HSE Apologises Over Roscommon Case

The health executive has issued an "unreserved and unequivocal" apology to those involved in the Roscommon Child Care Case.

The apology was directed at six children who were subject to "serious neglect and harm" by their parents over a number of years in squalid conditions in their Roscommon bungalow.

A previous inquiry noted that the “voices” of the six children were not heard in over a number of years, despite visits from social workers. However, during their apology today, the HSE maintained that by not hearing directly the concerns of the children, the services could not respond fully to their needs.

The statement said: "Following the [inquiry's] recommendations, the HSE will shortly issue professional practice guidance to ensure that children and their views are central to any assessment and intervention regarding their well being.

"The HSE is committed to learning from this and other reports to ensure that services are strengthened to help protect children to the greatest extent possible."

Four of the six children are still minors and remain in care.

Meanwhile today, the Government's Special Rapporteur for Child Protection, Geoffrey Shannon, has rejected claims that a lack of resources was to blame for failing to protect the six children in the Roscommon child abuse case.

Mr Shannon was responding to suggestions by the Irish Association of Social Workers that childcare workers were over-stretched in the region.

Labour Senator Alex White welcomed the publication of the report saying it should "mark a new dawn in an organisation where heretofore the default response when it came to a crisis like this was to pull up the shutters, and distance themselves from any sense of responsibility".

The children's mother, an alcoholic, was last year sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to incest, sexual abuse, neglect and wilful ill-treatment.

Her husband was later jailed for 12-and-a-half years for rape and sexual assault against one of his sons.

Children's campaigner Norah Gibbons, who also sat on the inquiry team into the incident said the children were denied their most basic needs for security, food, warmth, clothing and the loving care of their parents.


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