HSE Responds To 'Cover-Up' Allegations

The HSE has this morning responded to allegations it has operated a 'cover-up' over the deaths of children who were under its care.

Today's statement comes the day after Health Secretary Mary Harney dismissed claims that the HSE was involved in a cover-up over unpublished reports on child deaths from opposition leader Enda Kenny.

The Dáil met to discuss the issue yesterday afternoon after Fine Gael published a report into the 18-year-old woman Tracey Fay who died while in under the care of the State. Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny accused the Minister for Children Barry Andrews of covering up 20 reports into the deaths of children while under State care.

Today, the HSE responded to the accusations saying reports into serious incidents of children who die in care needed to be made public and gave a commitment to publishing reviews of the deaths of children in care, once due process and consultation with the families concerned has been completed.

The HSE revealed that over the 10 year period 2000 - 2010, 20 children died while in care, eight from natural causes such as illness, two in road traffic accidents and ten were in circumstances which "warranted investigation".

Out of these ten cases being investigated, six were in progress, two are going though due process in preparation for publication and are expected to be published in a matter of weeks and another two are currently subject to legal constraints, which has delayed their publication, the HSE revealed.

Phil Garland, HSE Assistant National Director of Children & Families, said today; "The tragic death of any child while in care is an extremely serious matter which has far reaching consequences, not least for the families concerned. We are committed to taking a thorough and compassionate approach to all concerned in these matters. While it is the intention of the HSE to publish reports into the death of children in care, due process and full consultation with the bereaved families, needs to take place before these reports can be put into the public domain.

"While this process is ongoing, and in some cases can take time, we can consider the recommendations of these report and implement the changes required to ensure that we are continually improving the services we provide to the most vulnerable children in our society. This is happening and much has improved in our services over the last 10 years including putting standardised systems in place across the country to ensure that each child in the care of the State has a care plan, a multi-disciplinary approach is taken to meet the individual needs of these children and the appropriate accommodation is available for each child.

The HSE said there are over 5,600 children in its care, with 92% of these children placed with foster families and the remaining children placed in residential settings.


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