Gardai can release files on death of child but HSE refusing Minister’s request – Ó Caoláin
Sinn Féin Dáil leader and spokesperson on Health & Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has described the situation regarding the deaths of children in State care as “a crisis of leadership” and has called on the Taoiseach Brian Cowen to intervene directly.
He said it appeared that Garda sources had released the HSE file on the late Daniel McAnaspie to RTÉ yet Minister of State for Children Barry Andrews has admitted that the HSE is refusing to release files to his investigation team on legal grounds.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“Details of the tragic case of Daniel McAnaspie are now in the public domain, apparently as a result of the release of his HSE file to RTÉ by a Garda source. The litany of neglect in this case is truly shocking and lessons must be learned and implemented without delay.
“While the file could be made public in this way, Minister of State for Children, Barry Andrews, has admitted that the HSE is refusing to release files on the deaths of children in their care to the Minister’s investigation team. This is intolerable and the files should be released immediately to what is a confidential investigation.
“There is clearly a crisis of leadership and management at the highest level in child protection in this State when an investigation established by a Minister can be frustrated in this way by a State body supposedly under his authority. The Taoiseach Brian Cowen should now intervene directly. The senior Minister for Health & Children, Mary Harney, has remained silent on this scandal.
“The Taoiseach needs to re-establish ministerial authority and democratic accountability for the delivery of public health and social services.”