On the evening of Saturday, April 16, 2005, Sharon Grace went with her two young daughters, Mikahla (4) and Abby (3), to the reception of Ely House in Wexford, Ireland, the area headquarters for social workers. She was desperate and asked if she could see a social worker. The receptionist told her that the social worker worked Monday to Friday only and that there were no emergency contact numbers for social services.
Ely House is situated spectacularly across the bridge from the historic waterfront of Wexford Town. Immediately across the road from the front entrance is a small beach where the River Slaney pours out under the bridge into the sea.
With a child in each hand, Sharon left the building, crossed the road, and went down over the short stony beach into the fast-flowing river. Fishermen recovered the three bodies.
At the inquest a year later the receptionist who had spoken to Sharon confirmed that, despite the tragedy, Ely House still had no list of emergency numbers for social services.
That caused such a furore that today there is a new procedure for mothers in trouble. The police are called and the children are seized.
The Sharon Grace project
The Sharon Grace project, which needs to become a foundation, has an objective of establishing a social and legal obligation to recognize and enshrine in practice and law that the rights of the mother are an integral part of child protection. While recognizing that there are parents who can no longer cope and some who are a definite threat to their children, Social Services, in Ireland and the UK and in some other countries, have moved to the extreme position that where there is smoke there is fire and that in virtually all cases of parents under stress the draconian measure of children being removed and put in foster care pending forced adoption must be employed. Recently when an individual trying to intercede for a mother put it to the head of social services at Ely House that he was showing little interest in the welfare of that mother he stridently replied, "We are a child protection service."
During 2013 one of the founders of the project had what he believed were some very bad experiences with the staff at Ely House while trying to help mothers and their children. One of these is the subject of a complaint to the HSE and government.
The Sharon Grace Project is one of the outcomes of this experience.
Where we stand
The foundation is now being set up.
We need Good Samaritans to help parents, mainly mothers, in trouble. Mothers with children are fleeing from Social Services in the UK to Ireland and, when asking for help here, are finding that Social Services in Ireland are acting as an extension of their colleagues in the UK and are unfortunately sometimes all too eager to help them achieve the objective of seizing the children.
We have been joined by a family law solicitor and we are at present studying the very important
'Report to the Board of the Courts Service' by Dr. Carol Coulter.
Go to the Sharon Grace Project.
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