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Ó Caoláin demands publication of 20 HSE reports on deaths of children in State care

4 March, 2010 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has described as "shocking" the admission this morning by a senior HSE official that there are 20 reports on the deaths of children in State care awaiting publication. The Sinn Féin Dáil leader called for their publication without further delay.

He said:

"The admission by a senior HSE official on Morning Ireland today that there are 20 reports on the deaths of children in State care awaiting publication is truly shocking. No valid excuse was offered for the delay in the publication of these reports and they should be issued without further delay. They should also be forwarded to the Ombudsman for Children. The identities of the children and their families can be protected if need be; they do not need to be published – what is most important is that the facts of the cases are known and the lessons learned and acted upon.

"In a Parliamentary Question dated 7th July 2009 I sought information on the number of unpublished or redacted reports conducted by the HSE or the former health boards. I have never received a comprehensive reply despite repeated follow-up questions to the Minister and the HSE. I have been told that the information was proving 'difficult to collate'. Yet this morning a HSE spokesperson was able to go on the air and acknowledge 20 unpublished reports on the deaths of children. Why has this information been withheld over all these months?

"The report on the tragic life and death of Tracey Fay in State care has caused huge concern about the lack of adequate child protection services in this society. This is not a new concern but has been pointed out repeatedly in recent years, with thousands of children who are vulnerable and at risk still being denied access even to initial assessments of their plight.

"The child protection crisis in this State requires a far more concerted and high level approach than that taken by the Government at present. A full range of child protection services need to be provided and resourced; the Children's Referendum should proceed; and the Taoiseach should use the opportunity of the Cabinet reshuffle to appoint a full Cabinet Minister for Children." ENDS

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