The Commission of Investigation into the care of woman with intellectual disabilities in a foster home in the southeast has sought a further extension until the end of 2019.

The Farrelly Commisison began work in May 2017 to investigate claims the woman, known as 'Grace', endured years of sexual and physical abuse.

'Grace' was placed with the foster family in 1989 and remained in the home until 2009, despite a 1995 decision by the South Eastern Health Board (SEHB) to cease using the family for placements and to remove other vulnerable young people.

An extension of one year was granted in May 2018 until May of this year.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, the Minister of State with responsibility for disability issues confirmed that a further six-month extension has been requested.

Finian McGrath said this request is currently under consideration.

He said while he could not comment on the specifics of the commission's work, he said "essentially there has been a lot of teething problems".

Concerns have previously been raised by the families of other service users of the foster home that their cases would not be examined promptly in the inquiry.

However, Mr McGrath said a lot of groundwork has been done by the commission in relation to the Grace case which will be "very helpful and very supportive to the other cases that will be dealt with later on".

He said: " The Farrelly Commission is doing a massive work, independent work and is going to get to the heart of the matter. We want to ensure young people like Grace are given proper support in the future and that this will not happen to any other person, child or adult, with intellectual disabilities in the care of the State."

He said it was important that this part of the inquiry, which investigates the role of public authorities in the care and protection of service users, is completed.

Mr McGrath added that when this is finished over the next six or seven months, then the commission can move on to other serious issues.