Saturday, May 9, 2009

HSE yields child-protection audit file

RONAN McGREEVY

FILES RELATING to the child protection audit of the Catholic Church have been handed over by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to Ombudsman for Children Emily Logan.

Ms Logan suspended her investigation into the audit earlier this week claiming the HSE had failed to co-operate with her.

She requested files from both the HSE and the Department of Health relating to their audit of child-protection measures in Catholic dioceses completed last year.

The department has, to date, handed over all files relating to the audit.

Ms Logan wanted to investigate why a questionnaire sent to the dioceses had not been completed and whether there was any "maladministration" in the audit.

Ms Logan suspended the investigation after the HSE handed over a single document - a copy of a report into the audit published by the Minister for Children Barry Andrews in January.

She also took exception to the HSE suggesting that both sides should contact senior counsel before handing over any documents, saying furthermore that she would not "stand for it".

The HSE denied claims of non-co-operation and said it only recommended the intervention of senior counsel because of the potential legal difficulties involved.

The two sides met yesterday when a file was handed over by the HSE to the ombudsman's office.

A statement from the ombudsman's office declined to state what was in it, but said it would be "examined to determine whether the investigation can continue".

The office said it would not be commenting further on the file until it is examined in full.