn't comment on individual cases. A basic level of transparency is required in these matters, and I will be seeking further detail and clarity once the Dáil returns", concluded Tóibín