HSE denies failing to contact Gardaí for three years after receiving 'Grace' report

HSE denies failing to contact Gardaí for three years after receiving 'Grace' report

The HSE has denied reports that it failed to correspond with Gardaí for three years, following a report into the handling of the 'Grace' case.

In a statement this afternoon it says it had ongoing contact with Gardaí between 2012 and 2014 about inquiries into matters at the foster home in the south-east.

It comes after reports yesterday that the HSE received the Devine Report into Grace's care in 2012, but did not pass it on until 2015.

In a statement this afternoon, the HSE said it understands why Grace's mother cannot now accept its apology adding that: “We do hope that in the future she may be in a position to do so.”

“Once again the HSE can only apologise to Grace and her mother and say that we genuinely are very sorry for all of the failings in her care and in our system,” the statement reads.

The executive pledged to “cooperate in every way” in assisting the inquiry, and said that what is now important is that Grace’s mother will get answers from an “objective viewpoint.”

The executive also used the statement to reject reports over the weekend that one of the three people allegedly responsible for leaving Grace in the foster home is now in a senior position in Tusla.

It said that all three people have now retired from the HSE and are in receipt of a pension.

Earlier the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee claimed it will be harder to accept the HSE's testimony about matters in future, following the dispute.

Sean Fleming said the HSE has been guilty of manipulating the media.

He said: "Sometimes the HSE put out information at meetings for their own purpose, maybe to get a media headline on the morning of a Public Accounts Committee on the television.

"I've seen the HSE using the forum of the PAC live meetings to put out some versions of events to suit themselves."

"They did it in relation to some of the organisations like the Central Remedial Clinic."

RTÉ Investigates will be speaking to the birth mother of 'Grace' in an exclusive interview, to be broadcast on Claire Byrne Live tonight.

In her first ever interview she talks about how as a young, single mother in the late 70s she put her baby into care and led to believe throughout that the foster family looking after her daughter was loving.

RTE News reports that she maintains that during her regular contacts over the years with the then South Eastern Health Board, now the Health Service Executive, she checked on Grace's welfare. She also holds that she was repeatedly led to believe that 'Grace' was living with a loving foster family, in a caring foster home and she therefore had no cause for concern until she first learned of the sexual abuse allegations in 2009.

It was at that point, the birth mother says, that she demanded the removal of 'Grace' from the foster home straight away.

She has described the past number of years as "a living hell" and has rejected a written apology from the HSE describing it as "half hearted" and pointing out that nobody from the HSE has spoken with her personally.

You can see the RTÉ Investigates report on Claire Byrne Live, RTÉ One tonight at 10.35pm.

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