"Tusla is the Republic of Ireland child protection child agency. It deals with families and children and allegedly the state`s means of protecting them. Now the first head of Tusla - Tusla`s a very new organisation - the first head of Tusla was strangely enough, Scottish. His name was Gordon Jeyes. He came originally from Stirling Council and oddly enough he was in fact head of education during the time of the Dunblane massacre. He then went to Cambridgeshire Council and had a very controversial career down there as well, with the numbers of children being taken into care being one of the areas of interest and concern."
"And he then went across to set up the new Tusla organisation and because it was a new organisation ... he coined the term: this is the year zero ... for Tusla. Now this was obviously a term coined by the Khmer Rouge: it seemed an odd choice. But after one term he resigned as his deputy took over. His deputy is a man called Fred McBride who by another strange coincidence is also Scottish; and by an even stranger coincidence came from, of all places, Aberdeen Council. Aberdeen City Council is a neighbouring council to the one who has been dealing with the Dochertys."
Mike Robinson presents Fred McBride`s Linkedin page: "It shows that he clearly hasn`t updated it in a while and it shows that he was Director of Social Care and Wellbeing at Aberdeen City Council and just to demonstrate that he`s now moved to Tusla, this is the Tusla website and we can see that Fred McBride is Chief Executive."
"And we can see the press release from Aberdeen City Council saying that he was going to Tusla... "
"Or he`s certainly been well rewarded. He has of course been no help at all to the Dochertys. He has refused to answer all questions put to him about the Dochertys of which there have been many and ... more on that in a minute. And his background is ... controversial because before he was head of social services in Aberdeen he fulfilled the same job in a different city and that is Dundee just down the coast. And when he was in Dundee, in fact .... before his move to the £107,000 a year post in Aberdeen he was embroiled in a very controversial and very tragic event where a twenty three month toddler, a little boy called Brandon Muir, was murdered and there was a lot of controversy at the time about this because the little boy was murdered by a violent thug who was the mother`s boyfriend and had no direct relationship to the little boy."
"But the violent... individual was known to social services and was in fact banned from seeing his own children without supervision, due to his tendency to be violent to them and to his former partner. Despite this he was allowed full access to this new family and within weeks this ended in death. To make matters worse the grandmother of the small boy actually spotted the problem; realised this man was violent; tried to raise the alarm and of course got nowhere."
"Well this is the question because the inquiry was set up by Fred McBride just before he left Dundee. He set up an inquiry into his own department. But it was an independent inquiry, you understand... and the fact that he wrote the terms of reference wouldn`t have affected it in any way. He then went to Aberdeen and the inquiry reported and very surprisingly exonerated him... But there remains a great deal of concern and criticism from family members and from people who had been directly affected by this. The social services in Dundee failed quite badly in this case."
"Can I just add to that if I may David?" says Brian Gerrish. "That one of the key things about the power of social services is that even within a particular local authority social services operate as a walled city. So if you are a democratically elected councillor and you have concerns about what is happening with children or even what`s happening with social services within your own council you will find it particularly difficult to ask any questions or to get those questions answered and even councillors who have a specific responsibility for childcare have reported to us that they have been excluded, banned by the council, from asking questions of those social services officers..."
David Scot agrees that there`s no democratic control; there`s no openness. "There is increasingly a change in approach as well because ... the traditional social work approach was quite modest; it realised the difficulties of going into a family and making the right decision. It only did it very reluctantly; it was only in extreme circumstances; and it had a fairly modest approach about what their wisdom was even able to achieve.... In contrast you have the Scottish approach currently which is every aspect of every family is of interest and will benefit from professional help and guidance. And somehow we`re professionalising the entire family structure in the nation."
"And of course here there`s a much more specific concern which is the head of Tusla came from Aberdeen City Council which was very close ... to Aberdeenshire Council and Aberdeenshire Council and the local health board NHS Grampian are involved in the persecution of the Dochertys. So how much did Mr Fred McBride know? What backdoor links are there back to Scotland through networks, personal networks that he will have created during his professional life in North East Scotland and in what way are these hidden backdoor methods of communication being used to adversely affect the Docherty family and above all else the wellbeing of the Docherty children?"
"OK," says Mike Robinson. "We have three questions for Fred McBride and let`s just bring up a nice picture of him."
Question for Fred McBride:
1. What minimum inquiries, interviews, warnings or other preliminary steps are TUSLA required to undertake (either by statute or by internal standard procedures) before taking the extreme step of seizing children against the wishes of parents and taking them into state care?
2. When children are in care what information regarding their education, health and wellbeing should be communicated to the parents?
3. When families are separated by state/TUSLA action what procedures are in place to effect restoration of the family unit?