HSE must co-operate in full with Children’s Ombudsman

The refusal of the HSE to co-operate with the investigation by the Ombudsman for Children into the handling of the Child Protection Audit strongly suggests that the culture of secrecy, procrastination and obfuscation is alive and well in the HSE.

Claims by the HSE that they have indeed provided Ms Logan with all the documentation she required to conduct this investigation simply do not stand up to scrutiny. Ms Logan has catalogued in detail the requests that she has made to the HSE for various files and documents, and it is manifestly clear that they have come up short.

The HSE’s insistence, based on legal concerns that are at best spurious, that communication between the two agencies be conducted through senior counsel, is simply bizarre. Ms Logan has given the HSE every opportunity to engage with the process, only to be rebuffed at every hand’s turn.

The HSE’s claim that the interests of ‘third parties’ have to be recognised and taken on board, needs clarification. To which third parties is the HSE referring? And why must the interests of these third parties take precedence over the statutory right of the Ombudsman for Children to have access to the relevant documents?

I welcome the intimation by the HSE that they will endeavour to communicate with the Ombudsman for Children today, but it really should not have come to this.

It seems that despite all that has happened in recent years the culture of transparency and accountability has still not taken hold in the HSE.

In conducting these investigations, the Ombudsman for Children is obliged by law to have regard to the best interests of the child and nothing, particularly not the HSE, should be allowed stand in her way.