Probe into Dunmore rape cases nearly complete, Taoiseach confirms

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said last evening (Wednesday ) that an independent investigation into the case of three young rape victims who were in foster care in north Galway, is nearing completion.

Mr Varadkar said that a review was being carried out by the Independent Review Panel, made up of independent professionals working in child protection, and it is near completion.

“Tusla staff and some former children in care and their families have been interviewed by the Independent Review Panel,” he said.

The matter first arose two years ago in April 2016, when an RTÉ Investigates programme revealed the case of a foster home scandal in Co Galway. At the time of the report, a man had been charged with more than 70 counts of rape and buggery of three young foster girls in the home he shared with them.

This was reduced to 39 sample charges when the case came to court and the man was found guilty on 23 of those. To protect the victims, RTÉ did not name them or their abuser.

This week, in RTÉ Investigates on Prime Time, some of the women at the centre of the court case came forward to tell their stories publicly for the first time.

In doing so, one of the women waived her right to anonymity to name her abuser as 29-year-old Keith Burke of Addergoolemore, Dunmore, Co Galway.

In recent weeks, Burke was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison, with a year suspended, after he was found guilty of raping the then three foster children between 2003 and 2007. All three girls were aged under ten years of age at the time.

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