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1,200 missing Túsla files symptom of a greater problem – McLellan

7 May, 2015

Speaking today during a special Health and Children Committee meeting with Gordon Jeyes, the Chief Executive of the children agency Túsla, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Children Affairs Sandra McLellan TD asked if the recent finding of misplaced files in Laois/Offaly was due to lack of experience and unsafe practice among staff in the area, or the result of a lack of resources.

Teachta McLellan said:

“It was clear from  Mr. Jeyes’s comments that as I've highlighted with Minister Reilly before, Túsla is stretched to capacity. It's clear, however, that the agency is committed to the reform of child services. 

“It's difficult to rationalise how approximately 1,200 files can go missing without any accountability. This was not a simple mistake or oversight. This was a total breakdown in the system at some point in the process of it occurring. 

“I was seriously shocked to hear that Túsla doesn't operate its own integrated IT department and that in many instances, staff are still operating by the old pen and paper method of doing business. How is this possible? How can a critical agency such as Túsla deal efficiently with its huge number of cases if this is still at play in certain sections? 

“I commend Mr. Jeyes for facing the problem recent catastrophe head on, but the obvious issues of outdated systems, bad practises and the lack of resources need to be looked at immediately. There must be accountability and transparency in the system if people are to have faith in it.  That means tackling the root sources of where this malpractice began. Túsla must become a reforming organisation with an unshakeable commitment to children. It has a very long way to go in confronting outstanding legacy issues imbedded in services.” 

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