No report for tragic teen's family
We were never contacted, says Tracey's uncle
Published 04/03/2010 | 05:00
THE family of a tragic teenager who died from a drugs overdose while in the care of the health service has yet to receive a report into the "dysfunctional and chaotic" care which resulted in her death.
The family hit out at it being used as a "political football" and said they would have liked the opportunity to read the report and respond to it before it was leaked.
Tracey Fay was just 14 when she was taken into the care of the then Eastern Health Board and she quickly became involved with drug addicts.
She died on the streets of Dublin in January 2002 after a drugs overdose.
Fine Gael yesterday released a report by the Health Service Executive (HSE) into the mishandling of her care, and accused the Government of trying to suppress the findings. However, Minister for Children Barry Andrews accused the Opposition of an "ambush" and said the release of the report was "carefully choreographed to cause embarrassment".
Tracey's uncle, Damien Fay, last night said the family had never been consulted about its release. He said the first he knew about it was when he was contacted by the media.
"We were never contacted and I think it's very important that we would have been," he told the Irish Independent.
"We would have hoped that the HSE would have contacted the family so that we could have some input as to the outcome of the report. We've been excommunicated from everything that has been going on."
He said the family was well aware of the failures in the system when Tracey was in care and he would hope that much in the system had changed since 2002. "She would go to the health board clinic and hang around there. And then she would be sent to the garda station and made to hang around there looking for a bed. We know what kind of people are in garda stations and she was a vulnerable young girl.
"It was a recipe for disaster," he added. He said he has been speaking to Tracey's mother who is upset about the leaking of the report. Mr Andrews insisted there was "no suppression of the report".
He said the HSE had been in touch with Tracey's mother Doreen and had hoped to consult with her on it, but could not because she was ill.
Fine Gael Deputy Alan Shatter questioned how a parent who failed their child could be entitled to veto a report into their actions, or inactions. "The sad reality is that where a child is the victim of parental abuse or neglect and also a victim of a failed childcare system, the parent is unlikely to favour publication of a report which details in full the tragic background circumstances," he said.
Tracey's grandfather, Wille Fay, said he had no idea it was about to come into the public domain. He said it was a "very bad time" when Tracey died and said the family wanted to put it all behind them.
"It was a very bad time and we just want to forget about it."
The HSE said all 47 recommendations in the report "have been or are being" implemented. Last night Barnardos called on the Government to put the Children First national guidelines on a statutory footing.