HSE chief expects to meet with the PAC next week over abuse claims

The CEO of Barnardos is calling for a Commission of Inquiry into the claims

Barnardos, CEO, Fergus Finlay, abuse, allegations, HSE, Tony O'Brien, PAC,

HSE Director-General Tony O'Brien | Image: Rollingnews.ie

The director-general of the Health Service Executive (HSE) says he expects to meet with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) next week over allegations of abuse in a foster home.

"I have received a copy of some correspondence from the PAC, and I expect to be meeting with the PAC next week", Tony O'Brien said.

"But in the meantime, I've asked the social care division to look very carefully at what's been said so that we can get to the bottom of it, so that I can give a comprehensive answer to the PAC".

"But until I have that information, it wouldn't be wise or prudent for me to say anymore", he added.

The PAC heard claims that a foster care family may have sexually abused over 40 young people with intellectual disabilities.

The claims have been sent to the Department of the Taoiseach and the gardaí.

It is reported that the former South-Eastern Health Board became aware of the concerns in 1992, and all children were removed from their care in 1995.

However due to a clerical mistake, one person was left in their care until 2009.

The HSE has written a formal apology to a woman who allegedly suffered years of abuse.

'You don't apologise for torture'

Meanwhile, the CEO of Barnardos is calling for the Health Minister Leo Varadkar to set up a Commission of Inquiry into the alleged abuse.

Fergus Finlay said people should be "hanging their heads in shame" over what happened to the families.

He says what happened to people who were in the care of the State is shocking.

Speaking on Newstalk Lunchtime, Mr Finlay said: "if we can't get to the bottom of it, if we can't establish exactly who is accountable and how these decisions were made... then you can never rest easy in your bed".

"No citizen of Ireland, if they read what had happened to these young people, could rest easy in their beds at the thought that this could happen to anybody in the responsibility of the State".

Mr Finlay has called on the health minister to appoint a Commission of Inquiry, suggesting there "has to be a completely independent look".