To the Editor at the Irish Times Newspaper,
As the legal representative of the young woman known as Ms. Y who was refused an abortion when suicidal and forced to deliver her baby by caesarean section by the HSE, I am in utter disbelief, truly disgusted and angered by what has been revealed over the last week concerning the case of another highly vulnerable young woman known as “Grace” – not to mention the reports of the other 47 victims who have allegedly suffered the most appalling and terrifying abuse imaginable at the hands of foster care workers employed by the HSE.
What is truly shocking is the fact the HSE knew this abuse was going on, yet they did nothing about it. Apparently there was some sort of review instigated presumably by way of an investigation………….internal of course…………which is still awaited………………some 13 years later.
AND another victim was left to be preyed upon by the very same abusers notwithstanding the fact “Grace” was eventually removed from these evil, vile people.
AND Social Workers have feared for their reputations and livelihoods but have finally found the courage to step up and speak out under the Protected Disclosures legislation.
AND then we have a pathetic debacle about an apology. As if that really makes any difference at this stage.
I am writing this letter on the day Mr. Tony O’Brien Director General of the HSE is due to appear before PAC. I can only hope PAC get some answers to assuage the public outcry and opprobrium to these shocking revelations.
Our State is still dealing with the absolute shame and fall out from the Industrial Schools; Mother and Babies; Savita Halappanavar and Portlaoise Hospital scandals – of which there are so many victims, life-long damage and consequences.
How many more times is our State going to be shown up for it`s failure to care for the weakest, poorest and most vulnerable people in our society?
It is very sad this is what is happening in 2016, the year we are due to commemorate the 1916 Rising, a hundred years ago. Have we learned nothing about how to protect and care for our citizens?
For my part I feel compelled to document my experiences with the HSE and it’s legal branch, the State Claims Agency. Over the last number of years I have successfully represented Clients who have been the victims of negligence, neglect, substandard care, callousness, arrogance and abuse on the part of the HSE to greater or lesser degrees. And it goes on…………and on.
In my twenty years of practice I have secured two “apologies” from the HSE for Clients out of the countless cases taken.
Every day my staff and I deal with denials of liability, a lack of engagement, delays in taking up medical records, unexplained discrepancies in medical records, refusals to provide key information, excuses, no transparency, no openness, no co-operation and no accountability.
Every case has to go to Court or close to “the steps of the Court”. It is my personal view the HSE put their victims through the litigation process to wear them down………… and make them give up. It is so much easier than holding up their hands.
More often than not, the HSE sees fit to defend the indefensible. It is incredibly frustrating, galling and it does wear me down. However I am committed and will continue to seek access to justice for my Clients.
C. M. HAUGHEY SOLICITORS
2nd February 2016