Public Accounts Committee members accuse HSE of lying over apology claims
Two Senior TD’s on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) believe that the HSE has misled the committee as recently as last week, when they wrote to the committee claiming they had issued an apology to an intellectually disabled non-verbal woman via her representative who was subjected to years of horrific physical, sexual and emotional abuse within the home of a foster care provider. It has now come to light that no such apology was made by HSE representatives at the originally suggested time period.
As a result of a report carried out by management consultant Conal Devine for the HSE, an apology was recommended. This report was commissioned in order to investigate the welfare of more than 40 children and vulnerable adults who were placed into the particular Waterford foster home between 1983 and 1995.
The case at the centre of the row involves a woman who, as a child, was placed in a care home in the south east in 1989. She was 11-years-old at the time and remained there until 2009. She was allegedly subject to severe abuse in spite of the fact that a warning about the home had come from a former resident in 1995.
The chairman of the PAC John McGuinness was critical of the HSE stating:
‘There’s either incompetence at play in whoever’s dealing with this in the HSE or there’s a deliberate attempt to mislead the committee. My view on this is that it is a mixture of both.’
While other committee members have been quoted as saying that the conduct of the HSE throughout the entire investigation was ‘deeply troubling.’ Various other committee members have voiced their views that the conduct of the particular HSE individuals involved should be penalized and consequences should ensue. According to PAC sources, even though the two HSE individuals informed their bosses in writing that they in fact had not issued an apology, the HSE ignored this and continued to hold the line that an apology had been given.
Calls have been made for those involved to either resign or be dismissed.
Committee chairman John McGuiness continued the session of the committee by stating:
‘We have to continue to remember that it is vulnerable, mentally challenged individuals that we are talking about here and when you consider that, theh HSE has not responded as you would expect.. This today has shown up in full light the culture that exists in the HSE of circling the wagons and hiding behind all sorts of excuses, lies, misrepresentations and giving misleading statements.’
The issue of a supposed apology being given is again at the forefront as it has now come to light that the two HSE workers are making claims that they were never instructed to make an apology by their superiors in the first instance.
Deputy Deasy (PAC member) has made it very clear that he feels the HSE should be given one final opportunity to clarify the issue surrounding the apology and if clarification isn’t forthcoming, he feels that some very serious questions need to be asked about the people in charge of this particular HSE issue.
Deputy Deasy has also urged the Garda Commissioner’s office to put its weight behind the investigation.
The head of the HSE Tony O’Brien and senior officials with knowledge of the case have been asked to appear before the committee next Tuesday in what is likely to be its last hearing before a general election is called.