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Ó Caoláin slams HSE’s refusal to cooperate with Children’s Ombudsman investigation

6 May, 2009 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on Children Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin today condemned the HSE for refusing to cooperate with the investigation by the Ombudsman for Children into the handling of the Child Protection Audit of the Catholic Church by the HSE and the Department of Health.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"Sinn Féin believes that we need to fully strengthen children’s rights and increase resources for child protection. The litany of child abuse cases, including the most recent Roscommon child abuse case, demonstrates the need for thorough investigations into all alleged child abuse, including the conduct of those charged with ensuring the welfare of children and allegations of mishandling of child protection issues. The HSE and the Minister for Health need to be held accountable and should be compelled to state why the HSE views itself above the investigation by the Ombudsman for Children, from whom it has chosen to withhold its co-operation.

"Further to this, the HSE need to state why they wished to bring a legal dimension to this investigation and waste public funding in requesting multiple deadline extensions and then hiring senior counsel and requesting the Ombudsman to do the same.

"This further highlights the need for children’s rights to be enshrined in the Constitution. The HSE and the Department of Health failing to co-operate and effectively obstructing the investigation by the Ombudsman is not in the best interests of children. I am calling on the Minister for Health to state why this non-cooperation has been allowed to happen." ENDS

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