Whistleblower claims HSE did not apologise to victim of 'savage' rapes at foster home

Daniel McConnell, Political Editor

The Health Service Executive's claims that it apologised directly to the victim of the most “savage” rape and physical abuse in a foster home in the South East have been strongly contested.

Fresh testimony obtained by the Irish Examiner newspaper, relating to the handling of the case involving the disabled victim, between 1989 and 2009, roundly rejects claims by the HSE that such an apology was given.

One of the whistleblowers involved in the case, said they attended a meeting with the HSE in early December, but was adamant no apology was offered.

“There was no apology made by the HSE to my client for the HSE’s failings in her care nor was there any admission of HSE failings in this case expressed to my client,” said the whistleblower.

“My client was merely informed that recommendations from a report into her care had been released that day.

“This was the purpose of the meeting and once this had taken place, the meeting ended.

“It was a very brief meeting lasting less than 10 minutes,” the whistleblower added.

Last week, the Irish Examiner revealed how the HSE finally accepted liability for failings in standards of care involving the woman who suffered horrendous abuse at the foster home.

The HSE has attempted to claim both to this newspaper and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that an apology was given, but this has been strongly contested by not one but two separate sources close to the victim.

PAC vice-chair John Deasy has accused the HSE of concocting a version of what happened.

He said he had been made aware of the “exact the tenor and content” of the meetings.

“It didn’t occur. I’ve had it checked out,” he said, claiming the HSE has “concocted” a version of what happened.

It is understood that one of the social workers involved has made a statement to the Gardaí accusing HSE employees of criminal negligence for the leaving the victim in the home for 13 years after fears of abuse were first raised.

This warning followed a raising of alarm from UK authorities that another former resident in the house alleged sexual assualt by one of the foster parents.

Last Thursday, the PAC referred the matter to the office of the Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan and the office of Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

The Director of Public Prosecutions has already decided against pressing charges in relation to five garda investigation files dealing with alleged negligence and abuse in the home.

One of the foster parents was alleged to have raped victims, who were unable to speak, with instruments.

Over two decades the individual, it is alleged, suffered “savage” sexual, physical and financial abuse including being sexually assaulted with a blunt instrument resulting in damage to her internal organs, living in a cubby hole under the stairs and trained to assume sexual positions when certain words were spoken.

Between 2010 and 2014 the HSE commissioned three investigations costing almost €300,000, while the Department of Health last year commissioned a senior counsel review.

The HSE has repeatedly said it cannot publish its investigations — including which managers were responsible and what if any disciplinary actions took place — due to ongoing Garda investigations, hampered by the fact the alleged victim cannot speak.

 

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