The Chief Executive of the children's charity, Barnardos, Fergus Finlay, has said any inquiry into foster homes must be widened.

Mr Finlay was speaking in the wake of allegations of abuse in a foster home in the southeast.

The case centres on an intellectually disabled non-verbal young woman, known as 'Grace', who was left in the home for more than 13 years after it became the subject of abuse allegations.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland Mr Finlay said the charity had become aware of a number of families around the country who have raised concerns about care in relation to foster and residential care.

Mr Finlay said their concerns (about physical and emotional abuse and neglect and in some cases sexual abuse) have been fobbed off.

All of these concerns involve people with intellectual disabilities and, Mr Finlay said, appear to be credible.

He said that for a short period at the start of a Commission of Inquiry into the case of Grace there should be space for the public to tell their stories

Mr Finlay said there is a deep problem with unaccountability in our system.